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Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

I tried making my own laundry detergent with Zote Laundry soap and Borax. I did not have any washing soda and was dying to make the detergent, so I experimented.


I used 1/3 bar Zote and 1 cup borax powder. I covered the Zote with water and melted it in the microwave until smooth then added the borax to almost 2 gallons of water. I split this between two ice cream buckets (5 quart size). Next, I divided the Zote soap liquid between the buckets and stirred well.

After the stuff gelled up, I tried it for laundry and it worked pretty well, I did have some things that needed stain treated after washing once, but it worked pretty well for a pretreat gel.

Since the Borax and Zote are both recommended for dishes and the detergent is non-sudsing, I tried it in my dishwasher, and it worked well, but be sure to use a rinse agent or vinegar in the rinse because of possible residue.

Cost = 48 Cents Per 2 Gallons

Even if you use 1 cup per load for laundry, this is a lot cheaper than anything else!!

Just as good for dishwasher and easier to store:


1 cup baking soda
1 cup borax
2-3 tablespoons citric acid (I used Fruit Fresh)

Use about 2 tablespoons per wash, this left no residue.

Cost = Around a penny per load

I bought my fruit fresh after season and got a mark-down. It will last more than 10 loads. I was buying detergent on sale that was 10 cents per load.


Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

I am debating on making some dishwasher detergent for us to use. Why the fruit fresh (the citric acid)? With the borax, baking soda and fruit fresh do you need to use a rinsing agent, like vinegar? (10/19/2004)

By valleyrimgirl

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Honestly, it's kinda funny. After having it sitting around for a long time and then reading about cleaning out your dishwasher by using Tang because it has citric acid, I figured it might be a good addition.


I figured it may cut out the rinse agent, but I filled my rinse agent well just a few days before my *big idea*, so I'll have to wait and see. So far, there is no residue,

Also, I was using way too much (filling the compartment) and it was leaving white dusty residue behind... use ONLY a tablespoon or two at most!! I have hard water, and two is sufficient for me.

By breezeetew

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Rethinking the Fruit fresh idea. It's causing my detergent to get kinda moist and clumpy. It is ok for me, but wanted to warn you that my *big idea* is not working out like I had hoped! (10/21/2004)

By breezeetew

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

I use the 2 TBSP baking soda/borax mix and vinegar in the JetDri cup and am still getting residue.


How about putting the vinegar straight in the tub with the detergent? or adding it directly to the rinse cycle? how much vinegar? (11/26/2004)

By fratze

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Several years ago I discovered a tip for when you run out of automatic dishwashing soap. In the dishwasher dispenser - mine was in the door of the dishwasher - make a thick paste of 2 parts baking soda to one part liquid dish soap (Joy, Dawn, etc.). Run your dishwasher as normal.

The baking soda prevents the sudsing over that happens when you use liquid soap by itself. It also aids in getting your dishes really clean. You might like it well enough to use all the time! (03/06/2005)

By Elizabeth

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

For those of you who are Costco members, they are offering "buy one-get-one free" Electrasol 2 in 1 Tabs with Jet dry powerball. (This week only coupon item). Thats 150 days worth of dishwashing (why mess with making detergent?). Also I put vinegar in my rinse cycle instead of Jet dry. (great savings!) and no water marks. (03/07/2005)


By pbcml

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

I always use 1/2 cup of borax and 1/2 cup of washing soda (not baking soda) and mix in a jar and use 1 or 2 tablespoons for each load of dishes. I also use vinegar in the rinse cycle. (03/18/2005)

By smathis123

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

I have tried Borax & baking soda and vinegar in the rinse cyle, my dishes come out with this film on them. Then I tried Borax & Washing Soda with the vinegar in the rinse, and still the same! There is still lipstick prints on the glasses when they come out! (05/15/2005)

By Tresses

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

I use white vinegar as a laundry rinse after using my homemade laundry liquid (made with little scraps of soap grated, washing soda and borax), but I put herb sprigs into the vinegar first to make it smell nicer. I like to stuff sprigs of lavender into the vinegar, but mint is also nice, or rosemary. (08/25/2005)


By ecoangel

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

HI all. Just reading over these posts and I see a common "filmy residue" theme occurring.

First, only a rinse agent or pure white vinegar (nothing else) should ever go in your rinse agent dispenser. Baking soda will leave a film if used in quantity as will Borax as a rinse agent.

These ingredients listed seem fine for washing. The citric acid simply helps with dissolving calcium and lime (hard water!) during washing and drying cycles.

A better alternative to actual citric acid, which is caustic, than fruit fresh is a packet of unsweetened lemonade powder. Walmart sells them for less than 10 cents apiece. Put one of these in your powder if you like.

Also, use 3 packets of lemonade powder (unsweetned) into your dishwashing dispenser and run and empty cycle. This cleans your dishwasher and heating element of deposits and grime and costs less than 30 cents vs. other expensive "dishwasher cleaners". It's also cheaper than Tang.

Finally, if you are using homemade detergent and a vinegar or rinse agent (again, never use any soda or borax, etc in your rinse dispenser), you may simply have a hard water or dirty dish problem.

Check your water softener or simply that you are rinsing dishes well before loading (I dont' care how well dishwashers promise to work, I have never been able to load a dish that is not well rinsed haha). Lipstick is full of waxes and oils and fats and a quick rinse and rub may elminate this residue problem.

I made my own dishwashing gel before but wasn't happy with the results. It didn't gel just right, then when it did gel, it wouldn't mix with the water and was clumpy. I may try your suggestion, but so far I find the electrasol tabs most convenient. I always use vinegar in my rinse dispenser and our dishes are always sparkling. No need to buy Jet Dri or other expensive agents.

By Missy

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

I am still filmy. I used all the above recipes and one that was liquid 1/2 c castile soap. 1/2 c water and a little lemon juice and tea tree oil, just a drop and still filmy yes there is vinager in the rinse compartment. Any ideas? Otherwise it back to 7th generation brand (09/12/2005)

By jsjamr

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Try this: 1/8 cup bleach for the wash cycle, nothing else - no soaps, borax or anything. Just bleach. Then, 1/8 cup white vinegar for the rinse, nothing else. The bleach is alkaline and disintegrates grease. The vinegar is acid and disintegrates lime deposits. You should end up with clean, grease free, disinfected dishes without water spots and film. Glass will become permanently filmed over when using most commercial dishwasher products, and soda, too, because of the "grit". Soda is gritty. I use it to clean marks on my linoleum just as I might use powdered cleanser like Ajax or Comet. Soda actually etches fine lines into glass. Castille soap can be used only in very soft water, so if you want to use it you'll need a water softener, not a softener that is added at the time of washing. (12/08/2005)

By Kathleen Rounds

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Does the bleach hurt stainless steel/copper? Sometimes I throw my pot/pans in to save time (i know!) (01/29/2006)

By camo_angels

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