Dishwasher detergent seems to be one of those items where we always seem to be looking for something better. Especially as someone who prefers the more natural route, though still wanting exceptionally clean dishes , believe me, I have tried them ALL!
With my recent efforts to change over to as many homemade cleaning products as possible, it seemed like I was starting all over again. I had a favorite big-name brand of dishwasher detergent that I became loyal to over the years – and though the “natural” products never quite measured up to that degree of commercial-grade sparkle, I always felt much better using them. Unfortunately, they do get spendy – and are harder to find. At any rate, I had been staying the environmental course with the eco-brands for maybe the last 6-8 years or so, and finally decided to take the plunge to see if homemade could even pass muster. I was looking forward to paring down on the ingredient list even more, as well as saving a few dollars. Plus, having something I could make from close-at-hand items would also be a great way to cut down on the endless errands…. manifesting on my mantra to “SIMPLIFY.”
Once on this quest, I tried many, many formulas – with much trial and error. Any promising recipes I found on popular blog sites and in magazines always seemed to come up short for me…. Whether just not cleaning, leaving food stuck on to the dishes, or “etching” (filming) the glasses, I was at my wit’s end to sort out an option for a simple, homemade, low-impac
t dishwasher detergent that WORKS.
So last week, I ran out of my latest formula. It worked ok, but I was almost ready to cave and go back to a store-bought product. It’s been super busy around here as we end the summer, and I haven’t had time to whip up my usual homemade batches… so this is when the real experiments began! I ended up tossing in a bit of this and a bit of that, just to see what might happen.
What’s amazing is that what worked best was probably one of the simplest “formulas” of all –
and does the same sparkling job as my favorite big-name commercial brand! I was practically cackling with joy and disbelief as I opened up the dishwasher and saw the crystal clear glasses, clean bowls and plates, and pristine silverware after using this simple solution. For REAL.
Here is what worked against our hard water, saucy vegetarian foods, and smudged glasses – measurements are approximate, and may need slight adjustment based on your conditions at home.
Toss into the detergent compartment of your dishwasher (it’s ok if it doesn’t close):
1/2 c. baking soda
1 Tbsp powdered citric acid (such as used for canning)
1 squirt ~ 1 tsp Dawn dishwashing liquid (not totally “natural,” I know, but just a tiny smidge is the wonder ingredient to activate the others… Lowering environmental impact also means only having to wash the dishes once… instead of two or three times, right? ;) – Plus, it’s one of those magical multipurpose cleaning items you can use everywhere.)
Splash a jig or two of distilled white vinegar into the bottom of the machine as a rinse aid.
Turn your machine on and close the door according to usual method – and there you have it!
You will be floored at the sparkling clean results… AND how super cheap and easy this is. Who knew??
What tricks and tips do you have? Would love to hear your results using this formula and more ideas, too.
Love and light,