So I started tearing it apart. The first thing I discovered is that someone with busy hands opened the lid on one of the baskets and put a couple cake decorating tips down in the machine. So now I wonder if the noises are a plastic tip that did not fare as well as the metal or my concoction. So I tore it apart farther:
Eeeeeew! But, alas, no plastic bits. Then I started to think (not my strong suit) my homemade detergent contains baking soda. AND I followed another suggestion on the same site and filled my rinse aid reservoir with vinegar! So I did a little chemistry experiment in my sink:
Here we see a cup of hot water with a dab of my dandy detergent... about a second after I added a little vinegar:
And here it is a couple seconds later. The reaction was super short, nothing crazy.
What gives? Should I call a chemist or the Maytag man?
Update #2: I went Googling and found that other people who use it found it unsatisfactory in the cleanliness dept. but no one said it wrecked their machine. Uh-oh!