Saturday, January 9, 2016

Natural automatic dishwasher detergent

I try to live as naturally as possible. I eat organic food whenever possible, and feed my chickens organic feed. I also use natural cleaning products, from shampoos and soaps, to household cleaning products;  Too many harmful chemicals in the conventional ones. When I installed my dishwasher a couple of years ago, I of course decided to use a natural detergent. I tried a liquid product, specifically for automatic dishwashers, from a well known natural manufacturer. I wasn't impressed. It seemed to lack cleaning power, and left the glassware and plastics cloudy. It was rather pricey, too.
That's part of my kitchen. I built the cupboards myself, installed the tiles, installed the dishwasher. I did it all myself!

I had been making natural laundry soap for some time, and decided to investigate recipes for dishwasher detergent.  Well, there are quite a few recipes out there. Some have more ingredients than others and different proportions of the same ingredients. I had used a couple of these recipes that I found, and mixed up a batch or two of the detergent. They both worked very well.  After sometime the mixed up batch ran out, I got a bit lazy, and was just adding the ingredients into the wash cup without measuring them.  I'm sure I used more of one or the other than I needed. Today I decided to be structured, and measured out the ingredients, and mix them up. My recipe calls for just three ingredients- regular table salt, citric acid, and washing soda.  The table salt and the washing soda are readily available in grocery stores. Citric acid, not so easy to find, so I order mine through Amazon.

Click on the picture and it will take you to Amazon


Super washing soda is different than regular baking soda.  It's found in the laundry supply isle, usually near the pre-treat products.

No, I don't use a brand name salt. This photo is just to clarify what I mean by table salt. I buy the generic store brand. The less expensive, the better!


 I ran a load with my recipe, and let me tell you- the dishes came out sparkling clean. The glassware very shiny, and the plastics had no film.  I even ran it on a normal cycle, not a super wash or tough scrub. Several of the dishes I'd put in had quite a bit of dried on food, too. They were immaculately clean when finished. So, here is my recipe.  It seems a small batch, and obviously you can mix up more at a time. But you only use two tablespoons for one wash.  It's a 1:1:4 ratio, one part salt, one part citric acid, four parts washing soda.

1/2 cup salt
 1/2 cup citric acid
2 cups washing soda

Even though you will want to keep it in a closed container, I recommend putting a desiccant in with it (a moisture absorbent.)  You know, those little packs that come in so many things these day, that say "don't eat" on them? They even come in shoe boxes!


 Moisture absorbents. I always keep them when they come in vitamins etc. 

As for the rinse agent, white vinegar. Yep.  Fill the rinse agent container with white vinegar.  Vinegar is known to have antimicrobial properties.  Click on antimicrobial if you'd like to read more about its cleaning properties.  
 There you have it! A simple, inexpensive recipe for a natural dishwasher detergent.  According to my math, it costs approximately a $1.80 per recipe batch, probably less because I didn't factor in ounces in the salt and washing soda. ANYHOW, since it only takes two tablespoons for a regular dishwasher load,  there should be approximately 24 washes per recipe.  Eight or so cents a load- pretty inexpensive I'd say. Not to mention that it is also healthier for your family and the environment.