Food & Drink Magazine

Homemade DIY Dishwasher Detergent

By Irene Shaver @hhwife
We were recently blessed with a new dishwasher.  We actually have not even had one here for the past 2.5 half years we have lived in this home.  However, it is a welcome addition especially with our baby coming very soon.   I had been buying environmentally friendly dishwasher detergent but have been introduced to the idea of making my own.  With a bit of research, I combined a few elements of recipes I liked and came up with this one.  It has turned out so well.  The dishes are shiny and clean without a film.

*I will have you note that we do have a water softener on our well and I am using straight white vinegar as a rinsing agent.

Homemade DIY Dishwasher Detergent

Ingredients (makes enough for about 64 loads)

  • 4.5 cups of water, divided
  • 1 cup WASHING soda (this is NOT baking soda)
  • 1/3 cup borax
  • 3 tablespoons liquid castile soap
  • 10 drops essential oil (I used lime) **
  • 1 lime juiced


  1. Bring 2.5 cups of water to a boil. 
  2. Remove from heat and stir in washing soda, borax and liquid castile soap until dissolved.
  3. Stir in remaining 2 cups water, lime juice and the essential oil and allow to cool.
  4. Pour cooled dishwasher soap into a container of your choice. 
  5. It will thicken to a gel in the next 24 hours.
  6. Use approximately 1 tablespoon per dishwasher load.

*I figured this recipe costs about $2.50 to make which is less than what I would pay in the grocery store, especially for a more environmentally friendly detergent.
**I believe the essential oil helps with the cleaning but perhaps it can be left out, let me know if you try it without.  Otherwise I would use an essential oil with good cleaning properties.  A few I would recommend are: lemon, lime, orange  or tea tree.

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