Have you looked at the price of dishwasher tablets these days? Without a good deal or a coupon, they can be really expensive. Sometimes as high as $0.60 per load which is just insane in my book. That just seems far too expensive to me to wash a load of dishes. If you’re already having problems with your budget failing, the super expensive prices for things like this can really bust your budget. Making your own cleaning supplies though can be a huge step toward getting your spending under control. Making everything that you can homemade instead of buying is just one of the ways that we personally use to save money on groceries and lower our expenses overall. That’s where this homemade dishwasher detergent comes into the picture.
This was one of the first products that we stopped buying and started making ourselves in 2015 when we were looking at removing harmful chemical based products from our home. Originally the recipe called to use lemon juice, but in the time since I originally started making it, I have changed that to lemon essential oil. I feel like using actual lemon juice creates a product that is too water far too often so you’re left up in the air as to whether your detergent will actually turn out or not. . If you prefer to use lemon juice instead of essential oil, the amount originally called for was 2 TBSP and it would be added when you simmer the recipe. Instructions for using EO are below.
Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
This homemade dishwasher detergent has a shelf life of months, but if you plan on storing it for that long, be sure you store it in a dark bottle since light can change the effectiveness of the essential oil. I personally prefer NOW Foods Brand Lemon oil for this one, but you can use any brand that you want. If you don’t want to use lemon oil, you can use any that you prefer however the lemon oil is in this recipe for a reason. Aside from the pleasant scent, lemon has disinfecting properties. Any citrus oil would have those same properties which make oils like lime oil, grapefruit oil, or orange oil a great substitution.
You Will Need:
- 10-15 drops lemon essential oil
- ¾ cup Super Washing Soda
- ½ cup Borax
- ¼ cup liquid unscented Castile soap (or make your own liquid homemade Castile soap)
- 4 cups water
Place water in a large heavy bottomed pot and heat on medium-high heat until it boils.
Stir in the washing soda and using a whisk, stir until it it fully dissolved. Don’t use a spoon for this since that can cause the washing soda to cling to the spoon and clump. Also, washing soda is NOT baking soda. It is an entirely different product. If you look in store, you’ll find it in the laundry detergent aisle. Usually it’s pretty close to the Borax.
Once the washing soda is fully dissolved, reduce the heat and let it cool down for a minute or two. Add the Borax and stir until it is fully dissolved.
Once the Borax is dissolved, add the soap. If you don’t have liquid Castile on hand, you can use 1/2 Castile bar soap. Grate it before adding and then add here like you would with liquid. Chances are good that it will foam up a bit like shown in the photo above. If you’re concerned that it will foam too much, add the soap a bit at a time allowing time for the shreds to melt if you used bar soap instead of liquid.
Simmer on low for 20 minutes making sure that you stir it with the whisk often. Again, make sure you’re using a whisk and not a spoon to help break up any clumps of powder that might pop up. I’ve never had that happen but since it is possible, I wanted to mention it.
Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Its best to let it cool overnight so be sure to sit it in an area where it won’t be disturbed.
Once mixture has cooled and sat overnight, it should have a gel consistency. If you’re using essential oils to give it a cleaning or scent boost, add them now then give it a good stir again to combine and transfer to a quart sized mason jar. Do not add the oil while it’s still hot. Heat will kill the majority of the oils properties.
If after making your homemade dishwasher soap, you find that your soap is too thin, you can thicken it by making a salt water solution. Add .5 oz regular table salt to 1.5oz warm distilled water and stir until it is dissolved. Then, in very small amounts (1 ml or less), add to your soap and stir. Continue adding the salt water solution to your soap until you’ve got the consistency that you want.
If you want to make using this a bit easier, you can pick up a mason jar soap pump to use in place of a lid. That’s how we use it when we’re not storing it and trust me when I say it makes my life so much easier!
To use, add 1-2 tablespoons of the soap mixture to your dishwasher and wash like normal. You can use this for hand washing dishes. Fill your sink 1/4 with water, add the soap then continue running your dishwater like normal. Wash and rinse well.
This homemade cleaning recipe makes 1 quart so if you’re looking to make in bulk, you’ll want to double or triple it. I have never done that though so I can not guarantee that it will turn out correctly if you do. If you try doubling it would you let me know how it works out so that I can update this post to let others know?
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