Homemade Dishwashing Detergent

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Homemade Dishwashing Detergent is a must try if you're tired of buying expensive store dishwashing detergent! Yes, you can make your own detergent for your dishwasher! Stick with me and see my experience here.

Homemade Dishwashing Powder - dishwashing detergent

Homemade Dishwashing Detergent

Most of us are used to the idea of buying dishwashing detergents (you can also call them dishwasher detergents). I do have a DIY dishwasher tabs recipe on the blog so honestly it wasn't a new idea to me to make a regular powdered detergent to use for our dishwasher.

The difference here is basically you aren't going through that extra step making the “tab”. So if you're wanting something on the natural side but don't want to take the time to make the tabs, this one is for you!

Natural Ingredients

We started switching over to natural products many years ago after my husband, daughter and son started having health issues. I started reading about what ingredients were used in detergents and I was shocked. Many detergents used to use phosphates until many states started to ban them. If you visit The Environmental Working Group you can read up on all the warnings about phosphates and why they pose a hazard.

And it's not just phosphates. Most commercial detergents have those chemicals we can't pronounce. Unless you're a chemist or have researched all the ingredients, chances are some of it is unfamiliar to you!

Homemade Dishwashing Powder

We do get comments saying well, even if you're using natural things like baking soda and citric acid– it's still a chemical. Technically yes! But these are things you probably have around the house already. And most importantly, you know exactly what's going into your detergent.

When I did some searching a lot of recipes called for Borax which has a lot of controversy surrounding the green community. I don't call myself a FULLY GREEN GAL but I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could come up with something that worked without it. ( I do have other recipes on my site that I do use Borax in, full disclosure)

Let's look at some of the ingredients.

Baking Soda:

I use baking soda in A LOT of our homemade recipes. It's a staple in our home so I by the large bags and keep them on hand. There are so many uses for baking soda.Baking soda, also known as Sodium bicarbonate is naturally occurring and is activated by liquid. It controls orders and is great for removing grease and grime.

Citric Acid:

After states started banning phosphates many detergent brands switched to citric acid and I thought, hey that is something you can literally buy yourself. Citric acid is found naturally in lemons and limes. It helps remove hard water stains, soap scum, calcium deposits and many more. I am used to experimenting with making my own household cleaners. It's something I enjoyed ever since I started using essential oils. I feel like this is one of the most important ingredients in my Homemade Dishwashing Detergent.

Washing Soda:

Washing Soda also known as sodium carbonate is used in a lot of homemade laundry detergents because it's great at removing stubborn stains. It also helps soften your water. Washing soda should never be confused with baking soda. They are two completely different compounds that are closely related.

Table Salt:

Ok… Table salt is pretty common in households but your a science nerd and you love getting down deep into an ingredient, let's take a look. Table salt is a mineral composed primarily of sodium chloride. and is found in mast varieties of sea water. It;'s great for tackling grime and stains. It's very abrasive and helps soften water. It's also very good at absorbing grease and fat.

Essential Oils:

One side note is that this DIY does use essential oils. If you don't have any on hand and are interested in getting some to use in your home, you can find out more here. I always only use PURE essential oils. Never use oils you can buy at a grocery store. they could cause allergic reactions because they are full of harmful chemicals. When using essential oils we always say “use at your own risk” because we have no idea what kind of oils you will be choosing to use. We've never had any issues with it messing with our dishwasher because it's heavily diluted amongst the other ingredients.

I would say don't cut corners and leave this ingredient out, as it provides the main scent for the detergent. I used Lemon oil and grapefruit oil in mine, if you're wanting to follow exactly what I did! It smells AMAZING, so you won't regret adding the essential oils. You can literally smell it as soon as you open the lid


clean dishes

I didn't want to publish this DIY Dishwashing Detergent until I had washed my own dishes with it and had seen the results. If you're like me, you don't count the dishes as clean if they are covered in water spots or detergent marks. NOPE! I've been down that road with detergents over the years. I also use white vinegar in the section where you normal jet dry goes. the combination of my recipe and the white vinegar is amazing!

And to be completely honest- not all DIY's are all they are cracked up to be! They may be more frugal or use natural ingredients, but if they don't work, it's not worth it. I wanted a DIY dishwashing detergent I would be able to use fully in place of my regular store-bought one. This DIY seems to be a winner so far!

Dishwashing Powder - clean bowl

It even got spaghetti stains out of my bowls, so I definitely recommend trying it out even on your dirtiest dishes!

Print Your DIY Below. Be sure to have a large glass jar ready to go to store your detergent in. As with any household product, store in a locked cabinet if needed, to keep away from children and pets!

Fun Scent Combinations:

  • Lemon
  • Orange
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lemon + Mint
  • Lemon + Rosemary
  • Lemon + Grapefruit (my favorite)

If you use it, leave us a comment and let us know how you like it!

Yield: About 2.5 cups

Homemade Dishwashing Detergent

Homemade Dishwashing Powder - dishwashing detergent

This homemade dishwashing detergent takes the place of store-bought tabs or dishwasher liquid

Prep Time 10 minutes
Active Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost Under $10


  • ½ cup regular table salt
  • 1 cup Baking Soda
  • 1 cup Washing Soda
  • 1 cup Citric Acid
  • 50 drops Lemon Essential Oil
  • 50 drops Grapefruit Essential Oil


  • Scoop
  • Measuring Cups
  • Large (1/2 gallon size) glass jar with lid


Mix all dry ingredients together with large spoon in a non-reactive bowl. Then add your essential oils over the mixture and stir well.

Pour mixture into a glass jar with lid. Store indoors and if clumps develop, break them up and stir well prior to use.

If you are located in a humid climate, use all within 2-3 months to ensure the mixture does not clump up too much.

To use: Scoop about 1 tablespoon and put it in your dishwasher detergent compartment and run the dishwasher as you normally would.

Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Don't miss our DIY Laundry Scent Booster

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Ready to take the leap into your own DIY laundry detergent? See our DIY Liquid Laundry Detergent here.

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