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Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Homemade dishwasher detergent is something I have wanted to make for awhile now. This year, I am trying to make my own natural products as much as possible, including dishwasher detergent. However, there are 3 things I require of the natural products. I need them to be:

  • Inexpensive
  • Effective
  • Simple

I have tried a few recipes and finally found one that meets all 3 requirements. With this detergent and the very simple rinse aid, your dishes will shine (as will you, knowing how much money you’re saving!).

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent


  • 1/2 Cup Baking Soda (or Washing Soda)
  • 1/2 Cup Borax
  • 1/4 Cup Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Citric Acid (or 2 unsweetened Lemon Kool-Aid Packets)


Step 1: Turn your baking soda into washing soda.

Washing soda can be tricky to find (usually in laundry aisles) and I haven’t found it in bulk (making it costly). I stumbled upon Penny’s blog, which explains the easiest way to turn baking soda into washing soda.


  1. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes
  2. Stir occasionally
  3. The baking soda will turn sort of grainy – voila!

Step 2: Pour 1/2 cup washing soda into mixing bowl.

Washing soda is sodium carbonate and it cuts grease and neutralizes odour. Approximate cost per batch: 40 cents. Best price I’ve found: Bulk Barn (baking soda only).

Step 3: Pour 1/2 cup Borax into mixing bowl.

Borax is a natural detergent and stain fighter. It occurs naturally and can also be man made. Approximate cost per batch: 50 cents. Best price I have found: Walmart.

Step 4: Pour 1/4 cup kosher salt into mixing bowl.

Kosher salt is thick, granular salt and acts as a gentle scrubber for your dishes. Approximate cost per batch: 35 cents. Best price I have found: Bulk Barn.

Step 5: Pour 1/4 cup citric acid (or 2 Kool Aid packets) into mixing bowl.

Citric acid is a natural fruit acid which acts as a water softener allowing the detergent to clean better. Approximate cost per batch of 2 Kool-Aid packets: $1.20. Best price I have found: Walmart (especially in the summer).

Step 6: Mix well and store in an airtight container.

Use 1 tablespoon per load of dishes.

Dirty Dishes

Clean Dishes

Homemade Rinse Agent

  • Lemon Juice (a squirt)
  • Dish Soap (3 drops)
  • Vinegar (about 1/2 cup)

Dishwasher Rinse Aid DIY

Note: I freeze the lemon juice and dish soap with a bit of water in ice cube trays for convenience.

Simply drop one frozen cube and the vinegar on the bottom of the dishwasher before starting.

I have had such wonderful success with this detergent. I feel good knowing it is natural, great knowing it is simple, and wonderful knowing it’s inexpensive.

I have calculated the approximate cost of a 24 load batch and the price is only $2.45!


  1. Lori D

    I’d love to give this a try.

  2. Marie

    I always make laundry soap and fabric softener and body wash and softener sheets .! I have yet to try this one .!!!

  3. Lori Laverty Hastings

    This looks fantastic! As a penny pincher myself, I would love to try this!

  4. Donna

    I’ve started using more natural products at home too.

  5. Amanda

    What a neat idea! I would like to try using more natural products this year.

  6. Elizabeth Charlton

    I am interested in trying to make this!

  7. Colleen Lautebach

    Can’t wait to make and try this!

  8. jenn0021

    This looks really simple to make and if it’s effective, what a money saver! I would love to give it a try. Thanks for the recipe!

  9. Wanda Robertson

    I would love to try this! It would be so much better for or family’s health issues! Thanks

  10. Amy

    I recently did a presentation to a local mom’s group about making your own laundry soap and dishwasher detergent. This looks like the same recipe I used for the dishwasher detergent…. love that it’s so much more natural and cheaper! πŸ™‚

  11. Daphne

    WOW! $2.45 for 24 loads! I’ll be trying this for sure! πŸ™‚

  12. Melissa C

    Wow this is a great idea! I’d love to try it.

  13. Polly

    Thanks for sharing this. I will definitely give it a try!

  14. Jenn

    Awesome post! I love it when someone shares a tried and true recipe. Big thanks for suggesting stores for the ingredients ~ huge help!

  15. Cathy Graansma

    Looks very interesting … will give it a try, however I have a pile of powerball tabs to use up first! πŸ™‚

  16. Colleen C

    Oh, nice! I tried to make a homemade dishwasher solution before and it didn’t work. It was missing the salt and the citric acid.

