Recently the new dishwasher was installed which led us to the dilemma of finding an environmentally considerate detergent.
We settled on a recipe for a detergent consisting of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda and 20 Mule Team Borax.
homemade-dish-detergent

20 Mule Team Borax is sodium tetraborate (borax). Its a naturally occurring substance. Interesting history of the company- the brand name was registered in the late 1800′s when borax was discovered in Death Valley. Teams of 20 mules were used to transport the borax to a location where it could be refined with water.
After reading the box I can’t believe I’ve lived my life without ever touching this stuff. It can be used for everything… Deodorizing, all purpose cleaning, polishing, insecticide, water softener, the list goes on and on.

borax

Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda is the other part to this detergent.
It’s simply sodium carbonate/soda ash. Related to baking soda which is sodium bicarbonate. The added bonus of the Arm & Hammer brand Super Washing Soda is packaging made of recycled material.
Much like borax it has a plethora of household uses.

arm-and-hammer-washing-soda

The recipe is simple. Equal parts of each. Use anywhere from 1 to 2 tablespoons per cycle. We started with this basic recipe as a baseline and will later try the modifications with citric acid and salt. Also, white vinegar goes in as the rinse aid for dishwasher use.

We ran into an added step during our mixing. Our boxes had been stored in the basement for quite some time and the washing soda was clumped.

making-dish-detergent

Easy fix with a ziploc bag and a rolling pin.
arm-and-hammer-super-washing-soda

The verdict:  I’d give the cleaning power a B. There were a few dishes that weren’t rinsed well before running through the dishwasher that had some residual food bits. I don’t really blame the strength of the detergent for that. However, some of the glasses had a hazy film which will require some experimenting with different additives and ratios. It wont leave your dishes as spotless as the detergents you’ll find at the supermarket but the cost is pennies on the dollar plus its natural.