Back in May, I posted a dishwasher detergent recipe that I tried after completely running out of Cascade. Initially, the recipe worked very well, so I decided to continue using it. Unfortunately, the great results only lasted for about a week. After that, a slight white coating began to develop on my dishes, so I discontinued using it. The idea of making my own dishwasher soap didn’t end there, though. Recognizing the potential cost savings, I kept the idea in the back of my mind. Additionally, having become aware of the toxicity of Borax, and disliking the use of bleach that is so commonly used in commercial detergents, I wondered if I might be able to find a recipe with non-toxic ingredients. I found what I was looking for at Passionate Homemaking.
The recipe worked beautifully. I considered sharing it here on the blog right away, but decided to wait a while to see if the beautiful results continued, or if it would prove to disappoint as the other recipe had. I am happy to report that after about two weeks of usage, my dishes are still coming out sparkly. I love the fact that there is no chemical, bleachy odor emitting from the dishwasher or my dishes… just the smell of totally clean dishes. I can safely share the recipe without any reservations. :-)
Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
- 1 cup Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds
- 1 cup water
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 6 drops tea tree oil
- 1 1/2 cup white vinegar
Combine all ingredients. Use 1 Tablespoon of mixture per load.
A few notes:
- An old mason jar (pickle jars, jam jars, etc.) is an excellent place to keep the detergent.
- Store a measuring tablespoon right in the jar with the mixture.
- Use a Sharpie marker to write the recipe directly on the jar, so that it will be handy when you need to make it again.
- As given on Passionate Homemaking, the recipe would use only 1 cup of vinegar. I changed the amount because I found that the water in my home required a lower ratio of Sal Suds and a higher need for a rinsing agent. The extra vinegar worked much better for me. Experiment with the amounts of Sal Suds, water and vinegar to find the ratio that works best with the hardness of your water.
- While I love all of Dr. Bronner’s castille soaps and use them for most of my household cleaning and personal care, Sal Suds is really the key product here. His other castille soaps will not do the job sufficiently.
- Remember, it is a natural product and not as abrasive as bleach and other chemicals that go into store-bought detergents. A good rinse of the dishes, and maybe even a little scrub, is essential prior to loading the machine. It is a small amount of work which I feel is worth the cost savings and the peace of mind to know that I’m not exposing my family to toxic chemicals.
- Lindsay at Passionate Homemaking estimates the cost of detergent to be 5-6 cents per load. I haven’t done the math myself, but I trust her!
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