Deciding to learn how to make homemade laundry detergent took months of consideration. Worry, self-doubt, pep-talks and promises were needed for me to put that idea into action. Memories of my mother working with lye in the basement in effort to make her own soap are still only something I discuss with my therapist. I was so hesitant that I even asked the new friend I met on Florida spring break to drive 4 hours to walk me through the complicated procedure. She laughed and agreed to come if I’d make her an awesome vegan dinner.

I planned the menu, she mapped the route, and the BIG DAY finally arrived. I had the ingredients, a support system and my mojo. I was ready. LET’S DO THIS!

Talk about anti-climatic… we made a years’ supply in less than 15 minutes.

So we did a victory lap and plotted our next target. Homemade dishwasher detergent was the obvious low hanging fruit… and sure enough, the $4.25 box of Cascade is a relic of the past.

Ingredients for homemade dishwasher detergent:
1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda
1/2 cup citric acid (can double this if dishes are cloudy, or if you have hard water)
1/2 cup kosher salt (for scrubbing action)
1 gallon white vinegar

Place all dry ingredients into desired container and mix well. Use 1 tbsp of mixture for each load. Splash about 1/2 cup of white vinegar into the bottom of the washer before you start the wash cycle. This is a natural rinsing agent.

To store your detergent, choose a container that you won’t use again for something else, such as an old coffee can, a jelly jar, or go crazy like I did and find decorative container that looks nice in plain view. (You can even create a label so that the recipe is always in plain view.) It gets clumpy over time, and you’ll need to make a desiccant.  Find a silica packet from an old shoe box. I added about 1 tbsp of rice to the mixture. They easily disappear with the rest of the food particles down the drain.

If it still becomes clumpy, add it to a blender or food processor for a fresh start.