January 19, 2014

Stretching Dishwasher Detergent

I have a dishwasher.  I didn’t grow up with a dishwasher nor air conditioning but I find it kind of funny how my parents got both after I was grown and married.   Maybe it was because my sister and I helped with the dishes and air conditioning was something that most people in our community didn’t have when I was growing up.

I do love my dishwasher for one reason – it tidies up the kitchen pretty quick.  I may have a lot of dishes to clean, but putting them in the dishwasher gets them off the counter and out of the sink and makes the kitchen look better.  However, if a dishwasher didn’t’ come with the house, I probably wouldn’t own one.    

Dishwasher detergent can get pretty expensive.  I tried store brands and I tried the homemade recipes.  The store brands worked fine  but was still kind of pricey.  The homemade recipes made my dishes look cloudy and this version didn’t clean them as well.

My solution:  combining the name brand with the homemade version.  About every 6 weeks Cascade or another name brand dishwasher detergent goes on sale for $3.99 for a 75 oz. box of powder or 75 oz. bottle of the gel version.   I usually have a coupon that I can use.  I can get the store brand for about $3.00 for the same amount.  I have been mixing the name brand with the store brand to extend it, but lately I have been mixing a homemade version with the store brand or name brand and I like it much better.   

Here is my version of Dishwasher Detergent

1 - 75 oz. box of Dishwasher Detergent (Name brand or store brand, whatever you prefer)
1 cup salt
2 cups of Borax
2 cups of Baking Soda

Mix the above ingredients together and keep in an airtight container.  I use an old ice cream bucket or you could use two old plastic coffee containers. 

I am a believer in finding the least amount of product to get the same results as using the recommended amount.   I use 1 tablespoon of this mixture in my dishwasher and I use white vinegar as a rinse agent.

I have seen a recipe on the internet that includes the salt, borax and baking soda along with a cup of “Lemi Shine.”  The problem is that the Lemi Shine is over $3.00 for a small container so I felt it wasn’t worth the price.  The cost would exceed the reason for making my own homemade version of dishwasher detergent.

Once a month I run a cup of bleach through the dishwasher WITHOUT any dishes in it to clean it out.  I also take a old toothbrush to clean out the dirt and grime that can accumulate between the door and the seal of the dishwasher.  Baking soda and the toothbrush works really great.

The result:  a cheap version of dishwasher detergent that does a great job of cleaning my dishes and keeping them spot free AND an equally cheap version of dishwasher cleaner.  

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