Monday, June 4, 2012

Dishwasher Powder!

Here we are at the beginning of a new week. A new week following a special weekend for us which involved using lots of this dishwasher powder! Let's just say there were lots of lovely people in our house :-) For meals. That is just the way I like it.... friends and food!

So, why did I decide to make powder for the dishwasher? Well, the short version of the story goes like this; a family of five use a lot of crockery. And this equates to a lot of washing up or using the dishwasher. We do both. I use the dishwasher as much as possible for the sake of my sanity, and our marriage! But for everyday crockery we use the dishwasher. We have a older model dishwasher and she needs a hand with heavy duty stuff, a bit like me :-) So we hand wash the heavy duty crockery about once a day. Exhibit A...

For the dishwasher I used to buy powder in bulk. Kilos of the stuff. After careful calculations (I have an exciting life!) I worked out powder was the cheapest option. And it was not too much harder than throwing a tablet of detergent in. BUT. One day I went to buy my usual bulk brand and it was gone. Consternation ensued! I searched the shelves, got my phone calculator out and did some quick maths and hoisted the littlest one in the family a bit higher on my hip. But I didn't like any of the answers and so we left the shop... Time was running out though, there was less than a kilo of dishwasher powder left in a bottle under the sink. Hmmm.

The other little consideration to throw into the decision-making process is that we like to buy Australian. We live in a great country and we want to support it. This is easier said than done as so many products available in Australia are made by an international company.

Serendipity, or whatever you'd like to call it, then stepped in and one of my daily blogs (Down to Earth) happened to feature a great post. So I read the comments and some-one mentioned that they just happen to make their own dishwasher powder. Google quickly revealed a 'recipe' and I happily trotted out to the supermarket to get the ingredients. Yep, they are all available at the supermarket - perfect for one-stop-shoppers like me. You see, it means I only have to get the littlest one in and out of the car once! Here are the ingredients just waiting to be mixed.

In my supermarket the Borax was in the cleaning section, near the cloudy ammonia and surface cleaners. The Bi-Carb Soda and Citric Acid were in the cooking section, between the flour and the cooking chocolate. Who doesn't know where the cooking chocolate is?! The essential oil was near the candles and the salt I had in my pantry cupboard. Not too tricky at all - yay!

The best bit about the ingredients, for me, was that the Bi-Carb and Citric Acid were definitely Australian owned and made! Very exciting!!!

So then came the mixing. All ingredients are added to the one receptacle, anything as long as you can close it properly. And then you shake it up. Nothing tricky about that hey? And it would have only taken 5-10 minutes to make if I hadn't been taking photos along the way!  I am liking this powder more and more. At this point I had my fingers crossed it would pass it's test by actually cleaning everything in the dishwasher!

And so we loaded up the dishwasher. I admit that I made the first load a kind load. I really wanted this stuff to work! It was easy to make with convenient ingredients. The first load's cleanliness was (almost) fantastic. Everything came out sparkling. Except for the rings in my tea cups... So I must rinse my tea cups or give them a quick spray of vinegar before putting them in the dishwasher. This sacrifice I will very willingly undertake! Although, in my next batch I am going to put a bit more salt and see if that helps. 

I even gave away a jar of the stuff for further testing and the recipient has since asked me for the recipe - I think it's a winner for her too. If you'd also like the recipe check out the first photo at the top of this post. That is all it is - really! Just mix and shake. Then add 1-2 tablespoons to your dishwasher load. We put a good heaped spoon in the dispenser, and if it's a heavy load I toss a bit more over the bottom of the dishwasher as well - just for good luck! I doubled the recipe when I made it too, this means I have to make it even less frequently.

The price breakdown is quite exciting too. 
1 jar of Borax (500g)                     $4.46
1 1/2 jars of C. Acid  (75g each)   $3.45
     - 1 jar is $2.38
1/2 box of Bi-Carb (estimate)        $1.83
     - 1 box is $3.65
Salt (estimate only)                       $0.40
                                    Total       $14.61

This bottle below shows how much powder was made. I estimate it will last about a month, let's say 30 loads in the dishwasher. So that makes it about 34c/load. Quite a bit less than a reasonable quality tablet! And this powder has integrity - great ingredients made with my fair hands!!!

So there you go. A simple solution to an everyday problem. I like it. Sorted anything out like this yourself lately? The Down to Earth blog has other great options for home-made cleaners if you're keen... I am when it's convenient and makes life better in some way. Or when it gives me more time to have a cup of tea. More about tea and me on Wednesday... See you then.

PS. If you knew me in a previous part of my life you may well find the concept of me making my very own dishwasher powder rather hilarious - so do I! So join me in giggling about it!!!

PPS. The essential oil is only in there for the smell, so feel free to leave it out. I do like the citrus smell it gives though.


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  7. Just like to let you know that 1kg of dishwasher powder (about the same as your recipe makes) from Aldi costs only $3.99 - about 13 cents per wash.
    Also, I think your maths per load is a bit off - $14.61 divided by 30 loads works out to be 49 cents per load.

    1. Hi! Thanks for your comment... Well done on finding a cheaper option! We try and buy from Australian companies around here and so unfortunately Aldi is out for us... Hope your dishes are shining bright! Emm.


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