I have tried a few different “eco-friendly” automatic dishwasher detergents over the years, and have always been displeased with spending so much money to get such unreliable results. I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that living with a septic system in our new house has caused me to be a lot more aware of the crap that we dump down the drain. Since we’ve lived here, we clean almost everything with good ol’ vinegar and sometimes borax. The toxic dishwasher detergent was probably the last bad guy hanging around the house, and now the box is almost gone.
Instead of spending a lot more money on another package of “green” stuff from the store, I decided to finally make my own using these instructions. We already use vinegar as our rinsing agent. Really, why pay $5 for a tiny bottle of Jet-Dry when we already have vinegar around the house and paid less for big gallon jug?
I only had to buy two ingredients: washing soda (found in the laundry detergent aisle at many stores and useful for other home cleaning purposes) and citric acid.
I was concerned that citric acid would be hard to find, but I stopped at the closest home brew store and success! It was $2.49 for 4 ounces of which I used half.
Into an old yogurt container went:
1/2 cup borax
1/2 cup washing soda
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup citric acid
Mixed it all up in under 5 minutes and used a tablespoon on the low energy cycle of our dishwasher. Success! I’ve only tried one load but it looks sparkling clean.
Between this and the DIY repair on my dishwasher that cost only $11 (thank you internet, how did I ever navigate through life without you?), this is cause for celebration.