Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Recipe

Dishwashers do a great job at cleaning our dishes efficiently, but it can be irritating having to keep purchasing dishwasher detergents, whether they’re tablets, gels, powders, soaps or liquids. Branded dishwasher detergents can be expensive, and many of them also contain ingredients that are bad for the environment.

By making your own dishwasher detergent using cheaper, common ingredients can save you a lot of money, and making it in bulk will make it last much longer. A branded detergent is believed to cost roughly 40 cents per load, equating to $146 per year, if you run 1 dishwasher cycle each day.

However, a homemade detergent can cost just 2 cents per load, equating to a mere $7 each year when used daily. There are tons of recipes available, each using different ingredients, with lots of different types of detergent to create. This article will inform you on help you create economically and environmentally friendly detergents that will last for a long time.

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Recipe

Powdered recipes

Recipe 1: ‘Lemony Scent Dishwasher Detergent’

This recipe was submitted to a women’s magazine website and boasts about its lemon scent. They use ‘LemiShine’, but say that this can be replaced with unsweetened lemonade or 4 packs of lemon flavoured drink mix, as long as it has no added sugar.


-2 cups of borax (or 1 ½ cups if you have hard water)

-2 cups of washing powder or 2 cups of baking soda

-4 tbsp of LemiShine


Mix all of the ingredients together until they’re combined, and store the powder in an airtight lidded container. Use 2 tbsp per dishwasher load.

Recipe 2: ‘Homemade Dishwasher Detergent’

This recipe was written by and published to diynatural.com, a website specialising in natural, homemade recipes and hacks. This recipe uses kosher salt for ‘scrubbing action’. In addition to the powder detergent recipe, they say that white vinegar can be used as a natural rinse agent.


-1 cup of borax

-1 cup of washing soda

-½ a cup of citric acid

-½ a cup of kosher salt


Mix all ingredients together and use 1 tbsp of the detergent per load, or a heaped tablespoon if you feel you need to.

Recipe 3: Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Made With Kool Aid and Borax

This recipe was compared against 6 other homemade dishwasher detergent recipes, and this was the recipe that appeared to be most effective. Using KoolAid and kosher salt, this recipe is said to provide 42 tbsp servings.


-1 cup of borax

-1 cup of washing soda

-½ a cup of kosher salt

-5 packets of unsweetened lemonade mix (KoolAid)


Combine all ingredients and store in a tightly sealed jar. Use 1 tbsp per load, or 2 tbsp if the dishes are especially dirty.

gel dishwasher detergent recipes

Gel recipes

Recipe 4: ‘Gel Dishwasher Solution’

This ingredient was also published by a women’s magazine website, who claim that this gel solution is effective at washing dishes. They state that while many people feel the need to pre-rinse their dishes before loading them into the dishwasher, you don’t have to with this recipe.


-2 cups of water

-¼ cup of soap flakes or grated soap shavings

-1 tbsp of glycerin

-2 tbsp of distilled white vinegar or lemon juice


Add all ingredients to a pot and bring it to a boil on a medium heat, allowing the soap flakes/shavings to melt completely. After taking the pot off the heat, allowing it to cool completely before pouring the gel solution into a glass container. Use 1tbsp per dishwashing load.

Recipe 5: ‘Dishwasher Gel’

This recipe was uploaded by the same woman’s magazine as mentioned before, but this recipe uses a vegetable-based soap to make it more natural, and it uses optional ingredients that make it lemon scented. This recipe uses LemiShine, but they say that you can use any other unsweetened lemonade mix.


-2 cups of castile soap

-½ a cup of water

-½ a cup of distilled white vinegar

-1 tsp of LemiShine

-3 or 4 drops of essential oil (you can choose your desired scent)

The directions are the same as those in the previous gel detergent recipe. You simply add all ingredients to a pot on a medium heat until the soap is completely dissolved. Take the pot off the heat and allow it to cool completely.

Once it’s cooled, store the solution into an airtight glass container, and use 1tbsp of the gel per dishwasher load.

Borax-free detergent recipes

Borax-free detergent recipes

Lots of recipes for homemade dishwasher detergents use the ingredient ‘borax’, including some listed above. There’s been a lot of controversy about the safety of borax and whether people should use it or not.

Because of these mixed opinions, many people opt for borax-free recipes, just like those listed below.

Recipe 6: ‘All Natural Homemade Dishwasher Detergent without Borax (and desiccant)’

This powder detergent recipe was written by a healthy lifestyle blogger who uploaded it to her blog called ‘thankyourbody.com’.

She said that because of the controversy surrounding borax, she wanted to create a borax-free detergent to avoid any potential safety risks.

Her recipe is simple and she claims that it works effectively, as well as saving you money. She also says that it’s much more natural than commercial, branded products, which is why she favours it.

However, she did say that one problem she faced was that the detergent often formed clumps, and so she also makes her own desiccant to absorb any moisture in the container.


-1 ½ cups of citric acid

-1 ½ cups of washing soda

-½ cup of baking soda

-½ cup of sea salt


Combine all ingredients by mixing them together, and use 1 tbsp of detergent per dishwasher load.

Desiccant recipe:


-Powdered white clay or bentonite clay

-Fabric pouch (such as the end of some tights/a stocking, a child’s sock or some cheese cloth)


Place 2 tbsp of the clay into the fabric pouch and either tie it a knot to fasten it, or tie the ends to form a ‘pouch’. Place in an airtight container with the detergent so it can absorb any moisture and prevent ‘clumping’.

Recipe 7: ‘Homemade Lemon Scented Dishwasher Detergent Tabs’

This recipe was uploaded by a member of ‘happymoneysupermarket.com’, and these are not only borax-free, but they’re also lemon scented and take the form of a tablet as opposed to a powder or liquid/gel.

They also specify the role of each ingredient, as noted below, and they state that if you have soft water, you can reduce the amount of kosher salt used.


-1 cup of washing soda (to clean)

-1 cup of baking soda (to remove grease)

-3 packets of unsweetened lemonade mix (to fragrance, help clean and to provide anti-bacterial properties)

-1 cup of kosher salt (to reduce hard water build up)

-1 cup of water (if you want to convert the powder into tabs)


Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, using a spoon. If you just want a powder, you don’t need to add water. However, they said that the powder can harden, so to make tabs you just add the water and the mixture will fizz.

After 1-2 minutes when the solution has stopped fizzing, combine the mixture until it takes a form similar to moist clay. Spoon the mixture into an ice cube tray, using your fingers to make sure they’re firmly compact.

Leave the tray in a dry, sunny place for 24 hours until the tabs have hardened. Empty the tray like you would with ice cubes and store the tabs in an airtight container.

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