I am so excited to share this! I found a recipe here for homemade dishwasher tablets a while ago on Pinterest. This is so completely easy to make and very cost effective too, if you are careful about how you buy the ingredients. I am also really pleased with how they work. My dishes feel a lot nicer coming out than with the usual tablets and our glassware is a lot clearer too. I can’t believe how easy and effective this is, and how cheap! I made 24 tablets for £1 – £2, although this will depend on where you get your ingredients.
I had them on my ‘to-do’ list for months and never got to making them because I couldn’t find one of the ingredients, ‘washing-soda’. I had never heard of it. But when I googled it, seems you can ‘make your own’ by putting baking soda in the oven for a bit. So I spread baking soda, or bicarbonate of soda, on a shallow oven dish and baked it about 30 minutes giving it a stir now and then, until it had changed in texture. Instead of being like a very fine powder that clumps together a bit, it sort of goes a bit grain-y and more separate. Now, I am not 100% sure of the difference between washing soda and baking soda, chemically that is, but I used it as described and the tablets work well so I have concluded it’s a good alternative!
Bulk buy Baking Soda (as sodium bicarbonate or bicarbonate of soda) as it is significantly cheaper. Here in UK, online for either £7.19 for 3kg or even cheaper £10.79 for 5kg at Whole Foods Online ( free delivery ). This means for the 1 cup you use in this recipe it will cost you about 53p – 60p!
In New Zealand, Bin Inn sells Baking soda, unsure of price. Otherwise go here where it is just $3.50 a kg, or $8.00 for 3kg, extremely cost effective. In Australia the cheapest I found was here, selling it for $3.95 a kg, plus shipping.
Don’t buy epsom salts from a health store or a Boots Pharmacy, they’re an absolute rip-off! I get mine in a big bag from a little pharmacy for about £3 for 1.5 kg. Or go here to order online for £2.99 a kg.
I didn’t use Borax, which is what the original recipe asks for, I found something called ‘ Borax Substitute’ from a local store. This is just ‘sodium sesquicarbonate’ which is a crystalline solid found naturally in mineral deposits. For more information on it and it’s safety, see here, where it also discusses baking soda ( sodium bicarbonate). It is good for hard water areas as it improves foam quality. There are some concerns about Borax and toxicity, so I wanted an alternative and this seems to be pretty easily sourced and works well as a substitute. I paid around £1.80 for mine, I have seen it for much more so look online ( link below ) or at a small hardware or kitchen store.
This recipe makes 24 tablets
- 1 cup borax substitute ( sodium sesquicarbonate )
- 1 cup baking soda, baked in the oven for about half an hour, see above
- 1/2 cup epsom salts
- 3/4 cup lemon juice
- Mix all dry ingredients.
- Add lemon juice and mix well and quickly! It may go a bit dry as you make it, mine didn’t, but have a bit of extra lemon juice to hand in case you need it. It should mould easily, hold together well and not crumble away in your hands.
- Shape your tablets. Make the first one and check it fits the tablet tray of your dishwasher, then use as a template for the rest.
- Allow to dry on baking paper.
- Store in an airtight container.