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Thread: Borax as dishwasher detergent?

  1. #1
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    Borax as dishwasher detergent?

    There are sites on the web that claim you can make a good dishwashing detergent with borax, baking soda and salt. I'm dubious about exposing my dishwasher to salt water? Is salt an ingredient of commercial detergents? Baking soda seems harmless. But what bout Borax?

  2. #2
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    You made me curious, so I pulled out my box of 20 Mule Team Borax. It contains sodium tetraborate decahydrate. The back of the box lists a whole host of uses for borax but dishwasher use isn't one of them. It does recommend using borax as a hard water conditioner.

    I pulled out my bag of Cascade Action pacs and Cascade contains sodium carbonate and sodium silicate. Not being a chemist, I have no idea how that compares to borax. Hopefully someone else will.

    I do know that instead of adding Jet Dry for the rinse cycle plain white vinegar works just as well.

    Curiosity killed the cat, and it also led me to this site: http://www.wackyuses.com/20mule.html

    Pretty entertaining. (There's a reason I shouldn't be up this early on a Saturday!)
    Last edited by Belinda Williamson; 07-17-2010 at 6:00 AM.

    “Life is not so short but that there is always time enough for courtesy and chivalry.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

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    I had a guardian angel at one time, but my little devil got him drunk, tattooed, and left him penniless at a strip club. I have not had another angel assigned to me yet.
    I didn't change my mind, my mind changed me.
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  3. #3
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    The white vinegar idea is interesting, but is vinegar corrosive to metal? Vinegar doesn't hurt metal stainless steel salad bowls, so maybe the dishwaher can take it.

  4. #4
    I might try that.

    I kind of think we get taken advantage of with a lot of those types of products. For instance, I started making my own Windex after seeing a "recipe" on the internet (1/8cu ammonia, 1/4 rubbing alcohol, and 1 qt water). It works many times better than the Windex you buy, and costs about $0.10/bottle, rather than $3.95/bottle.

    I've heard of people trying to make their own laundry detergent, too, but I'm not quite up for that

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Friedrichs View Post
    I might try that.

    I kind of think we get taken advantage of with a lot of those types of products. For instance, I started making my own Windex after seeing a "recipe" on the internet (1/8cu ammonia, 1/4 rubbing alcohol, and 1 qt water). It works many times better than the Windex you buy, and costs about $0.10/bottle, rather than $3.95/bottle.

    I've heard of people trying to make their own laundry detergent, too, but I'm not quite up for that
    I have made my own beer.

    Used to have a neighbor who made his own wine.

    jim
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Friedrichs View Post
    I might try that.

    I kind of think we get taken advantage of with a lot of those types of products. For instance, I started making my own Windex after seeing a "recipe" on the internet (1/8cu ammonia, 1/4 rubbing alcohol, and 1 qt water). It works many times better than the Windex you buy, and costs about $0.10/bottle, rather than $3.95/bottle.

    I've heard of people trying to make their own laundry detergent, too, but I'm not quite up for that
    Thanks for posting the "recipe", Dan. I'm going to use it!

    “Life is not so short but that there is always time enough for courtesy and chivalry.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Everybody knows what to do with the devil but them that has him. My Grandmother
    I had a guardian angel at one time, but my little devil got him drunk, tattooed, and left him penniless at a strip club. I have not had another angel assigned to me yet.
    I didn't change my mind, my mind changed me.
    Bella Terra

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Friedrichs View Post
    I might try that.

    I kind of think we get taken advantage of with a lot of those types of products. For instance, I started making my own Windex after seeing a "recipe" on the internet (1/8cu ammonia, 1/4 rubbing alcohol, and 1 qt water). It works many times better than the Windex you buy, and costs about $0.10/bottle, rather than $3.95/bottle.

    I've heard of people trying to make their own laundry detergent, too, but I'm not quite up for that
    I had read someplace that Oxy Clean is the same thing as Borax just repackaged.
    "Remember back in the day, when things were made by hand, and people took pride in their work?"
    - Rick Dale

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lehnert View Post
    I had read someplace that Oxy Clean is the same thing as Borax just repackaged.

    You got me curious. I looked up the MSDS for OxyClen, and it's 50% washing soda, and 50% solid hydrogen peroxide. So it's not Borax, but I bet you could make your own OxyClean much, much cheaper if you just bought those ingredients separately...

  9. #9
    Not quite the same thing, but there is this stuff called Dishwasher Magic that is great for cleaning out the dw. It is in a bottle with a wax seal. You turn it upside down, run it as the only thing in the dw and when it is done, it looks like a new dw (inside). Tang will do the same thing just about. The trick is to make your own bottle with a wax cap so you get the "slow release" just like the expensive product.

  10. #10
    Old thread bump

    I was goggling adding Borax to the Dishwasher and found this thread
    but also found
    Quote Originally Posted by http://www.20muleteamlaundry.com/about/other-uses/
    Increase the power of your dishwasher detergent by sprinkling a 1/4 cup of 20 Mule Team Borax onto the bottom of the dishwasher to reduce spots and film on dishes and glasses.
    Carpe Lignum

  11. #11
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    In my old dishwasher which doesn't have a reservoir for adding much liquid to the rinse cycle, I found that Belinda's idea of using cleaning vinegar can be implemented by putting a small bowl half full of vinegar in the top rack. I suppose the vinegar gradually mixes-in through all the cycles. I don't run the heated dry cycle, so the fact that the bowl ends up filled to the brim with water at the end doesn't bother me.

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