Monday, May 23, 2011

Hard Water Stains? Dishwasher detergent that works!


**Updated**

Since moving to an area that has particularly hard water, and with the mandated formula change to all dishwasher detergents, my dishes are an absolute mess.

They are clean, I promise.  But they don't look very clean, they look cloudy.  My glass, my Tupperware  even some of my metal items are all cloudy.  It has been driving me nuts.

After seeing someone else make homemade laundry detergent (more on that tomorrow), I started thinking...perhaps I could come up with a homemade dishwasher detergent that would help with my problem of cloudy dishes.  So I started researching and researching and came up with a MAGICAL SOLUTION that actually gets my dishes clean!



Wanna see how well it works?  Here's my before and after!


Amazing huh?  (Yes, this is really embarrassing to admit my glasses were so gross looking!  I hated having people over because they were just yucky.  Of course, every one's glasses here look like that...so no one was judging...but it bothered me that my glasses looked like that!)

After making it, found a cute jar to put it in and then cut some brown vinyl letters so everyone would know what was in the jar.  Then I couldn't help myself, I added vinyl on the top to say how much to use. 



And then, because I am super lazy and didn't want to have remember my recipe, I cut brown vinyl for the back of the jar with my recipe!  (I love love love using vinyl for things like this!!)



And just like magic, my dishes are now clean!!  And this is definitely a cost effective way to wash dishes too.** 

Home Made Dishwasher Detergent
  • 2 c borax
  • 2 c Arm & Hammer washing soda
  • 2 c lemi shine*
  • 1 c kosher salt
I found the borax, washing soda and lemi shine all at my local Walmart.  They were near the laundry and dish soap section that are currently combined at my store because they are in the middle of a remodel.  But you should find them in similar places in a similar kind of store.  Kosher salt was with the baking items. 

(I forgot to take a photo of the items but here is what they look like to help you find them!)

Borax, Multi-Purpose Cleaner (4 lbs 12 oz/76 oz/2.2 kg) Arm & Hammer Super Wash Soda, Detergent Booster 55 oz (1559 g) 
Lemishine Super Concentrated Powder Morton coarse kosher salt 3 lb
click on the above photos to purchase these products
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir until mixed.
  2. The citric acid in the lemi shine will make everything get a bit hard.  The first time I made this I put it directly into my container and it all got really really hard.  I had to use a knife to get it out.  So I suggest letting this mixture sit out in a bowl for a couple of days, stirring often.  You will still get a few little "balls" of detergent, but that is just fine!  You just don't want it all in one big piece!  Believe me, this is the best way to go!! ***
  3. The lemi shine suggests running an empty dishwasher cycle with just that in order to clean your dishwasher.  I followed their directions for good measure!
  4. Fill your rinse aid spot with white vinegar.  Add a small container with white vinegar in it to the top rack of your dishwasher before running.  Don't put it in your rinse aid compartment!  (see this post here for more details, but basically, the vinegar isn't compatible with the rubber pieces in the rinse aid compartment!) (This is sooo much cheaper then your typical rinse aid and makes a big difference in how your dishes will turn out!)
  5. Use 1 tbs of detergent per load of dishes.  I do about a 30/70 split with 30% in the pre-wash spot and 70% in the wash spot.  If you don't have a prewash spot, you can put it all in the wash spot.
*You can experiment with the lemi shine amount.  The recipes I based this off of called for only 1 cup but said to add more if you have hard water.  I have really hard water, so I ended up using 2 cups and my dishes came out sparkly and shiny!!  If you can't find Lemi-Shine, citric acid should work as well and some had had success using a packet of unsweetened yellow kool-aid lemonade.  I have never personally tried citric acid or kool aid though and be sure not to get colored lemonade as I would worry about it staining...stick with the original yellow kind :)

**I have not done my own personal cost analysis, but several other people have who use similar detergent recipes to mine and cost-wise I think they compare pretty comparable.  That being said, I am estimating my cost per load to be about $0.06.  (Which compared to Finish Power Tabs 100 for $15.50 at Costco = $0.15 a load) is a savings.

***For those having issues with the detergent clumping, please be sure to try the following solutions:

  • Please be sure to follow my instructions in #2 above and let the mixture sit out in a bowl, stirring occasionally.  This solved all of my problems and is a simple solution.  
  • You can also leave the Lemi-Shine out of the mixture and add it directly into the dishwasher each time.
  • Some readers have suggested blending it up, using a silicon packet you find in shoes etc, adding a bit of uncooked rice or putting your detergent into small muffin tins and purposefully letting it harden to create your own tabs.  I have never personally tried these and can't testify to whether or not they work :)
****A few other things I do to help ensure that my dishes get as clean as possible are as follows: pre-wash everything, run my kitchen sink water until it is very hot right before running my dishwasher, make sure you use white vinegar as stated above. And don't be afraid to play around with the proportion of Lemi-Shine; you might need more or less.


This is an eco-friendly dishwasher detergent option if you are looking to decrease the amount of chemicals you use in your home, this would make a great option as well!

I love my sparkly clean dishes!!

Have you found a difference in how clean your dishes get since the dishwasher detergent change?

I would love for you to follow me on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, Pintrest and via email. 

Oh and if you are looking for a great price on vinyl, go check out Expressions Vinyl!

I did a LOT of research when coming up with my final dishwasher detergent solution and trial and error.  This recipe is a combined effort of many sources, much research and a lot of trial and error on my part.  But a lot of my final inspiration came from this post here.

I participate in the link parties found here.
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This post contains affiliate links.

160 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this!! I have tried other versions of dishwasher detergent and they haven't worked for us at all because our water is so hard, too...I'll give this a shot though. I hope it works for us! I've never heard of Lemi-Shine...off to Wal-Mart I go!

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  2. TFS!! I love how you used the vinyl on the jar and put the recipe on it.

    Stopping by from Sew Can Do. Here is what I shared this week: http://craftybrooklynarmywife.blogspot.com/2011/05/red-simplicity-cynthia-rowley-dress.html

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  3. I tried something last year but it left my dishes cloudy after a bit, I think the lemishine here will do the trick. Thanks for the information.

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  4. Hmmmm, we have REALLY hard water so I will have to try this, too! Right now I'm using finish gel packs with a cup of vinegar for a rinse aid and that works fabulously for us, but it is a little pricey. I imagine this would be cheaper, I'll have to add to my walmart list for tomorrow!

