One of the best ways to discover a DIY project is to be in a bind.

Last week, I found myself in one. We ran out of dishwasher tablets. It was about 10 at night. My 1-year-old was not feeling well, it was cold out, and I didn’t want to go to the store.

However, I knew I wasn’t going to feel like going the first thing in the morning. My husband offered to go, but since it was late, I decided to see if I could come up with DIY tablets. After a bit of research, I found a simple recipe to try. The tablets work so well I wanted to share the recipe with you.

For this project you will need citric acid. Citric acid is used in food products as well as bath bombs. It gives the bath bombs their fizz. Citric acid naturally occurs in citrus fruits, but can be purchased through Amazon or even at Wal-Mart. The Killeen and Harker Heights locations both carry it. Look in the canning department for the Ball brand.

You need three ingredients:

½ cup baking soda

1/8 cup of citric acid

1 tablespoon dish soap (such as Dawn)

You also need a silicone mold to make them in. I got mine from Ikea for $1.

Using your hands, mix all the ingredients in a bowl. It will get kind of fluffy. My son was impressed by this. I have to admit the fluff was cool. After the ingredients are completely mixed, press the mixture into the silicone mold. At this point your mixture will continue to fluff and it will rise above the top of the mold.

Wait about 10 minutes and push the mixture back down. It shouldn’t raise anymore after this. Let your tablets dry for a few hours before attempting to get them out. To release them from the mold, turn the mold over and press gently. They should pop right out.

Store them in a dry place. I store mine in a mason jar, but whatever you have is fine. Use them as you do regular tablets in your dishwasher. That’s all there is to it.

One more thing I want to share with you is toilet/congestion bombs. These are used to freshen your toilets and help loosen hard-water deposits.

They also can be used when you have a cold to help you breathe. To do this, put one in a bowl of warm water. Place your face over the bowl and using a towel, make a tent over the bowl and your head. Breathe the vapor in.

To make them all you need is:

¼ cup citric acid

½ cup baking soda

1 teaspoon water

15 drops of peppermint essential oil

Silicone mold.

Mix all the ingredients together. If you cannot pack them into the mold, add a bit more water. Let them dry for three hours and remove from the mold. All you have to do to use them is drop them in a toilet bowl. Once the fizzing is over, use a toilet brush to clean any hard water deposits. If you have a lot of hard water, you may have to use more than one tablet.

You could also replace the peppermint oil for lavender oil and make bath bombs to use in the tub following the same recipe.

Citric acid is pretty cool. I’m glad I discovered it. Until next time, happy tablet making.

Kindra Warner is a Herald correspondent. Contact her at

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