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Do these DIY dishwasher detergent tablets really work?

Dishwasher tablets
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Mike Timmermann |
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All year long,‘s Michael Timmermann is sharing quick and easy ways to save money as part of our Michael Saves series. Check in every Monday as he puts new and familiar savings strategies to the test. Sign up for our newsletter to have these stories delivered to your inbox!

If your house is anything like mine, the dishwasher always seems to be running, which means a lot of detergent is needed to make your clean dishes sparkle.

When I recently ran out of name-brand detergent tablets, I decided to make my own to save a few bucks — and a trip to the store.

Read more: How to remove carpet stains using an iron

Make your own dishwasher detergent tabs

Is it really worth the effort to save $10 to $20? That’s what I wanted to find out. After reading many reviews, I decided to try a recipe featured on the blog One Good Thing by Jillee.

Here are the ingredients I used:

  • 2 cups of washing soda
  • 2 cups of Borax
  • 1/2 cup of kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup of vinegar
  • 20 drops of lemon essential oil

If you’re saving money by making other household cleaners, you probably already have these ingredients. If not, you’ll find washing soda and Borax in the laundry aisle of big-box stores like Walmart.

You can also pick up inexpensive essential oils at discount stores like T.J. Maxx and Marshalls.

To make your detergent tablets, mix together the ingredients, transfer the mixture into ice cube trays, press down firmly on each compartment and wait at least 24 hours before removing the tablets.

Important note: Check the size of your dishwasher’s detergent dispenser before filling the ice cube trays.

When you’re ready to do the dishes, place one tablet into the dispenser and add two or three drops of dishwashing liquid. Pour 1/2 cup of vinegar into the bottom of the dishwasher to prevent dull, cloudy dishes.

I tested these DIY dishwasher tabs and also asked two friends to try them. Here are the results:

Not bad, right? These homemade dishwasher tablets exceeded my expectations! In addition, it only took a few minutes to prepare them, so I’d say this experiment was definitely worth the effort to save a few bucks.

Do you make your own dishwasher tablets? Share your recipe with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Step-by-step video: DIY detergent tabs

Check out more from our Michael Saves series: