Sunday, September 11, 2011

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Over the past few years I have been on a personal boycott of Sam Walton's monopoly of a business.  This comes about for several reasons. 

First, my family was seeming to spend far too much money on nothing each time we walked in the door.  Seriously, any day I thought of going I should have just ran a hundred dollar bill threw a shredder.  It seemed that each time that was the minimum wasted amount. 

The second is that this one store has grown to be such a monopoly trying to dominate every market in America, pushing out and destroying smaller business such as grocery stores, pharmacies, optical centers and is now trying to tackle medical care.  My family has happened to run small family grocery stores for over 60 years.  While I have chosen to pursue other career paths, I feel it is important to support my family by shopping locally with them. 

Then there is the pollution, unfair wages and a multitude of other issues I have but I digress.

While shopping locally has proven to be wonderful for cost and time savings in most areas there are a few things that the smaller merchants just can not compete with price wise.  (This is the ticket to them luring you in the door - low prices on just a few items while overall, the prices are comparable for lesser quality products.)  One of these such items is dish washing detergent.  There is about a $4.00 a bottle difference in price. 

Because of my little boycott, my choice is I either suck it up and take three kids who will want $60 in toys in there for a $4 bottle of Cascade, buy the bottle at the local store for $8 or make my own for pennies.

I chose the latter.

Making dish washing detergent is so simple.  And most local grocery stores cary all of these items for their older customers who's business they rely on.  If you shop local and do not see them, ask.  Local merchants are always more than willing to stock something special to keep a customer. 

After a few google searches and finding it was possible I adjusted a few minor things to come up with the following recipe. 

1 Cup of Washing Soda
1 Cup of Borax
1/2 Cup of Salt (Kosher is best but I did not have any this time out and used regular Iodized salt and it works fine)
4 packets of Lemon aid Kool-Aid

Measure your ingredients and pour into a bowl in no particular order.  Be sure to smash out any clumps and stir together.

Place in an air tight container.  I prefer a mason jar because the dish washing soap is forever sitting on the counter at my house.  This way, it looks cute.

1 Tablespoon of dish washing soap per load of dishes.  Heavily soiled pots and pans you can add 2.  For an added all natural rinse agent - fill your dispenser with vinegar rather than JetDry. 

Perfect!  An all natural, environmentally friendly and inexpensive dish washing soap!

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  1. Thanks so much for this recipe! I am on a mission to keep as much of our hard earned money as I can. Makes me sick to spend money on stuff that I can make myself.

    Love that you store it in Mason jars.

    Thanks for your kind comment on my blog. Following you now. :)

  2. This is a great idea! Thanks for the recipe!!

    I'm your newest follower! :)

  3. Do we add the koolaid just to add lemon scent to the soap, or does it actually help clean in some way?

    (I ask because I don't have any koolaid, so I used all of the other ingredients ;) My dishwasher is running as I type)

    1. You actually need koolaid or a koolaid type mix. The koolaid has citric acid that helps to break down gunk and aids in the cleaning. I would suggest Koolaid brand because the dye they use is better than off brands.

      You know how if your kids drink too much red off brand koolaid drinks they will pee red... you don't want your dishwasher to turn yellow.

    2. Well, if all your using the Koolaid for is the citric acid it contains then don't bother using it. You can purchase pure citric acid in packages or in bulk (my choice). It's used to make all kinds of stuff. I use it in bath bombs and shower fizzies (awesome during cold and flu season). That way it's cheap, more natural, clean, and dye free. Many stores carry it and if you can't find it locally you can always order it on line. I am a diabetic so you will never find a package of Koolaid or any drink mix in my home. But you will find bucket loads of citric acid!! Happy Soaping!!

  4. Lol, I absolutely love your reasoning behind this! I've tried to boycott that big WM store and I just can't justify the higher prices at other stores all the time. So when I find things that I can do cheaper than them, I jump at the chance!

    Maybe this is a silly question, but do you put the detergent in the part of the dishwasher with the latching door or just in the little hole without the door?

    1. Hi Nikki,

      Thanks for stopping!

      I'm sorry I'm behind. Big time!

      I put it in the little latchy door where you would put other detergents.

  5. I would like the answer to that, too, Nikki. No need to feel silly.

  6. Hi I think this is a wonderful idea!!! I love finding new ways to DIY like everyone used to way back when. Everyone (younger generation) now a days assumes it can't be used unless its bought in a store.
    I asked my husband ( he worked many years as an appliance technition) about the vinigar and he said its good as long as its not a stainless steal dishwasher because it corrodes it. But he told my mother in law to use it in hers because she used straight dish soap and bubbles pored all over the kitchen floor. ( mind you her dishwasher isn't stainless steal either)

    1. Thanks Gen for the advise!

      I hadn't thought about staineless since mine is not. Good to know!

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  8. HI! This is the second time I have tried using this homemade detergent and after about 3 or 4 runs my glasses start looking foggy or cloudy... Have you experienced this? Any ideas as to what I should do differently?

    1. Do you have soft water or hard water? Try adding more salt to the recipe to soften the water more. There may be too many mineral desposits (lime) being left behind. It may need adjustment for your water.

  9. Can i substitute the kool aid for Lemi Shine? It also has citric acid?

    1. Yes, LemiShine works fine for he citric acid. I have very hard water and have used LS many times. One reason I started making my own dw detergent to avoid the high price of LS. I bought a small container of citric acid in the canning section of the store and add a tsp or 2 to each wash. Still not as cheap as I'd like it to be. I think if I add more salt to soften the water, I can cut back on the CA. The CA I bought in the canning aisle was slightly cheaper than the LS.