I had initially planned on making a totally natural dishwasher detergent. I used it for a while and was somewhat happy with it – the problem is not the detergent, but my dishwasher setting of choice. I like to run my dishwasher on the “water miser” setting, which somehow uses less water. (magic?) Because the borax/baking soda combo does not dissolve food, and because the lower-use water setting does not power it off quite as well, I have added some commercial detergent.
The hardest part of this was finding the borax – I had to go to two different stores. I KNOW. My neighborhood grocery store doesn’t carry it, so I had to drive to the next store over to get it. sigh.
Along with this, I fill the jet-dry tank with vinegar. Plain old white vinegar. Works great!
It took some experimentation with the no-detergent mix, the water settings and how cleaned-off my dishes are going into the dishwasher. I think I found a mix that will work for me. If you want to go totally green and totally frugal, you can skip the detergent, but since I still want to use less water I use the combination. I really don’t know which is better – using more water and no detergent or less water and a little detergent, but for now this works, it’s cheap, and it’s less chemical-ly than detergent alone.
It’s just another small way I’m saving money and some environmental impact. Small things add up!