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Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Recipes

Dishwasher detergent is a necessary but expensive household item. Making your own detergent is a simple way to save money. This page contains homemade dishwasher detergent recipes.

Someone loading dishes into a dishwasher.
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June 19, 2015 Flag
6 found this helpful

If you prefer liquid detergent for your dishwasher, then this is for you! This is super inexpensive and easy to make. No more harsh chemicals, no more suds bubbles when you pour water into your clean cups. Cheaper and healthier, sounds good to me!


Approximate Time: a few minutes

Yield: a little over 3 cupsdecorated jar of detergent


  • 3 Tbsp pure castile liquid soap
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • empty jar
Liquid Dishwasher Detergent


  1. Add 3 cups hot water to a large bowl. Add your washing soda and castile soap.
  2. Liquid Dishwasher Detergent
  3. Mix well.
  4. Liquid Dishwasher Detergent
  5. Pour into a clean jar, I used a pickle jar.
  6. Liquid Dishwasher Detergent
  7. See how it tends to separate? Simply shake it every half hour or so for a couple hours and then before use in the dishwasher.
  8. Liquid Dishwasher Detergent
  9. Use 2 tablespoons per load. If you have hard water, you may want to add vinegar and coarse salt to the prewash to reduce film or water stains.
  10. Enjoy!
  11. Liquid Dishwasher Detergent

Source: Pinterest inspired

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June 10, 2015 Flag
6 found this helpful

I decided to make my own dishwasher detergent cubes because they are cheaper and healthier. Have you read some of the ingredients in the store bought kind? That residue lingers on your dishes and you are ingesting trace amounts every day. No thank you!
These are also easy to make and require common ingredients. Have fun!

Approximate Time: About 6 hours total with drying time...

Yield: 18 cubescubes drying


  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ice cube trays
Dishwasher Cubes


  1. Add borax and washing soda to a large bowl, mix well.
  2. Dishwasher Cubes
  3. Add vinegar and lemon juice, mix well.
  4. Dishwasher Cubes
  5. Pour evenly into 18 ice cube squares. Continue to stir as you pour, otherwise the powders will sink to the bottom.
  6. Dishwasher Cubes
  7. Let dry around 5 hours.
  8. Dishwasher Cubes
  9. Carefully pop out of the trays and let dry another hour or so on wax paper.
  10. Dishwasher Cubes
  11. Place in a container and use 1 per load of dishes. I picked this glass jar up at a thrift shop.
  12. Dishwasher Cubes
  13. If your water is especially hard, you may want to add vinegar and coarse salt to the prewash. This should aid in reducing film and hard water spots.
  14. Dishwasher Cubes

**If these do not fit into your dispenser very well, I would suggest pouring your liquid into 36 cubes and using 2 per load. Otherwise, just break in half. :)

Source: Pinterest inspired

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January 31, 2011 Flag

A dishwasher running with wine glasses in the top.This is like Cascade and Sun Light. This homemade natural formula will safely cut through grease and sanitize your dishes as well.

Automatic Dish Washing Soap



Combine water and liquid Castile soap. Stir and then add lemon juice, tea tree extract, and vinegar. Stir until blended evenly and store in a squeeze bottle.

Use 2 tablespoons per wash in a standard-size dishwasher.

Note: Do not substitute conventional liquid soap for the Castile soap unless it is a "low sudsing" soap. Regular soaps will produce too many suds and overflow the dishwasher.

Dishwashing Liquid

To a 22 oz. container of liquid Castile soap, add:

I hope that you love these like I do! Have a wonderful 2011 everyone!

Source: (for Automatic Dish Washing Soap) Casey Kellar, author of Natural Cleaning for Your Home: 95 Pure and Simple Recipes

By Jodi from Aurora Colorado

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December 21, 2009 Flag
5 found this helpful

So here is the recipe for Automatic dish washing detergent.

Shake thoroughly or stir and store in tightly covered jar. Use one tablespoon per load. For best results add white vinegar to the rinse dispenser.

All of the above items can be found in your local grocery store. This recipe cleans; cuts grease and yet gentle enough for fine china.


By ecogirl91304 from Los Angeles, CA

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October 1, 2011 Flag
0 found this helpful

I use the 1 cup borax, 1 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup salt, and I have purchased citric acid in bulk instead of Kool-aid. How much citric acid should I use?
One of my relatives says the soap leaves spots and a milky film. Any ideas what to add to the soap?

By Larry

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October 3, 20110 found this helpful

Rather than baking soda one should use washing soda, usually found in the laundry aisle.

