Let me start by sharing the evolution of our kitchen:
Almost exactly 1yr ago my husband and I did a kitchen remodel. When we moved in our kitchen was pretty hideous. I survived with it that way for 2 years and we finally got the chance last year for me to have my "starter home dream kitchen."
Here's a little before and after of the old vs. the new. You can also find many more photos in my posts about the remodel: Home Improvement (before photos & plans) & Home Improvement: Kitchen Finished Result
In all of this the absolute best thing I could ever have possibly done was get a new dishwasher (I was able to keep my husband :p). In fact, I went nearly $200 over my dishwasher budget for that purdy white dishwasher. The original dishwasher had the plastic peeling from the racks, it was kind of a site for sore eyes with scratches on the front. Its cleaning ability was in the toilet, it was loud... not pleasant at all. Anyway, we are very very very happy with the new one because we actually get clean dishes the first time!!
(If you are interested, it's the Maytag JetClean Plus)
OK! On to the real point of the post... Our detergent of choice are the Finish Powerball Tabs. It has been that way even with the old dishwasher. We tried many brands and types and this one manges to do the absolute best job for us. We started out using Jetdry in the new dishwasher as well because we have very hard water in our area (but we don't use our water softener.... whhy?!). Now we just use vinegar, about 1/4 cup or whatever we dump in the bottom of the machine. Works great and is way cheaper than Jetdry.
Recently I got the idea to try homemade dishwasher detergent. I was beginning to hear similar rave reviews to those who make their own laundry detergent (which I do). I thought, why not?! Let's do this! So I did.
I got the instructions from a blog post written by Lady With The Red Rocker: DIY Dishwasher Detergent
I doubled the citric acid as instructed for hard water folks, used kosher salt, and the vinegar in every load.
NOT happy with it :(
We used it for about 2 weeks and just when I was beginning to realize I hated it, my husband told me he hated it. The dishes were coming out cloudy and half clean. Took me waaaayy back to the awful old dishwasher days! We knew our wonderful new dishwasher could clean so much better, so we put the homemade stuff away and went back to our Powerball Tabs... ahhh! Success again :) Beautifully clean and spotless dishes!!!
I love that I love my homemade laundry detergent, hate that I can't love the homemade dishwasher detergent. I'd prefer to save money on this but for us it's just a no-go. This is my review and I hope you find it helpful. Give it a try though... you never know if it will work for you, and it's cheap so it won't break the bank, plus it could make an emergency back-up in the event you run out of the good stuff and can't get to the store (or there isn't a sale yet!).