Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Homemade dishwasher detergent is a simple, inexpensive, and effective way to wash the dishes. You need just a few ingredients and a few minutes to create this DIY dishwasher detergent. Follow my tips below to get sparkly clean dishes.
Ingredients you will need: Borax, washing soda, and sugar free lemonade kool-aid.
homemade dishwasher detergent in a vintage teal mason jar with a heart shaped tbs

This post was updated December 2018

Its Frugal Friday! This recipe for homemade dishwasher detergent is so stinking frugal, so easy it’s crazy, and you have to try it!  It takes about 2 minutes, costs about $0.65 to make, and should last about 100 loads. That’s not even a penny a load! Talk about saving money!

Have I convinced you yet? Also, I think it works better that the brand name stuff. This is a great beginners project for someone who wants to make more items homemade and purchase less consumer products.

I thought I’d make some homemade dishwasher detergent today because I’m so thankful to have my dishwasher working again after it broke on us for a couple of days. So, what better way to celebrate than a DIY project?

This is a much more natural version of dishwasher detergent than many you can find in the store. Cheap and more natural? Sign me up.

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Tips For Using Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

  • Use 1 Tbs in both the pre-wash cup and the main wash cup.
  • Different water types can have different results with DIY dishwasher detergent. If you are getting any cloudiness, add a few drops of natural dish soap to the mix.
  • If you want a natural dishwasher detergent, but don’t want to make it you could try this natural option.
  • Add vinegar as a rinse aid as a natural way to get sparkly dishes.

How To Make Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Step 1:

Gather ingredients! You will need:

Step 2:

Mix all ingredients together and keep in some kind of container. It could be a super cute old mason jar like mine 🙂 or just an empty detergent box you have.

Step 3:

Use it: Place 1 Tbs in the pre-wash (open cup) and 1 Tbs in the main wash (closed cup).

I found if you put a squirt of Dawn or some other brand in the main wash container it makes your dishes much more sparkly!

Want some more DIY Natural Products? Try these!

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Recipe

Make this super simple and inexpensive recipe to get sparkly clean dishes.

homemade dishwasher detergent in a vintage teal mason jar with heart shaped tbs

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Homemade dishwasher detergent is a simple, cheap, and effective way to clean dishes in the dishwasher.
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Author: Amy
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Borax I use this kind
  • 2 cups washing soda I use this kind
  • 4 packets of sugar free lemonade Kool-aid or you can use citric acid

Instructions

  • Mix all ingredients together and keep in some kind of container. It could be a super cute old mason jar like mine 🙂 or just an empty detergent box you have.

Notes

To use: Place 1 Tbs in the pre-wash (open cup) and 1 Tbs in the main wash (closed cup). I found if you put a squirt of Dawn or some other brand in the main wash container it makes your dishes much more sparkly!
Course: diy
Keyword: homemade dishwasher detergent
Tried this recipe?Mention @ablossominglife or tag #ablossominglife!

Is Borax Toxic?

This has been up for debate for some time. Katie over at the Wellness Mama has a great article here. Basically, there isn’t conclusive evidence of it being bad for you. Maybe one of these days I will try to come up with homemade dishwasher detergent that doesn’t have borax in it just in case you are concerned about that. I’m a mom and totally get that.

I’m getting water spots or cloudiness! What do I do?

You can add a few drops of dish detergent and fill the rinse aide container with vinegar. That should get rid of any water spots or cloudiness. You can also add a tsp of baking soda to the dishwasher to help against lime buildup.

Are there any good natural store bought dishwasher detergents?

You betcha. When I’m strapped for time… or just when I had my second child, I will frequently reach for Seventh Generation powder. Biokleen also scores an A on EWG, as does Ecos, Fit Organic, and Mama Suds.

Have you ever tried to make your own DIY dishwasher detergent?

98 Comments

  1. I use vinegar in the dishwasher everytime, it makes the glassware clear and sparkly, even glasses I have had for 30 yrs and cloudy. The vinegar smell goes away never had a problem with an odor on my dishes. I use about a 1/2 cup of vinegar for each load.

  2. I have made this twice now, and for some reason whenever I store it, the mix becomes hard and clumped together, as if a bunch of moisture got in. I have tried storing it in a glass jar, and also a plastic container, with the same results both times. Is there something in the mix that could be causing this (I use citric acid)? I do store it under my sink but it seems dry and both containers have been sealed. Thoughts?

    1. I have the same problem. I use a similar recipe that uses both citric acid and Kosher Salt. The website I found the recipe from suggested putting a little bit of dry rice in the mix to help absorb the moisture to prevent clumping. I haven’t tried it yet though because I’m a little afraid of what the rice would do to my dishwasher. I am one of those that rinses all the food off the dishes before putting them in. I figure our hard water reeks enough havoc on my appliances and am afraid to push it. If your brave enough to try it let me know how it works! Good Luck!

  3. For the homemade dishwasher detergent use 1 cup of borax 1 cup of washing soda and if u cannot find washing soda u can turn baking soda into washing soda by putting a layer of baking soda on a cookie sheet and baking in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes stirring the mixture halfway thru baking and add 1/4 cup of epsom salt, and 2 packs of lemonade works fine and u can get a brown sugar keeper and put it in there and that absorbs the moisture in it or toss in a clean piece from a clay pot that will do that same thing. Hope this helps

  4. Have you tried citrus infused vinegar? If you soak orange or lemon peel in the vinegar for a few weeks the vinegar scent goes away and the citrus scent stays!

  5. Vinegar is anti bacterial so it is a very beneficial ingredient. I use it in my dishwasher and also add it to my laundry. Never had a vinegar smell. 🙂

    1. Thanks Cindy. I was actually going to make my own recipe this week to post on the blog hahah. Funny timing. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I’ve tried this recipe before but it didn’t clean my dishes; it just left a white powdery film all over them. I tried to use less and less until I was only using a 1/2 of teaspoon of the detergent and still the same results. Did I do something wrong? Please let me know how I can fix it.

    1. You could try to add a squirt of dish soap with the homemade detergent. It could also be your water. Sorry you are not having better luck with it!

  7. Since Borax has been found to be toxic, I don’t want to use that! You can substitute sea salt and baking soda. Try this non-toxic recipe: 1/2 c. sea salt, 1/2 c. baking soda and 1.5 c Super Washing Soda. It works great, just have to clean off any sticky foods before throwing in dishwasher.

  8. It’s amazing that we don’t need to scientists, inventors or experts in experimenting to make a homemade dishwashing liquid. Posts like this are more than enough for us to effectively make our own eco-friendly green cleaning solution.

  9. Thank you so much for this great recipe. I am going to order the stuff right away! It sounds like you and I do a lot of the same stuff. I am just starting my blog and starting to switch over to all make my own cleaning products. Is it okay if I refer to this blog? Your page looks amazing. 🙂

    1. Sure thing Heather. As long as you don’t use word for word or share the recipe directly on your page. Good luck with everything!

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