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Day 4: DIY Dishwashing Detergent


I’ve been wanting to try out a recipe for homemade Dishwashing detergent for several months so this week I finally bit the bullet and gave it a try. I don’t have a source for the recipe below, but feel free to search on Pinterest – there are hundreds if pins featuring variations on this same recipe.

DIY Dishwashing Detergent:
2 Cups Borax
2 Cups Washing Soda (NOT baking soda)
1 Cup Kosher Salt
1 Cup LemiShine

The actual process for making the detergent was incredibly easy. I even ended up with enough to make a double batch although it still didn’t even begin to fill the canister I was using to store it in.

When it comes to using the product I’ve been pretty disappointed. It’s a little hard to see in the picture below, but the spoon on the left has a large spot near the tip. You guessed it – that’s the spoon that was washed with the DIY detergent. The spoon on the right was cleaned with our normal Cascade liquid detergent.


Every load of dishes that we washed with the DIY detergent required a very thorough pre-wash before loading it in the dishwasher which really defeats the purpose if having a dishwasher at all. It also became rock hard within a day or two making it very difficult to scoop out and use. After repeated spotty loads Mr. L has vetoed any future use if this product, so I guess I’ll have to come up with some other use for the fruits of my experiment.

The real question is: ‘Is this really even a green product?’

Honestly, I’m not sure. The Borax box states that it has been around since 1891 so it certainly shouldn’t feature any of the new synthetic chemicals that litter most modern products. The LemiShine bottle doesn’t include an ingredients list but it does state that it’s “made with real fruit acids and natural citrus oils.” That sounds promising but I’d imagine there are other ingredients and there’s no telling how ‘green’ they are.

When I compare these ingredients to Cascade, it only lists 2 ingredients: Sodium Silicate and Chlorine Bleach. We all know what bleach is, and a quick Google search revealed that Sodium Silicate is a chemical compound commonly known as liquid glass that was discovered in 1818. It’s commonly used in auto repair, home brewing (to clarify beer and wine), and even as an adhesive and fire-retardant.

So what do you think; is they DIY product any more green than Cascade? Is there a greener alternative I haven’t thought of? (Please don’t tell me to just wash my dishes by hand. I often do so but there are times when a dishwasher is necessary and that’s what I’m trying to figure out).