Thursday, July 1, 2010

Makin' It From Scratch #9 - Dishwasher Detergent

We were running out of dishwasher detergent. I'm sure I don't have to tell you how expensive that stuff is - at least if you don't want white film on your dishes. Well, I decided to turn to my trusty book Homemade to look up their recipe for the homemade variety. I was happily surprised - the simplest recipe for anything I've ever made! I made it in far less time than it takes to walk into the store, pick up the dishwasher detergent from the shelf and go buy it - and it was a lot less expensive!

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent (powder)

2 cups Borax
2 cups Washing Soda

Combine well and store in a 32 oz. container. (I used two 16 oz. sour cream containers.)
Use 2 Tbsp. detergent per wash. 

Yield: 4 cups/64 Tbsp./32 loads 

For a scoop to keep with the detergent, I used an old Country Time lemonade powder scoop (from their extra large container.) One scoop holds a little over 2 Tbsp. You could use any leftover scoop as long as it fits just 2 Tbsp.

And what about a rinse aid? That blue stuff is really expensive! A super cheap alternative: white vinegar. Toss 1 - 1 1/2 cups vinegar in during the rinse cycle of your dishwasher, or pour some into your rinse aid dispenser. (Another tip from that wonderful book Homemade.)

On another note, finding Washing Soda out here in Maryland has been a nightmare! No grocery stores carry it. But after a search online, I found that some hardware stores do carry it, including Ace Hardware. In fact, if your local Ace doesn't have it on the shelf, you can buy it through their website and they'll ship it to your local Ace for free. Nice! I made the 20 minute drive to the closest Ace store and bought all the washing soda they had on the shelf. I am now officially stocked up. :-) (Okay, so they only had 3 boxes, but the trip was so worth it! I forgot how fun hardware shops are to look around in!)

You might be wondering if there is difference between Washing Soda and Baking Soda. The answer is YES! "The chemical name of washing soda is sodium carbonate, it is also known as soda ash or simply soda crystals...It is also slightly acidic and will therefore wear down fabric and elastic bands faster than baking soda.
"Baking soda is a bicarbonate of sodium or simply stated it is sodium hydrogen carbonate." (or sodium bicarbonate) We use baking soda, obviously for baking, and it is slightly alkaline, so it's somewhat gentler than washing soda.


Anonymous said...

Our dishwasher is 'out of order'...but, if we decide to replace it, I will definitely be making the homemade detergent again! This is the same recipe I use, it works great.

Thankfully, our local grocery stocks washing soda. I've read that it can be hard to find. Glad you found some! :)


Sarah Rachelle said...

Thanks Julie! It's good to hear a review from someone who uses it regularly. So far our dishes look really squeaky clean!

Keleigh, Cecilia and Family said...

i must have some kind of different water, b/c i used this and it left everything feeling (and sometimes looking) dirty. any other recipes for this?

Sarah Rachelle said...

Yeah, it left a film on my dishes even with the rinse aid. I don't know of any other recipe, but I am going to keep a look out for one. Currently I use an environmentally friendly detergent gel that I get at my local grocery store. It works great and isn't too expensive. I'll put up a post if I find a new recipe!

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