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DIY Dishwasher Detergent

Did you know you can make your own dishwasher detergent? You might ask why you would want to do that. Some people do it because it is environmentally friendly, some do it for cost savings over name brands, and some do it because it actually cleans better than store-bought alternatives!

I figured out the cost savings, and it actually costs about the same as the store brand liquid dishwasher detergent. I did it mainly out of curiousity, and was pleasantly surprised to find out that my dishes are now cleaner! Not only that, the inside of my dishwasher is also cleaner.

DYI dishwasher detergent

Although our water isn't really hard, it is hard enough to leave a film on our dishes, which just gets worse over time and makes your dishes look really cloudy. The Lemi Shine in this detergent does a great job of removing tough spots and film from dishes, and it is made of natural ingredients. It is made with real fruit acids and natural citrus oils.

Here is the recipe I used:

  • 2 c. Borax
  • 2 c. Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
  • 1 bottle (12 oz.) Lemi Shine*
  • 1 c kosher salt

You can find the washing soda and Borax in the laundry section of your grocery store. Note that it is WASHING soda, not BAKING soda. The Lemi Shine is in the section with dishwashing products. The Kosher Salt is found in the baking section.

If you search the Internet, you will find a variety of recipes for making dishwasher detergent. Some people recommend using (10) packets of unsweetened lemonade in the place of the Lemi Shine. This reduces the cost of the overall product, because the Lemi Shine is the most expensive ingredient. However, if you have hard water, I do recommend the Lemi Shine. It is made to take care of hard water problems. The key is the citric acid contained in both items.

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container. For the first couple of days stir the mixture once or twice a day to keep it from clumping. You will have more of a problem with this with the lemonade. It is the citric acid that makes it clump up. I used the Lemi Shine and have had very little clumping. Make sure you keep the inside of the container dry and that the spoon you use to measure it is dry so that moisture isn't introduced to the container.

To use, place 1 tbsp. of detergent in the soap dispenser of your dishwasher. You can place an additional 1/2 tbsp. in the pre-wash compartment if you want to. Instead of Jet Dry, use white vinegar as a rinse aid.

I have been using my homemade dishwasher detergent for more than a week and I love it. It is inexpensive, environmentally friendly, and I can see through my glasses again!

* Note: Use of any kind of citric acid in your dishwasher can harm fragile dishes. It says on the Lemi Shine bottle to not use it to clean painted glassware, painted mugs, aluminum, fine china, or anything coated with enamel. Wash these dishes by hand.

Copyright 2012, Creative Homemaking, LLC. This article may not be reprinted.

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Rachel Paxton
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