Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Don't think me a nerd...

...but I love cleaning products.

Awhile ago (okay, back in February) I wrote about my homemade laundry detergent. I’m happy to say that I made a batch of detergent the first week of February, and am currently on my last container, with probably three to five loads-worth of soap remaining. That’s FIVE MONTHS of laundry detergent that I made at home for about $2.50, if that.

Since then I’ve been Googling other homemade cleaning products, and have found a great all-purpose cleaner containing water, vinegar, and Borax, as well as some creative uses for salt and lemons.

My most recent discovery was that of a dishwasher detergent. I’ve been using the Cascade “Action Packs,” which are the little packs of detergent and spot-free rinse in one package. They worked great, but they’re pretty pricey. During one trip to Winco I bought a package of “Finish” tabs (the brand that used to be Electrosol, or something along those lines) because they were cheaper and Winco didn’t have Cascade. You definitely get what you pay for, because those didn’t work nearly as well. I promised myself that after the Finish tabs were done, I was going to find a new product that was cheaper, worked better, and was preferably homemade.

After doing my research online, I found that you can make dishwasher detergent by combining equal parts washing soda and Borax. Those are both products in my homemade laundry soap, so I already had them at home. I mixed equal parts together then added slightly more Borax because we have hard water (as instructed); I put it in a large container so I ended up using 7 cups of washing soda and 8 cups of Borax. I did my first load of dishes last night with the new detergent.

The results? AMAZING! My dishes were clean, and there were NO water spots. I basically consider this to be a free product, because I bought the washing soda and Borax back in February when I decided to make laundry soap. If I was going to guess what it cost, I’d say about $3.00 (assuming in making the amount of detergent I did that I used about half a box each of washing soda and Borax, and that they cost about $3.00 each, respectively). This amount of detergent will last me a LONG time, as I used about ½ a cup’s worth for my full load of dishes, so I’m pretty happy.

Just in case you’re not sure what these products are, here are some pictures. For those of you who live near me, the only store in town I found washing soda at was Winco. Borax can be found at Target, Winco, Safeway, etc.

I love finding cheap things that work great, and it’s even better when they’re homemade! Sometimes I wish I was a pioneer woman who had to make her own butter, cheese, cleaning products…and then I start to imagine life without air conditioning and am pretty happy to be here in 2010.


  1. You're not a nerd. I love cleaning products too! I might just have to try this dishwasher detergent thing.....but what area of the stores are those ingredients in? I have no clue where to even look....Thanks April!

  2. You can find Borax in the laundry section of almost any store (Winco, Target, Safeway all have it), but the only place in town I've found washing soda is at Winco. It's also in the laundry aisle and it's in a yellowish Arm & Hammer box.

  3. Thank you for the tip on the use of Borax. I need to wash my truck and race trailer (both black) and leave them spot free. Wiping down the huge trailer with a chamois is impractical so l can't wait to try the Borax solution in a sprayer to see if it does the trick!

    Ed in Houston


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