Washing dishes. I'm going to be honest. Doing the dishes is high on my list of "most dreaded household chores." As soon as you get your counter top and sink sparkly clean, someone walks over and dumps another dirty plate in your sink. The dirty dishes do not end. Ever. And the longer I put it off, the worse it gets. However I have been reminded that a sink full of dirty dishes means that you have plenty to eat, and the more dishes there are means the more people you have to share it with! So there is something to be thankful for. Two more things I am thankful for are the invention of the dishwasher and this recipe for what I consider the Best Homemade Dishwasher Detergent!
I cannot remember where I found this recipe but I wrote it down (on the container so I'll always remember it when I need to make more) and have been using it for a couple years now. This DIY dishwasher detergent is great for hard water stains too! If you've never made your own dishwasher detergent I encourage you to give it a try. It's very simple and non-time consuming. Dump the ingredients into a tub, mix well and you're done! It is much more cost effective than buying store bought dishwasher detergents as all four ingredients are inexpensive and last for many batches. Making your own detergent also means you know exactly what is in your detergent mix (nothing harsh or unnecessary) and all ingredients used are natural. It's also easy to customize this recipe to suit your needs such as adding more citric acid if you have hard water, or some people use baking soda in place of washing soda.
I store my homemade detergent mix in a large Ziplock container because I find it keeps moisture out better and it stacks well beneath my sink for storage. Get creative though, put it in a mason jar or pretty canister, an empty ice cream tub or Ziplock bag. Whatever you like! You could even make a larger double or triple batch if you have a large enough container so that you don't have to mix it as often. Just make sure to keep it free of moisture otherwise it may harden up or get clumpy. Though if that happens it's easy enough to break it up again.
These detergent ingredients can be ordered on Amazon from the convenience of your home (follow my links) but in my experience it may be more cost effective to buy them in a regular grocery store. They can all be found inexpensively in the detergent aisle at your local grocery store.
Directions: Dump all ingredients in a large container. Mix well (or shake with lid secured). Store in a cool dry area. Use 1 Tablespoon per load OR use 1 TBSP in the open slot and 1 TBSP in the closed slot which releases detergent later during the cycle (as seen in the photo below.
Note about LemiShine/citric acid: You can use either one. I usually order a large bag of citric acid from Amazon as I found it to be a little more cost effective. However I do think LemiShine works a little better for whatever reason. You could try it both ways and decide what works best for you! We live just outside the city and so we are on a well which has some pretty hard water (even with a softener) but this recipe has been amazing for getting rid of hard water stains and keeping the dishwasher from accumulating too much build up. If you live in an area that doesn't have such hard water you could get by using half the amount (just a 1/2 cup) of LemiShine or citric acid.
One more tip: Use white vinegar in place of a rinse aid! It works great on hard water spots, cost pennies and is all natural. Just remember to re-fill regularly.
Washing dishes may not be the most enjoyable activity but with these tips you can save some money and go a little greener by making your own Best Homemade Dishwasher Detergent this week. Also if you're like me and need some help remembering to be thankful for life's messes, print yourself a copy of this adorable free printable from Mom Octopus to hang near your sink as a reminder of what you have to be thankful for!
This little guy may not be too helpful yet with loading the dishwasher but he sure has fun decorating the outside of it.
Happy dish washing!
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