Emergency DIY

I ran out of dishwasher detergent this week. Do you ever buy multiple boxes of something when it’s on sale and then use up the last one before you realize you’re on the last box? Well, I do, and that’s what I did with the dishwasher detergent.

Then I remembered that I have all the ingredients required for making all my household soaps. There they sit under my kitchen sink, just waiting to be turned into foam soap and laundry detergent and even dishwasher detergent.DSC_0012I had used homemade detergent in another dishwasher and had not been satisfied with the results. But now my only alternative was to remove all the dishes I had just loaded into the dishwasher and wash them by hand. This called for an emergency DIY.

And it worked! And it’s so much less expensive than the detergent I had been buying! Want to try it?

Here’s the recipe…

Automatic Dishwasher Detergent

  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1/2 cup borax
  • 1/2 cup baking soda

Combine and store in an airtight container. Use 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons for each load. Experiment with your own dishwasher and use less if you notice residue on your dishes. You may also add a little white vinegar to the bottom of the dishwasher. 

Recipes for Natural Cleaners

Natural Cleaning Products, Smith Family Resources recipes

Last year I blogged about our homemade glass cleaner and wood cleaner.  The article that I shared on Pinterest has been re-pinned 174 times!  So, in case you missed it on our old blog, here are those recipes again…

Homemade Glass Cleaner recipe, Smith Family Resources

Homemade Glass Cleaner

 2 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar
1 qt. water
5 drops lemon essential oil
($1.99 spray bottle purchased at Publix)

Homemade Wood Cleaner, Smith Family Resources

Homemade Wood Cleaner

8 oz. distilled white vinegar
8 oz. water
8 drops lemon essential oil

Have you made any cleaning products that have worked well in your home?
Share your recipes with us!

Click here to order Beeyoutiful essential oils
to add to your own homemade cleaners!

Baking Soda and Vinegar Meet Shower Head

Hard water.  If you have hard water, you know it.  Over time (and not very much time either), a crusty white build-up appears anywhere water stands even for a short time.

Observe my shower head…

DSC_0126 DSC_0128

I had read that a shower head could be cleaned easily with some natural cleaning products, so I decided to tackle the job.  I put about half a cup of baking soda in a small bowl and poured about 3/4 of cup of vinegar into a quart-sized plastic bag.


My shower head is on a hose, so I was able to take it down for the cleaning.  I began by running a little water through it and then pressing the shower head into the bowl of baking soda.  Then I placed the shower head in the bag of vinegar and secured the bag with a rubber band.  The baking soda and vinegar fizzed up when I first put it in, and that initial reaction loosened up a lot of the build-up.  When the fizzing calmed down, I let the shower head rest in the tub, submerged in the bag of vinegar.

After one hour, I removed the bag, rinsed the shower head and wiped it clean.  Here’s the amazing result!

DSC_0132 DSC_0135

Three cheers for baking soda and vinegar!

Natural Cleaning Products

Yesterday, a friend asked me for advice on the best way to make homemade laundry soap.  Her question reminded me that I started a “Natural Year Challenge” in 2013 and never finished!  I was challenged and intrigued by Andrea Fabry of Moms Aware, Inc., and I blogged about my progress for a while.  You can read those posts here.  Looking back over those this morning, I discovered that I made it through Month 4 and left off at the Kitchen!  Maybe this summer, I’ll resume the challenge…

I began Andrea Fabry’s challenge by buying or gathering all the products that would be used for making my own natural cleaning products:  borax, washing soda, baking soda, vinegar, castile soap (liquid and bar), essential oils, and a grater for the bar soap.


Using these products, I learned to make my own foam soap, soft scrub, dishwasher detergent, and laundry detergent.  There’s so much more to learn!  Obviously, I’m a pretty slow learner, and your encouragement always helps.  If you’re making your own cleaning products, please share your recipes and advice.  I’ll be sharing my recipes here and I’d love to try yours as well.

Now, to answer my friend’s question!  Here’s my laundry detergent recipe:

Liquid Laundry Detergent

  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 1 oz. castile soap (1/4 of a 4 oz. bar)
  • 1/4 cup washing soda
  • 1/4 cup borax
  • 10 cups water

Boil 3 cups of water.  Grate castile soap and add it to the boiling water.  (I use Kirk’s Castile Soap which I have bought at Publix but can also be purchased on Amazon.)Kirk's Castile Soap

Stir until castile soap is dissolved.  Add washing soda and borax, and stir until dissolved.  Pour into a large container and add 10 cups of water.  Stir or shake, and then let set for 24 hours until it forms a liquid gel. 

Use 1/2 cup of the detergent for each load.  This may vary depending on your washing machine and the hardness of your water. 

For the record, my detergent has yet to form a liquid gel; it’s pretty much just liquid.  But it gets the clothes clean, so I guess it doesn’t matter!

I add vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser to help with smells and stains, and I occasionally add essential oils to the detergent:  eucalyptus oil because it kills dust mites, tea tree oil because it disinfects, and lemon oil because it smells good!

I use liquid detergent because of our hard water.  Powdered detergent tends to clump and not dissolve.  If you prefer a powder, here’s Andrea Fabry’s recipe:

Powdered Laundry Detergent

  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1 cup borax
  • 4 oz. grated castile soap

Grate castile soap using a cheese grater or food processor.  Make the shavings as thin as possible to allow for dissolving.  Combine all three ingredients using a fork or whisk, and stir quickly and thoroughly, or use a food processor to do this in a matter of seconds.

Store in container of choice. Use 1-2 tablespoons per wash, depending on the size of the load.