I hate to buy dishwasher detergent. I have looked at making my own, and wondered if it would really work. Well, yesterday I was out of dishwasher detergent and my dishwasher was full of dirty dishes. I didn't want to wash them all by hand... I got online and searched for "recipes" to make a batch. I looked at several different combinations and read comments posted about them. I ended up going with the basic mixture and trying it out. It really worked. I am pleased with the results.
Now, some people posted about build-up after time so I will have to wait and see if that happens. Depending on what brand of dishwasher detergent you buy (if you use coupons, etc.) it may not be that much more expensive. The homeade stuff costs about $.03 per load and the brand stuff is about $.09-$.15/load best I can figure. Not a huge savings. If you washed one load every day, it would add up to somewhere between $21 - $43/year savings. Using the homeade stuff I am putting less chemicals into my septic tank. It is also nice to know I have another option if I don't want to go to the store or don't have coupons.
1 cup Borax
1 cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda (not baking soda)
4 packets lemon kool-aid with NO Sugar (for the citric acid)
1/4 cup white vinegar (as a rinse aid ~ optional)
Mix the borax, washing soda and kool-aid together. Use about 1 tsp (I used a cereal spoon). Add the white vinegar as a rinse aid if needed. I didn't do this as my dishwasher is old and doesn't have a rinse-aid compartment and I don't typically use one anyway. I was going to try it, but forgot until after the rinse cycle was already finished. I realized I didn't need it anyway. I think I will continue using this method instead of the other commercial brands (unless I have a great coupon which gets it for free.....)