I found this recipe here.
Citrus Dishwasher Detergent Cubes:
1 c borax
1 c washing soda
¼ c Epsom salt
¼ c lemon juice
10-15 drops grapefruit essential oil (optional)
If you aren’t in the mood to buy washing soda, or have never heard of it and can’t even find it, then just make your own. Pour baking soda onto a cookie sheet and bake 30 minutes at 400 F. Stir once halfway through. For more info, flip over to my post about making your own laundry detergent.
In a large bowl, mix together the borax, washing soda and epsom salt.
Add lemon juice and essential oil.
It will foam a little as it’s mixed together. (This reminds me of making bath bombs)
Fill an ice cube tray with the mixture, and pack it down into each compartment so the cubes will be dense with no air pockets.
Let the tray sit out on the counter overnight to dry. Tap the bottom of the ice cube tray to remove the detergent cubes.
Store them in an airtight container. I like the baggie approach because it fits nicely into my empty box of dishwasher detergent under the sink.
It’s still somewhat amazing that these things actually work. And they also smell light, clean and citrus.
One good thing to know is that since the citric acid in lemon juice will react with the washing soda, do not use too much lemon. The soda/lemon ratio to keep in mind is 4:1.
What would happen if you added too much lemon? I don’t know. It would probably fizz a lot. Either that or the chemical reaction would rip open a hole in the space time continuum and suck you back in time before dishwashers were invented, in an alternate universe where cat videos didn’t exist, and you were forced into an never ending tedium of hand-washing silverware one at a time. Regardless, don’t add too much lemon.
(for one tray/16 cubes)
washing soda = $0.68/16 oz – .04/oz * 8 oz = $0.32
borax = $11.33/76oz – .15/oz * 8 oz = $1.20
epsom salt $9.98 /48oz – .21/oz * 2 oz = $0.42
lemon juice =0.25/3 Tbsp – .08/1 Tbsp = $0.32
grapefruit essential oil – $5.99/10ml – 0.60/ml * .5ml = $0.30
$2.56 for 16 dishwasher detergent cubes.
I used to buy the dishwasher powerball tabs, 32 for $10.50. I can make 32 for $5.12. That amounts to $0.16 per dishwasher load instead of $0.33.
It doesn’t sound like a lot when you’re talking cents, but if you think about saving close to HALF OFF over the course of just one year, it adds up.
- If you run your dishwasher every day, you will spend about $120 on detergent.
- If you make your own, you only spend $58.
After 1 year, you save $62 (48%).
After 5 years you save $310.
Since you are probably going to be using a dishwasher for the rest of your life anyway, why not live with fewer chemicals and save yourself money?