I’ve been making my own dishwasher detergent for several months now. I’ve tried different recipes but this is my favorite:
1/2 cup Dr Bronner’s Sal Suds
1/2 cup water
1 tsp lemon juice
3 drops tea tree oil
1/2 cup white vinegar
However, I have the same problem with the recipes I’ve tried. My white dishes (white cutting boards, white spatulas, etc) are all turning brown. Does anyone know how I can stop them from turning brown? Otherwise, my dishes are turning out great, my dishwasher is quieter, and now hardwater residue.
Maybe add some baking soda or Borax to your concoction?
I’ve been looking for a natural homemade dishwasher detergent forever. Everything always has Borax in it, which I’ve read can have some serious health risks. So we avoid it. But baking soda might be a good addition.
pollysoup, is it only white plastic, or anything white (like porcelain plates)?
Sara B., out of curiosity what types of health risks have you heard of with Borax? My homemade laundry detergent uses Borax too, and I’ve been using it for four years. Please share!
I use Borax as well. I have heard that you should avoid inhaling it when making the detergent but I have used it in homemade dishwasher stuff as well. I have to try your new recipe though. Sals Suds is AMAZING.
Here are several links I posted another time on a homesteading forum:
I tried borax and it didn’t work. They are just my plastic things (very few of these as I use almost solely glass).
I just wanted to add this note. I was talking to my friend last night about dishwashers. Hers was 3 years old and not working and they had someone come look at it. He said:
1. Do NOT use liquid soaps-they clog the jets and will make it quieter b/c the water is not spraying out right
2. The preferred brand is Cascade b/c it dissolves the best in all water temps and leaves less residue
3. You only need about 1/3 of what they call for
She ran a cleaner through her machine and voila-no more problems once she switched
I have a friend who swears by a product called Lemi-Shine. She buys it at Walmart and says it is awesome. DW detergent is the one thing I haven’t attempted because there are so many recipes I just don’t know which to pick!
We can turn this into a homeschool science lesson and then it becomes on topic.
Your recipie is acid based with the lemon juice and vinegar. I don’t know about Dr Bronner’s Sal Suds, though. Borax and baking soda are a base, which are fine cleaners too. But if you mix an acid and a base they will nutralize each other and you’ll lose their cleaning power. For example, everyone has probably seen baking soda and vinegar foam up when mixed. But what you’re left with is a somewhat neutral, powerless solution.
So it’s unlikely mixing some of those ingedients with your recipie would help.
That’s the whole reason dishwashers have a separate rinse aid cup. Most dishwasher detergents are a base and the rinse aid is an acid. The time release of the rinse cup keeps them separate for each cycle so they don’t cancel each other out.
Terrific explanation, Doug ~ thanks!
I have a question regarding baking soda and vinegar. If these render each other “useless” in terms of cleaning power, why does it do such a good job on my bathroom when used together, but when used alone neither one is as effective as when they are paired up? I would really like to know, LOL! I’m a little bit of a” homemade cleaner” nut! So far, baking soda and vinegar are one of the best ways I have found to clean my bathtub without harsh chemicals.
It’s too bad all the “natural” commercial dishwasher detergents I’ve found are liquid – actually gel – they’re not even a true liquid. So I am still stuck having to make my own unless someone knows of one that works really, really well and is barely more expensive than making your own? Cascade is chemical-based, so I won’t use it.
Linabean, based on Doug’s explanation, I would say you’re just getting a great scrubber, but not necessarily a great *cleaner,* kwim? Maybe use both to scrub it, then one or the other to do the cleaning part? IDK, I am not a science expert by any means.
Thanks! But, I still wonder how to get the whites – white again. I’m a cleanie so this is had for me.
I just know that I have been using the same receipe but it works better w/out the lemon juice.
I try to use mostly natural things but once in a while will use bleach for whites and mold, that seems to be the only thing that works to me.
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