I can’t get over how expensive dishwasher tablets are. Especially the “ECO” varieties… If you haven’t heard of ‘green washing’, let me fill you in quickly: Some companies like to tell us what they’re NOT including in their products, and print words like ‘natural’, ‘green’, ‘eco’ etc., yet still use some very questionable ingredients. In Australia, companies are not required to list ingredients on the labels of their cleaning products.
This recipe began as a powder. The tablet version was born after continual frustration from my husband and I, when using the powder version. It had a tendency of clumping together into a solid block, meaning we were hacking at it with a knife to break blocks off… GRRR! I figured that purposely clumping powder together and making “tablets” myself meant we’d have less hassle each evening getting lovely non-toxic dishwasher powder into our dishwasher! It’s so easy to do. If you’re not already making your own, get onto it. Stat!
Makes: 850g (approximately 40 tablets)
(links provided for ingredients available here at The Inspired Little Pot)
100g fine salt (pantry item/market/supermarket)
250g citric acid
200g natural borax
30 drops of essential oils (my oil of choice is lemon) *see notes below
Silicone ice cube or mini-muffin tray
- Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl, whisking until well combined.
- Using a tablespoon, scoop mixture into a silicone ice cube or muffin tray, and pack in firmly.
- Allow mixture to harden in a cool place (such as laundry), for at least 24-48 hours, or until very firm and dry to touch.
- Gently turn the tray upside down over a tea towel (see notes) and tap until tablets fall out. Transfer into an airtight container.
- Place one tablet in the dispenser or on the floor of your dishwasher prior to operation.
- Store in a cool, dry place.
- Don’t be limited by my essential oil suggestions. They can be substituted with oils that fit your budget, or with those that you already have in your collection. I recommend that you source essential oils from a brand you trust. Do your research. Ensure that crops are grown and harvested without the use of pesticides and that chemical processes are not used when the oils are extracted. Do not rely on statements on labels such as ‘100% pure’. I now stock essential oils from brands I trust – you can check them out here. Refer to this blog post for inspiration on essential oil blends.
- My biggest tip is to avoid overfilling your dishwasher with dishes. No dishwasher will clean well when everything is crammed together!! Rinse plates off quickly before stacking and check the little cage and filter in your dishwasher and clean out that gunk. This will help your dishwasher to give your dishes the best clean possible.
- Results may vary depending on how hard the water is in your area. If this recipe isn’t working for you as is, try experimenting by adding an extra tsp of borax or citric acid to each load until you figure out exactly what works for you.
- Rather than the fluorescent blue/green rinse aid stuff you can buy, you could use 1/2 cup of vinegar in a ramekin on the very top shelf. My glasses come out with a few water marks but I am willing to make that sacrifice if it means less chemicals are being sprayed all over the plates and spoons we eat from.
- Tablets may stick together, depending on how much moisture gets into your storage container. They should, however, come apart easily enough. If this really bothers you, line tablets on some baking paper and create layers.
- If you leave this completed recipe (the powder) in a container, it will solidify – so making tablets is best. If your dishwasher only takes powder, either crush before use or throw on the floor of the dishwasher.
- Kmart has great ice-cube trays with silicone bottoms that allow you to pop tablets out easily.
- When removing tablets, do so over your dishwasher so any excess particles land in your dishwasher rather than wasted on the bench or floor!
- I trust that you will make the decision on whether this formula is suitable for your dishwasher. I cannot take any responsibility if your dishwasher doesn’t agree with this recipe.
- Read here for more tips on maximising your success using natural dishwasher tablets.