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  5. my dishes look like your "before" - - here's to hoping this miracle works for me!

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  6. Oh gosh, I definitely want to try this! THANKS!

    www.iheartmygluegun.com

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  7. I'm experimenting with making dishwasher detergent too. Instead of Lemi Shine or citric acid I use powdered lemonade mix. It works well and is a bit cheaper too.

    Do you find that the Kosher salt does anything?

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  8. Hello! Newest follower from the Give It To Me Monday blog hop! Would love for you to stop by and follow back, whenever you get a chance. Have a great week! (:

    Amber
    http://beautifullybellafaith.blogspot.com

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  9. Great idea! My dishes look fine but the dishwasher has hard water build up. I'm sure this will help! And it has to be more eco-friendly, too.

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  10. Thanks for posting! I, too, was having problems with our dishes coming out of the dishwasher looking clean. My husband called a place to have the dishwasher looked at and they told us about Lemi Shine (which I see you used). If, for some reason you want to use regular detergent again, you can also use the Lemi Shine (instructions on the back) with the detergent. Man, that stuff has made a difference!

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  11. You are definitely not alone in the cloudy yet clean dish dept!

    Would love for you to share over at Calling All Crafters!
    http://allthingsfee.blogspot.com/2011/05/calling-all-crafters-8th-edition.html

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  12. Hi! Following you from the Meet Me Monday blog hop! I Hope you visit my Cajun blog and return the follow!
    - Jessica @ http://cajunlicious.com

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  13. I'm so glad I found this via Pinterest today! We have removed most commercial cleaners from our home and I recently picked up the 365 brand detergent from Whole Foods and it has turned our glasses this way. I'll be running to the store to get Lemi Shine ASAP! Thanks for sharing and such a cute jar!!

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  14. Wow I have to try this. Thanks!
    Lisa
    theenchantedoven.blogspot.com

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  15. This is awesome! It took me a lot of research to find a half decent detergent since they changed their formulas! I would love if you would share this at my party! http://usandthem1971.blogspot.com/2011/05/link-party-4.html Hope to see ya there! Chris

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  16. I love lemi shine! It's one of my favorite products ever! I'm going to have to add this to my list to try!:) Thanks!

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  17. Thank you for posting this! We have semi-hard water and I'm a little worried about what our dishes will look like when we run out of our phosphorus-based cascade tabs. I've never heard of lemi-shime but I will check it out!

    Popping over from strictly homemade!

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  18. awesome awesomE///love this and its cute container, will try..ill let you know when i do and link back to you
    NEW FOLLOWER!!!
    http://jaysonandashley.blogspot.com/

    THANK YOU THANK YOU

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  19. I have very hard water... perhaps I will try :)

    www.thecraftytulip.blogspot.com

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  20. This is awesome. i didn't know you could make your own soap like that. what a difference in how it washed up you glass.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Found you from Sew Can Do.

    Would love if you would link up with us at http://www.nothingbutcountry.com on our 1st link up party too. Love your ideas.

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  21. Thanks for the recipe I think I will do this for Neighbor/Teacher gifts at Christmas time. We had this problem last Summer and found the Lemishine solved it. I just use a little with the cascade gel tabs and our dishes are back to normal. Come and join out link party: http://fabricbowsandmore.blogspot.com/

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  22. Wow! Thanks so much for posting this! We have tried dish detergent after dish detergent and our dishes always come out looking so nasty! I have looked into many different homemade detergents and this stuff sounds amazing! We already went out last night and bought the stuff! The dishwasher is currently running using this new detergent so we will see how it turns out! :D

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  23. i made some of the detergent too...i only had a few things to come out cloudy and they were platic pieces...i also have very hard water...i was afraid my dishes were not getting clean so i mixed a little powdered dish detergent with it...i also have read that you can use a drop or 2 of dish soap in with it...i tried that too...i will give this a shot also... thanks for sharing...found you at someday crafts

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  24. Can't wait to try this! Loving the vinyl recipe. I'll be trying this ASAP - thanks so much for sharing at The Thrifty Home :)

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  25. Great idea. Looks like it works really well. Thanks for the proof.LOL! I'm so trying this. Our hard water is awful.

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  26. Thanks for linking up at I Made It! Monday at Ninth Street Notions. I'm going to feature this great project! Come grab a button.

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  27. I LOVE this! Thanks for sharing at Make Something Mondays! I've featured you this week! Go take a peek!

    http://sarahndipities.blogspot.com/2011/05/make-something-monday-link-party-13.html

    ~ Sarah

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  28. Thanks for the recipe. I'm using one that requires citric acid but I have trouble finding it. I'm going to try the lemi shine next time! Great project.

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  29. I've been wanting to try something like this. so awesome. I will definitely need to come back and try it out.

    kathryn
    www.thedragonsfairytail.blogspot.com

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  30. Hey Ashley, I just wanted to tell you that your post came just in the nick of time. I was running super low on dishwashing soap, and was just about to buy some more. Then I read how easy this recipe was, and of course couldn't wait to try it.

    I only found the liquid lemi shine at the store, so I used citric acid instead, and added some baking soda, just for kicks, he he. SO FAR, I am loving, LOVING, LOVING this so much, and the fact that I made it, and it's eco friendly and it works is just awesome.

    I will be doing a post on this soon, and of course link back to you girl.

    Thanks so much for linking up to my party :)
    I loved this so much, I featured you girl!
    Come grab a button girl, and display it proudly!

    Hugs, Bella **Features from week #38** @ Bella Before and After

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  31. Just made my own and my dishwasher looks better then every. My dishes look so much cleaner too! I don't have glass glasses, but my stainless steal items look much better and so do the plastic cups;)

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  32. I cannot wait to make this today! Thank you!

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  33. I wish I could get lemishine here in Canada - citric acid is hard to find - anyone know of a good substitute for lemishine???

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    Replies
    1. Unsweetened Lemonade flavor Kool Aid. Can you get that in Canada?

