Homemade Dishwasher Detergent: $6.00 for 100 loads

I made my own mix of dishwasher detergent last weekend after reading about it on quite a few web sites. We have been testing the mix on every load of dishes we have run (daily) since Saturday and are quite pleased with the results.

I bought a big box of Borax powder, a big box of Baking Soda, and a small box of Cascade powdered dish detergent.  I layered them together using ratios of approximately 25% Cascade, 40% Baking Soda and 40% Borax.  Yeah, that’s 105%, but I said approximately. I had an extra set of plastic dollar-store measuring spoons lying around in the aquarium stand, so I have dedicated a tablespoon to live in the container and meter out the mixture.

I completely filled a 4.5 quart tall tupperware-like container and did not completely empty the three ingredient boxes.  I could have made at least 5 quarts, maybe 5.5.  The cost of the ingredients was right at $6.00.  For that $6.00 I’ll get over 200 heaping tablespoons of my mixture, which will be enough to run the dishwasher 100 times.  6 cents per cycle.

But how does it do?  Honestly there is no difference from the more expensive options.

Why not leave out the Cascade and just use the other two ingredients?  Baby steps!  Maybe next time.  I was more comfortable with this as a first try at home-mixed product.

(Ok, technically this is a second step.  I’ve been using straight white vinegar in the “Jet Dry” reservoir for a couple months now and I love it!)

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4 responses to this post.

  1. keep us posted… Straight up cascade and Jet Dry get expensive. We buy both from Sam’s.

    Reply

  2. Interesting. I’ve been using Seventh Generation Brand detergent and I only use one level Tablespoon each wash. I’ve been able to get 70 loads out of the small box, which costs me around $4. So not too bad. Perhaps you could try a more environmentally friendly detergent next time instead of cascade.

    I’ve tried vinegar in my rinse aid dispenser and it didn’t work very well. Perhaps we have much harder water. I’ve been buying a non-toxic product that’s actually cheaper than jet-dry. It’s called Wave-Jet.

    Reply

  3. Randomability: Yep, yep, expensive and probably not as good for the environment or me.

    Susy: I agree with you about perhaps using the Seventh Generation brand in place of the other name brand product next time I make this mix. We tried using less of this concoction, but had disappointing results the first couple loads. (Dried on applesauce in a small mouth pint jar.) Maybe I’ll back it off for another trial or two and see if it was just a really stubborn bit of food. Re: the vinegar…it works perfectly for us, but our water is certainly different from yours. I could probably get away with nothing at all in there.

    Reply

  4. Susy, try white vinegar I read a few places it works as good as jet dry, I’m thinking maybe the places that just say vinegar are not being specific enough. Have not tried it yet though, so hope it helps & let me know if it works. If I do get a chance to try it out first I’ll try to remember to keep ya posted.

    Reply

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