The next step in my journey to self sufficiency is making my own dishwasher detergent. I have researched it for awhile now and finally came up with a recipe that suits me. There are a lot of different ones out there.
Automatic Dishwasher Detergent
1 cup borax
1 cup wasing soda or 1/5 cup pool ph adjuster soda
1/2 to 1 cup citric acid depending on the hardness of the water. (I used 3/4 cup.)
1/2 cup kosher salt (or sea salt)
Vinegar in the rinse cycle
Use 1.5 tablespoons per load if using washing soda
Use 1 small tablespoon per load if using ph pool adjuster soda
The citric acid keeps the residue from building up on the dishes and makes them shiny and clear, as does the vinegar as a rinse agent.
The salt disinfects, cuts grease and scrubs off the hard grime.
I have not used it yet. I just made it this morning and will wait until after 7 pm to run the dishwasher. (We have a "smart" hydro meter. EVERYTHING waits for after 7 pm unless I get up early enough to finish it before 7 am, which is often the case.)
August 11, 2011 update: This recipe will clump. It will even form a solid clump in a couple of days. That's the citric acid. I broke it all up and worked it with my fingers and spoon until it was a usable finer granuar form again and it's been fine since. You could even let it clump for a few days then run it through the grinder to make it very fine. I didn't bother. If I were going to sell it, I would do that.
Used it this morning. Works great!!! Sparkling clean glasses like I haven't seen in a long time using commercial dishwasher detergent. I used a rinse agent from the store, only because I had it. When it is gone I will switch to vinegar. A rinse agent is important to keep the dishes sparkling too.
Update: Sept 02, 2011: This recipe clumps badly. At this time it is one solid, hard piece. I have to chop it into little pieces to use it. I have read that the addition of 1/4 cup of dry rice will help fix this problem without affecting how well it works. I am making more very soon and will add the rice to it. We will see how it goes...
It does still work well! The dishes are always sparkling clean!
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