Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Recipe

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent recipe that ACTUALLY works. No borax, just 3 cents per load. So easy and quick to make.

Ever since I started making my own homemade laundry detergent I knew I wanted to try to make homemade dishwasher detergent as well.

My goal to making my own homemade dishwasher soap recipe was to use something a little more natural, be more self-reliant and just figure out if it’s less money to make it myself. I usually just buy the tabs at Costco, so if it saves me money making it myself and works well I will be thrilled.

The first thing I did was google a kazillion homemade dishwasher detergent recipes without borax. Then started making some. I made one batch and it seemed to work really well, the first time I washed the dishes. The second time my dishes were all cloudy. So I continued making different recipes without good enough results. So I had to start playing around with my own mixture and I came up with one that is thrifty and works! No cloudy dishes. No borax. And my dishes were clean.

Hip Hip Hooray!

PS – I think I now need my own lab coat for all the experiments I am doing on this little ole’ blog of mine.

Testing dishwashing detergent recipes

I made at least 20 different dishwasher soap recipes to figure out one that really works and it made me feel like a real scientist. A cool hippie scientist wearing braids and singing church hymns all the while.  I am livin’ the life folks, livin’ the life…. 🙂

So without further ado..here is the recipe.

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Tabs

ingredients for homemade dishwashing detergent

You’ll need 5 ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Washing Soda (cleaner)
  • 1 Cup Baking Soda (cuts out grease)
  • 3 packages unsweetened lemonade drink mix (added cleaning power, antibacterial and smells awesome)
  • 1 Cup of Kosher Salt (reduces hard water build up – you might be able to reduce this amount if you have soft water)
  • 1 Cup Water

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl with a spoon.

homemade dishwashing detergent

Homemade DIY Dishwashing detergent recipe

At this stage you can actually just leave it all as a powder.

Just add a tablespoon to your washer dispenser and wash as usual. The problem is that the powder can harden in the container, so try a clean sock tied up with rice in the container with it to help with that. I prefer the tabs so I can just grab one out and don’t have to worry about the mix hardening.

If you want to make tabs though, just add the water…

2013-08-11 17.16.12

When you poor in the water it will fizz, it’s pretty fun to watch! Wait until the mixture is totally done fizzing and bubbling (1-2 minutes).

Once all the ingredients have combined together into clumpy texture similar to really moist sand you can spoon it into two ice cube trays.

homemade dishwashing detergent
Use your fingers to compress the detergent into each cube into the tray until firmly packed. I found using my thumbs or the back of a wooden spoon worked the best.
Finally, its time for these puppies to dry. Place them in a dry and sunny spot for at least 24 hours.
Once they are completely dried, crack the trays like you would with ice to get the detergent tabs out of the tray. You can store your homemade dishwashing tabs in an air tight container!

They smell all lemon-y fresh too.

homemade dishwashing detergent

Instructions for Use:

Add one tablet to your dishwasher detergent compartment. I use vinegar as a rinse aid to save money as well.

But is it worth the cost and time?

  • Washing Soda $3.24 for 55 oz. = $0.47 for 1 cup
  • Baking Soda $0.68 for 1 lb. box = $0.18 for 1 cup
  • 3 packages unsweetened lemonade drink mix ( I bought generic at $0.17/pkg)  = $0.51
  • Kosher Salt $1.68 = $0.28 for 1 cup
  • Final price for 38 tabs or 38 loads = $1.44

Price per homemade dishwasher detergent tab = about $0.03 cents each!

To compare I usually stock up when Costco has a coupon on their 100 ct. Finish tabs + a coupon, but that stock up price is $0.10 per load, so this is a GREAT deal! At Walmart you would pay around $0.16 per tab even on rollback for the Finish tabs. Of course you do have to do some mixing and pouring, but it really was quick and easy to do. So I think this one is worth the cost and time since you can save so much. Go ahead – try out my recipe and see what you think!! Hope it works as well for you as it does for me.

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
1 d

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent is use something a little more natural, be more self-reliant and it’s less money to make!

Course: Cleaning
Author: Karrie
  • 1 Cup Washing Soda cleaner
  • 1 Cup Baking Soda cuts out grease
  • 3 packages unsweetened lemonade drink mix (added cleaning power antibacterial and smells awesome)
  • 1 Cup of Kosher Salt reduces hard water build up - you might be able to reduce this amount if you have soft water
  • 1 Cup Water
  1. Mix all dry ingredients together.
  2. If you are using this as a dry powder: Omit the water. Then pour all dry ingredients into an airtight container. Consider adding in a bag of uncooked rice in a clean cloth to help keep the dry mixture from clumping. Add one tablespoon of dry powder mix to your dishwasher dispenser. Also use vinegar or jet-dry in your rinse dispenser too.
  3. If you are making tabs: Add water, wait for fizzing to stop (about 1-2 minutes). Then add your mixture to ice cube trays, pressing with your fingers or back of a spoon. Let dry in a warm and sunny spot for 24 hours or till completely dry. Remove and add to an airtight container. Add one tab to the dishwasher dispenser. Also use vinegar or jet-dry in your rinse dispenser too.

If you like this recipe check out these other homemade recipes!

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Recipe was last modified: November 2nd, 2016 by Karrie

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