Up until three years ago, I had never owned a dishwasher. I had always washed dishes by hand, but with a busy toddler under foot, I was having a hard time keeping up. Finally, my husband and I decided to look for a portable dishwasher on Craig’s List. Luckily, we found one pretty quickly, and once we brought it home and plugged it in I was ecstatic. The dishwasher changed my life.
My kitchen looked cleaner, because there were no longer dirty dishes filling up my sink. I became a more adventurous cook, because I no longer dreaded the task of washing all the dishes after the meal was served. Best of all, I no longer had to worry about my son pulling random dishes from the sink and hiding them around the house.
One thing I didn’t like about the dishwasher, however, was that it never left my drinking glasses clean, and there was always a white residue on my plates.
I searched the internet for a solution to this problem – I tried several different detergents, I cleaned the dishwasher with vinegar and baking soda, I used a turkey baster to remove all the Jet Dry and replaced it with vinegar, but nothing worked. There was still a film coating all of my dishes.
I decided to try one last thing: homemade dishwasher detergent. I scoured the internet, searching for a simple list of ingredients that I could put together to make homemade detergent.
That was all it took – I finally had sparkling clean dishes.
Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
1 cup Arm and Hammer washing soda (NOT baking soda)
1 cup Borax
1/2 cup Lemi-Shine Citric Acid
1/2 cup Kosher Salt
Toss all the ingredients in a food processor, and process until well blended. Leave the dishwasher detergent in the food processor, and, for the next day, turn it on every couple of hours to mix it up again. (If you don’t do this, you’ll end up with one big brick of detergent, that even a hammer can’t break apart). After a day or so, simply dump the dishwasher detergent into your favorite lidded container, and run the food processor through the dishwasher with your other dishes (no extra clean up needed!) Use about a Tablespoon full to wash your dishes.
P.S. – Do not, I repeat, DO NOT mix up a batch of dishwasher detergent on a super-humid summer day. The moisture in the air will permeate your mixture, causing an ooey, gooey mess, that you’ll need to throw away.