Non-toxic options are limited in our small town and since I like to keep things as simple as possible...aka not order a bunch of different products from a bunch of different places (plus I'm picky about what companies get my money and a fan of voting with my dollars), I finally decided to give making my own dishwasher detergent a go. Also, if you haven't notice, everything is getting ridiculously expensive so if this stuff was actually going to work well AND save some money, well then I was all in.
I actually set out to make tablets and got a silicon mold for the job but, after the girls and I played around with the recipe, we decided we prefer to skip the molds and just go with a loose powder instead....which means an already simple DIY recipe became even more simpler!
Here's what you need:
- 1 cup baking soda
1/4 cup citric acid (I use this brand)
- 1 tablespoon On Guard Cleaner Concentrate
- 5-10 drops of you oil(s) of choice- we use grapefruit, lemon & wild orange (about 3 drops of each) and it's a combo I HIGHLY recommend!
All you do is mix everything together in a bowl until it's an even consistency...from there you can spoon it into a mold or, just leave it the bowl and give it a stir periodically to keep it broken up into a more powder-like consistency. Keep in mind that if you want to make tablets and go for the mold method, it will puff up and rise out of the molds so you'll need to press it down with the back of a spoon repeatedly. I personally didn't want to babysit it and the girls got tired of tending to it after awhile so we all agree that just letting it dry out in the bowl was the way to go for us. Either way, it will take around 4 hours (maybe a little more if you have a lot of humidity) to dry and be ready to store and/or use. I store ours in a large mason jar. To use, just add a tablespoon or two (or a tablet) to the detergent compartment of your dishwasher and you're set! Also- for a super simple rinse aid you can use plain old white vinegar or white vinegar with a little lemon oil...we don't find it necessary for our loads but I do love to add it and it's another super simple "recipe" that really does work great!
If you've never looked into the ingredients in traditional dishwasher detergent pods/powder I highly encourage you to do a little digging over on EWG's website. You can review some results for common brands HERE. Not only is it so much more economical to make your own, but it's just another area that's easy to eliminate a slew of toxins and decrease your toxic load. Bonus: DIYs like this are super fun (and easy) to do with your kids...I use stuff like this as a teaching opportunity to help them understand why the ingredients in the products you your matter.
Cheers to clean dishes, extra money in your pocket and better health!