Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those people who loses everything.  Take for example, my recipe for dishwasher detergent.  I’ve been making it myself for months, but I’m not 100% sure that I’ve even used the same recipe every time.  So after scouring the internet for hours looking for recipes, I’ve decided that my actual recipe is a combination of the many recipes available. 

I love this recipe because it works just as well as the poisonous dishwasher detergents without all the toxic chemicals, and it is way cheaper to make it yourself.   I’ll add pictures later, but for now, (See, I told you there’d be pictures. 🙂 )here you go:

Supplies needed to make your own.

Everything you need to make your own dishwasher detergent.

Angela’s Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

2 cups Borax
1 cup washing soda
1 cup baking soda
1 cup salt
1/4 cup  Mrs. Wage’s Citric Acid
30 drops essential oil

Use 1-2 tablespoons per load and fill my rinse agent dispenser with plain white vinegar.

Borax can be found in the laundry section of most grocery stores.  
Arm & Hammer Washing Soda is a little harder to find because not everyone carries it, but it is also found in the laundry section. 
I buy baking soda in giant bags from Sam’s Club because I use it for everything. (Hmm. . . that sounds like a future post.) 
I usually use kosher salt because I always have it on hand, but some people have better results with pickling salt which is actually cheaper.  
Citric acid can be found with the canning supplies.  I bought all the cans they had at Tom’s (the grocery store down the block from me) the first time I made dishwasher detergent.  I’m glad I did because they were the old-style packages and cost $1 less than the new plastic jars do.   I have never done it, but if you can’t find citric acid, you can use unsweetened lemon Kool-Aid.  Other flavors will stain your dishwasher.
I buy my essential oils online because they are cheaper, but you can find good quality essential oils in health-food stores.  You don’t have to add the oil, but it adds a nice fragrance.  Also, some oils have anti-bacterial or anti-fungal properties which are an added bonus.  I like the smell of orange oil, but ever since Swine Flu season started in October, I have been using a combination of clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary which is known as “Thieve’s Blend”.  It has a nice, spicy fragrance and helps naturally sanitize my dishwasher and dishes.

The citric acid will make your powder clump over time (it absorbs moisture from the air) but it is really helpful in preventing haze on your dishes.  If you don’t run your washer often, you may want to make smaller batches so that it doesn’t sit around and get clumpy. 

If you look closely at the picture, you can see a tall, cylindrical container peeking out from behind the washing soda.  That’s the container the old, poisonous Electrasol came in.  I just refill it every time.  Also, I just realized that I forgot to put the citric acid container in the picture.  Oops.

Like green cleaning recipes?

Check out my:

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Homemade Fabric Softener


Homemade Scouring Powder



Filed under frugality, green cleaning, green living

7 responses to “Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

  1. nessa (from FWC committee)

    re: citric acid – which tom’s? i live in williamsburg and checked at the acme one, ooh, probably last year this time and they didn’t have it. I did find a small container of it at edson farms awhile ago – NOW brand, but i haven’t seen it recently.

    thanks for sharing!

    • aastricker

      I found mine at the Fourteenth St. Tom’s, but I bought all they had and I haven’t checked to see if it was restocked yet. I’ll check next time I go and get back with you.

  2. nessa (from FWC committee)

    I actually found some at oleson’s today. thanks, though.

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  4. Jennifer

    I am so glad that I stumbled upon your blog. I’ve been researching recipes for my laundry (fabric softener and detergent) but hadn’t even thought about my dishwasher! I HATE how expensive dishwasher detergent and rinse agents are and I especially HATE how toxic they are! THANKS for giving me tools to green up our home 🙂

  5. Colleen

    This sounds like the dishwasher detergent I’ve been using. This whole make-your-own thing must be catching on though. I’ve been noticing more and more stores are carrying the washing soda that used to be so hard to find. I had trouble with my dishwasher detergent clumping too. When it did I just put it through the blender and I don’t think it got clumpy again. I did have trouble finding the citric acid though. I found it was the easiest to find during canning season so I usually try to stock up then.

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