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Homemade dishwasher detergent

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I've read that Washing Soda (by Arm and Hammer) can replace dishwasher detergent when mixed with baking soda (like a 50-50 cut). And I added som Pink Grapefruit EO because I have a lot of it and it smells nice. Anyone try it? It's not working well for me at all and I can't understand why.

Generic dishwasher detergent contains Sodium Carbonate (washing soda), Sodium Silicate and Enzymes. But it has a 6% phosphorus content, which I don't want in my septic system draining into the environment (it causes algae blooms that choke out anything else living in ponds/lakes).

Washing soda is Sodium Carbonate. I have no idea what the heck the enzymes are. That's so vague. But my dishes are spotty, chalky, greasy and actually don't look washed at all. I added vinegar to the rinse (in the rinse aid dispenser thingy) thinking that the acid would dissolve the soda in the rinse cycle. Still didn't work well for me.

What am I doing wrong?
post #2 of 16
Hi Rebecca!! I have no idea about an answer to your question, but I'd like to find out. I'm running low on dishwasher detergent myself!
post #3 of 16
I have that problem with all powder detergents so I only use liquid. I haven't been able to figure out a healthier alternative that works well so unfortunately I'm still buying the Cascade. The two things I haven't been able to give up are Cascade and All laundry detergent.

I hope you figure something else out.
post #4 of 16
I'm right there with you. I've tried all the natural dishwasher detergents and nothing works well. Maybe I'm missing one?

oh one thing I did is use the washing soda w/ a drip or two of dr. bronners tea tree castille soap. it did work "better" than without but dishes still had a funky feel.

I used to use palmolive dishwasher stuff. it says 1.6% phosphorous which is lowest I found out of 'mainstream' stuff.

Hope you find a solution!
post #5 of 16
Another mama looking for a recipe for dishwasher detergent. I have had no luck with BS / WS and/or vinegar rinse. I have a Trader Joe's near me so I buy their dishwasher detergent, but am actively looking for a recipe.
post #6 of 16
hey! I've just switched over to the Bio-Kleen powder and it's been working really well for us, plus it smells way nicer than the other commercial brands, you might want to check out the ingredients label and see what's different there?
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Yeah, biokleen and ecover both work well, but at almost $6 for a box I want a less expensive option.
post #8 of 16
We like the Seventh Generation powder or the Citro-sol powder in the dishwasher, one idea for those of you you are having a hard time with seeing film/powder specks etc. is to turn up your hot water to your dishwasher. I find that if the water to the dishwasher is under 130 degrees or so, 140 seems to work best, then I have those kinds of problems, it is as if the water isn't hot enough to comepletely dissolve the soap. See if that helps.

post #9 of 16
Eco-Ver is about $3.50 here in VA. It works great for me and the powder box lasts a long time (we wash 1-2 times a day). Is that eco-sensitive enough? I'd like to know if it still has negative ingredients I'm unaware of!
post #10 of 16
Citra-solv works great or whatever their alternative is. It seems like the TJ variety does NOT work with our water. We've tried many different things. Now we've tried the pellet things with the bead thing in them (jet dry?) and that is just as bad. So I got one kind of low phosphate 1.6 percent liquid (non-natural) and some target brand phosphate free thingies, to try different things. We don't want to turn our HW up, but we may need to. Hadn't thought of that.

I was trying many diff. things b/c Citra-solv is really expensive here.
post #11 of 16
I read once that adding a drop or two of regular liquid dishwashing soap (the kind for handwashing dishes) to your baking soda / washing soda powder helps with the cleaning. I've never tried it myself so I can't say for sure if this works but it's worth a try.

Just found this site that also has some alternatives - mentions using 50% borax, 50% baking soda with a vinegar rinse. HTH!
post #12 of 16
I've been using seventh generation- I tried using washing soda but it didn't clean the dishes and it caked up on the bottom of the dishwasher. Oh well- it worked with our old dishwasher.
post #13 of 16
I'm told to use baking soda instead of washing soda. Some recommend using 1 tablespoon baking soda, 1 tablespoon borax then add just a tiny amount of reg detergent to make the dishes sparkle. It will cut down on the cost. Also, use vinegar in the rinse cycle instead of jet dry.
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
The real bummer for me is that it's actually quite a bit cheaper to buy the commercial detergent, which works better anyway. Washing soda, the 75 oz one is $2.75 here while the store brand (phosphate loaded) detergent is $1.99 for a larger box.

Instead, I just shelled out for 3 boxes of Ecover dish detergent for $4.60 ea from my co-op. I hate when the 'simpler' solution is actually more expensive, but well, such is also organics.
post #15 of 16
i have tossed this question around for a long time now. i tried homemade concoctions and gave up. let me know if you come up with a solution!

my neighbor recommended "lemi-shine" which i just blew off because she bought it at wal-mart and i seriously doubted it was phosphate free.

well, it is! check this out: http://www.lemishine.com/

it says its made of fruit acids. so i found it in my grocery store, tried it and its making quite a difference. its meant to be used along with a detergent.

i've tried seventh generation detergent and borax without a whole lot of luck. right now i'm using 'method' grapefruit scented detergent along with the lemi-shine and i'm having better success.
post #16 of 16
One tip I just read before coming over here is to use far less of the commercial detergent than the container recommends. I've been doing it with my laundry detergent (using 1/4 of recommended) and my clothes still come out clean, so I'm going to start trying with my dishes. They say 1-2 tablespoons TOTAL is all that is needed, and maybe none in the rinse cup (the one that closes).

Some other sites said to use the borax/soda blend, but to add just a little commercial detergent to avoid white film on the dishes.
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