A year ago, we purchased our first dishwasher.
I L.O.V.E. it.
I do not, however, like shelling out for dishwasher detergent. With sales and a coupon, liquid soap to hand wash dishes is easy to find for free....but not so with the dishwasher stuff! After many sleepless hours swagbucks-ing the internet....I finally found a homemade recipe that works. The ingredients cost just under $12 total. This should make enough to last us for several months.
Homemade Dishwasher Detergent:
~1 Cup Baking Soda (or washing soda....find in the laundry detergent isle. Some ladies find the Washing soda works better....Baking soda has worked great for us!)
~1/2 Cup Kosher Salt
~1/2 Cup Citric Acid
(I use "Fresh Fruit" produce protector...which is basically citric acid. You can find it in the canning isle...or use 15 packets of unsweetened Lemon flavored Kool Aid...which has lots of citric acid! Guess that is why most detergents are lemon scented, the citric acid keeps the dishes from building up a cloudy residue)
*Put all ingredients into a container with a tight fitting lid, and shake up!
*Use about 1 TB per load
*****DON'T SKIP THIS STEP- Pour some white vinegar into the "rinse aid" compartment of your dishwasher. This will help to keep your dishes...especially plastic...from having a "cloudy" look!
We have been using this for some time now, and love it!
If you do a bit of research on homemade detergent, you will find lots of "controversy" as to how well it works. Apparently, much of this has to do with what type of water you have. Also, it is debated as to whether or not borax is "good" for the dishwasher, as it can build up in your plumbing. Dig a little deeper, and you will find that all commercial dishwashing detergents have a borax-like ingredient....they just also have a chemical to keep the plumbing clear. It is a good idea to every month or so use a regular detergent for just one cycle to clean out the buildup.