Not long ago a friend asked me what she could do with the leftover citric acid she had from making the Bath Fizzies she had given as Christmas gifts. She was already a big fan of my Homemade Laundry Detergent so I knew she had all the things she needed to make Homemade Dishwasher Detergent. Just like my other Cleaning Cabinet Makeover products, this DIY Dishwasher Detergent is cheap, easy and surprisingly effective.
I have come to learn that if you buy a cleaning product at the store it will most likely be filled with a bunch of toxic chemicals. The problem is that the FDA doesn’t require ingredient labeling on cleaners so that pretty bottle is likely hiding some pretty scary stuff. Store-bought dishwasher detergents have been known to produce skin irritations or burns and are poisonous if swallowed. Out of the 100 dishwasher detergents tested by The Environmental Working Group (EWG), 73 received a rating of C or lower. The brand I used to buy received an F, thank-you very much! See how your favorite brand rates HERE.
Like I said, if you make your own Laundry Detergent (and you should) you already have two of the ingredients you need, Borax and Washing soda. If you don’t you can easily find them in the laundry section of your grocery store. You also need kosher salt because the large crystals act as a scrubbing agent to remove any stuck-on food particles and it also helps soften your water. You may not have citric acid but it is readily available online. I buy it in bulk from Coastal Scents but you can also buy it at Amazon or in the canning section of a well-stocked grocery store. You could also use a product called Lemi-Shine which you can find in the cleaning aisle of your grocery store but be warned that it is pretty much citric acid in a fancy container and it is more expensive than buying in bulk. The lemon essential oil is anti-bacterial as well as a great degreaser. Did I mention that it smells divine?
This recipe is so fast to throw together that you can literally do it in 5 minutes. Just put all the ingredients into a a bowl and stir it up. I will warn you that the salt and Borax are a little rough and may scratch up your brand new purple Tupperware bowl. Not that I would know.
Now you just have to put your fabulous dishwasher detergent into a container with a lid. Hopefully you’ve been saving some awesome container just for this purpose. This one is from Costco and formerly had chocolate covered raisins in it. I just proved that those delicious treats were not a splurge but a wise future-container investment. I seem to make a lot of those investments.
Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
2 cups Borax
2 cups washing soda
2 cups citric acid
1 cups kosher salt
45 drops lemon essential oil
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Stir until well combined. Transfer to a container with a lid.
To Use: Add 1 tbsp. detergent to your dishwasher’s soap dispenser.
Yield: 7 cups
Tip: Fill your rinse agent dispenser with plain white vinegar. A store-bought rinse aid will cost you about $4 bucks but the vinegar will do a better job and cost just 6 cents. You’re welcome.