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  34. OMGosh! I read every comment and your post twice! WOW! you are one smart cookie! And HELLO BIG COMPANIES OUT THERE HELLO listen to this lady! Hello!I just don't understand these people, they don't listen to the consumer do they! Bloggers are SO inspiring! It is amazing every day, I just cannot get enough of the innovative ways we take care of stuff when noone will fix what is broken! So you make it yourself! WOW you are great!!!!!
    Why don't you write to them maybe you can make yourself some moola! they should hire you girl! I am going to try this too! AWESOME! Thank you so much for posting and sharing!!! hugs Kat =^.^= one of your newest Followers!

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  35. Excited to try this- I've tried several recipes and none have worked. Love the recipe on the jars too!
    Smart!

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  36. I have been looking for a recipe for dishwasher detergent that worked without leaving a film. We resorted to using store brand detergent and adding some Lemi-Shine to that. I never even thought about adding it to the homemade stuff. Talk about a blonde moment. :) Thank you sooooooooo much!! I can not wait to try this!

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  37. OH MY!!! I cannot believe the difference this made on your glasses. I have a very special pitcher that is ruined due to our extremely hard water. I am going to make this and will hope that I get the same results :) Did you have to wash the glasses more than once to get the film off or did it work the first time?

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  38. Hi. I originally found this recipe on another blog (but of course can't remember which one!)but now found it on yours. My question is, why kosher salt instead of regular salt? Regular salt has an anti-caking agent, and the kosher salt I used (because it does not have a caking agent) caused my whole recipe to turn into one rock-solid chunk that I can't even chip off in order to use. Is it really necessary to use kosher salt? I'd sure like to use this recipe, but even though my container is tight, my soap is in one big chunk. :-( Maybe you and your other readers would please let me know how this worked for you and if you were able to keep it flowing so you could use it. Thanks very much!! I'm eager to use this, for I'm very happy with my homemade laundry detergent and wanted to have a good recipe for my dishes too. :-)

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  39. I think this works hands down better than even the most expensive dishwasher soap out there. Thank you thank you!

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  40. I am so excited you shared this idea and recipe!! I have a question for you, though! At my local store, there was liquid and granulated/powder Lemi-Shine. Which did you use? I assumed it was the powder, but when I mixed mine, it didn't clump at all! Did I use the right one or did I do something wrong? I have noticed an improvement in my dishes, but just wanted to check! Thanks!!!

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  41. This was a great post! I too have very hard water! Thanks for the before and after picture. You did a great job explaining all of that!

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  42. Thanks for sharing this. I love it. I'm on my second batch. We have really hard water and I used the 2 cups of lemi shine as well (basically the whole bottle!).

    On a side note, this also makes a really good scrub if you have lots of hard water build-up in your shower or sinks. We moved into a house that had been empty for a long time (it had been a foreclosure and was in not fixer-upper shape) and the bathroom was horrible. I took some of this mixture, added some water to make a paste (it bubbles) and scrubbed the shower down. It seriously removed all the soap scum and hard water marks.

    Thanks so much for sharing.

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  43. This looks great!! I would love to try it but we have a high efficiency dishwasher. Do you know if this is safe to use in one? Thank you for your help.

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  44. The Haydens - from what I have read, nothing in these ingredients should cause any issues in an HE dishwasher. I honestly have never heard of an HE dishwasher though!! How cool is that!?

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  45. Another poster asked this and I didn't see the answer so I'm hoping someone will answer me....
    Can you use regular salt instead of the kosher salt? What is the difference in the two for this recipe? Will regular salt not work?

    Thanks!!!

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  46. I have incredibly hard water too, and I LOVE Lemi Shine. I use Method Smarty Dish (grapefruit) and a smidge of powdered soap in the pre-rinse compartment, and I add a little Lemi Shine to each compartment. Makes a world of difference in how shiny my dishes are, and how shiny my stainless steel dishwasher interior is! Also: after I unload it, I spray the inside with some white vinegar. Especially in the rails for the top rack and in any other places where the deposits seem to accumulate (also on the floor of the machine, just under where the thickness of the door would be when it's closed)

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  47. We have terrible hard water and I can't wait to try this! I made my own laundry soap the other day and I love it! I love the smell of it too! That is almost as important to me as how well it cleans! :)
    I would love to know what font you used for cutting out your vinyl! CUTE! As soon as I find Lemi Shine I will be making my own batch up! Can't wait!

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  48. Hi Amy!

    Thanks for stopping by! I hope you love this dishwasher detergent as much as we do!

    When I cut this this vinyl out I didn't have my Silhouette, but I borrowed my friend's Cricut. I used the Lyrical Letter's cartridge though to cut these letters out.

    I usually by Lemi Shine at WalMart! I believe it is near the dishwasher detergent area, but it is definitely with the cleaning supplies. For a long time near me they kept it out in the aisle though.

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  49. Thank you for this recipe! I made this a couple months ago with some success. At first, I didn't have any problem with it clumping together. It worked great! But as time went on, the concoction turned into a boulder! I had to chip away at it to get any out and it stopped getting my dishes clean. They looked like they did before using this recipe, maybe worse! So, since it's the citric acid in the LemiShine that causes it to harden, I made a new batch. This time I left the LemiShine out. I now add that to my dishwasher seperately and it works great!

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  50. I just made a small batch of dishwasher detergent this morning that I hope will work. I used 1/2 cup Borax, 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup washing soda, 1/2 cup cascade and 1/4 cup Lemi Shine. I used the cascade because I read somewhere about someone doing that and figured I could stretch it out really far this way and use way less per load. Now after reading about the citric acid in the Lemi Shine causing the batch to harden I think I'll leave it out and just add it separately per load. Here's hoping this works!

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  51. I made this dish detergent and I LOVE it...except my silverware comes out dirty...any suggestions?

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  52. Hi Carrie!

    I am happy to hear you like the dish detergent!

    But that is strange that your silverware comes out dirty :(

    A few other things I do to help ensure that my dishes get as clean as possible are as follows: pre-wash everything, run my kitchen sink water until it is very hot right before running my dishwasher, make sure you use white vinegar in the rinse compartment. Also you can try adding a bit more Lemi-Shine or just adding a bit more detergent to your dishwasher.

    Let me know how it turns out!

