Update 2 weeks later: I’ve made both a tester batch and a full one and I find my dishes aren’t AS clean as I want them to be. I’ve noticed that my kitchen utensils don’t always lose their stuck on food, even with soaking, and that the cutlery still has a residue leftover on them. I’m even using distilled white vinegar as a rinse aid. I’ll keep using the batch that I have now but when they are gone I’ll either swap to another DIY or stick with my Kirkland brand. I haven’t decided yet.
Ok, I did go back to the Kirkland brand. I use it only at night or when I’m upstairs so I’m not in the immediate vicinity of the kitchen. Right now it’s the holidays and I don’t have time to play around with detergent recipes.
I’ve used store bought dish tabs for years. I love my Cascade it works incredibly well, but at $20+ per box but is way overpriced so I swapped to the Kirkland and loved it’s affordable price of $10. My problem is that they changed their formula, the smell is different / stronger, and as a result, I started getting headaches every time I did dishes. I don’t consider the fair price worth the tradeoff so I swapped to the Finish Powerball tabs, but those are complete junk!! I have to pre-wash my dirty dishes before I can put them in the dishwasher, and that doesn’t guarantee a good clean. Several items had to be re-washed more than three times to get clean, and if you’re wondering… No, my dishwasher wasn’t over-packed.
Now it’s time to try the DIYs. I saw this recipe from Mom4Real and thought wow 3 ingredients, I can do that. All you need is Baking Soda, Citric Acid (or Lemi Shine) and liquid Dish Soap.
I have a tendency of going all-in when I do DIYs, then I come out disappointed with too much ‘product’ that doesn’t work out for me so this time I decided to reduce the original recipe before I created it. I also decided I wanted more of a blue color than was in the recipe so I added an extra 1 Tbsp of dish soap to the original recipe… so here’s my test version:
1/4 Cup Baking Soda
1 Tbsp Citric Acid or Lemi Shine
1.5 Tsp Dawn*
Glove or Spoon to stir with
I added each to the bowl in order of ingredients and used a gloved hand to mix it up. Once it was nicely incorporated with the pretty light blue color I started to add it to the silicone mold. Now you’ll see a bunch of expanding, so I recommend only adding half the cavity of the mold due to expansion. Set a timer for ten minutes, when the timer is up then you can level off the expanded part and put it into a new cavity. Mine made 6 fully formed tabs.
The original post said to leave it to air dry between 4 hours to overnight, so I left mine on top of our cooled stove. The mixture did dry into hard tabs as promised, which I was excited for. The silicone molds made it super easy to pop them out. I recommend popping them out onto a folded paper towel or hand towel to avoid any breakage. I then put them straight into the airtight container to use as needed.
In my case, my dishwasher was already loaded and ready to be turned on so I tossed a tab at the bottom of the dishwasher, per the original poster’s directions and turned it on.
In this load, I did leave the dishes with stuck-on gravies and pasta on them to see what the result would be, and I have to say I’m pretty impressed! Out of an entire load of dishes, the only thing that didn’t come out clean was the plate that had pasta and gravy on it. I think we had that dinner two days ago and just didn’t have enough dishes to run a load.
I looked up about 20 different DIY dishwasher detergent/tabs yesterday, and as long as this keeps working I won’t be looking any further than the cupboard to get out the ingredients when I need to whip up a new batch.
I’m not sure how much it costs per batch as I already had all the ingredients on hand, but if I remember, I will try to price it out and come back to update later.
*I’ve seen many a recipe call for low-sudsing soaps like Castile, I used this with no problem in my dishwasher. Your needs may be different.