I love to make and use my own cleaning products. It all started when the harsh scents from the chemical cleansers had been doing a number on me: they were making it difficult for me to breathe and giving me headaches and making me dizzy when I cleaned. It was only an after thought that not only are my homemade cleansers better for me, but they are also better for the environment and my bank account. Even though an after thought, that made me love using them even more!
We had a huge supple of dishwasher detergent from Costco and I didn't want to waste it, so we're still using it. Unfortunately, however, our dishes (mainly glasses) are coming out with a cloudy residue on them lately. I washed them all by hand and it came off which makes me think that it's the detergent. I don't know why all of a sudden it's happening but it encouraged me to look into making a homemade dishwasher detergent. I found a very similar recipe used on a few different websites, so I thought I would give it a try. I've always been partial to liquid detergent but I read in a few places that powdered detergent is better (although, I'm not really sure why).
1 Cup Borax
1 Cup Baking Soda
1/4 Cup Salt
1/4 Cup Citric Acid
30 Drops Lemon Essential Oil
Yes, I like to buy ingredients that I know I'll use constantly in bulk. Like baking soda. It and vinegar are pretty much the only things I need to clean.
Borax is a water conditioner, so in theory, it should help with our hard water. I think (and I can be wrong here) the citric acid is to help break down grease. The salt and baking soda seem like they will be the scrubbing agents. Lemon essential oil smells pretty, but it is also antiseptic.
Mix everything together and store in an airtight container. The mixture may clump (it's only natural for that to happen with baking soda), so just shake up your jar before each use. All you need is 1 tablespoon per load of dishes. Also, use white vinegar in your rinse cycle. The stuff is amazing.
I saw another recipe that looked interesting that uses a tablespoon each of Borax and Washing Soda plus 2 teaspoons of sea salt to run a load.
I had a couple people ask me after yesterday's Sugar Scrub post where I get my jars and since I used a similar one today, I thought I'd include that info. Many of the jars I use around the house are from thrift stores. I scrub the hell out of them and/or sterilize them, depending on the use. I also use Mason Jars all the time. I usually find them at Ace or other smaller hardware stores for less than you can get at grocery or craft stores. Specialty Bottle carries a nice selection of bottles and jars at good prices if you're going to buy in bulk.
Do you use a homemade dishwasher detergent? How's it working for you? Is it a similar recipe?
UPDATE 6/4/11: I used this recipe for the first time last night & it worked really well!!