in the kitchen · lifestyle

Use Fewer Chemicals in the Dishwasher

Dishwasher detergent hack from Go Gingham

You know when you open your dishwasher after it’s run and it’s all steamy and smells like cleaner? What you smell are very strong chemicals. Sure the dishes are clean, but at what cost to our health? That’s what we asked ourselves. The changing of all of our cleaning, laundry, and consumer products has opened our eyes to what’s really in these products.

Dry automatic dish-washing detergent contains chlorine – which when it comes into contact with the hot water in your dishwasher, releases chlorine fumes into your home. Inside the dishwasher it makes chloroform (mixing heat and chlorine) – which is very bad.

Automatic dishwasher liquids often contain ammonia – even more chemicals. Do we really want to be breathing all of these chemicals inside our homes – especially in our kitchens and coming into contact with our food? I, for one, do not!

Dishwasher detergent hack from Go Gingham
My dishwasher when it was new – and not covered in finger prints and spills! It never looked this clean again!

My solution? I found a brand (Seventh Generation) that keeps the environment and our health in mind, but it’s expensive – not that our health isn’t worth it – but all those costs add up! Stretch the detergent with baking soda and you have an economical and healthy option.

Use Fewer Chemicals in the Dishwasher

Here’s how: mix equal parts of the dishwasher detergent with baking soda in a large container. I use an old coffee can but you can use whatever you have on hand. A container with a lid is best and then you’re all set. Use a 1-cup measuring cup and add 1-cup detergent and then 1-cup baking soda until the detergent is gone. With the lid on, mix it around by tipping it upside down and then back. That’s it – super easy!

Follow these directions for how to put together a batch of dishwasher detergent.

Next, find a spoon or scoop and use a little – no need to over-do on detergent. (Another reason I don’t like the packs or pods – companies have you using more than is necessary of their products!) If your dishes are super dirty, just toss a Tablespoon or two of baking soda into the bottom of your dishwasher before you start it. Done.

Eco Frugal Dishwasher Detergent Go Gingham

For the rinse aid, use white vinegar. Simply place in a cute jar and make a label – add a ribbon if you’d like. Then, pour the white vinegar into the rinse aid reservoir. That’s it. Never buy rinse aid again.

Make your own rinse aid Go Gingham

Follow these directions for how to make the rinse aid.

Here’s what we’ve found after using this detergent and rinse aid routine for two years – the fewer chemicals used, the fewer spots on the glasses. Yes, after filming the above video, I went home and inspected my glasses with my reading glasses on! That’s the conclusion I’ve come up with. Can’t wait to hear how you do with fewer chemicals in your home and more savings in your pocket.

What would you use as a cute scooper for this? Do you have coffee cans around the house?

Go Gingham related links:

The mop cover is a re-purposed t-shirt: how to make a mop cover
Rethinking our cleaning and laundry detergents – feeling duped
Green and natural laundry detergents – what to use and why
Cleaning supplies that do double-duty: simple cleaning products that you probably have at your home already
Cute and clean for the kitchen: make a baking soda shaker for soaking those stubborn pots and pans

More related links:

If you can’t find the brand of dishwasher detergent at your local store, check the Environmental Working Group’s website for their recommendations on all healthy cleaning and consumer products. Environmental Working Group is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment.

8 thoughts on “Use Fewer Chemicals in the Dishwasher

  1. Now this feels like an alternative to cleaning products I can actually try. I know just where to get these ingredients. Thanks, Sara!


    1. Yay! So glad, Rita!
      Fred Meyer has the Seventh Generation in the health food section. I wait until it goes on sale and then buy several. The baking soda and white vinegar are from Costco. They have the best price on both of those items and we use them for everything – laundry, cleaning, dishwasher, drain care, etc.
      Hope your school year is winding down nicely ~


  2. This sounds great. I have an old-ish dishwasher. I recently had a repairman tell me that I should use those little packets because I’d get a lot of food particles stuck to the dishes after running the dishwasher. I feel bad using them and I’m really hoping your homemade cleaners work. Thanks!


    1. Hi Lisa!
      I hope this works for you, too. You can always just use the Seventh Generation without the baking soda if you feel like you need a stronger mix. We do scrape all of the food off our plates – but we don’t rinse them off before loading. Also, if dishes and silverware are really dirty and the dishwasher is packed, I’ll spray with this a few times.
      Best of luck – please let me know how it turns out!
      Thanks for writing in, Lisa 🙂


  3. Love this Sara! Dishwasher detergent is one of the things we still haven’t switched so I can’t wait to try it. I get my baking soda and vinegar at Costco too, you really can’t beat the price for that much of it, it’s awesome!


    1. Hi Sarah!
      I’m excited for you to try this!!! Another reader just emailed me a photo of her big jar of newly mixed up baking soda and seventh generation detergent. It’s easy and is so much better for our kitchen air quality! 🙂
      So glad you stopped by! It was great seeing you last weekend, too. Stay cool and enjoy our gorgeous weather!


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