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  53. for all of you who have super hard water (as do I) I found that filling your sink with HOT water and vinegar and then letting your dish/cup/silverware/plastic-ware sit in the mix over night and then rinse with cool water in the am (sometimes you may have to run a sponge over it..and I mean sometimes) will get the "fog" off ANYTHING!!! I did this to my dishes b4 I started using the homemade soap just as she has listed and they have been amazingly "fog" free! :)

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  54. Carrie, I was having the same problem! Solved it by placing a cup (coffee) right side up full of vinegar on the top rack of the dishwasher (dishwasher empty) ran the hot water in my sink till HOT and was sure the disposal was run and cleaned then did a "pots and pans" "high temp" "sanitizing" rinse wash to clean the dishwasher.. I did it a 2nd time (right after)but this time I added baking soda AND lemi shine to the bottom of the dishwasher and I have yet to have the problem again... hope it helps!!

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  55. We made the soap on Saturday and the next day went to use it and it was hard as a rock. Everything had stuck together. What did I do Erin.g or what can I do?

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  56. VinylDesign -

    I believe that the Lemi Shine will cause this to happen (the citric acid I believe?) Anyway, I have two solutions for you.

    1. Make the detergent and leave it out in a bowl for about 24 hours. Occasionally stir it and break apart any pieces that form. After a day or two, you can put it in a jar and it should be fine.

    2. Leave the Lemi Shine out of the mixture and add it in to your dishwasher separately.

    I have done both methods and it works just fine :)

    Have a wonderful day!

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  57. Any chance I can use iodized instead of kosher salt?

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  58. Just found this fabulous recipe for the dishwasher! Thank you for making a recipe in smaller quantities. I was hesitant to try other similar recipes that called for entire boxes of ingredients. This, I can do!!

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  59. So, I'm not a very good reader LOL. Mine is hard as a rock in the container. Going to have to toss it out and make it without the Lemi Shine. It drives the kids nuts and I'm constantly jabbing at it with a butter knife.

    And my silverware always come out cloudy. Meh.

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  60. Ok I have made this two times. The first time it got hard as a rock. This time it is trying (in a air tight container) but I keep shaking it so it doesn't. Has anyone else experienced this?? Please let me know. Thanks!!

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  61. Hi - I have been making this recipe for a couple of months - found it on a different blog. I halve the recipe so it fits in a pint jar. I add about 15 drops of grapefruit essential oil to it too. Before I start the dishwasher, I also put a cup or so of vinegar in the bottom of the dishwasher and 2-3 SMALL drops of blue Dawn dishwashing soap. Its amazing how good this all works. I didn't enjoy the soap as much until the vinegar and Dawn addition. I always use vinegar as the rinse aid. I have found that some of the food residue is not completely scraped off of silverware and some plates (eggs, peanut butter on spoons, etc) so I just rinse those better before going in. I was a total non-rinser before. Now I figure its worth my time with as much money as I'm saving. I also shut off the 'heated dry' cycle. Our electric bill went down just from this. Not much but definately a noticable difference. I have even thought about adding a few marshmallows to the jar to keep it from clumping - mine doesn't clump bad -just sticks to the bottom of the jar. I figure if the marshmallows work to keep brown sugar from clumping why wouldn't it work for this?

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  62. Does this work with soft water too??

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  63. I'm curious about the salt, too, didn't put it in my current batch but want to know if it will make a difference next time. And good news, I found a 2x refill pack of Lemi Shine at my grocery store last week.

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  64. One of the previous comments asked if the Lemishine is powder or liquid. I didn't see an answer but would like to get some feedback before I make this.

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  65. Jodi - the LemiShine is a powder.

    I usually respond to all comments via email as long as the email isn't a noreply email. When I created this post I had no idea it would become so popular. Now I try to respond via email if possible as well as answer on my blog. So I am sorry you couldn't find the answer. But I hope this helps!

    Good luck and I hope you love it as much as I do!

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  66. Unknown - I'm sorry but I don't understand your question about the salt. Let me know and I'd be happy to answer any questions for you!

    Great find on the lemishine!
    Ashley

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  67. Thanks for the information. I am wondering if I can use "rock" salt only because I have some in the pantry. Well, maybe I will purchase kosher salt just to be safe. Thanks again.

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  68. Royalty - Thanks for stopping by!

    I am really not sure if rock salt would work. I do know that rock salt is inedible though...and I am not sure how well it would dissolve in a dishwasher and if it might leave any residue on the dishes or not.

    Sorry I don't have an answer to your question.

    Good luck!

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  69. SB - yes, I don't see why this wouldn't work with soft water. Although I don't have soft water so I don't know from personal experience :)

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  70. Thanks for the info. I made this up and found that I had to let the mixture sit out for about 4 days before it quit clumping. It may be affected be the amount of humidity (or lack of) in your kitchen or maybe even the temperature of the room. Anyhow, once it quit, I put it in an empty Oxyclean containter (I'm keeping it under the sink, so it doesn't need to be pretty) and it seems to be working fine. I am also using the white vinegar for the rinse aid. Thanks so much for passing this information on to everyone. I've shared it with my friends, also.

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  71. I mixed some up for my house - thank you!

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  72. I mixed up a batch this morning, and left it in my Ninja processor all day, hitting the pulse every now and again. At this point (about 6 hours later) it is such a big wad of gum that my Ninja won't even spin it. I followed the recipe exactly, except cut it in half. Anyone else have this trouble? I'll continue to break it up by hand for a day or two (if I can), but I'm considering adding water and making it a liquid.

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  73. Hi Denise! Thanks for stopping by.

    I am wondering, if, because your mixture was in an "air tight" container, if that is causing the problem.

    When I made this the first time, I put it directly into a container and it became a big hard rock! But the second time I left it out in a bowl and just stirred it by hand every once in a while.

    When I let it sit out for a day or two, it did not clump together.

    So, I am thinking that perhaps, since it was in a container, it clumped on you.

    Thanks for stopping by and please let me know if you have any further questions!

    Thanks!
    Ashley

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  74. Is this mixture septic safe? Everyone said eco-friendly, but I have to make sure! Thanks in advance! Joni

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  75. Hi Joan!

    I have never had a septic tank before so I am not completely familiar with the requirements for septic safe.

    But I did a few google searches for each individual ingredient and it appears as though each ingredient is marketed as "septic tank safe."

    Salt is a bit of a "controversial" element, but based on the reading below, my guess is that you are not putting enough salt in there to make a difference.

    I am not, however, an expert in this area. Just a mom, who found a solution that worked for me. I can't guarantee the safety or results of this product for anyone else.

