DIY Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

5 Mar

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I suppose that with buying a new house came a lot of need for cleaning supplies but wanting to try out ways to save a dime or two. While I have to update my posts for Laundry Detergent with my most recent feelings on them since it has been a month or two, I do want to get this one out there- Homemade Dish Detergent. Once again, I couldn’t find a recipe that I was completely satisfied with. So I have tweaked a couple recipes I’ve found online into a hybrid recipe that seems to be working QUITE well with this Arizona hard water issue we have in our new home.

Ingredients you’ll need:
3 cups Borax (found in the laundry detergent aisle, under $4 at Wal-mart)
3 cups washing soda– NOT BAKING SODA (found in the laundry detergent aisle, under $4 at Wal-mart)
1 and 1/2 cup salt
1 and 1/2 cup Lemi-Shine (or entire 12 ounce bottle)… you can use citric acid but I found that to be more expensive

DIY Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Simply mix all your ingredients together

DIY Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

And use 1-2 tbsp per dishwasher load

DIY Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

My container says 1 tbsp per load, but I’ve up’d it to two recently. You can play with your own dishwasher and see what works best for your appliance.

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Q&A

Q:kzemtp
Hello, I found a similar recipe using Epsolm salt. I now have hard and crystallized chunks of my mixture. My container was cleaned and dry and there is no moisture in the cabinet. What what wrong?
I do love your posts and blog. Thank you for inspiration!
KZ
A: I’m not sure 🙁 The top of mine gets hard in between uses but nothing shaking it up doesn’t solve. Maybe try taping a “silica gel” packet to the top of your container? It should help keep it from clumping up into hard chunks. If you find something that works let me know! I’ll experiment on my end too. 
Q: Alison
I have tried homemade dishwasher detergent before, but have not been satisfied because we have very hard water. I am interested in the Lemon Shine and wonder if this is the ingredient I have been missing. Where do you buy that?
A: I found Lemi-Shine in the dish detergent section of Wal-mart. 12 ounces for under $4. I also saw it recently in our grocery store Bashas for almost the same price, in the same aisle (dish detergent). Before making this recipe, my mom used to use Lemi-Shine just as a booster with her store bought detergent (as did the woman who recommended it to her for hard water) which is the main reason I wanted to incorporate it in my recipe somehow. So whether or not you use this recipe, I highly recommend Lemi-Shine for hard water (I do NOT get paid to say that, but would like to LOL. Lemi-Shine Company if you’re reading- I LOVE YOU!)
Q: Melanie @ bear rabbit bear
 Where did you buy the borax??


A: In the laundry detergent aisle actually! I’ve seen it both at Wal-mart and our local grocer Bashas but it was cheaper at Walmart by about 50 cents a box. 
Q: Brittany
How many loads would you say this makes?
A: This makes about 144 loads… give or take. It really depends on how much you end up needing. Every dishwasher is going to be a little different- newer models should not need more than 1 tbsp where as older model dishwashers will need up to 2 tbsp 

41 Responses to “DIY Homemade Dishwasher Detergent”

  1. Ann @ makethebestofthings March 6, 2012 at 12:27 am #

    I will have to try this! I have all I need except for the Lemi-Shine. I recently switched over to home made laundry detergent and I like it alot. As for your blog, by all means blog what you enjoy. That’s what I do, and it is still fun. Fun content equals happy readers, that’s what I’ve found so far. Good luck!

  2. Matt and Keri March 6, 2012 at 2:20 am #

    Stumbled over here from the I heart nap time sundae link. I was just thinking of trying to find DIY dishwasher detergent so I am so glad that I found yours. We live in TN and we have hard water as well. I can’t wait to give this a try! Thanks for sharing.

  3. (un)Deniably Domestic March 7, 2012 at 1:38 am #

    Thank you for sharing. I tried another recipe and it left an awful film on all of the dishes. I am not sure what the deal was, but we have yet to recover fully and there has been a lot of hand washing going on and that is never good. So, I will be trying your recipe! ~Kelly

    unDeniably Domestic

    • Clara July 3, 2012 at 3:51 pm #

      I have hard water, too, and I discovered the citric acid is what creates the film. I use a recipe of equal parts borax, sea salt, washing soda. Use a tablespoon. If you need extra power, three drops of Dawn in the prerinse cup. I also use a rince agent. Try just a small batch first to see what you think.

