Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Recipes

Silver Post Medal for All Time! 390 Posts
January 31, 2011

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 Irishwitch from Aurora Colorado

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December 21, 2009

Here is the recipe for automatic dish washing detergent.


September 16, 2011

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.


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 519 Posts
January 8, 2009

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.


25 Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

November 27, 2016

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.


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 182 Feedbacks
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


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
December 2, 20160 found this helpful

You can damage your machine if you do this. Just wash the dishes for a week. Dawn is a good brand and you should be able to get by until payday.


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 140 Feedbacks
December 5, 20160 found this helpful

No, just use the Dawn to hand wash dishes, never put liquid soap in your dishwasher. It will make suds and overflow creating a bigger mess not to mention it could damage your dishwasher.


Bronze Answer Medal for All Time! 155 Answers
December 23, 20160 found this helpful

I think you are asking if the Dawn will go further in the dishwasher, since you have only a small amount? I did this once for a few days, and noticed no ill effects, except for the high sudsing. A little vinegar in the bottom of the dishwasher would help with ekeing out the Dawn and helping clean the dishes.


I suspect the main reason we advised not to do so is that the fatty substances in the Dawn (all soaps have them) may leave a scum in the hoses, and a build-up of this would cause ineffective draining, and need the eventual replacement of the hoses.
But based on my own experience, I reckon a week would not be enough to do lasting damage, since it will be followed up by the normal cleansing tablets. I would use very hot washes and add vinegar in the week after payday just to clear the pipes.

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October 1, 2011

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 1, 20110 found this helpful

I've never heard of homemade dish washing soap. Sounds interesting, I guess, but I don't what you're missing. Never tried it.


Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 337 Feedbacks
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.

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

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

By scott from Adelaide, Australia


May 19, 20110 found this helpful

I'm a little late on this but hoped to have helpful advice. I found earlier this week you could use baking soda + a few drops of dish soap and immediately began doing so.


We use cheapo Ajax and my dishes have come out the cleanest they have since we moved into our apartment. Our dishwasher is probably as old as I am and the baking soda/soap is working wonders so far. I'm 3 loads in and loving it.

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!

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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February 26, 2011

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


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 138 Feedbacks
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.

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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May 28, 2011

How do I make homemade dishwasher soap?

By Leslie


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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November 13, 2013

What are some homemade dishwasher detergents?


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June 8, 2013

Please let me know a recipe of homemade dishwasher detergent. Regards.

By Abdul

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September 30, 2016

This is a page about making dishwasher cubes. There are many household cleaners that are easy to make yourself.

Dishwasher Cubes

September 30, 2016

This is a page about making liquid dishwasher detergent. Liquid dishwasher detergent users may prefer this easy to make, inexpensive alternative to store bought products.

Liquid Dishwasher Detergent


ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

December 21, 2009

Mix 3 tablespoons borax and 3 tablespoons baking soda. Fill both containers in automatic dishwasher.


April 17, 2011

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.


February 26, 2011

I am looking for homemade dish detergent recipes.


July 21, 2010

How do you make dishwasher detergent?


May 4, 2010

Does any body have a good recipe for homemade dishwasher detergent? Thanks.


March 3, 2010

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.


September 30, 2009

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?


September 21, 2009

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?


September 21, 2009

Does anyone have a recipe for homemade dishwasher soap? Preferably a powdered version.


September 21, 2009

How do you make homemade dishwasher powder?


July 1, 2007

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


October 31, 2006

I tried making my own laundry detergent with Zote Laundry soap and Borax.

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