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What’s the Best Buy for Dishwashing Detergent?

Packs or Gel Dish Detergent

A couple of years ago I got a great deal on dishwashing detergent. I was able to get the packs with 20 individual cubes in them for about $1 each. So it was a really good deal or so I thought. Fast forward to a few months ago (well more like 8 months) and I’m  running out of my stock of dish detergent cubes.

I just couldn’t find any really stellar deals on the dishwashing detergent packs,  so I purchased some of the gel dish detergent on a buy one get one free sale. After coupons and the sale I paid about $4 for each bottle. Not a super deal but not bad either.

Date on detergent bottle

When I opened my first bottle I put the date on it. Just so I could see how long it would take to use the gel dish detergent up. I thought I would be writing this post in three to four months. But it took just 3 days shy of six months to finish that bottle of gel detergent.

I was really shocked, but it made me think

At first I was shocked and then I started thinking. If one of those bottles last me 6 months how much does it cost me each month for the gel dish detergent. So I whipped out my calculator (I am a budget nerd that way, I always want to know the bottom line)  and after punching in a few numbers. I had my price per month, which was $.67 a month. At about 20 loads a month that is just $.03 a load.

$.67 a month is based on my purchase of 75 ounces of gel dish detergent, costing $4 and lasting me approximately 6 months. That really beats my buy price of the 20 packs for $1 each. Since I run my dishwasher approximately 4-5 times a week a 20 pack box will last about a month.

Can I consistently get the price of $4 a bottle or not?

Now while the switch to the gel dish detergent only nets me a savings of about $4 a year which isn’t much. I can more easily find the gel detergent on sale for around $4 or sometimes less. (I recently pick up some for $3.50)  While the 20 pack dish detergent squares are much harder to come by for $1 or less.

Storage Concerns

Also storage comes into play. I need to store at least 12 boxes or bags of dish detergent packs for a years worth of dishwasher loads but only two bottles of the gel detergent. So I can stock up on enough of the gel dish detergent for a year, without filling up my stockpile cupboard. Which in turn saves room for other items I need to store.

With the gel you can also adjust the amount of detergent you need for a load of dishes. Not so dirty of dishes I use less, more caked on food I use more. I wasn’t able to do any adjusting with the packs they are one size fits all packaging.

Watch for future posts, when I compare homemade to store-bought costs

Now I have a recipe for make your own dish detergent cubes and powder that I have yet to try to make. Once I do I can do a comparison and see how homemade dish detergent compares to store-bought. No only in price but in performance too.

Do you make your own dish detergent? Or do you purchase the powder, gel or packs? What’s your “buy” price on dish detergent?

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7 thoughts on “What’s the Best Buy for Dishwashing Detergent?”

  1. This post is really food for thought Shell! I’ve been buying the little packs when they go on sale with coupons, and I usually pay about $1.99 or less. I will have to get some of the gel detergent next time, seeing as how it is so much cheaper.

  2. I recently started making my dishwasher detergent. I already make my laundry detergent, so I’m not sure why I’ve never made dish soap before! LOL

    Anyway, it works out to be about a penny a load and I already have most of the ingredients on-hand.

    1. I also make my own laundry detergent, but I haven’t tried out the dish detergent recipe yet. I want to try making my own dishwasher detergent to see if it works as well as the store bought ones. Good to know it cost about a penny a load, thanks Danica.

  3. My husband is an appliance repairman. After many years without a dishwasher we finally moved into a home with one. He loves all my bargain shopping, but his one request to keep the dishwasher running properly and dishes coming out nice, I am only to purchase Cascade Complete, the powder version only. Never liquid. Just thought I would throw in my 2 cents worth.

    1. Sue, thanks for sharing. I still have to test out the cost of the powdered dishwasher detergent. I am thinking it will be an even better buy but I’m not sure. I only purchased the powdered kind for years until I started to coupon shop. Our current dishwasher is about 12 years old so maybe all those years of powdered detergent is why it has lasted so long.

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