Dishwasher detergent, part 3

If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that I made my own dishwasher tabs 4 months ago and have been using them ever since. Initially, I was very happy with them. They got everything reasonably clean (I’m not good about rinsing my dishes before they go in, so they missed the occasional bit of dried on gunk), they smelled nice, and they were dirt cheap. Forward to about a month ago, and I realized I needed to change something. Let me preface this by saying that we have hard water. Like, really hard water. Everything was still getting “clean,” in that the food was coming off them, but the hard water was starting to leave a film on my dishes that became more noticeable with every wash. That made me so, so sad. Sure, I could have gone back to the store bought stuff, but I don’t really do that.

So I decided to go back to the drawing board. I googled, I researched, and I experimented. I finally ended up with a recipe for dishwasher tabs that I’m really, really happy with. I think you’ll like it too! The downside? It’s no longer ok to let your kids lick them. So unfortunate, I know.

And so, without further ado, my new recipe:

New and Improved Dishwasher Tabs

Makes approx 5 dozen tabs (sure, you could scale this back, but I find it easier to make big batches of things less often)

  • 2 c. washing soda
  • 1 c. oxyboost oxygen bleach (no it’s not actually bleach, but it does pack some serious cleaning power)
  • 1 c. baking soda
  • 1 c. citric acid
  • 1 c. salt
  • 30 drops lavender essential oil
  • 30 drops tea tree oil
  • 2-4 tbsp water

The essential oils are optional, but they do appear to have some disinfectant properties (and they smell nice, too). It appears that you can add or replace one of the oils I’ve used with lemon essential oil and have good results as well, but I haven’t tried it myself.

Mix everything except the water in a large bowl, and slowly dribble in the water while stirring. Only put in 1 tbsp at a time (or use a spray bottle), and mix well to combine. You’re going for a wet sand consistency. You want it to JUST hold its shape when you squeeze it with your hands. When you have the right moisture level, fill your molds (egg cartons are perfect here), pack them tight, and let them harden for a day or two. Voila! Clean dishes.

Want to try it for yourself? It’s easy, and you totally should. Washing soda, baking soda and salt are all going to be cheaper at Walmart than you’ll ever find online, but these are the Amazon links for the oxyboost and citric acid I use (making a purchase using these links will earn me a small commission at no extra charge to you).

If you’re not into making stuff (what’s wrong with you?), head on over to my store and buy the finished product instead! You can even tell people you made it yourself – I won’t tell anybody.

2 Replies to “Dishwasher detergent, part 3”

  1. They look large, but it’s hard to tell. Do they fit under the little flipper door thing in the washer? Or do you just throw it in anywhere?

    1. They fit in the little compartment, but sometimes you have to crush them a little to get the door closed. They’re not super hard or anything.

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