Science | Jul 31
Almost everyone starts to store their dirty plates on their dishwasher. Suddenly, after a few days you have a crusty mess of plates, spoons, forks and other utensils. You start smelling a...smelly...smell that smells...smelly. Yuck, mildew. It’s definitely time to wash dishes (It was time two days ago, but who’s counting?). You look for dishwasher detergent but all you can find are those weird tablets that your significant other brought back from the store. “Now what?” you think. What even are these tablets?
Well, before the days where every detergent came packed into a convenient pod, the most popular way of manufacturing pre-measured detergent was in tablets. Both laundry detergent tablets and dishwasher tablets came in a variety of scents, from different brands and with varying degrees of effectiveness. It didn’t matter if you had a stainless steel dishwasher, if it was a small portable dishwasher or if it was a dishwasher that hooks up to the sink, lots of people used detergent tablets.
However, if you’ve never used a detergent tablet, don’t fret! It’s pretty easy, simply follow these steps:
- Remove the tablet from the package (most tablets come individually wrapped in a plastic bag). If the tablet is wrapped in a plastic bag, remove that too.
- Place the unwrapped tablet in the main dishwasher detergent dispenser and close it. This is extremely important: use only one tablet. No matter how dirty your dishes are using more than one tablet will not make them “cleaner” but will instead probably flood your dishwasher and kitchen.
- Make sure that all the items you’re going to wash are actually dishwasher safe. Tip: wash metal utensils following the manufacturer’s specific instructions. That way they will last you longer.
- Run dishwasher as you normally would. Done!
Don’t have detergent tablets at home but are looking to make your own? You’re in luck! Actually making these bad boys at home is pretty easy and can be done with just a handful of ingredients.
What you’ll need
- 2 cups of washing soda (preferred) or 2 cups of baking soda (works)
- 2 cups of Borax
- ½ cup of coarse salt
- ½ cup of vinegar
- 15-20 drops of lemon essential oils
- Ice trays or silicone molds
- Add all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and start mixing everything really well. Don’t be scared when you add the vinegar, it will cause some fizzing albeit not too much. You will know when you’re done because the mixture will start to get really clumped.
- Carefully start packing tightly the mixture in the ice trays or silicone molds (shaped molds will make fun tablets, though!). Remember to pack each container really tightly!
- Leave the molds to dry up in a sunlit setting for at least 24 hours! If you don’t wait, your tablets will just crumble on your hands.
- When they are dry, remove them from the trays and store in a container with a tightly-fitting lid.
When using these tablets, you might be tempted to add dishwashing liquid soap along with each tab, but don’t add more than 2 drops! Too much liquid detergent will just overflow the dishwasher. However DO add ½ cup of white vinegar to the bottom of the dishwasher. This will help with hard water and will leave your dishes and, especially, your glass containers squeaky clean.
Now that you know the secret to laundry detergent tablets and dishwasher tablets, will you make the change from liquid detergent to tablets?