Homemade Dishwasher Powder & Homemade Laundry Detergent

If you read my blog regularly you've probably figured out that I'm cheap and that I don't think cheap is a dirty word. I'm proud to be cheap. I cut corners where I can so that we can put money in our savings account and take vacations. Also, having a bicoastal shared custody 8 year old becomes expensive. Plane tickets go up every day and the reality is that every flight is $200 more roundtrip if you have to pay an unaccompanied minor fee. Also, in general I like knowing what goes into all of my cleaning products. No mystery gels with "super power blaster beads" for me.
Awhile ago I started making my own laundry detergent. I realized soon after that most of the ingredients could also be used to make dishwasher powder and since I already planned on buying some citric acid for bath fizzies it was a double win. I'm putting these in the same post because I tend to try to make both at the same time so that I can determine whether ingredients need to be restocked.

Homemade Laundry Detergent  (batch costs 1.38= .05/load)
(makes roughly 30 oz)

You will need:
A container for the finished detergent
A box grater

1 cup borax 76 oz box is $4 at my grocery store, .05/oz, 8 oz used= .40
1 cup washing soda 55 oz box is $3.50 at my grocery store, .06/oz, 8 oz used= .48
1 bar Ivory soap (I buy 10/pks when they're on sale for $5 or less- .50/bar) .50

1. Gather ingredients.

2. Find a bored 8 year old to grate your soap. 

Fluffy grated soap. It comes out to about a cup and a half.

3. Add your other ingredients.

1 cup borax & 1 cup washing soda
Use a spoon to squash all the clumps out.

Transfer to your container. Mine is an old Charlies Soap Powder Container.

Shake it up to mix, or find a willing kid. 

Label & store. 

I have a scoop in mine that is a .5oz scoop- so one scoop per load. 

Homemade Dishwasher Powder (cost per batch $3.14- 4.50 depending on water hardness)
(makes roughly 28 oz)

You will need:
A quart size glass jar with a rubber seal - washed out and completely 100% dry
1 cup borax 76 oz box is $4 at my grocery store, .05/oz, 8 oz used= .40
1 cup washing soda 55 oz box is $3.50 at my grocery store, .06/oz, 8 oz used= .48
1/2- 1 c citric acid (use 1 c for hard water) 5 lb tub is $27.14/80oz=  recipe uses 4-8oz-  $1.36-$2.72
1/2 cup kosher salt $3.50 for a 16 oz box- 4 oz used= .90
A container to measure into
A measuring cup
A plastic spoon

1. Gather your ingredients.

2. In your tupperware container mix all of the ingredients- 1/2 cup- 1 cup citric acid (depending on water hardness), 1 cup borax, 1 cup washing soda, and 1/2 cup kosher salt.  It's fairly easy to find borax, washing soda and salt at the grocery store. I purchased my citric acid online. You can find it in stores in small quantities but it's far more cost effective to purchase it in larger quantities through Amazon. 

I use a plastic cup to measure everything. It's a 9oz glass so I fill it close to the top. 

Adding the kosher salt.
After I add all the ingredients into the tupperware I use a plastic spoon to squash any lumps in the powder. Sometimes the borax clumps in the box a bit and I want to make sure that everything mixes evenly. 

3. Transfer the powder to an airtight jar. It is super important that the jar is completely dry. Citric acid clumps if the least little bit of moisture is introduced- your powder will then harden and you will be using a butter knife to chip it out bit by bit (and then if you're me your husband will question whether it is really worth it to make your own dish powder). One trick I have found that works is to put a packet of silica gel (it comes in new shoes) into the container. If you use a needle and thread you can thread through the packet and twist the thread around the hinge on the jar so that the silica hangs above the powder and there's no chance you accidentally dose it into your dishwasher!

The scoop I use is a .5 oz scoop (tablespoon). This means that each load I run costs me .16 (it will be less if you don't have hard water). I also put a bit of vinegar into the rinse aid section of the dishwasher. A tablespoon or so per batch helps make sure the dishes don't cloud. Happy washing!

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