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Dishwasher Detergent Alternatives

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Dishwashing Tricks

Dishwasher Efficiency

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

How to Make Dishwashing Liquid

Does anyone out there know of a safer and less expensive dishwashing machine soap? I'm interested in what it's made from so I might make my own.
Paul B.

Store Brands May Be the Answer

I found that Wal-Mart store brand (Sam's) dishwasher soap or Costco store brand (Kirkland) works just as well as the expensive name brand. Costco's is the cheapest. At first I was afraid to switch because I was worried that store brands wouldn't get my dishes as clean, but I decided to give it a try. I knew if the store brand didn't work I could take it back for a refund. Both Wal-Mart and Costco have a satisfaction guarantee so if you aren't happy you can get your money back.

Homemade Soap

I make my own soap by using 1/2 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda and 1/2 cup Borax 20 Mule Team. I use about 2 tablespoons in the dishwasher compartment. I've also added Citric Acid (from either canning products or tang) if needed. To tell if Citric Acid is needed, look at your silverware. If it seems to be a little gray then check your dishwasher book and it will tell you what to add and how much. My silverware has actually been sparklier with this than the expensive dishwasher tabs.

Make your own cleaners

A Quick Dishwashing Solution

When I run out of dishwasher soap and since I live 4 miles from the nearest town, I use bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of salt. I think in America you call it baking soda. For the rinse bowl you can put in a wee spot of lemon juice, not too much, for a fresh smell.
Fiona G. in Scotland

A Recipe for Homemade Dishwashing Liquid

Liquid Detergent is very easy to make at home. It does not involve much work. It works out very economical to make your own liquid detergent.

The following ingredients are required to make your own dishwasher liquid:

  1. 500 gm. LABS (Linear Alkyl Benzene Sulphonate) also known as Acid Slurry.
  2. about 80 gm. Caustic Soda (Sodium Hydroxide)
  3. about 75 gm. Washing Soda.
  4. Water about 6 Liters or slightly more.

Caution: Use only plastic bucket/container to mix. Use only plastic or wooden handle to mix. Do not touch the chemicals.

Natural ingredients for homemade dishwasher detergent

Keep away from the reach of children



  1. Take 6 lit. water in a plastic bucket. Mix Caustic Soda (it takes less than a minute for caustic soda to dissolve).
  2. Add LABS (it is blackish, reddish colored liquid). (It takes about 2 minutes for LABS to mix in caustic soda solution).
  3. After about twelve hours, mix Washing Soda. (The main function of washing soda is to improve the viscosity, color and properties).

Multi-purpose liquid detergent is ready for use. Although natural color is pale yellow to slightly reddish, you may add colors and/or perfume. Generally water-soluble perfumes are used for this purpose. The color should be food color.

Go Right to the Source

The easiest way I know to find a lot of formulas and make your choice would be to call the local Public Library or a college library and ask them if they have "The Chemical Formulary."

Once you find a library which has it, visit them and look in the Index for Dishwasher soap, shampoo, etc, basically, anything you want to make for yourself. Select a few of the "recipes" and try them out. Be careful and read any warnings carefully. Once you get the hang of it, you may start making all kinds of things.

Take the Next Step

  • Never overspend for store-bought cleaners again. Use The Dollar Stretcher's Guide to Homemade Cleaners to find frugal, effective recipes for keeping your entire house and laundry clean and fresh.
  • Could spending 5 minutes reading a newsletter twice a week save you time and money every day? Dollar Stretcher Tips readers think so. Subscribe and find out how many ideas stretch your day and your dollar! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE.

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