    But here are the resources I found for your information that leads me to believe that all ingredients in this mixture are septic safe:

    Borax and Washing Soda: http://www.ehow.com/about_5498702_borax-vs-washing-soda.html

    Lemi-Shine: https://getsatisfaction.com/envirocon/topics/is_lemi_shine_safe_for_septic_systems

    Effects of Salt on Septic Tanks: http://www.livestrong.com/article/209315-do-salt-based-water-softener-systems-harm-home-septic-systems/

    Vinegar: http://www.dlg.nsw.gov.au/DLG/Documents/information/ssguide.pdfhttp://www.dlg.nsw.gov.au/DLG/Documents/information/ssguide.pdf

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  76. I *think* I read all the comments on this, but I didn't find an answer to this question: Is there a particular reason to ues Kosher salt rather than iodized, which I already have?

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    Replies
    1. Me either. I'd like to know if one could use a less expensive salt.

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  77. Tried it and works great! Recommending it to everyone I know. It has also been pinned on my board.
    http://pinterest.com/pin/144396731773027222/

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  78. dayuntoday - great question.

    Salt can help to soften water as well as act as a scouring agent. Salt can also help to cut the grease.

    However, salt is not completely necessary in this recipe and you can even try the recipe leaving salt out all together. I like it though because I have particularly hard water.

    I have heard of some people using table salt and having fine results. Other people say to stay away from table salt.

    I always suggest referring to your owner's manual, there is often a section on salt in there. And of course you can feel free to do your own research on the topic. But most Homemade Dishwasher Detergents call for Kosher salt from what I can find.

    I am not, however, an expert in this area. Just a mom, who found a solution that worked for me. I can't guarantee the safety or results of this product for anyone else.

    Thanks so much!

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  79. If your mixture is clumping, try the following solutions:

    1. leave your mixture out in a bowl for several days, stirring often

    2. citric acid / lemi shine is the cause of the clumping so you can leave this out of the mixture and add it directly to the dishwasher upon each use

    3. don't place directly in an air tight container, use a bag or a bowl and stir/mix often for several days

    4. if it gets really clumpy, put it in a food processor or blender and blend until it is powdered again

    Good luck!

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  80. I bought a new Finish product called Power Up, just started seeing commercials for it....guess it's new! I'm going to try making some and using it in place of Lemi Shine, I do really like your recipe but this mixture might not clump...not sure! :) I will let you know how it works! Fingers crossed!

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  81. I would love to know how the new product works The Oliver Family!! Please keep me posted!

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  82. Ashley, this sounds like the answer to my problem. Much cheaper than a new dishwasher! lol! If I were to put the Lemi Shine in separate, do you have a guestamate of how much to use per load? I have all the ingredients and am ready to make a batch, but rather it not clump or harden, so I's just as soon put the LS in per load. Thank you so much for the recipe and all your helpful ideas and hints. Pam

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  83. Pam, yes, just guesstimate how much lemi shine to add per load. If your dishes are cloudy, add a little more next time etc.

    Have a wonderful day!

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  84. I've been using your recipe for about 2 weeks now and I need some help! After washing my dishes still come out dirty (stuck on food) and my silverware is especially dirty. Also, there is a grittiness to all of my dishes, especially the plastic ones. It feels like there was a sand storm in my dishwasher and not all the sand washed away! Today I washed a load of dishes 3 times, plus a rinse cycle before washing, with various amounts of detergent, vinegar added in the bottom of the machine and even with a few drops of blue dawn. They were still dirty after the third wash. They are being washed a 4th time right now with Cascade. I really don't want to give up on this recipe (as I have bunches left), but I am not saving any money by washing my dishes 4 times in a day or handwashing those that still are dirty. I have put vinegar in the rinse agent spot and I'm not using the dry cycle. I would guess that we have pretty hard water, too. Any advice is greatly appreciated! Thanks!

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  85. dizzymomma,

    Oh no! Sandstorms in the dishwasher are no good!

    One thing I noticed was the the amount of detergent used could play a difference in its effectiveness. You could try using less detergent or using more and seeing if you can find the right balance. 1 Tbs worked for me, but this can vary depending on water quality levels.

    Also, you can play around the the amount of Lemi-Shine. Depending on hard water levels, again, you might need more then I've added.

    But it sounds like your food particles aren't dissolving all the way and leaving the dishwasher. And I am curious if you've experienced this problem prior to using a home made recipe or if this is a new problem.

    The Kosher salt acts as a mild water softener and as a scrubbing agent, so you could also experiment with the ratio of salt in the mixture as well.

    I hope the sand storms die down quickly in your dishwasher and I would love to hear if you find a mixture that works well for you!

    Good luck!

    Ashley

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  86. I use a very similar recipe except instead of Lemi Shine (a product I have never heard of so now I'm interested!) use 10 packets of unsweetened lemonade. Kroger sells theirs for 10 for a $1. I will never buy dishwasher tabs or liquid again!

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  87. Thanks for the post. I'm thinking of trying it but I wish your before and after pictures were taken in the same place. The after is taken against a white wall so there is no way to tell if the cloudiness is all gone. But I have to admit, despite my natural tendencies toward skepticism, the comments are encouraging. :)

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  88. Andrea - I have heard that unsweetened lemonade works as well! I am glad to know that you have success with it! And thanks for passing the tips along to everyone! Thanks for stopping by and for taking the time to comment!

    Katie - Yes, that was definitely an afterthought...having the photos taken in the same spot. :( Thanks for stopping by and for taking the time to comment!

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  89. I just saw this on Pinterest and had to check out your recipe. I, too, have been making the soap and love it...though my jar is not as cute as yours! Mine became an absolute brick at first, so I added uncooked rice to the container. I ended up with a lot of cooked rice in the dishwasher! So, now, I keep my container (clearly labeled!) in the refrigerator to prevent clumping! Works perfectly!

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  90. Hi Rachel!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

    I am so glad to know that you've found a great solution to clumping. I had no idea that keeping this in the fridge will prevent it from clumping! I hadn't even thought of that! What a great tip! Thanks so much!

    Have a wonderful day!
    Ashley

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  91. I've seen a lot of "recipes" that say to use vinegar as a rinse aid, but I was recently looking through my dishwasher manual and it specifically says NOT to use vinegar too often (ok as a cleaner) because it will eat away at parts of the dishwasher. Has anyone heard of this?

