Monday, January 15, 2018

How To Make Dishwasher Powder With Three Natural Ingredients

A Life Unprocessed

You don't have to buy dishwasher detergent. Your dishwasher won't be ruined by homemade dish soap. You won't have suds erupting all over your kitchen floor. Just follow the simple instructions below, and you'll have clean dishes with no mess, no hassle, hardly any expense, and all natural ingredients. (For a recent update on this experience, please check out my article What Happened When I Used Homemade Dish Powder... & How I Fixed It)

For the last couple of years, I've been making my own dish tablets. It's a complicated process that I never really perfected, which is why I never wrote an article about it. I would make huge batches of tablets, each batch lasting for many months, so I only had to do it a few times. However, my dishes recently had been coming out a little streaky and spotty. Clean, but not shiny. So I wanted something else. I considered buying conventional dishwasher detergent, so I spent some time on Amazon comparing all the prices, reviews, and ingredients. The reviews were very mixed, especially for the more "natural" products, so I really wasn't sure what to try. But then when the new year started, we began keeping a budget, and I no longer wanted to buy something if I could make do without it. So I hit up Google in search of a better solution for our dishes.

I found right away this apparently common solution. Before I decided to give it a try I started a conversation about it in the Buy Nothing Challenge group I'm in on Facebook, which is full of helpful and knowledgeable people who come up with interesting ways to not buy things. 75 comments later, I was left feeling quite confident that none of my ingredients would damage my appliance. One warning someone did mention is that using white vinegar as a rinse agent will damage the dishwasher's seals over time. While I have tried using vinegar in the past, it's not something I recommend simply because it didn't seem to make a difference in my dishes. Through this research I also figured out that the squeeze of liquid soap I'd started adding to my homemade tablets was probably the reason my dishes had been looking streaky lately, since liquid soap has a harder time rinsing away. This recipe uses a little liquid soap, but only a few drops.

There were one or two people who told me right off that this would void my warranty and/or wreck my dishwasher. This at first gave me pause, but then I asked why.

How would salt, baking soda, and a tiny amount of soap cause any damage? They all go easily into solution in water. They're not particularly harsh and they're not going to clog anything. People are afraid of making their own; companies don't want you to make your own; but as far as I can tell, there is literally no harm in making your own. I've been making my own liquid laundry soap for three years without any problems, as well as my dish tablets. I have a long history of doing things my own way, pretty successfully, so after my research I was confident in running my first trial load.

I was so pleased. Not only were they clean, but they were shiny again. This much easier method worked better than my elaborate dish pod recipe.

A Life Unprocessed

Now, without further ado except the reminder that this might void the warranty on your dishwasher, here is the recipe.

  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 drops liquid soap 

I use lavender Dr. Bronners liquid soap, which smells amazing. Place all ingredients in the soap tray, and close it up. Run as normal, and behold how clean this easy method gets your dishes.

For the first few batches, I anxiously checked each dish to make sure my new method was working. It does. It continues to work great. Now I just keep a jar of baking soda and a jar of salt under my sink, next to a squeeze bottle of lavender liquid soap. I buy all three in bulk from Azure Standard, so they are very cheap. Washing dishes is amazingly easy, and I can have naturally clean dishes without having to slave away making dishwasher tablets. (Update: Please check out my more recent article What Happened When I Used Homemade Dish Powder... & How I Fixed It)

A Life Unprocessed

Please let me know how this works for you! 

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Write comments
January 21, 2018 at 1:02 AM

I'm so glad you found a recipe that works for you. I had been buying a natural/organic powder, but I ran out and forgot to order more. So I had to make something quickly, I asked on my facebook page and got a range of suggestions! I ended up combining a few things that I had on hand - baking soda, salt, borax and washing soda + orange essential oil. It smells lovely and seems to work just the same as the expensive stuff I was buying! I put vinegar in the rinse aid compartment - it actually helps to dry the dishes without streaks, so its more for the drying than the washing stage (I read that somewhere).

January 26, 2018 at 6:42 AM

I love the smell of orange oil! That sounds great :)

February 10, 2018 at 12:55 PM

I just ran out of my dishwasher detergent and instead of buying more thought I'd give your recipe a shot since I have all the ingredients on hand. WOW, loved it. Simple and easy and my dishes turned out great everytime. Thanks for posting.

Stephanie D.

February 11, 2018 at 10:06 AM

That's great to hear, Stephanie! It's so simple, right? I love it :)