The dishwasher is an invaluable cleaning aid for me and I use it daily. I did a little dishwasher soap experiment this summer. I had been buying dishwasher soap/rinse tablets for a few years. They are fairly expensive at about $.25 a tablet. I bought a box of powdered dishwasher soap on June 13, 2010. It was $4.
Our dishwasher stopped washing dishes effectively, so I did a some research and found that vinegar helps clean and rinse dishes as well as a rinse agent. You can buy a gallon of vinegar for about $3.
The powdered soap lasted from June 13th through October 15th. The per wash price for the soap ended up being about $.03 per load ($4/120 days). We use about a gallon of vinegar a month ($3/30 days=$.10) so each load of dishes costs $.13.
The dishes are shinier and smoother using vinegar. The rinse agent gave our dishes a cloudy look, which always made me feel like they were questionably clean.
A quick cost analysis-
Old dishwasher soap cost for for one month: $.25 x 30 = $7.50
New soap and vinegar cost for one month: $.13 x 30 = $3.90
Savings in one month: $3.60
I use 1/8 cup of soap and 1/2 a mug of vinegar for each load. If you try this, you will notice that your dishes don’t smell like vinegar, which was my biggest worry. (Or taste like vinegar…ew!)
Have a fabulously frugal day, friends.