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  92. Be careful using the vinegar all the time. It strips the oils in the equipment and can actually ruin your dishwasher.

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  93. I have a dishwasher with a stainless steel interior and exterior. I was told not to use anything that has lemon/citrus on the exterior because it would ruin the finish. So, will lemi-shine or fruit-fresh ruin the interior of my stainless steel dishwasher?

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  94. Oh me oh my I can't wait to try this!! I've had it up to my eyeballs with crusty dishes!! And I'm not able to add more salt to our water softener at the moment because my back is wonky. I should be able to carry lemi shine just fine!! ;)

    -Sylv
    sylvieliv.blogspot.com

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  95. Me oh my I can't wait to try this! I've had it up to my eyeballs with crusty dishes!!! And I'm not able to add more salt to our water softener at the moment because my back is wonky!! I should be able to carry Lemi Shine just fine! ;)

    -Sylv
    sylvieliv.blogspot.com

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  96. Sonya - That is a great question! I don't personally have a stainless steel interior dishwasher. I always recommend following your dishwasher manufacturer instructions, but you can also check our lemi-shine's website for more information as well: http://www.lemishine.com/. In their FAQ section they say it is safe for cleaning stainless steel, but I am not sure that that means it is ok for a stainless steel dishwasher! I would recommend calling your dishwasher manufacturer and asking (you can tell them the ingredients in lemi-shine from the back of the bottle) and see what they say.

    Sorry I am not more help, but I have not had any experience with a stainless steel dishwasher!

    Good luck!
    Ashley

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  97. Is there a substitute for the Lemi-Shine? I have been wanting to make homemade dish detergent to go with all my other homemade cleaners, but I am allergic to citric acid and haven't been able to find a recipe with it yet.

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  98. Hi Heather! Hi Heather,

    Some people have used unsweetened lemon aid kool aid. I am not sure if that would cause you issues but it is worth a shot. You can also try this without the lemi shine and see if it works. Just a thought!

    Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

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  99. This did not work for me. The water stains were worse.

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  100. This is great, thank you! I had started a month ago pouring about a cup of vinegar into my dishwasher when doing the dishes, and they've been coming out a whole lot streak-less. Can't wait to try this!

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  101. Thank you for this tip. I recently moved into an apt. The dishwasher must be circa very early 80's or late 70's...Let's put it this way, it doesn't have a part for rinsing agents. I suspect that the tenants before me didn't use it much. I too learned that there is hard water in this area I live in. I tried numerous cleaning products but not quite as spot free as it should be. I will try this and let you know. TY

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  102. If you could guess... How many loads can you do with one batch and about how much did it cost you

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  103. Hi! I have made this and so far I really like it. I have run into a problem though, it has dried up in the container and it's hard. I have to scrape it to get it out and it's all chunky now. Did I do something wrong? I followed all of your directions. The only thing I can think of is that it's been humid here. Thanks!

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  104. I made this and I'm really trying to make it work but they keep coming out cloudy. What could be causing this. I followed the recipe and I keep mixing it up because it did harden?

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  105. The reason why a lot of soaps come in cardboard boxes is so the humidity of the product can be absorbed by the box itself and equalize with your house's humidity as it changes over the weeks/months; also the box flexes as it is picked up and used and that helps break up any large clumping. If you make this, you could store it in a heavy duty small grocery paper sack, (maybe a sturdy paper gift bag would look cute.) or pour it, with a funnel, into an empty dishwasher powder box. If you need to store it in plastic or glass and you live in a humid area, pour uncooked rice onto a square of fabric, tie it up like a sachet and store on top of the actual mixture, to absorb the humidity. (Marshmallows are too tempting for kids to eat.) BTW, salt also draws in moisture, not just Lemi-shine; so does sugar and flour which is why they are sold in paper, not plastic, packaging. Also, kosher salt does not have anti-caking powders added to it, which is why it is kosher; some anti-caking powders do not qualify under strict kosher laws. The clumping you are experiencing is referred to as 'caking' so anti-caking makes sense.) If SOME of the dishes or silverware is not coming clean but the rest is, it may be a blocked spray arm, either it can't go around or the little holes in it are clogged. Also do not pre-rinse, the soap has to have grease to 'eat' or the soap will NOT break down, will remain on your dishes and not be rinsed away, which could LOOK like hard-water film. Dishwashers are designed to have the dishes put in NOT PRE-RINSED. And you should not have to pre-soak if you stick them in immediately and use the quick rinse cycle to get the fresh food off; it leaves enough grease for the soap to work when the real cleaning cycle occurs later. My hubby is a dishwasher expert and I know more about it all than I would really like too hahaha

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  106. Hi this is my first visit here, love this idea but i do dishes my hand no dishwasher...do you have a recipe for dish washing liquid???, sure would love to try making my own..

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  107. Reading through most of the comments, I see salt is a very controversal and confusing element to this recipe. Since someone mentioned using "rock" salt in their recipe and you recommended not using it as it was not edible....my question is could you use sea salt? I'm not familiar with kosher salt and not sure if there is even a big difference from kosher to sea salt?? I just wanted to ask before making a batch or having to run to the store for kosher. (i only have sea salt in my pantry at the moment)...

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  108. Where do you get the vinyl letters?

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  109. Thanks so much for sharing! Where do you get the vinyl lettering?

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  110. Great idea but could you add essential oils like lavender, eucalyptus, patchouli, peppermint, or sandalwood into the laundry and dishwasher mixes?

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  111. With the clumping people r having...I haven't tried it yet but plan on it this week...instead of putting it in a container & it getting rock hard why not try putting some in each compartment of an old ice cube tray then pop one out when u need it. then u would have little tabs just like u buy...don't know if this will work...just a thought?

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  112. I love this "recipe" Thanks so much! I solve the problem of hardening by sticking one of those desiccant(recycled from something else) packets in the jar.

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  113. I made this recipe and my dishes are cloudy still. We do NOT live in an area with hard water???? My container is sealed completly & the mixture cakes up super bad, does yours? My husband put a tblspn in a clean glass with a drop of olive oil and this did NOT break it up, at all. What am I doing wrong? HELP PLEASE!

