Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tightwad tuesday: hard water, clean dishes

I've been using my homemade laundry soap for over a year now and I love it. I love how I'm still on the same box of Borax and the same box of washing soda because the stuff is so darn inexpensive and a little goes a long, long way. Jim was a skeptic at first, but quickly became a convert. Recently he said, "Say, do you think you could find a recipe for dishwasher detergent, too?"

Right around that time I discovered Pinterest (which is a whole other post) and one of the first things I pinned was a recipe for dishwasher detergent. It did a great job getting the dishes clean, but I was less than thrilled that my glasses were left cloudy. In multiple test batches, I tried adding different ratios of Kosher salt, Kool-Aid and Fruit Fresh, as well as adding white vinegar as a rinse agent at various points in the wash cycle, but nothing seemed to make any difference.

So after several months of cloudy glassware (and a brief return to expensive store-bought detergent) I googled "DIY dishwasher detergent hard water". I found this recipe, which is essentially the same as what I had tried before, except it uses Lemi Shine instead of Fruit Fresh or Kool-Aid. Works like a charm--and the glass stays sparkly.

DIY Dishwasher Detergent for Hard Water

1 cup washing soda
1 cup Mule Team Borax
¼ cup Kosher salt
1 cup Lemi Shine

Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl, then whisk to break up lumps and combine thoroughly. Store in an airtight container with a small silica packet, as even in an arid climate ANY moisture will cause this harden into large clumps (I like to use the little silica packs that come in shoe boxes, and an old peanut butter jar for storage). Use one tablespoon in each soap compartment (1 T for a light load, 2 T for pans and really greasy dishes). Add white vinegar to your rinse agent dispenser as a low-cost alternative to Jet Dry.


aubrey annie said...

oh wow. i love this! thanks for sharing. paul and i went on a date yesterday and found a great store in a bookstore called bake your bread but buy your butter and it was all about the things you can make to save money and how some things you can make are actually more expensive than buying them. paul was fascinated by this. i might have to try out this recipe. we usually run the dishwasher twice a day and dishwasher detergent is EXPENSIVE!! thanks for sharing. :)

Mom for Less said...

Thanks so much for linking to my post on homemade dishwasher detergent! So glad it worked well for you.