Friday, October 5, 2012

Make Your Own Dishwasher Detergent

Posted by Unknown On 8:30 AM | 5 comments
I mentioned wanting to try making my own dishwashing detergent a little while back, and I did that 2 days ago. If you read my guest post about making your own cleaning supplies, then you already have almost everything you need on hand to make your own dishwashing detergent. It takes only seconds, and after testing it out I am really really happy! No stuck on food, no greasy residues, and no need to buy dishwashing detergent anymore! You will be saving a TON of money.

Here's What You Need

  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup citric acid (found in the canning section of your store)
  • 10-15 drops essential oil(s) of your choice (I did grapefruit, but this step is totally optional. It just added some nice scent to your dishwasher steam.)
Mix it all together, shake it up, and pour! I just filled my detergent cup the way I normally would with gel detergent. 

TIP: Don't forget to add vinegar for your rinse aid!

If I have any problems, or end up revising this I'll let you guys know. I only made it 2 days ago, but I'm already loving it! Loving the savings too. 

The Cost Breakdown
  • 76oz box of 20 Mule Team Borax -$3.38
  • 55oz Arm & Hammer Washing Soda - $3.24
  • 3lb Morton Kosher Salt - $1.94
  • 7.5oz Ball Citric Acid - $2.75 (I can't find the exact price I paid for this, but I know it was $2 and change)
  • .5oz Grapefruit Essential Oil - $5.75 (I buy my essential oils from a Frontier co-op, or Mountain Rose Herb)

Although the total cost for the supplies will run you about $17, you will be able to make several batches. Here is a per batch price breakdown.

  • 8oz Borax - $.36/batch
  • 8oz washing soda - $.47/batch
  • 4oz Citric Acid - $1.45/batch
  • Salt - $.23/batch

This brings your cost per batch to $2.51. You get 48 loads from this recipe, so that is a mere $.05 per load!!! Compared to the Cascade I was using before paying $5.97, and getting about 50 loads at $.12 - $.20 per load, depending on the amount of detergent you use. If you only run your dishwasher once a day, that is $54.75 savings PER YEAR! On dishwasher detergent alone. Now imagine adding in your own window cleaner, and all-purpose cleaner, and carpet cleaner. The savings really add up. To the point that you could have half of Christmas saved if you change nothing about your spending habits and simply replace your store commercial cleaning products for homemade versions. You can't go wrong!

TIP: With the addition of the essential oils my batch was a little clumpy. I read up on this problem and found that if you stick a slicia gel packet, like the ones that come in shoe boxes, in the bottle it will reverse the clumping!

UPDATE: The silica didn't take care of my clumping problem. :/ I'm on the hunt for a better solution or new recipe. I would love to make a gel!


  1. Oh YES! I am making this! I wanted a recipe to make my own and I am so excited, thanks!

    1. Glad to help! I've been meaning to do it for a while now too.

  2. I have tried to make my own dish washing soap too, but it is always too thin. Does the salt or borax work to thicken the solution? Haven't tried them.

    1. This is actually a powdered detergent, so there is no liquid. I've always used liquid/gel before now and wasn't sure how I would feel about a powder.

      Or are you talking about dish soap that you use to wash dishes in the sink? If so, that's coming VERY soon! I've seen a few recipes, and one that addresses the thinness issue specifically. Hope you'll stick around for that as well.


Thank you for your input!

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