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  114. I had a terrible time with mine clumping up even with stirring it several times a day. ALl the family also notice a cleaning product odor that stuck to the plastic glasses. It over powered whatever you were drinking.This was strange to me since none of the products except the lemi shine has an odor. Not sure where your located but maybe our weather in south Georgia makes it clump up. Would love any suggestions. Really wanted this to work.

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  115. I just made this last night. We have very hard water as well, and Cascade wasn't cutting it at all. I have been researching ways to cut costs and thought this looked promising. Well, it IS!! My dishes finally don't have that horrible film AND I calculated I will save over $267.00 a year JUST on dishwasher soap!! Thank you so much for this recipe!!

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  116. I just made this last night. We have very hard water as well, and Cascade wasn't cutting it at all. I have been researching ways to cut costs and thought this looked promising. Well, it IS!! My dishes finally don't have that horrible film AND I calculated I will save over $267.00 a year JUST on dishwasher soap!! Thank you so much for this recipe!!

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  117. Just made a batch and waiting for my dishwasher to be done with just the lemi shine so I can try it!!!

    I am curious though, am I still able to use regular rinse aids? I always use jet dry

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  118. can I still use regular rinse aids with this detergent? I've always used jet dry and since it lasts for a few weeks it's always been easy to do. I doubt I'll remember to use vinegar every time!!

    super excited to try this out!! I have an old dishwasher and the tabs stick to the lid of the main wash compartment and don't dissolve. and buying gallon after gallon of liquid detergent? not my idea of fun!! hope this works well for me!! :)

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  119. So are you not to use lemi shine on the dishes? I was a little confused when you said to run a load empty. Can you help out? Also I was told not use anything with lemon because it will scratch your glasses? True or not?

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  120. I've been using your recipe for 2 weeks and I LOVE it! I haven't had any issues with clumping, and my dishes have been coming out cleaner that with any other soap I've tried (I think I've tried all the eco-friendly ones...) I shared your recipe on my blog at:
    http://www.modern-simplicity.com/2012/10/diy-dishwasher-soap-that-actually-works.html

    Thanks!!!

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  121. This recipe sounds great, but does it do anything to your silverware. I just purchased a beautiful set of hammered stainless steel flatware. It is beautiful, shiny and in perfect condition "right now." It said
    specifically on the instructions not to use ANY citric acid or lemony dishwasher tabs as this could cause rusting on the flatware. Has anyone had a problem with this happening to their silvware when running their dishwasher using the homemade product?

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  122. I am going to have to try this. I tried one other one and it worked for awhile and now it is not getting my dishes clean. I even tried putting two tablespoons in and still not working. Any suggestions? I am going to buy the Lemishine and see if that helps also.

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  123. Just an idea fo the exceptionally busy folk, but if you have a large measuring cup or muffin tin, you could portion out the detergent as you're making it, and when/if it hardens, you can pop it out and grate it into the jar!

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  124. If you are going to leave the lemishine out, could you use the liquid lemishine instead of the powder? And how much do think you would use when adding the liquid separately? Thank you!

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  125. I made this and now have ready set concrete. heck!

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  126. That is great and love that idea...I would make that dish soap! Cleaner Jobs

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  127. I saw a few places it said if u you use the gel packets that come in shoes that will keep moisture out!.,. Do u know if that will work on ur recipe?...

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  128. You are a lifesaver!!!!!! We just moved to New Mexico and the water here is awful! We were about ready to give up on the dishwasher, everything comes out super cloudy and wicked dirty still. Well, before swearing off the dishwasher for the next 4 years I came across this on Pinterest and even though I have never had luck with homemade detergents before I was desperate. So, I made a batch and used it last night and WOW! You rock. I made my mix into a ziplock bag and I just mix it up every now and then. Hasn't gotten hard yet. :)

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  129. Intitially I loved this mix. However, it has turned rock hard. I have to literally jab it with a knife to loosen enough mix to do a load of dishes. Has this happened to anyone else? Or what did I do wrong?! I used the same amount as instructed and storede it in a glass container. Any suggestions are appreciated!!

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  130. Initially I loved this mix. However it is now rock hard. I have to take a knife to it to chisel away enough for a load. I used to same amount as intructed and stored in a glass container. And now I have a huge amount of mix that I cant really use. Is this normal or did I do something wrong? Any suggestions would be appreciated!!

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  131. I have clean dishes (except for silverware), but my problem is the stainless steel interior. Stains run down the inside of the door and into the tub. Will this stop that problem, too?

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  132. Jean - I honestly am not sure. I don't own a stainless steel interior dishwasher nor have I ever had one. So I am not sure if it will help or not. I am so sorry!

    Liz - oh thank you so much :) You are so sweet! I am sooooo happy to hear that your dishes are looking fabulous again! Hurray!!! And I love the idea of a ziploc bag! I bet that is a great solution and would be easy for those having issues with it hardening up as well, since it would be easy to break up this way as well! Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and tell me that this worked for you! Have a lovely day!

    Donna - I am so sorry that you have hard detergent. I would be sure to read through my tips and tricks for preventing this from hardening (see the post). When I followed those tips, mine always turns out without a problem. Good luck.

    Mary Ellen - Oh man. I am not read familiar with the liquid lemishine. I would honestly just follow the directions on the liquid lemishine bottle. I'd love to know how this works!

    Kд§$ị (ИσvΔ) - great idea!! Thanks for sharing!

    Cathy - I am not sure what was in the other detergent that you tried, but lemishine was definitely something that really helped this detergent work it's magic imo! I would grab a bottle and try it out!


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  133. Hi Holly - I am so sorry you are having trouble with the mixture turning hard. If you check out my above post, #2 in the instructions addresses this. There are also a LOT of suggestions to be found in the comments as well. So yes, this is a common problem, but it can be easily remedied my allowing the mixture to sit out and dry for a couple of days in a bowl (stirring every so often) as I suggested or just putting the mixture into muffin tins as someone else suggested, letting it harden and then you have your own tabs. Also, putting it in a ziploc bag might help as well, that way you can just mix it with your hands every time you go to use it.

    Good luck!

    Ashley

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  134. Heather - I have heard the same thing, but I've never tried those packets before that come in shoes. But it certainly would be well worth a shot!!

    Let me know if you try it and if it works or not!

    Ashley

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  135. I added all the amounts together and this costs $42. How is this cheaper?

