Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Homemade Dishwasher Soap

Ditching commercial cleaning products in your household has obvious environmental and health benefits, but a bonus that I absolutely LOVE is mixing up your own products is so much cheaper than, yet just as effective as, their store bought counterparts!  No nasty chemicals AND better for your budget.  To me that's  a win-win situation!

I've previously shared my green cleaning tips as well as the cloth diaper soap that I like to use (which, by the way, we've been using for 7-8 months now and I still love!) and today I'm going to share a recipe for dishwasher soap that we've recently started using. 

This is a quick, cheap recipe to mix up and it works really well!  Now, I'm not going to say that it gets everything spotless, but prior to this we were using cheapie store brand detergent and this recipe cleans just as good if not better than that stuff.  I can't honestly tell you how it would compare to a name brand product, but I can assure you that it's cheaper than the name brand stuff and it's much better for you and your family! 

Homemade Dishwasher Soap
Source:  diyNatural

1/2 cup Borax
1/2 cup Washing Soda (if you have trouble finding this Penniless Parenting has a neat tutorial on how to make your own from regular old baking soda!)
1/4 cup Citric Acid (or you can substitute 10 packets of Lemon Kool-Aid)
1/4 cup Kosher Salt

I like to mix this up and keep it in an old 32 oz. yogurt container.  You will need just 1 tablespoon-sized scoop of powder per load. 

Cost = $0.08 per load!

Let's talk about why homemade soaps are better for you. 

According to poison control centers, dishwasher detergents are the #1 cause of accidental poisonings in the household.  All you have to do is look at the outside of a bottle to see a warning that says: harmful if ingested.  Yet we're washing our dishes and utensils - things that we put our food on and place in our mouths everyday - with these products and surely we're aware that soaps leave a residue behind, but they also release toxic vapors into the air during use.

What harmful chemicals are found in commercial dish detergents?

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (surfactants)
alkyl phenoxy ethanols (APEs)
dichloromethane (DCM)
diethanolamine (DEA)

Among these are poisons, carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, and compounds that can cause skin, eye, and lung irritation.

And, as I mentioned previously these chemicals are all much harsher on a baby's underdeveloped system than on adults.

If you are interested in avoiding nasty chemicals found in a lot of commercial cleaners, but don't want to go the DIY route there are other options out there that you can purchase at the store, I just don't have any firsthand experience with them!


  1. It seems worth a shot, at least. Even if I don't like using it I wouldn't be out much. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. I love that you can use kool-aid, that is MY kind of dishwasher soap..

  3. Great idea! I just found a book that has all kinds of "recipes" in it like this. I typically use the Cascade Pure and Natural and as many Seventh Generation products as I can. They all work well. I have just learned that as a busy mom with 3 kids under the age of 6...I just don't have the time to be mixing. So, I do the best I can to help them avoid all the harsh chemicals.


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