I have some Dr. Bronner's in baby mild I could try the next time we run the dishwasher. I may also still have a sample of the citrus version, which would be nicer with dishes, IMO.
My favorite dishwasher detergent is Ecover, which comes in a cardboard box and is compostable. It is healthier than most, as well.
We have tried using baking soda solo, which did not work well at all (left a white film on everything), and plain white vinegar, which does work in the sense that glasses come clean and nothing stinks like vinegar once dry. It takes about a cup of white vinegar, though, so I don't know how economical and zero waste that works out to be. I buy vinegar in the gallon size since it is my main cleaning product, but it comes in plastic. I transfer it into my two glass vinegar bottles for use (one in kitchen and one in upstairs bathroom). I do reuse the plastic jugs for homemade laundry soap and give them to my DD's school for watering the garden and/or the art program, but eventually they get recycled versus composted.
Oh! I'm so glad to have something to contribute!
I have been using this for a while and it works great:
HOMEMADE DISHWASHER DETERGENT
Each batch yields 20 ounces of resulting product
1 cup of borax:
1 cup of washing soda
1/4 cup of kosher salt
Shake it up good
-can also add 1/4 cup of citric acid (double for hard water) -but I don't
Fill “Rinse Aid” compartment with white vinegar:
When you do a load use 1 tablespoon of detergent per load (you can use a heaping tablespoon if you feel the need, but I do not).
***This detergent will clump together! To reduce clumping: add 1 tsp dry rice to each batch to negate some of the clumping… no it won’t hurt your dishwasher.
I am running the dishwasher now. I did the following experiment:
about 1 teaspoon of a random dry detergent (I think it was Kirland's "natural" detergent...It was in a reusable coffee creamer type container.)
about 10 drops of Dr Bronner's citrus soap (It wasn't coming out of the tiny bottle well!)
about 1 cup of white vinegar
Plus I filled the rinse aid compartment with white vinegar.
I don't know how it has fared in the results department, but it sure smells better than your average detergent! LOL While I was pouring, of course, all I could smell was the vinegar. But, as the dishwasher has been running, it smells nice. We had a problem with our glassware last time we ran the dishwasher, so this is more of a "cleaning cycle" type wash (normal dishes on normal load) in the sense that we are hoping to unclog whatever is causing the glasses to not get clean AND we're hoping all the vinegar gets the glassware clean this time around!
I make a lot of my own homemade concoctions and my glass bottles and jars usually come clean just fine in the D/W, but not this time. :(
I'll post back later after the dishes are done. :)
The other dishes came clean, too, as did the entire dishwasher (door, inside walls). This is normal and to be expected, but I wanted to make it clear it didn't just work for the glassware. ;)
The narrow-neck bottles I had in there from my concoctions still didn't come completely clean. (The wider neck jars and bottles did come clean.) The outsides are clean now, though, which is all I could really hope for considering the neck size. The insides will need some type of tiny brush to clean them and then I'll have to run them through the dishwasher again just for sterilizing purposes. I wonder if a child's toothbrush will fit...
I am happy with the experiment. :)
BTW, we have very hard water and calcium is the main mineral that clogs everything with hot water running through it.
Thanks for the tips everyone...unfortunately my desire to become zero waste it thwarted on a regular basis by where I live (small town on a tiny island belonging to a bankrupt country which is 50 years behind the environment game) the local supermarket has just stopped stocking bi-carb of soda the only other place I can get it sells it in plastic jars and I have to drive to get it. Borax just does not exist here...that is I have yet to find it and my local chemist is trying to convince the medical lab to sell me hydrogen peroxide (the chemist thinks its a useful thing and that I should be able to buy it, but the lab has other ideas)
Well I'll stop complaining about no bulk in my small town. Sounds like you win Chicane ;) I have recently made my own dishwashing powder. I just used equal parts borax and baking soda. So far dishes are super shiny! Good luck to you
I liked the castile soap in the dishwasher experiment so much, I've been using it every other time! My favorite dishwasher detergent is Ecover tablets. Box is cardboard and I have found it in LARGE boxes at a local discount store, but each tablet is wrapped in plastic. EEK! So every other time is one or one-half a tablet, depending on level of "gunk". In between, I use 1 tablespoon of dry detergent (I think it is Kirkland's) and several shakes of the 2 oz sample of citrus Dr. Bronners liquid castile soap. Smells good and the dishes sparkle!
Once a month, we use a cup of white vinegar along with whichever detergent above. I also refill the rinse aid compartment with white vinegar about once a month. It would be better if I refilled it once a week, but I just don't think about it. We run the dishwasher only when it is full and that's roughly 3 times a week.
I'll be getting the citrus castile from Dr. Bronners offices in bulk in the future! :)