Dishwasher and Detergent

How to Make Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

There’s nothing like reaching for the automatic dishwasher detergent only to find you’re fresh out, or you’re on your last pod. Normally, you’d run to the store or add it to your running grocery list for your next trip.

Dishwasher and Detergent

But suddenly, things are not normal. It’s comforting to know how to do things yourself—how to be more self-sufficient. With this post, you can add one more recipe to your “Make It Myself” file!

To make automatic dishwasher detergent you will need:

Airtight container

A wide-mouth Mason jar or similar is excellent for homemade dishwasher detergent because it’s easy to scoop from that wide-mouth, and easy to replace the lid to keep it as airtight as possible. However, any container, plastic or glass, with a tightly fitting top will work. A zip-type plastic bag will also work in a pinch.

Baking soda

This is ordinary baking soda, also known as bicarbonate of soda. You can find this in any grocery or supermarket in the baking aisle or online.

Washing soda

Find Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda in the laundry aisle of some supermarkets, in discount department stores like Walmart and Target and online. This is not the same as baking soda, but a distant cousin. It is also known as sodium carbonate. The generic version of washing soda is known as soda ash, which is generally a lot less expensive.

Borax

Sold in several forms, you are probably most familiar with Twenty-Mule Team Borax, in the laundry aisle often shelved near the Super Washing Soda. Or you can find generic borax in larger quantities, but much cheaper.


Detergent and Laundry

How to Make the Best Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent

Making laundry detergent is easy, cheap, and effective in standard and HE washers. Save money and avoid harsh chemicals with this ORIGINAL recipe and procedure for making powdered homemade laundry detergent. It is so good and costs less than 5 cents per load. Liquid version.


Salt

Any type of table salt works here—table salt, Kosher salt, sea salt—whichever you have on hand. This, however, is not Epsom Salt, which is completely different and not used in this recipe.

Citric acid

You can find citric acid in health food stores and online. An excellent substitute is Unsweetened Lemon (or Lemon-Lime) Kool-Aid! But it must be lemon or lemon-lime only, and unsweetened—no substitute Kool-Aid, please.

Lemon essential oil

This is an optional ingredient, but if you have Lemon Essential Oil it will give your detergent a boost and lovely fragrance.

Pro-Tip:

Washing soda and borax are prone to getting hard. To keep make sure your detergent remains in a nice powder form, don’t multiply this recipe. And when you have one of those little silica gel packs, toss it into your container of detergent rather than tossing it in the trash! That will help keep it loose and powdery.

Dishwasher and Detergent
Print Recipe
4.5 from 4 votes

Homemade Automatic Dishwasher Detergent

This easy and super affordable homemade dishwasher detergent will make your dishes come out sparkling clean!
Prep Time20 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Housekeeping
Cuisine: How-To
Cost: $6.30

Equipment

  • Container, plastic or glass, with a tight-fitting lid

Ingredients

  • 2 cups baking soda (Note 2)
  • 1 cup borax (Note 3)
  • ½ cup washing soda (Note 4)
  • ¼ cup salt (Note 5)
  • ¼ cup citric acid (Note 6)
  • 10 drops lemon essential oil (Note 7)
  • ½ cup white vinegar per load of dishes, as you use the powder (Note 8)

Instructions

  • Add baking soda, borax, washing soda, salt, and citric acid (NOT the white vinegar!) to the container. Mix well. Apply lid. Done.
  • To Use: Add 1-2 tablespoons per dishwasher load, as you would any commercial dishwasher powder.
  • Each load: Place a small container that is filled half-way with white vinegar (about ½ cup) on the top rack. While optional, this will assure that your glassware comes out super clean and sparkly.

Notes

  1. A wide-mouth Mason jar or similar is excellent for homemade dishwasher detergent because it's easy to scoop from that wide-mouth, and easy to replace the lid to keep it as airtight as possible. However, any container with a tightly fitting top will work.
  2. This is ordinary baking soda, also known as bicarbonate of soda. You can find this in any grocery or supermarket in the baking aisle or online.
  3. Sold in several forms, you are probably most familiar with Twenty-Mule Team Borax in the laundry aisle often shelved near the Super Washing Soda. Or you can find generic borax in larger quantities, but much cheaper.
  4. Find Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda in the laundry aisle of some supermarkets, in discount department stores like Walmart and Target and online. This is not the same as baking soda, but a distant cousin. It is also known as sodium carbonate. The generic version of washing soda is known as soda ash, which is generally a lot less expensive.
  5. Any type of table salt works here—table salt, Kosher salt, sea salt—whichever you have on hand. This, however, is not Epsom Salt, which is completely different and not used in this recipe.
  6. You can find citric acid in health food stores and online. An excellent substitute is Unsweetened Lemon (or Lemon-Lime) Kool-Aid! But it must be lemon or lemon-lime only, and unsweetened—no substitute Kool-Aid, please.
  7. This is an optional ingredient, but if you have Lemon Essential Oil it will give your detergent a boost and lovely fragrance.
  8. Each load: Place a small container that is filled half-way with white vinegar (about ½ cup) on the top rack. While not mandatory this will assure that your glassware comes out super clean and sparkly.

You may also enjoy:

How to Make the Best Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

Forget the Dry Cleaner: How to Wash a Down Comforter

Fabric Softeners are the Problem Not the Solution

Homemade Fabric Softener

How to Use Wool Dryer Balls and Why You Should


Everyday Cheapskate participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon affiliated sites.

Open refrigerator with food in kitchen. Food supply for a week.
cinnamon rolls on a table
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Caught yourself reading all the way 'til the end? Why not share with a friend.

11 replies
  1. Lija Wills says:

    Mary, have you ever done a cost comparison on homemade vs. store bought?
    I see that it is sold at Walmart for $5.97 for 75 oz or .07 cents an ounce. It’s beyond MYy math skills! Thanks.

    Reply
  2. Sarah says:

    Mary, I just wanted you to know that I made up a recipe of your dishwasher detergent this afternoon. Everything was already on hand although I didn’t have quite enough lemonade packets to make up the full 1/4 cup—I think I used 5 or 6 packets—but apparently it was enough! I also didn’t have the lemon essential oil to add as a booster, but I couldn’t be happier about how clean my dishes, pots, and glassware came out. (I did add the 1/2 cup of vinegar in a dish on the top rack per your directions.) My dishes were cleaner tonight using your dishwasher detergent than they were the night before when I used a store brand. Awesome! Thank you so much!

    Reply
  3. Gerry Voecks says:

    I’ll just wait and get some on my next shipping. If I’m out if dish detergent, god knows I only have one or two of the homemade ingredients.

    Reply
  4. Danielle Backer says:

    I cannot find the packet of lemon kool aid to save my life. Not at King Soopers not Safeway. Any other suggestions?

    Reply
  5. Gina Stevens says:

    5 stars
    Mary, I intend to try this! But, I will make very small amounts. I recently moved to Baton Rouge and am not savvy to southern living. Within a few months my Cascade turned into a brick. Sugar in an unopened bag, also became a cinder block. Now, all things powder (dishwashing soap, Borax and Washing Soda, sugars) reside in tupperware. I love all my Mary Hunt-inspired homemade cleaners! And, when this Coronavirus outbreak occurred, yours truly was STOCKED to the gills with rubbing alcohol!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How was it?