Mommy Cafe

Vegetarian home cooking, kid tested and approved

Clean Anything Detergent

Once upon a time I tried making my own dishwasher detergent.  It cost mere pennies per wash cycle, which appealed to my cheap, er, frugal nature.  And not having unknown chemicals washing up against the glasses I drink from was another benefit.  Sadly, my glasses came out looking frosted, even after running the dishwasher with Jet-Dry or vinegar.  Adding citric acid made it only minimally better.  So I went back to my store-bought detergent and was left with several cups of homemade powder.  Worthless.

Or was it?

Fast-forward a year.  I found myself with a nasty microwave and no chemical cleaner would cut through the nuked spatterings of reheats past.  In a last ditch effort, I brought out the homemade dishwasher detergent, added a little water to make a runny paste, and hoped for the best.  One swipe and I could see white again!

Since that fateful day, I have used this detergent for cleaning just about everything: countertops, sinks, stove top,  linoleum floors, showers, and more.  It is truly a wonder-cleaner… unless you need to wash the dishes.  I’ve played around with the ratio of powder to water for different jobs.  I’ll list a few of those at the end of the recipe, but it really depends on the job and the level of dirtiness.  My kitchen floor, for example, needs a pretty high concentration of the powder to scour away the ground-in food (thank you, Will).

Keep in mind that if you use a strong concentration of powder, you’ll likely need to give your surface a water rinse.  Otherwise it will look like my glasses.

Clean Anything Detergent

  • 1 cup Borax
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1/4 cup citric acid

Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container.

  • General cleaning: 1/2 T per 12 oz warm water.  Shake well to dissolve.  Store in a spray bottle for everyday cleanup.
  • Mopping: 3 T per 2 quarts warm water.  Stir to dissolve.  When finished, do a quick water-only mop for a nice shine on linoleum.
  • Heavy-duty cleaning: 1 T with a small amount of warm water.  Stir to make a paste.  This is pretty abrasive, so don’t use on surfaces that could be scratched, such as stainless steel.  Great for microwaves and stove tops.



February 18, 2011 - Posted by | Cleaning Products | , ,


  1. Interesting post, and well written!

    Comment by Harold | February 18, 2011 | Reply

  2. What is washing soda? And where do you find it?

    Comment by Amy | April 9, 2011 | Reply

    • Washing soda is a powder used for… well, washing things. I think I got mine at Cub Food, but I saw it at Target recently as well. Look in the cleaning supplies aisle.

      Comment by Becky | April 13, 2011 | Reply

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