Living Simply

Homemade Dishwashing Detergent
I wanted take a few days to share some of the changes we are attempting to make in 2011 before Baby Ella gets here. These changes for our family are in order to become more frugal, more eco-friendly, and  become less dependent on sales/coupons as we are slowly starting to see more and more policies in place that do not help the honest couponing person. Coupons are wonderful and have been such a help to my family, however, I wanted to begin incorporating ways of life that wouldn’t be solely dependent upon a good sale, perfect timing, rain checks, etc. I wanted to begin incorporating ways of the past, if you will, that have stood the test of time and won’t pass away with this fad and that.
Below are some of the things my husband and I have tested and are slowly making a way of life. I encourage you to check them out over the next few days if all things homemade interest you. Of course, for my husband, he is thankful mostly for the frugality of it all. I will provide a cost analysis for each of the homemade ideas that will show you how you can’t get a better deal, even with coupons! Hopefully some of these ideas will empower you to become more frugal and self-sufficient as it has my family!
Homemade dishwasher detergent (soap) recipe
  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1/2 cup citric acid
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
Fill rinse agent compartment with white vinegar.
Find detailed instructions, cost breakdown, and sources for ingredients below…
  • 1 – 55 ounce box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda = $2.19 - local grocery store
  • 1 – 76 ounce box of Twenty Mule Team Borax = $4.29 - local grocery store
  • 1 – 48 ounce box of coarse Kosher Salt = $1.99 - local grocery storeI cook with kosher salt as well.
  • 1 – 5 pound container of food-grade Citric Acid = $19.00  You can find this online or at your local brewery or specialty beer store.  If you cannot find this you can substitute LemiShine.  If you do not use some form of citric acid… you will most likely have the cloudy residue left that most “green” cleaners leave.
  • 1 – gallon of White Vinegar = $1.79  Yet another excellent use for a nearly universal cleaning agent. ( I do not use a rinse agent, cutting cost even more!)
Prior to making our own, we used Finish Quantum Power Ball Tabs that we got a great deal on using coupons. However, we still get a better deal by using the homemade. Here is the breakdown in cost analysis:
  • borax - 76oz = 4.29 | 8oz=.45/batch
  • washing soda -55oz = 2.19 | 8oz=.32/batch
  • citric acid - 80oz = 19.00 | 4oz=.95/batch
  • kosher salt - 48oz = 1.99 | 4oz = .16/batch
  • total for 24 oz = $1.88/batch
  • white vinegar (as rinse agent) | 1gal = 1.79 | 4oz=.06/fill
(**note** you only need to use 1 rounded tablespoon of this homemade detergent per load.  If you feel it necessary… you may use a heaping tablespoon, but I do not.)
  • Finish Quantum Tabs Can be purchased w/ coupons at $1.75 for 10ct = $.18 per load. (So you see, even with coupons, the homemade method cannot be beat.)
  • Our homemade powder – $1.88 – 48 loads = $0.04 per load
Here are the cost savings for a homemade rinse agent that goes along with this recipe. We are satisfied with the result of the cleaner alone and do not feel the need for a rinse agent, however I have posted a cost analysis below in the event that you prefer a rinse agent:
  • FINISH® JET-DRY® Rinse Agent 4.22 ounce solution – $3.99 – 1 fill = $3.99 per fill
  • White Vinegar as a Rinse Agent 1 gallon solution – $1.79 – 1 fill = $0.06 per fill
If you choose to use a rinse agent, that is a savings of 6650% on an effective rinse agent! 
Give it a try! You just may be surprised how much money you’ll save by incorporating small changes here and there. I store my detergent in a small plastic container and keep a tbsp scoop inside for perfect portions every time. These are just items I had already lying around. There is no need in going out to buy a special container for this. Happy Homemaking!!
Stay Tuned….
Tomorrow I’ll be writing on: Homemade Laundry Detergent - This is my favorite of all the homemade items I have begun making for our family! It’s easy, using two of the same ingredients the dishwashing detergent does, it’s “green”, and saves so much money! See you tomorrow!