Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Comparisons of Home Made Dishwasher Detergents

-edit- 10/23/12 I feel very silly, but in my original experiment with recipe #1, I used Epsom Salt, which is NOT actually salt. Could be why it flopped! going to try it again with regular SALT. :) I hope someone will learn from my mistakes...

I recently ran out of dishwasher detergent before my bi-weekly grocery shopping trip rolled around. I knew I had a lot of supplies on hand to try making my own, due to my recent experimenting in home made laundry detergent.

So where else would a person find a good detergent recipe than Pinterest!?!?! I pinned several, and tried a few. I thought I might share the results with you, and my resulting tweaked recipe for home made dishwasher detergent.

The first recipe I tried was this one:
#1 Homemade Dishwashing Detergent (click through for her blog post)
1 Cup Washing Soda (not baking soda)
1 Cup Borax
1 Cup Salt (for hard water)
Essential Oils to scent (optionalI skipped this)

I had read a comment on Pinterest that warned that the borax would leave my dishes coated in film. I wasn't worried about that, but my blind faith was soon proven wrong. My dishes came out completely cloudy and the film was almost greasy. ewww. No go. I assumed it was my hard water, so I cut the stuff in half by adding equal portions of salt. The dishes looked better, but still cloudy and definitely not something I would eat off of.

Recipe #2 was this one:

#2 Homemade Dishwasher Soap (not detergent) (again, click through to read. I love Jillee's blog!)
1 teaspoon oxygen bleach (I had oxyclean from a laundry recipe, but there are cheaper versions out there. Read the blog post for more info about that.)
1/2 teaspoon Dawn dish soap
1/2 cup white vinegar (poured into a bowl or cup on the top rack of the machine)
Directions: add these three things directly in each load of dishes, no premixing needed! 

This one turned out very nicely, no clouding since no borax. Unfortunately I still had the hard water spots, and the vinegar in the top rack really didn't help. So here's my tweaked recipe:

My Go To Solution for Homemade Dishwasher Soap:

1 teaspoon oxygen bleach 
1/2 teaspoon Dawn dish soap
2 teaspoons of Lemishine (one in the prewash and one in the main wash compartment, if you have both.)
Directions: add these three things directly in each load of dishes, no premixing needed!  

It got my dishes very clean and with minimal spotting. Although I will admit, that when I can buy it, I still prefer Cascade Complete Gel with my Lemishine added. Absolutely the BEST, and worth the money. (at least with my really dirty dishes and REALLY hard water)

Also, don't forget that dishwasher maintenance makes a HUGE difference too. I do this regularly to keep it all working well.


  1. Did you ever see my homemade recipe? I use equal parts of cascade powder, borax, and washing soda. I use two tbs in the closed cup and one in the open/prewash cup. Of course, i fill the closed cup about half full of lemishine for our hard water! :)

  2. Interesting!
    I've been following a recipe very similar to the first one you listed. Borax, washing soda, salt, but instead of essential oils, mine called for citric acid. I used True Lemon (crystallized lemon, sold near the seasoning) I use a heaping Tbsp in the main wash.
    I also have a bottle of white vinegar to which I added lemon rinds. I keep the rinse aid full of this lemon-vinegar, and I add a little to the pre wash compartment.
    My dishes come out lovely. No film even with the Borax. But the dishes do get cloudy when the rinse aid needs filled...
    Plus I'm certain my hubby would never help with the dishes if the soap weren't pre-mixed ;)

    1. interesting! I wonder, do you have a water softener? Maybe my borax issue has something to do with my hard water?

    2. My hubby tells me our water on post is hard... and we don't soften it in anyway. I really think the difference is in the citric acid.


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