Catalyst Cooks

Make. Food. Happen!

Make your own Dishwasher Detergent – the experiment June 14, 2010

Here is what it takes to make your own dishwasher detergent!

Lately, since I’ve been cooking for a living, we’re running the dishwashwer two to three times a day.

Catalyst Cooks is cooking up more than just food!  I’m also cooking up my own cleaning products.

I decided to experiment with making my own dishwasher detergent.

I researched a few recipes and combined the best of the best to come up with this liquid dishwasher detergent~

  • 1 part Borax (I found this at the hardware store near the cleaning products.  I have also seen it near the laundry detergent at local retailers.)
  • 1 part Baking Soda (in my research, I found that it’s almost universally used in homemade cleaning products.  So I bought a lot!)
    • Added 10/21/10: My friend Faith swears by Washing Soda, which is stronger than Baking Soda.  I am trying this today.
  • 1 part water & lemon juice (or just water.  I squeezed the lemon juice of one lemon and then made up the difference in water)
  • 1/2 part Kosher Salt
  • 1 drop of Lemon Essential oil per cup (I found this at the Anoka Co-op.  You can also find it at places like Present Moment on Grand & 38th in Minneapolis, or at the Midtown Global Market.)
  • Added 8/17/10: a Tablespoon of Citric Acid per 4 cups of detergent will do wonders for cloudiness, if you are experiencing that.  (I have a newer dishwasher and the water isn’t as hot or as high pressure as some of the oldie-but-goodie dishwashers.)
    • A note added 10/21/10~ Citric Acid is (as the name implies) VERY acidic, with a very low pH.  Whereas Borax and Baking soda are alkaline, with a high pH.  I have since learned that combining high acid and low acid ingredients in homemade cleaners will net a poor result because the two agents CANCEL EACH OTHER OUT.

I mixed all of the above in an empty vinegar container, so that I could shake it well.  I have been saving glass containers like pickle and olive jars to mix future cleaning products.

It ended up like a watery paste.  I did put it in the automatic dispenser, but found that the liquid separates from the powders and I can’t easily shake it back together once it’s in the door of the dishwasher.  So my recommendation is  to shake the ingredients and add a bit of this detergent every time you use your dishwasher.

I also added vinegar into the rinse agent holder.  That ensures the salt is completely washed off of the dishes.

This works great and smells good too.  And it’s really cheap! 

Have you made your own cleaning products?  What is your favorite recipe?

And if you haven’t- My challenge to you: check out the ingredients next time you buy dishwasher detergent.  Is it a list of five ingredients?  And do you know what they are?

A note about Lemon Essential Oil- different essential oils have different properties.  Lemon Essential oil, which is derived from the rind of the lemon,  is great for cleaning (and I’ve learned that lemongrass or other citrus such as orange are not the same, necessarily)- it acts as an antibacterial agent and also disperses oil and grease.  That is why it’s great in kitchen cleaners.

More crazy homemade cleaning product posts to come!



2 Responses to “Make your own Dishwasher Detergent – the experiment”

  1. Jill Says:

    Can’t wait to try this out, Jen. Keep ’em coming!

    • Jen Antila Says:

      Jill- thank you so much! I was hesitant to try this, since I didn’t know where to find ingredients or what the best recipe would be- but now that I’ve tried it, I’m going to stick to it!

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