Posted in Back in the Day, From Scratch, Homemade Cleaners & Detergents, The Hen House, The Scoop from the Coop

Homemade Dishwashing Detergent

Downright obsessed with getting back to the basics and not losing all of the priceless, life-knowledge our Lady-Ancestors learned before my disconnected generation lost sight of them, I honestly don’t know why the hell I didn’t go in search of this one until now. 50s-housewife-experiment

After all, I’ve been making homemade laundry soap for quite sometime. I’ve gone old school  and have ditched over half the harsh cleaning products that were putting a huge dent in my budget and wallet. Not to mention what I was probably doing to the environment, my land, etc.

And as I said before, it really, really bothers me that my generation is losing all of the hard-learned information that my Grandmother, Great Grandmothers and Great, Great, Greats—everyone, used to do and use. I am the first to admit, I jumped the bandwagon on cleaners and household – make – it – easier gadgets. If I could spray and run, ya’ll, I was all about it. I can’t tell you how much money I have spent. I don’t even want to think about it.

After September 11th, though, after the banks needed bailouts, after everyone started losing jobs and homes, I think we all started to think about what we were spending and what we were using. I mean, sure, we seen a big boom in Doomsday Preppers, and many, many things concerned us, but we kind of refrained from acting out or forming an opinion, yet slowly, here we are. We also seen a huge boom on folks just tryin’ to get back to the basics. People obsessed with paying off debt and keeping bills to a minimum. Not just because we had too but because we wanted to. A huge awakening was upon us. I know I sure as hell woke up.

I’m not gonna sit here and say that I was quick to change everything. I move at a snail’s speed – one thing at a time. However, I will say that I crept into a world of awareness – health and home. I started to become concerned about what I was eating, where that food was coming from and then that moved towards me thinking about my family—those I was shoveling food into. That led me to being concerned with cutting costs and that led into cleaning, our land, etc.

I remembered that my Grandma used to have a box of Borax sitting on her Washer and under her sink. I remembered that she didn’t spend a fortune on cleaning supplies but her house was always clean. She had Bleach and Ammonia – she was always gagging herself on the Ammonia. I remember her food was simple – southern, traditional food—but everyone was fed all the same.

Now, while I can’t lump loads of lard down in a skillet and I am a herbicidal maniac when it comes to using seasonings, I did begin looking into the seasoning mixes I was buying, making homemade breads – even though, I can’t eat them—and creating my own homemade version of everything and anything the Economical world had supposedly processed, created, and shoved in a neat, easy package for me to simply “heat” up.

I know many folks are busy and might be a part of the corporate world. I know that many live a chaotic life and don’t even want to think about making homemade dishwasher detergent. I know that some people don’t mind throwing out extra bucks to buy what is already made and I know that most things out there – homemade recipes – don’t work as good as store-bought stuff, so why convert and change? Everyone has to do what is right for them. This one was right for me. Me.

Well, here’s to all my testing and trying. And here’s to all the folks who started way before me. And here’s to my Grandma – why in the hell wasn’t I smart enough to ask her about it while she was still alive? And here’s to you – who maybe like me – in search of something good even if it means taking a day off to create everything from scratch.

Tired of my rambling? Me too. Here’s the damn recipe but first, please note – there are a gazillion recipes flying around on the internet. This is the one I found, tried and liked, with some extra tips and such down at the bottom for those… just in case moments….



  • Vinegar
  • 1 cup Borax
  • 1 cup Washing Soda
  • 1/2 cup Salt (Some recipes called for Coarse Salt, some Kosher, some Epson. I used some Canning/Pickling Salt because I had a ton of it.)
  • 5 packs of unsweetened Lemonade. (I used True Lemon because that’s what I always have around. I love my lemon water. Other people used Citric Acid. I know I have seen dishwasher cleaner recipes in the past years calling for the Kool-Aid Lemonade. Maybe something is in it that makes cleaning dishes and the dishwasher better than juice or citric acid? Try em both.)
  • 1-2 packets or tablespoons of Bleach Crystals (Optional)



Mix all of the ingredients together and store in a container like a Mason Jar. Whatever you store it in, make sure its air-tight.

Add the Vinegar to the rinse reservoir. Vinegar is an awesome rinsing agent leaving glass and things clear.

Add 1 tablespoon or 2 tablespoons to the Dishwasher. (2 for really dirty dishes.) This will clean about 42 loads.

Some Possible Problems:

Like store-bought products, I found that I couldn’t use them all. Powder or Gel Cascade caused a funky colored film to cover the inside of my dishwasher. Asking a man who sells and fixes them, he said it could be my water. Some people who have well-water sometimes has to use a different product than those who use, let’s say, city-water. That’s going to be the same for those who make Homemade Cleaners. What works for the person down the road may not work for you. Their water may be different. They may use a water softener changing everything. So below, I have found some common problems people seem to have, here and there, and possible solutions.


When I bake chicken or whatever and my pans end up being really, really yucky – I never expect my dishwasher to take all that off. Especially when I normally have to scrub the holy hell out of it. Stop scrubbing, though. Pour some vinegar so that the bottom of the pan is cover and let it sit. After an hour or so, (I usually forget about it, so that’s why I say an hour or so, lol) the yuck comes right on off without using elbow grease and a ton of frustration. 


Some people say their plastic containers end up cloudy over time. If this happens, then play around with the ingredients. Add 1 cup of Baking Soda to the batch, eliminate the Borax , use lemon juice instead of lemonade or some people even added Bleach Crystals. Add or eliminate one thing at a time. That way you can narrow down the culprit. For example, eliminate the Borax if a film ends up on everything and keeps happening. Sometimes Borax doesn’t work or mix well with people’s water. Sometimes adding the vinegar and lemon juice kicks that film away so Borax doesn’t end up being a problem. Catch my drift?



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