Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
It's easy to make your own all-natural dishwasher detergent?
If you haven't, give this easy recipe a try and you'll not only save money, but your dishes will be squeaky clean.
For years, I think about 8 or more, I didn't have a dishwasher. Then, almost two years ago I took the plunge and got one and I have never looked back.
Even though I don't mind washing dishes by hand having a dishwasher is a time saver. I have found, though, that you need a good detergent to get your dishes clean. Your dishwasher can only do so much, it needs a little help.
I had been hesitant to make my own dishwasher detergent but after doing a little research I found a recipe that not only works but works great and you only need some very basic ingredients.
Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
1 cup 20 Mule Team® Borax
¼ cup salt or Epsom salt
¼ cup vinegar
10 drops lemon essential oil *optional
Large container with lid for storage
USDA Certified Organic Lemon Essential Oil (Citrus x limon) is also commonly known as Limon and Limone. Organic Lemon Essential Oil has a medium-strength clean, fresh, citrusy, and fruity aroma presenting a top fragrance note.
*When I originally made this recipe I used a somewhat generic lemon essential oil but I now use Organic Lemon Essential Oil from Rocky Mountain Oils which is so much better and smells better, too!
Measure 1 cup of Borax into a bowl.
Add 1 cup of
Mix the Borax, salt, and baking soda together.
Add ¼ cup of vinegar,
Have fun watching the bubbles,
then mix together well.
If you aren't adding an essential oil you can stop here or you can the oils, approximately 10 drops, of any scent you prefer. I used lemon because I like the aroma of lemons in the kitchen.
Adding an essential oil isn't necessary but if you decide to add one, stir one more time to mix everything well and then place in a storage container with a lid and measure out enough detergent to fill your dishwasher dispenser. Measure out one heaping tablespoon to each load and that's it. Wash as usual.
Above are my dishes after being washed with the Homemade Dishwasher Detergent recipe above. Aren't they sparkly?
Here is why I started with Borax. I've used it for years in the laundry room to help clean all of my family's laundry; it's a great laundry detergent booster and can be used for everything from delicates to jeans. It's all natural, another huge plus, AND I use it in my kitchen to help clean my sink, microwave, countertops, stainless steel, silverware, and more and now you know how to use it in your dishwasher. It's versatile which makes it a smart choice in my opinion.
Borax can be foundin the laundry aisle/additive section at many stores but you can also find it on Amazon.
If you're worried about the safety of using Borax, I found a wonderful article on Wellness Mama, Is Borax Safe to Use for Natural Cleaning? This post answered a lot of my questions and I feel safe using Borax for home
Do you have a favorite use for Borax? I'd love to hear about it!
First published August 2017. Last updated January 2020.
Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
- Fork and measuring spoon
- 1 cup 20 Mule Team® Borax
- 1 cup baking soda
- ¼ cup salt or Epsom salt
- ¼ cup vinegar
- 10 drops lemon essential oil *optional
- Large container with lid for storage
- Measure 1 cup of Borax into a bowl.
- Add 1 cup of baking soda and ¼ cup of salt to your bowl.
- Mix the Borax, salt, and baking soda together.
- Add ¼ cup of vinegar and have fun watching the bubbles, then mix together well.
- If you aren't adding an essential oil you can stop here or you can the oils, approximately 10 drops, of any scent you prefer. I used lemon because I like the aroma of lemons in the kitchen.
- Adding an essential oil isn't necessary but if you decide to add one, stir one more time to mix everything well and then place in a storage container with a lid and measure out enough detergent to fill your dishwasher dispenser. Measure out one heaping tablespoon to each load and that's it. Wash as usual.
As with any of my recipes, calorie counts and nutritional information varies greatly depending on which products you choose to use when cooking this dish.
Thanks for sharing this idea for making homemade dishwasher detergent! This looks like a great way to clean dishes (and save a few dollars - that stuff can get expensive!) #client
Thanks so much, Carrie!
Can I use apple cider vinegar if that’s all I have on hand?
Hi Christina - I did some research and you can substitute apple cider vinegar for plain vinegar.
My dishwasher detergent turned out hard as a rock. Any idea how to soften it so I can use it?
Hi Sheri, You can try this - I'm not sure if it will work but it will be worth a try. Place the detergent in a plastic bag (I would use a freezer bag since they're thicker and stronger than a regular plastic bag). Once in the bag, use a hammer to break it apart. Do this outside or on a piece of wood (something that can take the pounding). Start out gently and see how that works. Regards, Mary Beth
I made as directed but then added some lemi shine dish detergent booster powder I had under the sink and it made it wet/foamlike. Will it still work? Is suggested storage with lid ok?
Hi Amber, It should work fine but I am not 100% sure. Since the Lemi Shine is made for the dishwasher, it should work. And, yes to a storage container with a lid even with the addition of the Lemi Shine.
I Can only get Borax substitute where I live will that work please ?
Hi Jane, Yes, a substitute will work.
Thank you! On my second batch and it works great! Plus, it smells great without the oils. Mine gets hard too. I wait for it to get hard and break it up with a whisk. Store it in an old coffee mate container. Live this stuff and love the money I save!
Thank you so much for letting me know, Ann! I am so glad you like it and storing it in an old Coffee Mate container is so smart.