Suddenly Frugal Seal of Approval: Lemi Shine

September 5, 2012

It’s been months since I last handed out a Suddenly Frugal Seal of Approval, possibly because I haven’t come across a product or service that was deserving of my kudos. Now I have.

You’ll recall that last month I posted my recipe for DIY homemade dishwasher detergent. It was a combination of ingredients that I had played around with a bit in the past, after successfully making my own DIY homemade laundry detergent (which I’m still using and loving. Note to users: if you have a front loader, put the powder in the drum and in the detergent drawer. It cleans better that way).

My biggest challenge in finally figuring out a recipe for making my own dishwasher cleaner was the fact that I have hard water. No matter what ratio of borax to washing soda to kosher salt I used, my glasses still came out cloudy.

Then I heard about a product called Lemi Shine, which is a citric acid-based “booster” (not edible) that helps to breakdown any scrum that hard water leaves behind. I ordered a box from, which cost $4.19. That was cheaper than I’d seen it on

Once the product arrived and I used it, I loved it. I ended up having to use a bit more than the instructions, well, instructed–I guess my water is that hard–and, because we do dishes so often in our household, I soon ran out.

In the meantime some of my fellow frugal folks (aka Suddenly Frugal readers) had posted suggestions on cheaper ways to achieve the Lemi Shine affect.

  • One suggested crushing Vitamin C tablets, because those vitamins are all citric acid.
  • Another suggested finding sugar-free lemon Kool-Aid–again, the main ingredient being citric acid. I happened to find packets of Kool-Aid on clearance for $.30 each so I picked up a few.
  • Then on my own I picked up another citric acid-based product–True Lemon, a lemon powder that you add to your water. Again, the main ingredient is also citric acid, and I thought this one was going to be the real winner–the next few ingredients are all citrus based–lemon oil, lemon juice, Vitamin C. A box of 10 packets cost $2.99.

I tried them all in the dishwasher with my homemade DIY detergent, just as I had the Lemi-Shine.

And none of them worked as well as Lemi Shine.

I spent all Labor Day weekend experimenting with the different products–we were doing batch cooking in preparation for the school year starting on Tuesday, so we had a lot of dirty dishes to clean. And the verdict was that nothing works as well as Lemi Shine.

So I headed back over to, and I ordered 12 boxes. Why so many? First, when you spend more than $50 on the site, your shipping is free. And second, while I could buy it at Walmart or Target for the same price, maybe a few cents cheaper, those stores are each 25 to 35 minutes away from where I live, and getting there–especially during the busy school year–just isn’t convenient.

Back to the Lemi Shine and my Suddenly Frugal Seal of Approval: if you’re going to give homemade dishwasher detergent a try, Lemi Shine is the product that will definitely make your recipe a winner and have your glasses, flatware, and dishes coming out sparkling clean and clear. That’s why I’m giving it my latest Suddenly Frugal Seal of Approval.

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