Inside: Want your dishes coming out clean and streak free? Check out this easy recipe for Homemade dishwasher tabs. They are simple to make and use essential oils and citric acid to get your dishes clean.
About 10 years ago, I was picked by an appliance testing company to test dishwashers. I was so excited. I got to try out a couple of different dishwashers for 3-6 months. It was really fun to try out more expensive dishwashers than I would have normally bought.
During the test, I received free detergent, Jet Dry, and cleaners for the dishwashers. I also was able to buy a dishwasher at the end for a couple of hundred dollars. Since most of them were $1200-$1600 it was a good deal.
I love the dishwasher that I picked. It’s quiet, runs great, and really gets the dishes clean. My only complaint over the years about the dishwasher is that the stainless steel inside starts looking dirty really quick.
I have tried just about every kind of dish detergent and they always seem to leave residue inside the dishwasher. I have found a solution to deal with the hard water and the streaks but I just wanted my dishwasher to look clean all of the time.
Finally, I decided I needed to try making my own dishwasher tabs. After a little experimenting, I came up with a recipe that leaves my dishes looking clean, my glasses free from cloudiness, and my dishwasher always shiny. They may look like ugly little packing peanuts but they really clean. If you want an easy and cheap solution check out these homemade dishwasher tabs.
Homemade Dishwasher Tabs
When I started I knew I wanted to use citric acid in the dishwasher tabs. I have used it before in the dishwasher and it always does a great job of getting the dishwasher clean.
Citric acid can “soften” hard water by causing the metallic hardness in your water to bind. It will get rid of any cloudiness on dishes or glasses. It also will let the soap do its job instead of attacking the hard water. If you haven’t used citric acid before you can buy it on Amazon.
I also knew I wanted to use lemon essential oil. Not only does it smell great but it also does a fantastic job of fighting grease. Any greasy residue left on the dishes when we put them in the dishwasher would come off with the lemon essential oil.
To start, you will need baking soda, citric acid, dish soap, and lemon essential oil. You can make the tabs in an ice cube tray.
Use a large bowl to mix a cup and a half of baking soda and a 1/2 cup of citric acid together. Then, mix in about 10 to 20 drops of lemon essential oil. The lemon essential oil will make the mix expand a little.
Finally, mix in about a tablespoon of dish soap. I like to use Dawn dish soap, however, you can also use castile soap if you prefer. I recommend mixing in about 1/2 tablespoon and then adding more as needed. You want to just get the mix wet enough that it will stick together.
As you are mixing the mix will expand even more. Just keep mixing until all of the dawn soap is mixed in. It will probably look like a foamy science project.
Next, take the mix and add it to your ice cube tray. Leave a little bit of room at the top because it will continue to expand. Set the ice cube tray aside for about 5-10 minutes. After this time you can come back and wipe the foam off the top.
You can use the foam that you removed off the top to fill some of another ice cube tray. My foam sometimes expands so much I can get two full trays from a batch.
Let the homemade dishwasher tabs dry overnight. If you need them to dry quickly you can set them out in the sun. They tend to dry faster in the sun on warm days.
Once they are dry you can take them out of the ice cube container. They tend to be fairly fragile so you will want to carefully turn the ice cube tray over and just barely give it a twist to get them to fall out.
Store the homemade dishwasher tabs in an airtight container to keep moisture from getting to them.
To use them place a tab in your dishwasher and run the dishwasher as you normally would. Your dishes will come out clean and free from baked on grease and grime.
One of the things I love about these homemade dishwasher tabs is that you can really change them up to work for you. The citric acid is great for hard water but if you don’t have hard water you can add less citric acid. Less citric acid will make them harder and not so crumbly.
The baking soda helps remove grease and stuck on food so if you don’t like to pre-wash your dishes you can add more baking soda and less citric acid.
It’s easy to play around with the different amounts to find a balance that works for you. If they are getting too crumbly you can also use a silicone ice cube tray to keep them from breaking into small pieces.
With these homemade dishwasher tabs, you can keep your dishes looking clean without all of the scrubbing. They will keep your glasses clean without all the extra chemicals in the store-bought cleaners.
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