    • Amy October 29, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

      Put white vinegar in the rinse compartment

  4. designgirl March 7, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

    Thanks so much for sharing your terrific recipe! I’ve used homemade laundry and cleaning supplies for years, but never tried d/w detergent. I’ve never heard of Lemi Shine. I’m scooting out now to hunt some down! ~ JP

  5. kzemtp March 8, 2012 at 3:40 am #

    Hello, I found a similar recipe using Epsolm salt. I now have hard and crystallized chunks of my mixture. My container was cleaned and dry and there is no moisture in the cabinet. What what wrong?
    I do love your posts and blog. Thank you for inspiration!
    KZ

  6. Alison March 8, 2012 at 3:18 pm #

    I have tried homemade dishwasher detergent before, but have not been satisfied because we have very hard water. I am interested in the Lemon Shine and wonder if this is the ingredient I have been missing. Where do you buy that?

  7. Lue March 8, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

    Oh my gosh!!! Can’t wait to try! I am out so I found this just in time!!! Thanks so much!

  8. Kristin @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia March 9, 2012 at 12:22 am #

    Thanks for stopping by and your sweet comments! Love your blog!
    XO
    Kristin

  9. Dannette March 9, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

    I MUST try this. I cringe every time I have to buy my Tide it’s so darn expensive!!

  10. Melanie @ bear rabbit bear March 9, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

    Where did you buy the borax?? Thanks for sharing at Things I’ve Done Thursday! http://www.bearrabbitbear.com

  11. Sonya March 10, 2012 at 4:52 am #

    Hi all,
    Just FYI, Lemi-shine is basically citric acid, if its like the stuff we have here in Australia, so I use Citric Acid – you can get it in the baking/cake aisle of the super. It’s also a brilliant de-scaler on its own – a tsp every so often is enough to do the job beautifully.
    ~Sonya~
    http://www.sagoontuesdays.com.au

  12. Terry March 10, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

    Thank you for linking up this money saving idea! This is one of my top five picks and will be featured this weekend. I hope you’ll stop by and link up again! Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

  13. Tara @ Tales of a Trophy Wife March 10, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

    Great way to save $-and who couldn’t use that?

  14. AmieAnn March 11, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    Love this! This is such an environmentally safe detergent.. and I just love that it is so inexpensive! Thanks so much for sharing with the Pink Hippo party.. can’t wait to see what you share next!

  15. Jill @Two Yellow Birds Decor March 12, 2012 at 4:06 am #

    I have never seen a recipe for homemade dish detergent! I am going to have to try this out!! Thanks for sharing at Thursday’s Temptation.
    Jill

  16. Ladybird Ln March 12, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

    What a great idea, I love lemi shine, I used it by itself, but it is costly, I will have to try this! I showed you off today, and I am definitely pinning this!

    Carlee
    http://www.ladybirdln.com/2012/03/weekend-show-offs_12.html

  17. Alison @ Oopsey Daisy March 13, 2012 at 2:42 am #

    I definitely want to try this! Thanks for sharing at oopsey daisy!

  18. Heather Perkins March 13, 2012 at 2:20 pm #

    I use lemi-shine with regular store bought detergent. I have tried other home recipes for dishwasher detergent but wasn’t satisfied with the results. Definately going to give this one a try. Thanks for linking up to So Very Creative, I featured this today!
    http://soverycreative.blogspot.com/2012/03/are-dishes-clean.html

  19. Andrea March 14, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    Tthis is brilliant! Please share it with my readers over on Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways! I think everyone would love it:) http://frugallysustainable.com/2012/03/frugal-days-sustainable-ways-18/

  20. Carrie March 17, 2012 at 3:52 am #

    Mine did the same as the zkempt. It clumped up and is difficult to use. Solid chunk at the bottom. I bought a new container that seals shut and don’t know what happened. I’ve used it twice and it seemed to work well enough. Maybe I’ll try one more time and use a different container. Help!

  21. Shelby March 17, 2012 at 8:21 am #

    It clumps because of the citric acid in the Lemi Shine.

  22. Natasha Mairs March 30, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

    thanks for sharing on Serenity Saturday.
    hope to see you there again tomorrow

    Natasha xx

    serenityyou.blogspot.com

  23. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. April 16, 2012 at 5:51 pm #

    I need to try this. My dishes and silverware have been coming out very spotty lately. Maybe this will help!

