Frugal Flexing: Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Hey everybody!  This is my first Frugal Flexing post, where I will workout my frugal muscles by trying a new technique to save money.  The post will include analysis as to the cost savings, time required, and effectiveness of the product.  For this post, I found a recipe for homemade dishwasher powder, which I made slight changes to based on what I had on hand.

Winner!  Cascade Complete is $7.25 for 75 oz, with a Cost Per Load (CPL) of $0.26.  This homemade version has a CPL of $0.09, resulting in a savings per load of $0.17.  Considering we do about 3 loads per week, that results in a annual savings of over $25!  Here’s a breakdown of the costs:

-Borax ($5.38 for a 4lb 12oz, found in the laundry detergent aisle, $0.53 per batch)
-Washing Soda ($3.89 for a 3lb 7oz, found in the laundry detergent aisle, $0.74 per batch)
-Kosher Salt ($7.67 for a 3lb box, found in the spices aisle, $0.60 per batch)

Keep in mind, with any powder you will need a rinse agent (not included in the CPL above).  I strongly suggest using white vinegar for a CPL of $0.25.  Even if you don’t want to make your own detergent, this will save you some money over name brand rinse agents (ex: Jet Dry).

White Vinegar ($7.99 for 128 oz bottle, found in the baking aisle)

Winner!  This took 15 minutes at most to pick up the items while at the store and then mix them together.  It doesn’t get easier than this folks!

Winner!  The Niki-doesn’t-need-to-give-more-money-to-large-corporations-dishwasher-detergent works just as well as anything I’ve used in the past.  To prove it, here are some before and after shots:

Obviously before:


After – look at how clean it is!after

And it leaves almost no residue on glass:


So, now that I’ve shown you that this stuff really works, here is how you too can save some bucks.

Mix together the following:

1 cup borax
1 cup washing soap
1/2 cup kosher salt

I didn’t want to use one of my precious tupperware for some soap, so I just grabbed a solo cup and store it on the counter.

finished batch

 When you fill the dishwasher, the soap goes into the open part and you fill the rinse agent (Jet Dry in this picture) with vinegar.  This is an important part because it will get rid of any soap residue left over.dishwasher

You can also add some no-sugar lemonade mix to give it a scent, but I was just fine with my dishes being scent-free.  So, give it a try and let me know what you think!

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