Don’t Give Up, Try This Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

I thought I was done.  I really, really, really wanted to find a homemade dishwasher detergent that worked.

I tried everyone’s recipes – they raved about them, but for me they never worked.  Dishes would not come clean, plastic had a white film on it that I could only get off by hand scrubbing.  The more times in a row I used the homemade concoction, the worse it got.  I don’t even have hard water – I’m on the municipal water system of a large city.

Then over on the blog Little House in the Suburbs, Deanna posted 10 Things You Should Know Before Making Homemade Dishwasher Detergent.  This article gave me more information about detergents than I have ever had before.  How about you go read it?  Don’t worry, I’ll wait…

Done?  Great.  So, I did end up using the same recipe as she did:

4 parts washing soda
1 part citric acid
vinegar in the rinse compartment

However, I have a few words of warning.  First of all, I wrote the washing soda citric acid ratio in parts for a reason.  I store them in separate containers, and mix them together each time.  At least for me, washing soda has the tendency to clump, citric acid has the tendency to clump, but washing soda AND citric acid together in a container has the tendency to turn in to set up cement that your loving husband will claim to be able to bust up and crack the jar you were storing it in instead… 😉

Secondly, for the rinse to work, my rinse compartment must be FULL of vinegar, every time.  If I let the level go down, I don’t think enough comes out to do the job.  I also had to make sure the dial inside the compartment was set to release the maximum amount each wash.  Your dishwasher may be different, so you can play around with this.

I highly recommend you give this a shot, even if you’ve tried other (more complicated) detergent recipes in the past.  This method costs pennies on the dollar of store-bought detergents, especially the more eco-friendly ones (I was using Seventh Generation before this).

Let me know if it works for you!

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7 Responses to Don’t Give Up, Try This Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

  1. elleadi says:

    Thanks for the recipe. I already make my own washing-up liquid but have never managed to make a good dishwasher detergent. Will definitely try this recipe.

  2. Pingback: Green Clean Week: Dishes | Jessie : Improved

  3. Lori says:

    To keep the mix from clumping use a couple of the silica packs you get in meds and vitamins- it pulls the moisture out. if you have them in and they stop working just replace.

  4. Anita says:

    if done separately ..how much washing soda and how much citric acid do you put in the dispenser?

    • Jessie says:

      Well, I don’t really measure much, but I think it’s about 1-2 tablespoons of washing soda and 1-2 teaspoons of citric acid. But really, this should just be a starting point for you. You really have to figure out what works for your machine.

  5. what is it in the store bought ones that makes them work so well, that makes it so hard to make our own. I’ve tried quite a few that people SWORE would work, and nope, stuff all over my dishes!

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