  24. Tania June 4, 2012 at 1:37 am #

    mine clumps a lot 🙁 it is a bit difficult to use because it is basically a solid mass. It does a good job though. I just have to chip away at it to get enough for a load. I am using an airtight container and followed the recipe exactly, so not sure what I did wrong!

  25. Brittney July 14, 2012 at 10:11 am #

    About how many loads would you say this makes?
    Thanks!

    • Mandy July 16, 2012 at 7:36 am #

      This makes about 144 loads… give or take. It really depends on how much you end up needing. Every dishwasher is going to be a little different- newer models should not need more than 1 tbsp where as older model dishwashers will need up to 2 tbsp

  26. laverne August 1, 2012 at 9:43 am #

    i have been gonna make homemade laundry detergent for a long time until i read negative things about borax being cancer causing. i am so on the fence about this stuff. i even have the borax and everything to make and now i am scared. should have read up on this stuff before i purchased this stuff

  27. Karen August 8, 2012 at 11:02 am #

    I found a site that suggested a little bit of rice in the mixture to absorb some moisture because I too had one huge chunk. It was so solid. In my 2nd batch, I added a little rice and it was perfect! One other suggestion I read somewhere was to leave the top off for two days then it wouldn’t clump together. I did both and now have a great batch of detergent.

    • Mandy August 8, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

      Wow thanks for the tips!

  28. Brett August 13, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

    You can find Citric acid MUCH cheaper. I found mine on EBAY, 10lbs for 26.99. Works out to about .17/ounce. Cheaper than LemiShine for sure.

  29. Glenna August 16, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

    This is in regards to the silica gel packet fix you mentioned in regards to the detergent getting clumpy. They are not actually poisonous. My son opened and swallowed some pieces of it a few years ago while my little brother was watching him. I called poison control to see what to do and they said the only reason it says not to swallow it is because the little pieces might get stuck in your throat and cause irritation. It’s basically like swallowing sand, uncomfortable but not dangerous and easily remedied by drinking plenty of water. I don’t know how well it would work for the clump problem but there’s no real harm in trying it.

    • Mandy August 17, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

      Thank you for the information. I article I had read that said there were poisonous has since been taken down 🙂 I’ll update my post

  30. heidi williams August 21, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

    I was on another site with a similar recipe and throughout the comments the main theme has been clumping or hard rock powder. 2 suggestions were made, 1. leave it out in a bowl for a few days and break it up frequently before putting it in a container and 2. put the made up recipe in the refridgerator well labelled of course! So I am off to make me some homemade dish detergent and haven’t tried the unclumping ideas but others say they have had success so thought I’d share!

  31. Holly September 16, 2012 at 2:26 pm #

    I am excited to try this. The lemi-shine is awesome. We have really hard water and it has done wonders for all my dishwear when used with my regular dish washing detergent. Thanks

  32. Lisa September 19, 2012 at 10:49 am #

    Is this safe for stainless steel lined dishwashers? I’ve used Norwex in the past and this seems kind of in line with that and Norwex is not safe for stainless steel lined washers. I’d like to try it if it’s safe!

    • Mandy September 19, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

      I’m not actually sure! I’m new to home-owning and to be honest I’ve never even heard of stainless steel lined dishwashers. I’ve always only had the cheapest/builder grade things. So sorry 🙁

  33. Suzanne October 22, 2012 at 6:49 am #

    Just made this today and running the dishwasher now. Thank you so much for the recipe! I’m excited about saving money on things I can make myself!!

  34. April November 9, 2012 at 7:05 am #

    For the hardening problem, I leave the lid off the container he first couple days after making it but keep it in a dryer room than the kitchen. I also put rice in the foot of a pantyhose stocking and keep that in the container, it’s like my own litle silca gel packet and the rice doesn’t get mixed in with the detergeant. Hope this helps 🙂

  35. Tracy December 27, 2012 at 2:05 pm #

    I’ve tried this going on about a month or so now & I really don’t like it, I have to practically rewash all of my dishes especially my glasses because of them looking dingy & cloudy, plus it gets really hard & I have to chip away at it before each use, i’d rather just buy the other stuff 🙂

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