Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Homemade Dishwasher Tabs

a little twit to the regular recipes

I know there are A LOT of recipes around the web for dishwashing tabs, but I promise these are a bit different. I developed a recipe that stays clumped together so you can add the dishwashing liquid to the tabs and then allow them to dry. That way you will never forget to add it to a load of dishes and end up with the yucky white film.

Here in UT we have really hard water. Like really hard water. Yes, you can buy water softeners, but we don't have one... yet. Hopefully soon. But until then, I have to become more resourceful. I have really gotten into making some of my own homemade products.
I started off with homemade laundry detergent, then I posted about whipped body butter, and I will be posting soon about some body scrub, lotion bars, and yes, I have even jumped on the No Poo bandwagon. So I guess, the natural progression is dishwasher tabs right?
Actually, I am trying this because I am having a problem with the white coating you get on your glassware once it comes out of the DW. It doesn't matter which brand I am using, they all are causing it. When you unload the dishes, they have this squeaky yet filmy feel to them. I hate it!

Lemme just say there are SO many recipes out there on the ol' www for these DW tabs that it is really hard to figure out which one you might even want to try, right? Well, I will let you know which ingredients I used, and why I chose them. I am not going to break down the cost savings for you, as I am sure that I am the thousandth person to blog about it.

Homemade Dishwasher Tablets
3 cups Borax (detergent)
2 cups Washing Soda (water softener and detergent booster)
1 cup Coarse Salt (water softener)
3/4 cup Baking Soda (water softener, very mild abrasive)
1/2 cup Lemon Juice (cleaning properties and acid for water mineral breakdown)
5 TBSP Citric Acid (organic fruit acid, cleaner, and helps remove excess minerals from water, but I used as a hardening agent)
Dishwashing LIQUID (3 drops per tablet)
Vinegar as a rinse agent.

**Note: Yes, using vinegar and citric acid may seem redundant, but the reason for using the citric acid in this recipe was to harden the tablets to hold the dish washing liquid inside the tablet so it doesn't have to be added upon starting the dishwasher.**

So I read some really great things here from Jillee about her experiments, and if you need any more persuasion as to why you should be trying your hand at DIY cleaners, you can read what Matt has to say about it. And after reading what their readers had to say about their experiences, I made this recipe based off of all that.

Mix the Borax, Washing Soda, Baking Soda, and salt in the bowl together. Mix them together well. THEN add the citric acid. Mix well. At the last add the lemon juice. If it seems pretty dry add a TBSP at a time till it is a moist-dry powder. 

I got these ice cube trays at Walmart for about $1.50 for a package of 3 trays. I bought 2 packages of them so I had 6 trays. I loosely  filled the trays to the top. Then, I packed them down really tight. DO NOT add more powder yet. If they don't feel like they are packing well, then add a bit more citric acid.

After they have been packed down, add 3 drops of dishwashing liquid to EACH TAB.
In reading a lot of comments on a lot of other blogs, this is the ticket to the shiny clean dishes without the film. THREE DROPS DISHWASHING LIQUID. Now because my children help with dishes, and children need to be reminded of things at times, I didn't want to make tablets that had to have the liquid added when you start the DW and potentially have them either forget or add too much!

And, I am a total dork and forgot to take a picture of the trays after I had added the second round of powder. Disperse the rest of the powder into the trays and pack the mixture down really tight. I was able to fill all six trays minus 2 cubes spaces with this recipe. Set aside, and let dry over night. 

I made mine about 7 pm, and the next morning after taking the kiddos to school  (8 am) I popped them out of their trays. I placed them in this jar I had and I was good to go. REMEMBER to use 1/2-1 cup vinegar in the dishwasher as a rinse aid.

This was the difference in ONE wash. The measuring cup on the left is with traditional dishwasher detergent, The measuring cup on the right is one that came out of the dishwasher after the first load. With every passing load of dishes, the caked on white film is disappearing. When I get a few more loads done I will update with some more pictures.