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.

November 27, 2016 Flag
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I've ran out of dishwasher soap and have just a small amount of Dawn, can it be used in the dishwasher? I have a week to go before payday so no money.

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November 27, 20160 found this helpful

I would suggest that you do not use Dawn dishwashing detergent in your dishwasher, because of the sudsing action that would happen in the dishwasher. I would ask a neighbor to borrow some dishwashing detergent for your automatic dishwasher before I would try the Dawn dishwashing detergent that is for hand washing dishes

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September 30, 2016 Flag
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This is a guide about making dishwasher cubes. There are many household cleaners that are easy to make yourself.

Dishwasher Cubes

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January 31, 2011 Flag

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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February 3, 20110 found this helpful

I'm about to try the vinegar portion of this to help get rid of the white film on some glasses. If that doesn't work, I'll get more intense with a homemade recipe! Lots of work, though.

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September 30, 2016 Flag
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This is a guide about making liquid dishwasher detergent. Liquid dishwasher detergent users may prefer this easy to make, inexpensive alternative to store bought products.

Liquid Dishwasher Detergent

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December 21, 2009 Flag
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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.

Source: http://ecomaidsofla.com/blog/2009/11/15/diy-dishwashing-detergent/

By ecogirl91304 from Los Angeles, CA

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December 22, 20090 found this helpful

Where do you buy citric acid?

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July 19, 20110 found this helpful

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.)

January 8, 20090 found this helpful

Reminds me of my submission to Really Good Quotes a year or two ago:

The twins were getting ready to go to a friend's house, out in the country. I was busy getting breakfast, beds made, etc. Then it was time to load up the dishwasher and leave. Got all the dishes in, counters washed, etc. But I'm out of Cascade, actually been out for a day or two.

Now my husband has used dish soap in the past -- I didn't know you could do that.

Soooo, I put in the dish soap, not just a few drops, but the whole dishwasher bowl full. Do you know what happens when you use dishwashing soap in the dishwasher, especially about a quarter-cup full?

I'm in my bedroom curling my hair and yelling to the boys to hurry up. I hear William in the kitchen.

"Uh, Noella? I think you need to come in here."

"Why? You guys need to get ready."

"Uh, Noella? There's suds all over the floor, Lots of suds, they're covering the whole floor!"

I groan, walk into the kitchen, and sure enough, there ARE suds all over the floor. Just across the room from the dishwaher sits our computer and that's where the suds are headed.

The boys bring lots of towels from the bathroom and I call Bill, who after hearing my dilemma, is laughing his head off. His solution is for me to get out my Rainbow Vacuum and start vacuuming the water out.

Well, I get out the vacuum and I guess I didn't watch how the salesman did it 26 years ago because when I started vacuuming the water out, the motor to the vacuum starts sounding funny. Quickly, I shut off the vacuum and open it up, to find that it took out water good enough, now suds are way up in the motor. I did remember the salesman told us that if that ever happened, disconnect from the water housing and run dry. Water and oil soaked the towels on the floor.

Anyway, I sopped (is that the word) up the rest of the water from the dishwasher, and drained it.

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February 28, 20090 found this helpful

September 16, 2011 Flag
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I have had to be very frugal with my budget and have found myself without dishwasher detergent. Take a squirt of orange cleaner, a squirt of your homemade everyday cleaner, and a squirt of dishwashing liquid.

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October 1, 2011 Flag
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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

October 3, 20110 found this helpful

I have no idea if this will work or not, but if you add citric acid with the baking soda, you will only have salt water. Citric acid is an acid, of course, and baking soda is a base. Acid + base = salt + water + carbon dioxide. You might just as well just use borax plus salt.

Again, I have no idea if this makes an effective cleaner, but I doubt it. If it did, we would all be using it. I might also say that after checking my box of Borax, it recommends using it for many types of household cleaning, but not for dishes or in a dishwasher.

In conclusion, know that any time you mix an acid such as citric acid or vinegar or lemon juice with a base such as baking soda or ammonia, the one neutralizes the other and you are left with salt water.

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October 3, 20110 found this helpful

April 17, 2011 Flag
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I need a recipe for homemade dish washing detergent for the dishwashing machine.

By Scott from Adelaide, Australia

May 25, 20110 found this helpful

It is never too late! My "natural" store bought dishwasher, which comes in those little packs you throw whole into the dispenser, do not work. At all - on any load, no matter how many I tried. I realized I have to re-wash everything. Decided to try to make my own, Googled straight to your post - and I am off to the kitchen to try your recipe. Thanks!

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July 19, 20110 found this helpful

February 26, 2011 Flag
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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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February 27, 20110 found this helpful

I don't know if you mean for washing dishes by hand at the sink, or for the dishwasher. For doing dishes by hand I used just about anything. I sometimes get liquid laundry detergent cheaply. The off brands are watery, so I use that. I prefer the colorless unscented variety. Diluted shampoo (purchased for $.77 or less) works, too. I use VO5 mostly. I get a clear formula.

For the dishwasher I use a powdered purchased product, but use much less of it--just a tablespoon in each cup.

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September 25, 20110 found this helpful

May 28, 2011 Flag
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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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April 17, 2011 Flag
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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
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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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