THRIFTY: Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

For the past four years, I've become increasingly obsessed with consumption, reuse and recycling. I chronicled our adventures about living on The Compact in 2009 here, as well as my turn as a radical homemaker. I've recently become very interested in this zero waste home and blog - a family in California who either composts, reuses or refuses unnecessary junk into their lives, particularly in the way of food and product packaging.

This year I've decided to experiment with a few homemade household items. When we ran out of dishwasher soap last week, I researched a few homemade options. There are a ton of recipes and recommendations out there on the Internets, but I decided upon 1 cup Borax mixed with 1 cup baking soda. Put in a jar and shake. It's that easy. I use a tiny plastic scoop that I think came with some coffee once as my measure. It is probably about a tablespoon in size, and I typically use one scoop per load. For the rinse agent, I've been using plain vinegar. So far, so good. The only problem are the hard water stains on our glassware, which admittedly were problematic even before changing up the dishwashing soap. Perhaps the vinegar isn't quite cutting it? Hmmm. Again, it's only been about a week, so in a sense the jury's still out on this one. I do think my new concoction is doing the job just as well as the more expensive commercial detergent we were previously using.

Stay tuned, as I'm moving on to making more household items from scratch. I gave up shampoo and conditioner in favor of baking soda and apple cider vinegar a few years back, and am excited to try my hand at homemade deodorant and toothpowder next.