I remember reading in the Tightwad Gazette that you can dramatically reduce the amount of detergent you use in your dishwasher and still get great results. I also remember Flylady recommending that if you are starting with a huge mess of a kitchen you should run the dishwasher EVEN IF YOU DON"T HAVE ANY DETERGENT because the hot water will clean most of the dishes just fine.
Well, I just proved these ladies right...on accident. I think Riley (2) started the dishwasher. I heard it running yesterday and did not remember starting it. Sure enough when I opened it it was only 3/4 full (and I always pack it full). BUT, even thought I had not put a drop of dish detergent in there, every dish was perfectly clean. And, I know that some of them had Crisco (and other food yuckiness) on them when I put them in there. Amazing! That will save some money. I won't quit using it all together, but I will use a LOT less!