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April 17, 2011 Flag
3 found this helpful

I need a recipe for homemade dish washing detergent for the dishwashing machine.

By Scott from Adelaide, Australia

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July 19, 20110 found this helpful

Hey wfulps, how about bleach and a drop of Dawn? Should be the best of both worlds without harmful reactions.

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January 8, 2009 Flag

I found out we had run out of dishwasher soap, even the samples I had gotten, and I went to the internet to find out a homemade substitute. Most of them mentioned either washing soda or baking soda + borax - some others mentioned shaved Zote Soap.

We had baking soda - but no borax. So I filled the containers with baking soda and added a few drops of dishwasher liquid to each pan. Then we ran the dishwasher. The waste water came out nice and dirty, with a few teeny bubbles, and the dishes turned out to be nice and clean.

Now, the dishes had been rinsed and were fairly clean already - and it was 1/2 a load at a full cycle - but nevertheless - it did work. I am getting more baking soda and will look for the borax.

(Note: the reason you can't use plain dishwashing liquid is that there would be a lot of bubbling, like a bubble bath out of control - but a few drops in the baking soda seems to be OK.)

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February 26, 2011 Flag
0 found this helpful

Does anyone know of a homemade dish detergent recipe? I save so much with the homemade laundry detergent, but have had no luck finding a dish detergent recipe.

By Amy from Rochester, NY

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September 25, 20110 found this helpful

This works really well for me the koolaide is to help break down the residue and grease.

1 cup of borax

1 cup washing soda

1/2 cup of kosher salt. (you can use regular salt, but I prefer kosher salt, more scrubbing power)

15 pkgs of lemon koolaide. I use the store brand it is a lot cheaper.

I also fill the rinse aid with white vinegar.

I use a spoon full in the pre wash and a spoon full in the one that you lock shut. You probably don't have to do that but I want my dishes really clean. I am a person that rinses my dishes before I put them in the dishwasher. If you don't I dont know how well it will work. But I've had other people say it works great for them too. I store it in a cheap plastic container. Wrote the ingredients on the outside of the jar and labeled the lid.

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September 16, 2011 Flag
2 found this helpful

I have had to be very frugal with my budget and have found myself without dishwasher detergent. I have tried this and found it to work very good! Take a squirt of orange cleaner, a squirt of your homemade everyday cleaner (vinegar/alcohol/water 3:1:2), and a squirt of dishwashing liquid and the dishes do quite well!

By Kellyb from IN

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May 28, 2011 Flag
0 found this helpful

How do I make homemade dishwasher soap?

By Leslie

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June 1, 20110 found this helpful

Mix equal parts of Arm and Hammer washing soda and Borax. For spot free glasses, etc., instead of using expensive JetDri use white vinegar instead.

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February 22, 2010 Flag
0 found this helpful

I live in west TX where the water is hard. I'm using a liquid dishwasher detergent. The dishwasher is not getting my dishes clean and the glasses come out hazy.

I'd like to hear from someone in Lubbock who had the same problem and found a solution; different detergent, etc. I run water from the kitchen faucet until it gets hot before I start the dishwasher, but that doesn't solve the problem. I even put vinegar in the dishwasher and that didn't help.

By Betty

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February 27, 20100 found this helpful

When I lived in an area without a water softner, I poured a cup of vinegar in my rince cycle to get the hard water deposit off of the glasses.

If you are getting deposits of foodstuff on the dishes, or the dishes are simply not coming clean, it is likely a detergent problem, not actually related to the water. Try different detergents. I prefer the powders. I like Calgon, but my water is soft. Also, I previously had a cheap dishwasher that didn't have enough jets to wash the top rack dishes. Nothing made a difference in that machine except only having about half a load of dishes.

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April 17, 2011 Flag
0 found this helpful

I would like to know an alternative to use in my dishwasher if my Cascade is gone, and I have no money to buy more for awhile. I have quite a bit of household items I am sure would work as an substitute, I just don't know what?
Any ideas would help as I don't want to wash them all by hand. Thanks.

