Automatic Dishwashing Powder

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Looking for a natural alternative to synthetic dishwashing powder? Homemade chemical-free powders often leave an unpleasant film. Here are some tips for making an all-natural powder that works for you.
  1. Make your powder.
    • 1 cup washing soda
    • 1/2 cup baking soda
    • 1/2 cup borax

    Combine and store under the sink. Use 1-2 tbsp. per load. *

    I make a borax-free version using 1 cup baking soda and 1 cup washing soda. I avoid borax when it comes to my dishes but use it readily for my laundry soap. For more on the pros and cons of borax in natural products, see the article Borax: Friend or Foe?

    I make my own washing soda by heating baking soda for 30-60 minutes at 400 degrees. (See How to Make Your Own Washing Soda for more specifics.)

    * If your dishes appear cloudy, try using less of the powder. Sometimes a little less than 1 tablespoon is plenty.
  2. Add white vinegar.

    White vinegar makes an ideal rinsing agent. However, adding it to the rinse compartment can corrode the dispenser over time. I add vinegar to the bottom of the dishwasher, using approximately 1/2 cup.

    For added benefit, soak your leftover lemon peels in white vinegar for several days. This will add natural citric acid to your dishwasher rinse. I soak lemon peels and pour the strained vinegar into my old white vinegar bottles (pictured above).
  3. Add a dash of liquid castile soap.

    Too much soap is a problem. However, a tiny bit of liquid soap on the bottom of the dishwasher may be helpful. I keep a squeeze bottle of homemade liquid castile soap under my sink for this purpose, using 1-2 squirts per load. (The momsAWARE Online Store offers all-natural Coconut Castile Soap easily grated for liquid soap.)
With a little trial and error, you may find your dishes sparkling . . . chemical-free.