Thursday, January 26, 2012

homemade dishwasher detergent

Homemade dishwasher detergent.  Seemingly, a paradox.  I mean, you have a dishwasher to have to do one less thing, to have more time to do something else.  So, why make dishwasher detergent? Besides the fact that I appreciate a paradox now and then...

It takes 5 minutes, and saves you $31. Plus, some days it's just easier to make it up rather than run to the store.  I tried this recipe last year on a day we were out, and I didn't feel like dragging 3 sick kids to the store.  For me, it worked well, if I switched back and forth between homemade and store-bought.  But, there is also the risk of borax I didn't like.  So, another winter-y, blizzard-y day that this mama didn't want to trek to the store, I found this and LOVE!

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
1/2 cup Dr. Bronner's sal suds or pure-castile soap {I use the pure-castile soap, because it's what we had on hand.}
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
5 drops essential oil {I use lemongrass, which is antibacterial, insecticidal, antimicrobial, antiseptic.  Would also recommend tea tree - something with disinfecting properties.}
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
Mix in a bottle.  Shake well before each use.  Use 1 Tablespoon per load.  
I also fill the rinse aid compartment with distilled white vinegar.  
I've been using this daily for 3 weeks now and haven't had a problem with it.  It cleans well and doesn't leave streaks.

Here's the math!  
{I take no credit for the math, except for pasting it from the original recipe.}
Dr. Bronners Sal Suds: {$12.29 for 32 oz. on Amazon} It is a super-concentrated, natural, all-purpose cleaner that is gentle on the skin. It works well in hard & soft water. You could also use Dr. Bronners Castile Soap in any scent. 
Lemon Juice: {$1 for squeezy lemon thing, anywhere!} Fights soap residue & cuts grease.
Lemongrass essential oil: {$5 at health food store} Natural anti viral & anti bacterial.
White vinegar: {$1 at Walmart} Rinse aid. Leaves your dishes sparkling & gets rid of residue.

How does it compare?
Just looking at the Sal suds, with one bottle, you can make this recipe 8 times. Each time you make the recipe you get about 20-24 loads...So.. 24x8= 192. 192 loads of dirty dishes for about $18 {add all the ingredients prices up}. Sound good? I think so!
Let's use Cascade Complete as an example of a store bought detergent.
It is about $7 for 26 loads. 26 goes into 192 about 7 times... so.. 7x7= 49.
$49 vs. $18 for 192 loads??

I think the homemade dishwasher detergent wins the price battle.  


I'll be back with "10 minutes."
Since giving up facebook, I'm realizing just how many 10 minutes there are in a day.  We're on a mission to see just how meaningful these moments can be.

The ambitions we have will become the stories we live.
~ Donald Miller


  1. Monica Whitfield BraseAugust 7, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    I have tried lots of home made recipes for dishwasher soap and this was by far the best! Thanks so much!

  2. John - Thank you!
    Monica - So good to hear! I love it so much I had to share :)

  3. is it ok to leave out esential oils?

  4. Candace - Good question :) I don't because while the Dr. Bronner's soap may have disinfecting qualities, the essential oils give the antibacterial pungency I want after there are sick ones in our home, etc. A bottle of tea tree oil at Trader Joe's is $5 and will last a long time.

    Thanks for asking. Hope this helps!

  5. Will it kind of look like lumps are floating at the top? I did it exactly like the recipe says, unless you aren't supposed to add the vinegar,is that just for the rinse aid compartment?