  17. Leigh

    Would love to try making some of my own products at home..need to see it work first though, I’d love to try it!

  18. Colleen

    I tried to make homemade dishwashing soap before, but it didn’t work. It turns out it was missing the citric acid and the salt. Thanks for the information, I really appreciate it.

  19. Christine

    Very interesting! Worth a try.

  20. Jenna

    This is such a great idea! Dishwasher soap is always one of my family’s expensive items, even when we use a coupon and hunt for a sale. I can’t wait to try this!

  21. Laura S.

    Fantastic! I can’t wait to try it.

  22. Kristin

    I’d love to try homemade dishwasher detergent and will definitely give it a try if it works!

  23. Holly Kooger

    I am also trying to go more natural this year and would love to try this out!

  24. Nasly

    Wow! I never thought of home made dishwasing detergent. I love the concept as I hate the nasty stuff in the store bought ones. Thanks for posting this…
    Naslyyadid@gmail. Com

  25. Amanda

    Would love to try. Not sure if you have tried to get your baking soda at a pool store. They sell 20lb bag price would depend on your area. Not sure but might work out cheaper.

    • Sarah

      I had no idea!! Thank you very much for this tip! Definitely worth a call – we go through a TON of baking soda

      • Amanda

        When yo call the pool store they call it sodium bicarb. We use it in our pool. I store it in a 4 gallon pail with a lid and I take from it to use in my baking. I made the dishwasher soap and love it. Thanks for sharing. Hope it works out cheaper for you.

  26. Melise

    I would LOVE to try this out! I’m trying to get rid of all chemicals in my home. I have 2 little boys who get into everything! I use only ENJO cleaning products and I’m trying to find DIY everything else!

  27. Christine

    I would try it.

  28. heather greenlay

    I would love to try this!

    [email protected]

  29. Christine

    I would try it.
    [email protected]

  30. Jan

    I would love to give this a try!

  31. Leigh

    Definately sounds worth a try. Already have everything in the house to make it, except dirty dishes. Sounds like an excuse to bake!

  32. Tracy

    Definitely looks interesting and cost efficient. Tracy [email protected]

  33. Ann-Marie

    What a great idea. I never thought about homemade dishwasher soap. Would love to give it a try.

  34. sarah

    Definitely want to try this!! [email protected]

  35. Angela

    I will try this out for sure. Thank you for sharing.
    [email protected]

  36. Amy

    Would definitely love to try this!

  37. Emily Nunn

    I am always looking for ways to save money. This is a great idea! Especially since dishwasher detergent is sooo expensive. I would love to try this at home!

  38. Catherine

    I am always looking for natural solutions to our every day chemicals, especially since I often help out with our Daughters Girl Guide camp. One of the girls in the troop has severe allergies and having natural, organic and chemical solutions to offer her, eases her parents worry (just a little).
    This is a great idea. Can’t wait to make some!

  39. Catherine

    I am always looking for natural solutions to our every day chemicals, especially since I often help out with our Daughters Girl Guide camp. One of the girls in the troop has severe allergies and having natural, organic and chemical solutions to offer her, eases her parents worry (just a little).
    This is a great idea. Can’t wait to make some!
    (sorry for the duplicate, forgot my email: [email protected])

  40. Cathie White

    We’ll try this for sure.thanks
    [email protected]

  41. Elizabeth

    I would LOVE to try this product and be able to make my own too. I don’t have a whole lot of time so I’d prefer to try before I attempt. I love this site.. thanks so much for all the tips.

  42. Elizabeth

    Ooopppsss… [email protected]

  43. Kelsey

    I am definitely going to
    Give this a try

  44. Kim

    I would LOVE to give this a try!

    [email protected]

  45. Kim

    I would LOVE to give this a try! Way safer and cheaper!

  46. Paula

    I’d love to try this to see how it compares with the recipe that I’ve already used. I love making my own detergents.

  47. Bonnie

    Sounds simple enough! I love that you give the cheapest location to buy ingredients! Plus, it needs a well-sealed jar or container… I love the excuse to make a pretty jar for it!

  48. Sally D.

    I would love to try this before buying the ingredients to see if it works where I live, I have a hard time finding a detergent that dissolves fully in my dishwasher.

  49. Bonnie

    Sounds simple enough! I love that you give the cheapest location to buy ingredients! Plus, it needs a well-sealed jar or container. I love the excuse to make a pretty jar for it!

  50. Bonnie

    Sounds simple enough! I love that you give the cheapest location to buy ingredients! Plus, it needs a well-sealed jar or container… I love the excuse to make a pretty jar for it!

  51. Bonnie

    Geez, sorry. The mobile version kept saying that my comment failed. Evidently it didn’t. Feel free to remove those duplicates! And this… πŸ˜›

  52. teachermum

    I’ve made detergent for the washer but have never tried this. I’m sure not impressed with the Finish in my dishwasher-it’s on the verge of being donated!

  53. Cailey

    Love this idea! Would love to try.

  54. Amy

    I would love to try this, dishwasher detergent get so expensive, and I use my dishwasher almost everyday.

  55. Tracey

    Would so love to try this dishwasher detergent. I have gone natural with most everything in my home and love it!!!!

  56. Christel C

    I would love to try the natural dishwasher detergent!

  57. The One Income Dollar

    would love to try this and see how it compares to the bought.

  58. Lise

    Wow!!! I have been waiting for this recipe!!! I love the cost factor and the idea of it being natural. I have been using commercial detergent for the longest time and have wanted to stop for the environment and the cost. Now I can and shiny dishes too!!! I book marked this page in favourites.

  59. Alanda

    This sounds great! I’d love to give it a try! πŸ™‚

  60. Leah Ryan

    This would be great to try! I use the dishwasher everyday and it does cost a lot buying the tabs!!

  61. Amanda

    Would love to win this!! We have been trying to find better all natural methods for everything around the house this year to help cut costs.

    Thanks for posting!!

  62. Amy

    You are doing great. I would love to try. But if I could try your successful batch first, that would be even better.

  63. Brenda

    Would like to try this!

  64. sara

    we just bought and house and this is my first time owning a dishwasher which has made doing dishes (my least fav chore) so much easier with a family of 5! I’ve been trying every detergent out there and so far i like sunlight but it can be very expensive πŸ™ so I’d love to try this DYI πŸ™‚

  65. Amanda

    You can use Tang (the drink packet) to clean your dishwasher. It is amazing how it sparkles afterwards.

  66. JoAnne

    I am always looking for ways to save money and trying products made from all natural ingredients. Please count me in for a free sample!!!
    As to Walmart having the lowest price on Borax; have you tried No Frills??

  67. Teresa

    Wow! How do people come up with these ideas/recipes?? Fantastic!

  68. brook

    sounds amazing cant wait to try, never been a big fan of all the chemicals in the regular dish detergents.

  69. Stephanie

    You convinced me!! I make my own laundry detergent and this was next on my list! Thank you for sharing! Do you know if you have hard or soft water, or does it even matter?

    • Sarah

      My water is not too hard. But if you do have hard water Baking Soda acts as a water softener – so you could add a few tablespoons to your detergent. Good question!

  70. renee

    I make my own laundry detergent, bathroom cleaner, all purpose cleaner, i dont even buy magic erasers anymore. I have not made my own dishwasher detergent yet though and would love to try some. I found washing soda in no frills, large box for about 5 dollars and i bought it atleast 5 months ago and have lots still. I also make my own essential oil to add drops to batches of cleaner and also use tea tree oil.

  71. Shereen

    I would love to win this to try it out! Sounds fantastic. I want to have natural detergent in the house, but haven’t been successful with other recipes.


  72. Tamara Jones

    Wow Love the sound of this. Love the thoughts of things that are not harsh. I was reading my daughters Me to We book and a young lad did a science project on natural products.

  73. Mags

    I’ve made homemade laundry detergent before, but for some reason I never thought to try making dishwasher detergent as well! I would love to try out your recipe. πŸ™‚

  74. Thu B

    Thanks so much for this post! Been trying to figure out how I can cut costs for the dishwasher and this is perfect!

  75. sue gray

    I will be owning a dishwasher for the first time! I am so excited! I have a family of 5 so I’m sure it will definitly be appreciated to say the least! However I know that dishwasher detergent is pricey. So I am eager to give this DIY a try. I would be most appreciative to win this free givaway.

  76. Debbie

    Thanks for this. Will definitely give it a try! πŸ™‚

  77. Julie

    Great idea, always good to try new things, and new ways to save!

  78. Leslie

    Could you use the Baking Soda from the fridge…or has it lost its effectiveness to be baked into Washing Soda?

