There are so many recipes online that I am not sure which one to try. I am looking for a recipe which has been used successfully for a long time, at least 6 months. I have hard water. I should have all the necessary ingredients: washing soda, borax, citric acid, salt... I am just not sure of the proportions.
I haven't found anything homemade that works in the dishwasher with our hard water. We have a lot of calcium in our water. The best thing we can do is add white vinegar to our loads. Cleans the glasses quite nicely.
Karin, I was hoping you'd answer. :) If you have not found something that works, my chances are pretty low. From my readings on hard water, it seems that citric acid is the ingredient to play with. It softens the water. On the other hand, it seems that it interferes with the cleaning properties of the borax/washing soda. So if you use a lot, you won't have white build up, but the dishes won't be clean...
Yes, that is why I choose to use white vinegar instead. It cleans and gets rid of the build-up on glasses. We add it to the dishwasher (1/2-1 cup for a regular load) once or twice a week. We also keep the jet dry compartment full of white vinegar.
For cleaning, we use Ecover tablets because they work and are eco-friendly from a detergent standpoint. They are annoyingly NOT low-waste. The cardboard box is great, but each tablet is wrapped in plastic. Ugh.
I have used citric acid several times, but the recommendation is to run the dishwasher empty and the citric acid is to remove the build-up. I couldn't do that. It seemed way too wasteful to run an empty dishwasher. :( I would run it with glasses and glassware. They would SPARKLE!
We tried baking soda. LOL What a joke. Everything had a white powdery coating. ICK!
We tried some other concoctions, too. I've forgotten them all since they were woefully ineffective. Frustrating and comical at the same time. LOL
I have also tried all sorts of recipes and combinations of homemade dishwashing powder both liquid and dry. I have found nothing that combats the hard water and the white powdery film that seems to have etched my glasses along with leaving the dishes gritty.
I broke down and bought 7th generation in bulk at our natural foods store. I am using my mom's ancient 1970's Tupperware to purchase and store it in-so I am satisified I have achieved zero waste with that!
I use washing soda and borax (plus soap) for laundry detergent.
I can buy salt and citric acid in bulk, too.
Would you please share your recipe? I'd love to try it!
We have three Whole Foods around now, so I can try to find more bulk items. In fact, DD & I popped into one earlier this week (we were already in that shopping center) and they have GREATLY expanded the bulk foods. We were in a hurry, so I didn't get a chance to explore it more thoroughly. I noticed because we had to hunt for the organic bulk popcorn and it was not easy to find.
We joined a local co-op (People's) on Small Business Saturday and they have some interesting bulk items. They offer bulk olive oil and sunflower oil, both of which I have purchased. Unfortunately, I didn't know they would have those and I didn't have any bottles with me, so I used their plastic bottles. I've reused them a few times. The cashier told me I can use glass bottles and I just need to ask a cashier to tare each one before I shop. Sounds easy enough. I love that they have small paper bags in the bulk area. I used those instead of plastic bags that first time. With the paper bag, I could just write directly on the bag (# and name and ingredients -- for my own reference) instead of using a twist-tie. We get a lot of paper bags from our CSA, so this will be an additional re-use for those. The co-op did not carry bulk detergent that I saw, but I will ask next time I am there.
Your local co-op sounds great! I need to look into that too.
Here is the dishwasher detergent recipe:
1 cup washing soda
1 cup borax
1/2 cup citric acid
1/2 cup kosher salt
I used fine sea salt. I read somewhere that if the salt is too coarse, it could etch, especially glass.
If I start seeing white coating, I plan on adding another 1/2 cup citric acid either to the mix or to the vinegar in the rinsing section - have not decided yet.
I've been making our washing soap for awhile now. I use 1 c borax and 1 c washing soda. I put vinegar in the jet dry place and it seems to work OK. The silverware isn't shiny in fact it looks a bit dull and I have noticed if I don't rinse the dishes well before (if food stuff is left on) it won't come off in the cycle. It will just cook onto the dish. We too have super hard water so I'll have to look for the citric acid and try that. I don't however get the white powder stuff on the dishes.
Thanks for the replies and suggestions. I really appreciate it. :)
I am still tweaking my original recipe. I added 1 tsp of citric acid with the vinegar that was already in the dry section (was almost full), and glasses are now very clean and shiny.
A couple days later, I also increased from 1 tbsp to 1.5 tbsp because some dishes weren't spotless and it seems to help.