My cousin gave me a call and said she had discovered the BEST EVER dishwasher powder.
As I happened to have the ingredients on hand, I gave it a try.
I had Borax and Washing Soda on hand from my homemade laundry soap (found HERE)..
You mix 2 cups Borax with 2 cups Washing soda and add 6 tablespoons of Citric Acid. (I keep this on hand for when the kids have colds and for canning.. I think it runs about $10 a pound, but I cannot tell you how big a pound is.. but it would be more than enough!) Then you fill the rinse agent container with vinegar.
My cousin said that this gets hard after the first night so do NOT mix in a jar!! I just put in a gallon size zip baggie. The next day, you crumble it up and is fine after that. If you have it in a jar, you have to crumble out with a knife or something. She said after the first time it gets hard and you crumble it up, it does not get hard again. No idea why this would happen, but it would probably be safe to put in a jar after you crumble it up.
Another thing you can do is to add lemon oil. She doesn't do this, so I didn't either. But that might prevent the clumping that first night??
My cousin says that she NEVER 'pre-washes' her dishes!! THAT would be nice!! My poor dishwasher was getting so bad that I needed to rinse the dishes before putting them in there, and I figure if I take the time to rinse, I might as well add some soap and they'd be clean! I have to agree that I do NOT want to wash my dishes before putting in the dishwasher!! I will see how this goes.. my daugher had cream of wheat this morning for breakfast and I put the bowl (OK, I rinsed it a bit!!) in the dishwasher to see if it passes my 'test.'