Have you ever run out of dishwasher detergent at a bad time? Did you know that you can easily store all the ingredients you need to make more? It's true! I've been using homemade dishwasher degergent for a few weeks, and the only difference I see between the commercial detergent is that mine doesn't have those food eating enzymes so I have to rinse my dishes. Big deal, right? You probably rinse your dishes anyway.
1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup citric acid*
Mix together and store in an air-tight container. It may clump up due to the citric acid, but no worries! Just scoop it out and use it anyway.
Use 1-2 tablespoons per load.
*Double the citric acid if you have really hard water (you'll notice a white film on your dishes if you need to do this). You can find this in the canning section of your grocery store or hardware store. You can substitute LemiShine or 10-15 packets of lemonade Koolaid (make sure it's regular and not presweetened). DO use lemonade and not other flavors, as they will stain your dishes.
Interesting facts about the ingredients
Washing soda - also called soda ash and sodium carbonate. You can find soda ash at swimming pool cleaning supply stores. It is also used as a mordant in tie dye (the mordant is what sets the color in the fiber so it won't bleed out). I found mine (washing soda) in the cleaning supplies section of a local hardware store.
Borax - also called sodium tetraborate.
Kosher salt - also called pickling salt. This is basically salt with no iodine.
I find it interesting that three of the four ingredients here are sodium. Anybody out there who studied chemistry and can tell me why?