For several months now, I've been using as many home-made cleaning products (for my person and my house) as I could. I've been making my own bath soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, face soap, laundry soap, and house cleaning stuff. Just as I'm about to finish a container of some existing product, I research how I can make a frugal and eco-friendly replacement.
I'm thrilled with almost everything I've made, and have shared my recipes here and with friends in the physical world. But on one front, I've had to concede to manufactured products. It's dishwashing in the machine.
I have about a three year's supply of hand dishwashing liquid (because I water it down in one of those foaming pumps, so it lasts for ever!). But a while ago, I finished off my powdered dish detergent and chemically store bought rinse/drying agent. I switched over to a recipe of borax + washing soda for the powder and straight white vinegar for the rinse/drying agent. Dishes weren't getting very clean and the glasses were covered in spots. I tried tweaking the recipe; I thought my machine was on the fritz; I thought it was the summer humidity -- nope, nope, and nope.
As an amateur scientist, I tried several experiments -- home-made powder plus store-bought Jet Dry stuff. Better, but not great. Store-bought powder with vinegar. Ditto. Finally, I had to admit that the combination of the store-bought powder (about $3.00 for nearly 6 months supply of Target brand eco-friendly stuff) plus the Jet Dry stuff (about $6.00 for about a three month supply of what I suspect is not very eco friendly at all) was what worked to get the dishes clean and spot-free.
I'm happily (and cleanly) staying with everything else, but this is one area where commercial science has prevailed over the domestic version.