Wednesday, October 12, 2011

31 Days: Day 12 - Dishwasher Detergent

I love my dishwasher. For years I didn't have one. I shouldn't complain, because my hubby often did dishes, but we homeschool, so the kids and I were in this house round the clock and the dirty dishes were never ending. Now I can just stick them in the dishwasher and I don't have piles of dirty dishes waiting to be washed.

One thing I didn't like was the cost of dishwasher soap. It was a bit of sticker shock for me, having washed dishes by hand for so many years. I tried different off-brands that I didn't like, then found Walmart's Great Value worked well. It was more reasonably priced too.

Is it just me or has Walmart raised it's prices on their brand to almost as much as name brands on many things? Anyway I went in search of a homemade alternative. I wasn't having much luck, until I found this recipe at 

Homemade Dish Detergent Recipe #3

1 cup baking soda
1 cup Borax
1/2 cup Kosher or Sea Salt
1/2 tablespoon of citric acid as a rinse aid

You can use powdered citric acid found in the baking aisle of some stores, or lemon kool-aid. LemiShine also works.

 I used kosher salt (it's coarser than table salt and I'm guessing acts like a scrubbing agent?), and 2 packets of Great Value sugar free lemonaid mix, in place of citric acid.  I also filled my rinse cup with vinegar, although as little as it dispenses, I'm not sure if that helps or not.  The citric acid in the lemonaid is what helps with that I believe.

So far I am liking it.  I will be totally honest.  I pre-rinse my dishes well.  I've always done this, so it's not a bother.  No homemade soap, or commercial "green" detergent is going to clean bits of food off very well.  I usually have a sink of soapy water going while I am fixing dinner, to wipe down as I go and wash things I don't put in the dishwasher.  We just set our supper dishes in the sink of water (doesn't matter that it isn't clean anymore), let them soak for 5 minutes while putting food away, wiping off counters and table, then load the dishwasher. 

There are several recipes for dishwasher detergent listed at b-ecochic. So if this one doesn't work well, you could experiment with the others.  I think different formulas work better with different water.  We have hard well water with lots of iron in it, although our water filter helps with that some.

Here's another recipe I'm going to try next time that I found on the diaperswappers forum:

I make my own and have found with my hard water I need
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup washing soda
1 cup borax
1/4 cup pickling salt
4 packets of lemon kool aid (I only had lemon lime and used that with no issues) 

I used about 2 Tablespoons of the first recipe listed above, 1/2 Tablespoon in the rinse cup and the rest in the main cup.  So this recipe nets me about 20 uses for about 82 cents, which is 4 cents per load. Many people recommend 1T, but I have hard water and need more whether I use this or store bought detergent.  There are about 19 uses in a 75 oz box of dry dishwasher detergent.  Great Value costs me $2.67 which amounts to 14 cents per load.

Therefore I save 10 cents per load.  I usually do 1- 2 loads per day, depending on if I'm doing extra baking, or if we are away from home for the day, so I'll say 1.5 loads per day average.  Over a year I will save $54.75, or 4.56/month.  If you use cascade you would save $130.82/year or $10.90/month   (as compared to Cascade Lemon Scent w/Shine Shield Dishwasher Detergent, 75 Oz for $4.54).

I just found another recipe with just baking soda and a few drops of dishsoap that I'm going to try.  I'll update this post if I find that works as well, or better.  It would be even cheaper to use. Update:  I tried this and it didn't work at all.  Everything had a white coating and not clean.  Maybe with soft water it would, but not with my hard water.

If you are benefiting from this series, I’d love it if you would grab my button from the top of my sidebar.  I will be back with another money saving tip tomorrow that could save you an average of $112 per year.   I will keep up a running tally of my savings at the bottom of each new post. Just scroll down to the bottom to see.  Hope to see you tomorrow!

My tally so far:

1 comment:

  1. I have found that for us the Great Value dishwasher soap is cheaper then making my own. I can stretch a box to last me about 5 months. We do have hard water also and I do use Lemishine. But even a bottle of that last me along time also. It is nice to know a recipe that I can use to make my own though incase I ever run out. I keep all those supplies on hand to use in other things.


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