DIY Dishwasher Detergent

DIY Dishwasher Detergent

DIY Dishwasher Detergent

– Hacked by Emily E. –

Here's what you need:

  • 1 cup borax powder
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • ½ cup citric acid (You can find small containers of this in the canning section)
  • ½ cup Kosher salt or sea salt
  • Spray bottle with water and essential oils if desired (citrus blend recommended)
  • Small molds, ice cube tray, or a baking pan
  • Distilled white vinegar

Isn’t it the worst when you load up the dishwasher only to realize you’re out of dishwasher detergent? I’ve worked my way through different brands, trying to find a good balance between cost-efficiency and earth-friendliness, but like so many other things, it seems to be one or the other.

For that reason, I’ve always been curious about DIY dishwasher detergent, so I decided to finally try it out! While buying dishwasher tabs never seemed like a cost-effective way to clean my dishes, making the tabs is pretty cheap, and you don’t have to worry about the powder getting rock hard in the container.

The instructions are very simple:

Step 1: First combine the borax, washing soda, citric acid, and salt. Then mix with one hand and spray the mixture with the water and oils with the other hand while you mix it in. You’ll know you have a good amount of moisture when it stays in a solid clump in your fist after you let go.

Step 2: Next you’ll just pack it into the molds or in the baking pan, making sure to pack it in firmly, and let it dry.

Step 3: I waited about 90 minutes or so before I went to cut the squares out of the baking pan and popped the cubes out of the tray, and I think that was a good amount of time. I would, however, let them sit out in a single layer overnight if possible before storing them. I think I stored them in the jar too soon, and there was some crumbling.

Another tip I discovered was to leave them in an open container instead of an airtight one. This keeps them from getting too moist and crumbling more. Also, you can add some white vinegar to the rinse aid cavity in your dishwasher to help prevent water spots on your glasses.

So what’s the verdict? I like them! They cleaned my dishes, no soap was left in the cavity when the cycle was done, and they look pretty in a jar. I will definitely keep making these!


Emily is a certified Our Baby class instructor who shares practical information so new parents have the confidence to make family decisions. Motherhood has inspired her to create a cleaner, greener home for her family. Follow her journey on her blog: