Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

When it comes to cleaning your dishes, a reliable dishwasher detergent is key. Rather than relying on store-bought options with a laundry list of chemicals, why not whip up your own effective and safe dishwasher detergent at home?

 Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

I run my dishwasher almost daily and buying dishwasher detergent just eats away at budget even with coupons. So when I came across the recipe for Homemade Dishwasher Detergent, I just had to try it. I have been using it for about 8 months and have converted my mother to use it also. It is simple to mix, store, and use.

How to Make Homemade Dishwasher Detergent?


  • 2 cups Borax
  • 2 cups Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
  • 1 cup Kosher Salt
  • 8 packages of Lemon Kool-Aid (the generic brand works just fine)

Mix all the ingredient together and store in a container of your choice. I use a plastic Gladware container.

Use 1 TBSP per load. (To make measuring easy – I use a medicine cup that came with my kids cough medicine.)

Tip: Write the recipe on the container along with the amount to use per load. This will ensure you always know what to use.

Tip:For a rinse aid use plain vinegar in the rinse aid compartment of your dishwasher.

Create homemade dishwasher detergent and keep your dishes clean for pennies on the dollar. It works great even on my toughest dirty dishes. Shhh don’t tell anybody but we never pre-rinse. I figure I have an expensive machine that is supposed to clean my dishes, I am not going to rinse them before the machine washes them.

More DIY Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Recipes

Let’s explore three proven and eco-friendly recipes that will leave your dishes spotless and your conscience clear.

Classic Citrus Dishwasher Detergent  


  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1 cup citric acid
  • 1/2 cup coarse salt
  • 15-20 drops citrus essential oil (lemon, orange, or grapefruit)


Mix Dry Ingredients:

In a large bowl, combine washing soda, baking soda, citric acid, and coarse salt. Mix well until you have a uniform powder.

Add Essential Oil:

Drop in the citrus essential oil of your choice. Stir thoroughly to distribute the fragrance evenly.

Shape into Pods:

Using a silicone mold or an ice cube tray, pack the mixture tightly to form small pods. Let them dry for at least 24 hours.


Once completely dry, store the detergent pods in an airtight container. Use one pod per load in your dishwasher.

Note: Citric acid helps break down mineral deposits, while the coarse salt acts as a scrubbing agent for stubborn stains.

Vinegar and Lemon Dishwasher Rinse 


  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 lemon (sliced)
  • 10 drops lemon essential oil (optional)


Combine Ingredients:

In a glass container, mix white vinegar and water. Add lemon slices and, if desired, lemon essential oil.

Infuse the Solution:

Let the mixture sit for a week, allowing the lemon slices to infuse the vinegar with natural citrus oils.

Strain and Store:

After a week, strain the solution to remove lemon slices. Transfer the liquid to a glass jar.

Use as Rinse Aid:

Pour a small amount (about 1/4 cup) into your dishwasher’s rinse aid compartment before each wash.

Note: The acidity of vinegar helps with mineral buildup and adds shine, while lemon provides a fresh scent.

Borax and Washing Soda Dishwasher Powder


  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1/2 cup Epsom salt
  • 1/2 cup citric acid
  • 15-20 drops lavender essential oil (or your preferred scent)


Combine Dry Ingredients:

In a mixing bowl, blend borax, washing soda, Epsom salt, and citric acid. Ensure an even distribution.

Add Essential Oil:

Incorporate the lavender essential oil, mixing thoroughly to disperse the scent.


Transfer the dishwasher powder into a sealed container, protecting it from moisture.


Use 2-3 tablespoons of the powder per dishwasher load, placing it directly in the detergent compartment.

Note: Borax and washing soda work together to break down grease and grime, leaving dishes clean and residue-free.

Tips for Effective Homemade Dishwasher Detergents

Adjust Quantity:

Experiment with the quantity of detergent used per load based on your dishwasher’s size and the hardness of your water.

Hard Water Adjustment:

If you have hard water, consider adding more citric acid to your recipes to combat mineral deposits.

Maintenance Wash:

Run an empty dishwasher with a cup of white vinegar or a dishwasher cleaner once a month to prevent buildup.

Check Dishwasher Guidelines:

Some dishwashers may have specific recommendations or restrictions regarding homemade detergents. Check your appliance’s guidelines.

Natural Cleaning Agents:

Lemon and vinegar not only provide a fresh scent but also act as natural cleaning agents, breaking down grease and residue.

Crafting your own dishwasher detergent not only contributes to a cleaner environment but also ensures that your dishes are washed without the harsh chemicals found in many commercial detergents. These proven recipes offer effective alternatives, allowing you to take control of what goes into your dishwasher and onto your plates. Enjoy sparkling, chemical-free dishes with a touch of your homemade magic!  


How to Clean Dishwasher with Vinegar

Check out our other DIY projects:

How to make laundry detergent
Homemade Liquid Hand Soap
Striking Decorated Soaps