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I've seen several posts regarding using baking soda & Borax in automatic dishwashers, instead of detergent (I can't remember if it was on this board or the "Natural Home & Body Care" board). But I keep wondering...with the high heat (of both the water and the air for drying) that dishwashers use, is it necessary to use anything? Obviously if there is food stuck on, it might need something to boost it, but wouldn't the hot water kill any germs?<br><br>
Part of why I'm wondering is because we are out of dishwashing detergent and I don't ahve any Borax in the house. I just ran the dishwasher with just baking soda, but I'm not sure if I should consider the dishes clean or not. And another thought...could you put vinegar in the dishwasher?
 

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I think the hot water and baking soda are plenty. That is how I do my diapers and those have poop bacteria on them and it makes them the cleanest and freshest, far better than when I use detergent.
 

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When we had a dw, I used to run it with no detergent all the time. It seemed to work just fine. Although I don't know if the dishes are really clean, they sure seemed clean, and we never got sick. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="innocent">
 

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The detergent is for cutting through grease. The hot water is what sterilizes the dishes. Our dishwasher has been broken for awhile, but I wouldn't hesitate to avoid the detergent once it's fixed.
 

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I've ran the dishwasher many times without anything. The dishes come out clean and so hot I'm sure they're clean enough. I sometimes add vinegar as a rinse agent.
 

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So, this makes me wonder about something I do. We use our dishwasher on short wash, low water, low heat and we air dry the dishes to save on gas, electricity and water. We also don't pre-rinse and scrape very much, again to save water and gas to heat it. Our dishwasher has a garbage disposal so any little solids are no problem. We use a little bit of detergent and a box last us a long time. Our dishes come out pretty clean. Once a week, I run all the sippy cups through a longer, hotter cycle just to make sure they get really clean but again I air dry them.<br><br>
My question, and this is really something I am curious about, is: is it better to save on electricity, gas, and water and use a little detergent or use a long, hot cycle with no detergent? I would love to hear your thoughts? Maybe I will also do a test and see which gets dishes cleaner.
 

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I think it depends on which detergent you are using. If you are using a natural, biodegradable one like 7th generation or Ecover, then I think the first is better with a little detergent.
 

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