Saturday, March 4, 2017

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

I the thing that excites me to the most about my 365 challenge is when I run out of something I can replenish whatever it is without ever stepping foot in the grocery store.

Well, that is what happened when I decided to try out some homemade dishwasher detergent. My go-to store bought detergent was Finish Powerball Ultra Dish Tabs, I liked their performance and I could buy them in a large quantity for a reasonable price, but there came a day when I went to go start the dishwasher and I was OUT!

So instead of hand washing the abundance of dishes or making an extra trip to the store, I went with plan C and decided it was time to try my own. While I was looking for just the right recipe to try, I came across this post by houselogic who provided some at-home trials with different homemade dishwasher detergent recipes {I absolutely loved reading about these rather than taking the time to test them myself, thanks houselogic}! I also came across this post by Sisters Shopping on a Shoestring whose go to recipe was also the houselogic's #1 pick. This recipe combination is used quite frequently across the Internet, but I appreciated the Sisters' insight on lemonade packets versus citric acid.

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda
1/2 cup salt
1/4 cup citric acid
20-30 drops of lemon essential oil (grapefruit or orange works great too)

Mix is all together and store in an airtight container. Use 1 tablespoon per load. 

And then of course there came the day that I ran out of my homemade dishwasher detergent and when I went to go make some more I realized I was also out of Borax ... these are the times when my love for my challenge can get even more challenging! I was in desperate need of running the dishwasher {ours runs at least once a day and if we skip a day ... we have dishes reproducing like rabbits 😲}, so to the rescue came this post by Sherri Griffin and it's been working its wonders. 

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent without Borax

1 cup washing soda
1/2 cup citric acid
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup salt
20-30 drops of lemon essential oil (grapefruit or orange works great too)

Mix is all together in an airtight container. Use 1 tablespoon per load. 

I have run into some problems with clumping with both of these recipes but I think the main reason was due to the container I was using wasn't the best. I've since sent it through the food processor and have it stored in mason jars.

All in all, I think I prefer my original recipe with borax, but in a pinch {or if you are leary of using Borax here's a great article from Wellness Mama to help you not be so leary and also this funny post about eating your homemade dishwasher detergent from Crunchy Betty} the second version is a great alternative. 

Lastly if you are curious about how these homemade ingredients compare to those in commercial dishwasher detergents, Little House in the Suburbs offers some science behind them. 


  1. I didn’t know dishwasher detergent could be made at home. Thanks for sharing the recipe. This might come in handy for a lot of people.

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