General ramblings

Washing up

Wow, how’s that for an exciting blog post title..?
I bet that had you clicking on it faster than, ermmmm, a fast thing going fast.

Right, in the spirit of Make Do and Mend and sheer bloody minded-ness, I decided I wanted to try and make my own dishwasher tablets.
So I have.

Here is what I did.

  • Searched Pinterest for “homemade dishwasher tablets”
  • Found a recipe (from Louise’s Country Closet)
  • Read the reviews and discounted any slightly negative ones as that is not what my brain wants to hear
  • Assembled the ingredients-1 cup borax (I have no idea if it would work with Borax substitute, but the recipe does say you can leave out the borax entirely, so I am guessing it would be ok), 1 cup washing soda (soda crystals), 1/4 cup epsom salts, and lemon juice


  • Followed the instructions-mix all the dry ingredients together and then gradually add lemon juice until it starts to clump together (think the right consistency snow for snowballs)
  • Went to the freezer to get out ice cube trays, realised that the freezer REALLY does need de-frosting, the ice cube trays were inaccessible and desperately scouted round for alternatives, decided on egg boxes, found two, used these and then still needed something else, raided the recycling bin for more egg boxes without luck, but found an empty chocolate tray and decided to use this instead


  • Wodged the stuff into the improvised moulds and left to dry out a bit overnight
  • Attempted to remove from moulds for storing sensible in a box, but then decided they are a bit too crumbly and will have to be stored in their moulds
Not the greatest storage solution, I will admit...

Not the greatest storage solution, I will admit…

I tried the first one out today, and it worked ok. One saucepan with some burnt bits on it (not that I burn food, honest…) still had a couple of marks on it, but everything else looked clean. I will do some more research and let you know…

I have done a few washes with these now, and I have to admit that they are not that great. They work ok for “lightly soiled” items, but anything with anything cooked or baked on doesn’t come up sparkly 🙁
Hey ho, worth a try though, and I will use them up, but then I think we are back to good old Ecover.

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  • Reply booketta October 3, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    I don’t have a dishwasher as it broke and OH refuses to have another one. We needed it when we both worked and everyone was home. Now we do have everyone home but OH and I are home based so it saves he says. I don’t know! Anyway, well done on making tablets, I would not have known where to start.

    • Reply Jen October 3, 2013 at 4:19 pm

      Pinterest, always start with Pinterest..!!

      • Reply booketta October 4, 2013 at 4:32 pm

        I forget about Pinterest sometimes. YouTube can be informative too 🙂

        • Reply Jen October 7, 2013 at 12:41 pm

          I always forget about You Tube! Between us, we’ve got it covered though..!

  • Reply Lou October 3, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    Thanks for this, sounds good! I make my own washing powder so should really give dishwasher tablets a go soon. My online shop also sells all the ingredients (minus the lemon!), so I have no excuse really 🙂 Soda crystals are great for so many things, they’re a staple in my house now.

    • Reply Jen October 3, 2013 at 4:19 pm

      I’m always a bit scared of soda crystals-think I muddle them up with caustic soda in my head…!

  • Reply purplekatie October 3, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Will keep this is mind for when we move & have room for a dishwasher. I was starting to wonder how much we would have to spend on tablets & now I don’t have to worry quite so much! 🙂

    • Reply Jen October 3, 2013 at 4:18 pm

      You can use white vinegar for rinse aid too 🙂

  • Reply sarah@everydaylifeonashoestring October 3, 2013 at 10:37 am

    I had a go at making dishwasher powder but it really wasn’t very effective. Might try yours when we next run out of tablets.

    • Reply Jen October 3, 2013 at 4:18 pm

      I’ll let you know if it’s worth doing! 1st wash was ok 🙂

  • Reply Hayley October 3, 2013 at 9:04 am

    That seems like a lot of effort (& mess) to me.

    We ditched our dishwasher about 18 months ago. Just a small squirt of ecover or fairy and a bowl of hot water now. We have saved on the cost of tablets, water consumption and our electric bill went down £200 over the year (we did buy an energy efficient washing machine at the same time which contributed to this saving)
    I quite like washing up now in an old school kind of way! 🙂

    • Reply Jen October 3, 2013 at 9:28 am

      Hi Hayley
      It took less than 10 minutes and I already had all the ingredients so it wasn’t really a lot of effort.
      We got a dishwasher a few years ago, as from our research we found that they were more energy and water efficient than washing by hand. We have solar panels so as long as we put it on during the day, there is little or no cost for the electricity!

  • Reply lesleygcooper October 3, 2013 at 7:52 am

    this looks an interesting idea and I would like to have a go. I don’t have the ingredients, where did you get yours? Do you know how much they cost per dishwash?
    I am thinking of getting a bulk purchase of ingredients like these, but need to make sure I would use them first!

    • Reply Jen October 3, 2013 at 9:26 am

      Hi Lesley
      I got everything from Summer Naturals
      I think the cost worked out at about 85p, and I should get 30 or 40 washes from it.
      You can use the ingredients for all kinds of other things-making bath bombs and bath salts (epsom salts) for Christmas, as well as other cleaning jobs 🙂

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