DIY Dishwasher “Detergent”

DIY Dishwasher Detergent

I’ve been testing out different homemade dishwasher “detergents” for some time now, and have finally found a recipe that meets all of my cleanliness-criteria! It’s super easy to make, ridiculously affordable, and incredibly effective.

I should note that this recipe didn’t come to me in my sleep (similar versions are all over Pinterest), but I have tested many homemade dishwasher detergent’s (borax-free, liquid dishwasher detergent, detergent tabs etc.) and this concoction is my favorite–so just consider me  your personal test-kitchen on this one!

I make my own dishwasher “detergent” for the same reason that I make Laundry Soap, and Dish Soap: to avoid harsh chemicals that are toxic to my health and the environment (and the cost savings certainly doesn’t hurt!) The reason that detergent is in “quotations” is because it’s not really a detergent. Like I mention in my Liquid Laundry Soap post, detergents are a chemically-derived, synthetic versions of soap that contain a slew of toxins, and are used in most commercial brands because they are a cheaper alternative to soap. This recipe is more like a Dishwasher Soap, however, the alliteration of DIY Dishwasher “Detergent” just has a nicer ring to it 🙂 For a list of ingredients found in common household detergents, and the impact that they have on your health and the environment, check out my Eco-Friendly, Liquid Laundry Soap post.

This recipe uses Borax, Washing Soda, Citric Acid and Coarse Salt. You can find both Borax and Washing Soda in the laundry or cleaning aisle at the grocery store. Citric acid can be ordered online or, you may be able to find it in the canning section at the grocery store. I almost hate to mention this, but I’ve heard of people using Kool-Aid as a substitute for citric acid.

In the rinse compartment, I use the citrus-infused vinegar that I use for cleaning, but you can also use plain ol’ white vinegar.

By the way, many people are skeptical about using Borax in their homemade DIY projects. From the research that I’ve done, I feel very comfortable using it, both in terms of my health and the environment. However, feel free to do your own research and some to a conclusion of your own. There are many Borax-free alternatives out there if you decide it’s not for you 🙂

DIY Dishwasher "Detergent"
DIY Dishwasher "Detergent"
Recipe type: Green Living
  • 2 Cups Washing Soda
  • 2 Cups Borax
  • ½ Cup Coarse Salt
  • ¼ Cup Citric Acid
  1. Mix all ingredients together, and transfer to a jar with a tight lid.
  2. Add about ½ - 1 Tbsp per load (More is not Better!)
  3. Add white vinegar or homemade citrus-infused vinegar to the rinse compartment.


PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. However, I only promote products that uphold to Modern Hippie Health and Wellness’s values.

15 comments on “DIY Dishwasher “Detergent”

  1. I can’t wait to make this! Just one question, what type of laundry soda do you use and where do find it on the Coast? Also, where do I find Borax? Is there a place that sells Citric acid as well? I’d love to try your recipe without having to wait for an online order to come!:)

    1. Hey Tay! Thanks for your comment. You can find both washing soda and borax at Extra Foods in the laundry aisle. As for the citric acid, like I mentioned in the post, you may be able to find it in the canning section at a grocery store…I’m not sure which one, you’ll have to ask around (I ordered min from the link.) Hope this helps, Good luck in your search!

      1. Found borax and washing soda at London Drugs, Citric Acid at the health food store! So excited, just finished making dishwasher soap!:) about to make dish soap and laundry soap!! Its a great day! Cant wait to try it out! Thankyou, Carly!:)

        1. Yess!!! Loved that you’re pumped about this! Makes me feel like I’m not alone 😉 Thanks you for update!!!

  2. Hi, I have made and am using the dishwasher detergent. I love it! But I have noticed lately that my cutlery (everyday) stainless steel are becoming tarnished. Has that happened to you and do you have any suggestions as to how I can stop it. I really do not want to go back to the store bought detergent. Thanks.

      1. Yes I do. I wonder if it is the citric acid? I may just was the cutlery by hand for now till I can figure out what is going on.

    1. Yes, essential oils can definitely be added. I haven’t tried epsom salts, but you could certainly give it a try! Let me know if it works out 🙂

  3. Has anyone tried this with hard water? I have hard water and hope this will work well in spite of all the mineral deposits that build up!

  4. Do you buy chance know of a particular source of citric acid that ISN’T derived from corn. I’ve begun to have allergic reactions to anything that contains corn or ingredients derived from corn. Lately my Husband has been having to put the dishwasher detergent into the detergent with me in another room. Yes I’m so allergic I have a reaction to just the microparticles that get in the air. Thank you for any help you might be able to give.

    1. Hi Susanna, I’m sorry to hear that you’ve acquired an allergy to corn, as it is an ingredient that seems to be in many things! Off the top of my head, I can’t thing of a citric acid that isn’t derived from corn. To be honest, I didn’t know it was! You’ll just have to get-Googling 🙂

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