    • Sarah

      Hmmm … What a good question. And wouldn’t it be great if we could?! I have no idea. I know that by cooking the baking soda you change the chemical composition (cooking off some Carbon Dioxide I believe). So as long as being in the fridge doesn’t change it’s chemical composition it should be fine. I am very intrigued …. I will find out!!

  79. Leslie

    Would you be able to use the expired Baking Soda from the fridge and bake it into Washing Soda? Or has it lost its effectiveness?

  80. Karen H

    I’d love to try this. It it works as well as you say it does, it would be a real money saver.

  81. Nikki

    THis would be grea tto try thanks!

  82. Leanne

    I would LOVE to give this a try πŸ™‚

  83. Teri

    Great idea! I plan to try it out.

  84. Cheryl Grandy

    Thanks for the recipes. I’d love to win a batch already made – seems despite my good intentions I don’t always get around to making them.

  85. Brianna

    Can’t wait to try this!

  86. Vanessa Styles

    I love homemade things and there are so many different recipes out there for this, I’m so glad to see that you liked it and it worked for you! I would be thrilled to win a sample of it, my email address is [email protected]!

  87. Happymomy

    Thanks for the recipe. I have been trying really hard to make my own things instead of buying them. Just made my own liquid hand soap the other day from 2bars of soap I had bought for free after coupons. The liquid hand soap turned out great and smells great too!

    • Olivia

      Would you mind sharing your recipe / technique for making liquid soap?
      Great idea, especially if you have bits and pieces of soap around. Thanks.

      • Happymomy

        Sure. Here is the recipe I use for liquid hand soap. Grate 2 bars of soap. I used Irish spring but any will work. Bring 8cups of water to a boil, add grated soap and turn heat down to med/low until dissolved. Turn off heat. Slowly add 8 cups of cold water and mix well. The mixture will be very runny (don’t panic). Allow to thicken and cool 4-6 hours. Once cooled and thicker use a hand mixture to combine the soap into a nice thick hand soap. I store my soap in large canning jars or empty jugs. You could also add essential oils, ect when you add the soap flakes to make different scents. Enjoy!

  88. Jane

    Great recipe! If you want to save yourself some work, Wegman’s in Niagara Falls, NY has Arm & Hammer Washing Soda $3.49 for 55 oz. Haven’t checked in ON.

  89. Kayleigh

    I love homemade things and would love to win a sample!

  90. Kerry

    Brilliant idea! Always looking for new ways to use natural products and be cost effective. Thanks!

  91. Amanda

    I’d love to try this!! [email protected]

  92. Lorna Webster

    [email protected] What a great idea! I often think I’d love to try making my own natural household items.

  93. Miranda

    I love this easy recipe!

  94. Melissa

    I would love to try this detergent. I think I will be makeing some regardless if I win or not!! Thank you for sharing!!

  95. Melissa

    I would love to try this detergent. I think I will be makeing some regardless if I win or not!! Thank you for sharing!!
    [email protected]

  96. Melissa

    I would love to try this detergent.
    [email protected]

  97. Wendi

    This detergent is a great idea can’t wait to try it!!

  98. LJ

    A while ago I was looking into making my own laundry soap, and could not find washing soda anywhere. Thanks for the tips, would love to try it.

  99. 050937k2

    How neat it that – sounds like a good weekend project!

  100. Wendi

    I would love to try this

  101. Althea Park

    Thank you for sharing. Will try one of these days. πŸ™‚ [email protected]

  102. Althea

    Thanks for sharing. WIll definetly try it one of these days. [email protected]

  103. Maegan Morin

    Thanks for sharing! I will definately be trying this out!!
    megnate at telus dot net

  104. mabs

    I hope this is a good recipe. I have tried others with somewhat different ingredients, and the results haven’t been good. Perhaps with the addition of the homemade rinse agent, I will have clean dishes, for a fraction of the price of the store brands.


  105. Betty

    I would love to try this. Thanks for sharing all these great tips with us Cassie!

    Betty ([email protected])

  106. JoAnne

    Definitely going to give this try!! Anything to save money and get great results too,what more could a girl ask for!! I have tried several store brands and am discourage by the results. [email protected]

  107. Heather R

    I would love to win this where as I make my own household cleaners but have yet to make dishwasher soap. Better for the environment and economical!Even if I don’t win, I’m going to make it anyway:)
    [email protected]

  108. Olivia

    I’ll give it a try sometime. Would love to get a head start and win. Thanks.