By Annie from MN


Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Cascade is expensive. Have you considered using cheaper alternatives? I use WalMart's GreatValue brand of dishwasher powder. The one Aldi sells is also good. Dollar stores sell small boxes of dishwasher soap, obviously for a dollar. Substitutes are an option if you happen to have those ingredients, but if you have to buy borax and baking soda you might as well just buy the dishwasher soap to begin with. (07/21/2010)

By OliveOyl

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

I always buy my dishwasher detergent from the dollar stores. It is so much cheaper than the brand name detergent and also does a great job. (07/21/2010)


Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

I like the Walmart brand too, when I can afford Finish, I use that.
Alternative would be vinegar and baking soda. But cost for cost, make sure you have a full load, do not use regular sink dish detergent. It compromises the seals and leaks. Yep. Hubby did that once. Bubbles all over the whole floor the whole cycle. (07/29/2010)

By TandT Grandma

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

I have read all the posts here about the homemade dishwasher soap. I see that a lot of you are having problems with the film on the dishes. Please don't give up. The solution is less. 1 cup of borax and 1 cup of baking soda, mix together in a container. Only use 2 teaspoons of the mixture and 1 drop of liquid dish soap in the cup, and straight vinegar in the rinse aid dispenser. That takes care of the film in my dishwasher. Everything is shiny and clean. (08/18/2010)

By tycrimson

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Not trying to rain on anyone's parade, but there is some inaccurate information listed here.

  1. Don't put an acid in your detergent. Washing soda and baking soda are alkaline (they dissolve proteins). Acids (i.e. Fruit Fresh, Tang, vinegar, etc.) dissolve plant-based foods. But if you mix them together, they do nothing, they cancel each other out.
  2. Some folks are recommending using bleach, and it will work well. It's extremely alkaline, so it will dissolve protein like a champ. It won't cut grease, though, because it's not a solvent or a detergent. And mixing it with other chemicals, specifically acids like vinegar, can produce chlorine gas. Too risky for my taste.

  3. All borax does is soften the water by dissolving some of the minerals in the water and holding them suspended. If you already have soft water, you don't need it. If you're on a well, you do.
  4. Yes you can substitute baking soda for washing soda, but it is less alkaline, so use half again as much (i.e. 1-1/2 cups baking soda = 1 cup washing soda).

That said, the washing soda (aka "sal soda) + salt (as an abrasive) + borax (if you have hard water) in the wash and vinegar in the rinse makes good solid sense. And if your stuff's still not getting clean, run an empty load with 1/2 cup of CLR or a quart of white vinegar to remove hard water mineral deposits from your water jets. You may have to do that twice.

Just my two cents!

By wfulps

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

The problem is that manufacturers on pressure from the eco-nuts have eliminated phosphates from the dishwasher soaps. It's the phosphates that do the hard work. I recently had a repairman here and he strongly suggested I stop using the less expensive Costco brand and go to either Cascade, Finish, or Electrosol. I have searched and found a place to buy commercial dishwasher soap with phosphates. (02/03/2011)

By syllabucks

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February 26, 2011 Flag
0 found this helpful

I am looking for homemade dish detergent recipes.

By zinniaguy from MO


Homemade Dish Detergent Recipe

Start with plain bicarb (baking soda). For stubborn food, use it straight on your washcloth or sponge. If you don't soak all dishes and bowls right away, you may have to go to washing soda (that's the carbonate, not bicarbonate) and/or borax. These are stronger, so I prefer the soak method.
And why do this instead of the dollar store remedy? You spend 99c-$1, plus gas, plus time, and get you-know-not-what for the trouble. Bicarb is cheaper, with multiple uses, and less stress on hands. End with vinegar rinse if you like.

For a machine? I save water (yes, even over the more economical dishwashers now sold) by hand washing, so I don't have an answer. (10/01/2009)

By peseta

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July 21, 2010 Flag
0 found this helpful

How do you make dishwasher detergent?

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May 4, 2010 Flag
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Does any body have a good recipe for homemade dishwasher detergent? Thanks.

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March 3, 2010 Flag
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I never buy dishwasher soap anymore. I buy a large box of 20 Mule Team borax, a large baking soda, and a large bottle of white vinegar. I keep them on hand just for dishwasher soap.

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September 30, 2009 Flag
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I am trying to make the homemade dish washing detergent , using 20 mule team borax, washing soda, fresh fruit, and glycerin with vinegar rinse. What are the measurements for this recipe?

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September 21, 2009 Flag
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Does anyone have a recipe for homemade dishwasher soap? Preferably a powdered version.

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September 21, 2009 Flag
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How do you make homemade dishwasher powder?

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September 21, 2009 Flag
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I have made the laundry detergent, fabric softener and stain remover (pre-wash treatment); how about a recipe for automatic dishwashers? Anyone have any ideas?

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July 1, 2007 Flag
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A while back, I asked if anyone had a tip on making homemade dishwasher detergent.

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October 31, 2006 Flag
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I tried making my own laundry detergent with Zote Laundry soap and Borax.

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Home and Garden Cleaning Cleaning Supply Recipes DishesOctober 13, 2011
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