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borax

You’re going to need borax.

I make no bones about my love of making items from scratch whenever possible. Food, household cleaners, detergents – nothing is safe from my frugal tendencies. Recently, I set my sights on making something so unnatural, most people have never thought about what it’s made of:  dishwasher detergent.

Most things I tried are verified by pseudo science, prone to markups, and sometimes ineffective. It’s fairly common to run something through the dishwasher twice – and I see that as a waste of time and money.

Just like any other do it yourself project, there was a lot of trial and error in creating a good dishwashing detergent. I weeded out the duds before coming across the following recipe. With a few tweaks, I finally found exactly what I was looking for. These little cubes are great for using in the dishwasher.

Supplies

  • 1 cup Borax

  • 1 cup Washing soda

  • 1/4 cup Epsom salts

  • 3/4 cup Lemon juice

  • Plastic ice cube trays

Directions

1. I start the process by mixing all of the dry ingredients together. They need to be mixed well so each will be spread evenly through the finished detergent cubes.

2. When the dry ingredients are thoroughly combined, I take a cup of the powder and add it to another bowl and add four tablespoons of lemon juice. The mixture needs to be a little wet and sticky but not soaking wet. The mixture will begin to foam when the juice is added, this is a normal part of the process.

3. When the powder is ready to use, I add a little each each mold, making sure to pack it down so the finished cubes will not crumble. Fill each mold completely. As I run out of mixed powder, I make another batch as before. Continue the process until all of the ingredients have been used.

4. Once the trays are full, place them somewhere dry. I usually place them in a sunny window so they will dry quicker and the cubes should dry completely overnight.

5. Once dry, simply flip the trays over and knock out the finished detergent cubes.

Ta da! These cubes are easy to make and work wonders in my dishwasher.

Drew Hendricks

Drew Hendricks

SEO and Social Media Specialist in the Kansas City, Kansas area.


  • davad

    Sounds good, but we don’t have a dishwasher. Do you have any version for non-dishwasher users. I like the idea of making your own since you KNOW what’s in the product.

    • Drew Hendricks

      I’ll be working on that version here in the next week or so. Cheers.

      • Dave

        Outstanding !

  • http://trkemp.wordpress.com trkemp

    You say, “Please Note: If you’re not comfortable using Borax in your cubes, you can eliminate it from the recipe and it won’t affect the finished product.” If it doesn’t do anything why include it?

    • Dave

      I know my vision isn’t what it used to be, but my browser can’t find that Note either.
      Where does he state that Borax can be eliminated?

      Dave

      • Drew Hendricks

        It was an old extra note onto the article as I was going to make an addition to the article for another method but figured I’d save that for another day and I missed removing where I had started with it. All cleared up now.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nicholas.manolakos Νικόλαος Μανωλακος

    how/why does it work?

  • Richard Harris

    Borax is used in many detergent products – It isn’t harmful BUT In the UK at least is VERY hard to get hold of. Amazon.co.UK is one source..

    Commercial dishwasher products are very caustic – hence the frosting of aluminium or glass products. does the results compare?

    • asciimation

      Borax is also tricky to find in New Zealand. I’ve been looking for some to clean my shaving brush! It is available, just not off the shelves in supermarkets.

      • Darnia

        Borax is easy to find in NZ! Trademe is the cheapest source tradername bk36 or hn2 are usually best. Bin In also ahs it :)

        • asciimation

          Thanks! Will check out TradeMe for it.

  • Nathan Jones

    Two questions…

    1) What size cubes? “Standard” or “mini”? I would assume standard (about 1 fl oz per cell)
    2) On average, how many cubes do you get per batch as written? I’m guessing about 18, based on 1 fl oz per cell and assuming the lemon juice will have negligible impact on overall volume.

  • Drew Hendricks

    Sorry about that, Got the error fixed.

  • http://gravatar.com/missourimel MissouriMel

    Hi. Thank you for this. I’m going to make a batch later today. Do you use one cube per load?

  • Shane Graber

    I’m trying to understand the usage of baking soda (a base) and lemon juice (an acid). Mix them together and you neutralize either one or the other. My off-the-cuff guess is that you completely neutralize the citric acid in lemon juice to sodium citrate. What’s the point in that?

  • http://www.atilus.com Zach

    Hey drew!

  • Manishkumar

    I want to open a small campany of detergent pawdar.

  • Jan

    Are you sure that’s Baking Soda rather than Washing Soda?

  • Marisa

    Instead of using lemon juice, could one use citric acid (powder form) instead? I typically put about a teaspoon into each dishwasher load, because it removes the hardwater stains that are left on our dishes.

  • http://nccmrm97.wordpress.com nccmrm97

    Reblogged this on nccmrm97.

  • http://www.scottsaundersfineart.com Scott Saunders

    Could you use the Borax, Washing Soda and Epsom Salts alone as a powder detergent? I’ve never used a cube – do they work in all dishwashers?

  • Welshlass

    What is washing soda?

  • sam

    I used to use borax, washing soda, and salt, with white vinegar in the rinse cycle. (so the acids and alkali were separated.)

  • http://howtomakedishwasherdetergent.com/ suvo

    Thank you so much for the mention. Actually Homemade dishwasher detergent may seem like a lot of trouble but, in fact, it’s ridiculously easy! While the original investment may be somewhat more than a small box of detergent might cost, over time this could ultimately save the average consumer money and valuable resources.

  • patty

    I already have most of the ingredients in my pantry, because I make my own laundry detergent too. :) I’m now looking forward to NEVER buying dishwasher soap either..

  • ALI ADNAN

    Hello dear,s any body help me please,.
    i want open my company in which i making dishwasher soap ….and sold in market please any boady help me this matter …great thank full

  • http://www.cleaning-peterborough.co.uk/ House Cleaning Peterborough

    Nice Blog:). Find cheap cleaner in Peterborough, hints and tips about house cleaning Cleaning Peterborough.

  • Chris

    Thank you for sharing this awesome recipe. I’m interested in tinkering around with this.

    Could you give some insight onto how you went about testing your formulations? And what other variations did you try out?

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