  109. greeneyesgreen

    love to use natural products, so I would definitely use this….so good luck to me…will have to print this recipe so maybe I can try and make my own….

  110. Kelly

    Would love to win this giveaway! I just started making my own laundry detergent and I think it would be great to try using homemade dishwasher detergent as well.

  111. Kathy Nelson

    I would love to try a sample of your homemade dishwasher detergent. I have tried to make my own a few times in the past, but I have never liked the results. So I gave up and am still using the ridiculously expensive store bought stuff.

  112. Christine

    I would love to try a sample! I make body scrubs and began selling them at Christmas, I value homemade items and the time and effort put into them! Thanks for the opportunity!

  113. Kelly

    Would love to try it!

    [email protected]

  114. Laurel

    Good idea! I have done my own laundry detergent but never thought about dishwasher detergent.

  115. Erika

    Love this idea! I think I might try it myself once I run out of my dishwashing tabs stockpile. I bet the dishes even smell great while washing too with all the lemon!
    [email protected]

  116. Sara

    Sounds amazing! I would love to give it a try. Thanks for the opportunity. :0)

  117. Enis Poirier

    Great idea with greater savings. Will definitely try it.

  118. Jennifer P

    What a fantastic idea! I am really excited to try it – I hope I am the lucky winner!

  119. Nicole

    I’m going to give this a try!

    I need to really try the rinse agent as I’m very skeptical of that!

  120. Anne

    Would be very interested to see how well this cleans. It would definitely have to work well for the effort taken to make it πŸ˜‰ [email protected]

  121. Kelly B

    Can’t wait to try this, have you make homemade landuary soap?

    • Sarah

      Yes! Watch for that recipe in February πŸ˜‰ I use a gentle Natural Oatmeal Laundry Detergent

  122. TL Dyck

    Do you use the rinse aid with every load of dishes, or just once in a while?

    • Sarah

      I use it every single time. Otherwise the detergent can leave a cloudy film. I add vinegar directly into the spot for “Jet Dry”

  123. Tracy

    I would love to try this. Thank you!! πŸ™‚

  124. Natalie

    I’m curious. I love the convenience of dishwasher tabs, but the low cost and “natural-ness” of this is intriguing.

  125. Katie

    Sounds great! Even if I don’t win I will be trying this recipe.

  126. Crystal Norman

    Awesome recipe! Look forward to see more cost saving tips and ideas

  127. Dan

    It would be great to win it and to try it out,
    good luck to me!

  128. Rhonda

    sounds awesome. you should put a print option so we can print without all the pictures.

  129. Martine

    Looking forward to trying this. Feels great to find natural cleaners for our families. Thank you.

  130. Linda Mol

    Sounds fantastic Thanks for sharing can’t wait to try it.

  131. Jennifer

    I’ll try this because my last recipe for dishwasher soap didn’t work very well. It left a film on everything.

    BTW you can buy washing soda in bulk from The brand is Eco-Pioneer. You can buy other bulk ingredients for making your own cleaning products from them too. Very convenient, and of course shipping is free.

  132. Cassia

    I’m definitely going to try this. Great tip! Hope I win!

  133. Rebecca

    I would definately be interested in making this, but if I could try it first, even better. Very intriguing. Thank you for the chance. πŸ™‚

  134. Tina

    Cool! I’d love to try this. I’ve never thought about making my own dishwasher detergent.

  135. Judy Stolz

    Great timing; I need to get some dishwasher soap, and this appeared, and YES I’m going to give this a try……thank you.

  136. Tara

    sounds great, i would love to try this!

  137. Lorraine

    I love this! I will definately try it and have shared your recipe with friends. (I wish your posts were easier to print off!)

  138. chrissy

    why does the lemonade mix need to be unsweetened?

    • Alex

      The lemonade mix should be unsweetened, I assume, because you don’t want to add sugar for a water cleaning environment. Bacteria thrive on sugar. Also, the lemonade mix is probably just for scent and extra acid (citric acid is almost as good as vinegar but smells better). You could probably add the zest of lemon instead if you have that on hand.

      Note: these are only my guesses.

  139. Amanda Brine

    I’ve done this and my plastic dishes had a film left on them, any idea what I did wrong?

  140. Tonya

    Could sea salt or canning salt be used as a substitute for kosher salt?

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