Recently I started noticing how much money I was spending on dishwasher detergent, especially the pods or pellets. Brand-name pellets ranged from a low of 2.98 to 6.29 for 20 pellets on a recent visit to the grocery store. That’s when I decided to make my own.
Materials and supplies:
large glass mixing bowl
3 – 16 cube plastic ice cube trays
1 – 54-55 oz box of washing soda / detergent booster (3.89)
1 – 76 oz box of borax (4.49)
1 – 2 lb carton of epsom salts (.99)
1- bottle reconstituted lemon juice (32 oz for .99)
$10.36 for over 300 pellets
Small Batch Test Version Recipe:
1 Cup Borax
1 Cup Washing Soda
1/4 Cup Epsom Salt
Lemon Juice (just enough to wet the ingredients to get them to stick) follow the same instructions!
I used a 2 gallon bucket to mix the following dry ingredients;
1-54 oz box of washing soda (you can substitute a box of White King Detergent booster (no chlorine or phosphates) for the washing soda)
1-76 oz box of Borax
1- 2 lb carton of epsom salts
I measure out 2 to 2 1/2 cups of the mixture into a large glass mixing bowl and add lemon juice a a tablespoon at a time and stir until it begins to clump. It will fizz a little bit but not very much. If you squeeze the clumps between your fingers it will feel slightly sticky.
Place enough to loosely fill each of the ice-cube molds in a plastic ice cube tray (you will need 3 trays with sixteen molds per tray)
Put on disposable glove or cover your thumb with a thin plastic shopping bag (this is very drying to your skin) and press the damp mixture into the mold until it is level in each mold. The tops of the molded pellets should be moist and slightly sticky.
Put them in the back seat of your car in direct sun – it will take several days to dry out depending on the temperature and humidity. (Do not microwave – it will prolong the drying time and the cubes will stick, do not put them in your oven – the trays might melt) You could also use a food dryer, or if it is summer set them on a table in the sun. We have very low humidity in the Central Valley, so I often set the trays on the trampoline when it is not in use. I bring them in at night as the dew re-wets the cubes.
They are ready to tap out of the trays when they pull away from the sides of the mold.
If you haven’t tamped your cubes down firmly, some will crumble. Don’t worry about it. Crumble up the cube and let it dry until it is like a clod. They grind it in a mortar, put into a shaker bottle. This is the best abrasive cleaner that I’ve found. A little sprinkle (takes very little), hot water, wait a few minutes until the
detergent starts to dissolve, then use a rag to scrub. My broiler pan came clean so easily.
Also, if you are making just 48 pellets at a time, what do you do with the powder that’s left? I asked for a large empty whey powder container and stored the extra powder there.
From what I can figure, it costs me about three to four cents per dishwasher pellet.
You should use some lemon juice as a rinse aid in your dishwasher to avoid spots.