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  136. Hi LeighAnn,

    Great question.

    I bought all of my supplies at Walmart. If you break it down into a cost-per-load, assuming you use about 1Tbs per load, it only costs about $0.06 per load which compared to something like Finish Tabs(100 for $15.50 at Costco = $0.15 per load)does save money.

    But saving money is always relative when comparing it to what you are currently paying and how much you are able to pay for the new products. So I understand that the price and savings may vary depending on availability of products. So that is just my cost analysis :)

    Have a lovely day! And thanks for stopping by.
    Ashley

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  137. Okay, it's good to know you got everything at Walmart. We have a Walmart here on Maui but it can be very sparse. If they have everything, I'll give it a try.

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  138. I made this yesterday and today its not hard. What am I doing wrong, LOL!!?? I only made half of the recipe but left half of that in a bowl and put the other half in an ice cube tray HOPING for it to get hard so I would have tablets. Neither one got hard! I have now covered the ice cube tray with plastic wrap to see if it will get hard. Of course if it doesn't, no biggie, I will just use it as powder. Although I have made it, I haven't tried it yet because I had just washed a load before I made it, but totally look forward to using it. Thanks a million!

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  139. Kari - oh that is too funny! I've had some batches that get hard and others that don't. I'm not sure what the difference is, but it always seems to work well for me as detergent regardless of if it has the tendency to get hard or not! haha!

    Good luck
    Ashley

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  140. Brilliant article! Thanks for sharing your experiences.


    betongbehandling

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  141. We have hard water, the lemi shine added to each dish load really is the dish saver! I will try out this recipe as soon as I can!

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  142. So glad I stumbled upon this! It’s really a great cleaning trick. Thanks for sharing such a great post.

    Cleaning Services Chandler AZ

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  143. Has anyone tried using oxygen absorbers in their containers to prevent clumping? Oxygen absorbers are silicon dioxide, the same thing used in citric acid to prevent caking.

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  144. I use the silica gel crystals that are used for drying flowers, not sure if it is the same as oxygen obsorbers. I found mine at Hobby Lobby and bought a bag of them. After they are done absorbing moisture, just stick them in the oven to dry them out and they can be used again. I have made this recipe several times and haven't had any trouble with it getting hard since using the silica crystals.

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  145. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  146. Hi. Can you tell me if the Lemi Shine has a fragrance, please?

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    Replies
    1. Yes it does have a mild citrus scent

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  147. I MASTERED THE CLUMPS! Since we live near the ocean, I knew that following the directions to leave the mixture out for a couple of days wouldn't work here. SO! I put my finished product in a baking pan - super large one - and spread it out well. I set my oven to the lowest temp (170 for my oven) and just let the mixture heat up....the oven dried it out well. I stirred it about every 20 minutes and let that baby "bake" on low drying heat for 2 hours. I left it in the oven overnight - with the light on - for good measure. Results: dry as a bone and into my air tight containers by the next day. SUGGESTION: If YOU have an oven with an old-school piolt light, you could just leave off the heat; put it in,; while you are up & about the house, stir when you think of it (I have to set my timer as a reminder for everything!) then go to bed and let the drying happen over night. suggestion 2: You could also just warm up the oven, (with a few good stirs before you go to bed), then turn off the heat and leave the oven light on all night. The oven light generates a low level of heat and will at as a drying agent.

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  148. I MASTERED THE CLUMPS!!
    We live near the ocean, so Iknew that leaving it out (as recipe states) wouldn't work here. SO!
    1. I made the recipe & put it into the largest deep pan that would fit in our oven (15" x 17" x 2" deep) and spread it out evenly in the pan.
    2. Put the oven on lowest temp (170 is the lowest for my oven) and popped it into the oven with the light on
    3. Set the timer to stir it every 20 minutes - and did a deep turn/stir each time the timer went off
    4. Turned off the oven after 2 hours and left the stuff in the closed oven over night for good measure
    RESULTS? Dry as a bone and not a clump in sight. Now ready for containers.
    SUGGESTION: you may have a pilot light on your oven which will generate enough heat for a slow dry (all day with stirring and then all night without stirring). Also - the oven light produces more heat than you might think: work on the detergent during your waking hours and then just leave it overnight with the oven light on.

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    Replies
    1. These are WONDERFUL tips Nancy! Thanks so much for sharing your tips and successes with all of us! I am so glad you found a method that works for you!!

      Ashley

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    2. Oh, Ashley! I just made a comment (reply) and after sending off the submit button I see this reply with a wonderful solution to the clump challenge ! YAY! You are all so smart! Going for it right now. I, too, live on the water (Gulf of Mexico) and never even thought about my climate causing all the fuss with clumps. Head bowed in gratitude to Nancy A.

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  149. I tried this recipe, unfortunately it did absolutely nothing to clean my dishes. Definitely will not be making this again as a dishwasher detergent. I have used it to clean my sink and kitchen compost container and it works well.

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  150. Okay ladies! I can't believe how many didn't read her recipe through. 90% of these questions are answered in the recipe! Do we read cooking and baking recipes like this?? Lord help our families if we do! LOL!!!

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    1. Thank you & I believe we all read pretty well. But your critique is noted.
      I've made this three times (so far). My first batch was fine (after sitting out and stirring it for a few days every time I went by & was off work to pay close attention to it). My second batch wasn't consistent and the end of the batch got rock hard in the glass jar. I put hot water in it and finally got it loosened up enough to spoon the stuff into the dishwasher and that worked. This is my third batch & made according to your specific directions. I'm toward the end of my third day stirring the clumps so that it doesn't become like concrete. This time I've enlisted the help of house guests and it's split into three glass containers (same amount just split up) on the counter. I really have to say this is a superior dishwashing solution regarding results (with or without vinegar tossed into the bottom of the washer). I wonder if their may be any chemists who can guide us with a way to make it without the clump time out on the counter. It smells wonderful with the essential oils but would enjoy making use of the counter space :) Thanks in advance and have a super natural day with your endeavors~

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    2. Amendment. Up there in the comments a brilliant person noted spreading it out on sheets for the oven set at 170 degrees. I have pyrex glass cake sheets and a casserole dish & did it. Check every 1/2 hour to stir and flip. Worked great. No clumps. I'm a happy camper.

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