How to Make Homemade Dishwasher Detergent | At Home With P. Allen Smith
How to Make Homemade Dishwasher Soap
Using a dishwasher to clean your dishes after a meal can eliminate one annoying household chore from your list. But if you're concerned about the chemicals that are used in commercial dishwasher soaps, you may feel torn between convenience and safety. Fortunately, you can make your own homemade dishwasher detergent using natural ingredients that you can buy at most grocery stores. Best of all, whipping up your own dishwasher soap is actually cheaper than buying premade formulas, so you'll save money at the same time.
Basic Dishwasher Detergent
Borax-Based Dishwasher Detergent
1 cup (237 g) borax
1 cup (237 g) washing soda
½ cup (118. 5 g) citric acid
½ cup (124 g) kosher salt
Borax-Free Dishwasher Detergent
1 ½ cups (355.5 g) citric acid
1 ½ cups (355.5 g) washing soda
½ cup (209 g) baking soda
½ cup (130 g) sea salt
Homemade Dishwasher Tabs
2 cups (474 g) washing soda or baking soda
2 cups (474 g) borax
½ cup (124 g) kosher salt or epsom salt
½ cup (129 ml) vinegar
15 to 20 drops lemon essential oil
Making Basic Dishwasher Detergent On the Spot
Add regular dish soap to the dishwasher’s detergent cup.If you find out that you’re out of dishwashing detergent when the dishwasher’s already full, start by adding three or four drops of regular dishwashing soap to the dishwasher’s detergent cup. Any brand or type of dish soap will work as long as it’s a liquid.
- If you’re cleaning a particularly dirty load of dishes, you may want to bump the soap up to four or five drops.
Fill the cup with baking soda.After you’ve placed the dish soap in the washer’s detergent cup, add baking soda. You’ll want to pour enough baking soda into the detergent cup to fill it up approximately ⅔ full.
- To avoid spilling baking soda all over the interior of the dishwasher, use a spoon to carefully fill the detergent cup rather than pouring the baking soda straight from the box.
Top off the cup with salt.Once the dish soap and baking soda are in the detergent cup, reach for a container of regular table salt. Add enough salt to the dish soap and baking soda mixture to completely fill the detergent cup.
- If you only have sea or kosher salt, you can substitute either for the table salt.
Run the dishwasher as you normally would.When you’ve completely filled the detergent cup with the mixture, close the compartment. Set and run your dishwasher as you usually do, and when the cycle is done, you’ll have clean, sparkling dishes without any suds overflow.
- Not only is this dishwasher detergent easy to make, it’s cheaper than store-bought versions. Most people usually have dish soap, baking soda, and salt in their kitchen, so it’s a convenient alternative to the usual dishwasher detergent.
Mixing Up Borax-Based Dishwasher Detergent
Combine the borax, washing soda, citric acid, and kosher salt.Add 1 cup (237 g) of borax, 1 cup (237 g) of washing soda, ½ cup (118. 5 g) of citric acid, and ½ cup (124 g) of kosher salt in a large bowl or pot. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until it is well blended.
- Borax is a natural mineral that is often used in cleaning products. You can find it at most grocery and big box stores in the aisle where laundry or cleaning products are sold.
- Washing soda is a water-soluble sodium salt of carbonic acid that works as a natural cleaner or cleaning booster. You can find it at many grocery and big box stores in the laundry or cleaning products aisle. If you can’t find it locally, it’s also available at online stores.
- Citric acid is a natural compound found in citrus fruits that is an ideal disinfectant in cleaning products. You can find it in many grocery stores where canning or brewing supplies are sold, or at health food stores and pharmacies.
Place in a jar or jug with a lid.Once the detergent mixture is fully combined, transfer it from the bowl or pot to a jar or jug with an airtight lid. To avoid spilling the detergent all over your work surface, you may find it easier to pour the mixture into the container with a funnel.
- The detergent may clump if it’s exposed to moisture, so try to keep in a cool, dark closet or pantry with low humidity.
Fill the detergent cup in your dishwasher with the mixture.When you’re ready to wash a load of dishes, take 1 tablespoon (15 g) of the detergent mixture and place it in the detergent cup in your dishwasher. Run the dishwasher as you normally would.
- The recipe should make enough detergent for 48 loads of dishes.
Creating Borax-Free Dishwasher Detergent
Mix the citric acid, washing soda, baking soda, and sea salt.Combine 1 ½ cups (355.5 g) of citric acid, 1 ½ cups (355.5 g) of washing soda, ½ cup (209 g) of baking soda, and ½ cup (130 g) of sea salt in a large bowl or pot. Stir the mixture so all of the ingredients are well combined.
- If you don’t have sea salt, you can substitute kosher salt.
Place the mixture in a jar.When the detergent ingredients are fully mixed, carefully transfer it to a jar or other container. Make sure to choose a container with an airtight lid because the borax-free detergent is especially prone to clumping when exposed to high humidity.
- If you live in an area with high humidity, place 2 tablespoons (30 g) of powdered bentonite clay inside a piece of cheesecloth or pantyhose. Secure the fabric so the clay won’t spill out, and throw the packaged clay into your container of detergent. The clay will absorb the excess moisture so the detergent doesn’t clump.
Use the detergent mixture as you would premade detergent.When you need to wash a load of dishes, place 1 tablespoon (15 g) of the detergent mixture in the dishwasher’s detergent cup. Set the dishwasher as you normally would, and allow the cycle to run.
Forming Homemade Dishwasher Tabs
Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl.In a large bowl or pot, mix together 2 cups (474 g) of washing soda, 2 cups (474 g) of borax, ½ cup (124 g) kosher salt or epsom salt, ½ cup (129 ml) of vinegar, and 15 to 20 drops lemon essential oil. Stir the mixture with a spoon until it begins to clump together.
- You can substitute baking soda for the washing soda.
- When you mix in the vinegar, there may be some slight fizzing. That is normal.
Fill two ice cube trays with the mixture.Once the mixture is fully mixed and clumped together, transfer it to two ice cube trays. Load the mixture into the compartments, pressing down on it to create tightly packed cubes.
- If you pack the trays the right way, you’ll use up all of the detergent mixture.
Allow the tabs to dry for a day.The tabs need to dry so they’re fully hard before you use them. Place the trays in a dry, sunny area, and let them dry for at least 24 hours.
Store the tabs in an airtight container.When the tabs are dry, carefully remove them from the ice cube trays. Place them in a jar or other container with a lid, and keep them in a cool, dry location.
- Make sure that the lid fits tightly on the jar that’s holding the detergent tabs. You want the container to be airtight.
Use one tab per dishwasher load.When you’re ready to wash some dishes, take one tab from the jar and place it in the dishwasher’s detergent cup. Run your dishwasher as you normally would for a load of clean dishes.
- If you’re washing a particularly dirty load of dishes, you can add three drops of dishwashing liquid into the detergent cup with the tab to boost the cleaning power.
- Making your own dishwasher detergent is a good way to ensure that you’re using all-natural, non-toxic products.
- Homemade dishwasher soap is cheaper than store-bought versions, so it’s ideal option if you’re on a budget.
Video: Homemade Dishwasher Tablets
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