Natural Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

I will have to warn you that my dishwashing detergent is a work in progress.  I always try to do things the simple way the first time I make them.  Sometimes that works, sometimes I have to add things to make it better.  Dishwashing detergent is in the latter category.

To begin, gather your ingredients and tools.

You need Borax, washing soda, kosher salt, perhaps citric acid, a tablespoon, a storage container, and a measuring cup.

I didn’t have any kosher salt, so I just used regular.

What’s citric acid? It is an organic acid that is a natural preservative.  You can find it at health food stores- either in the bulk bins or the supplements- or buy it online.  I have found that costs vary widely, a good price is about $5/pound.

Mix together 1 cup of Borax, 1 cup of washing soda, and a half cup each of kosher salt and citric acid.  I just pour them directly into the storage container and shake it up.

I store it with a tablespoon in the jar.  For each load of dishes, I use a little less than 2 tablespoons- one in the open compartment and  one in the shut compartment.

The first time you try this, you can try to leave the citric acid out.  It greatly increases your costs for this project. I left it out of the first batch I made.  However, the most common complaint on homemade dishwasher detergent is that your glasses get a cloudy film on them.  I also found this to be the case.  My dishes were very clean, but the glass just looked dull.  The citric acid is supposed to help with that.  If you have especially hard water, use even more citric acid.  That’s the piece I’m still playing with.  I’m still not totally happy with the way my glass looks, but I’ve never used the full 1/2 cup of citric acid until this batch.  So cross your fingers!

Another thing that is supposed to help keep your glass clear and shiny is vinegar in the rinse department (where the Jet Dry typically goes).  Last time I cleaned my cabinets, I found a big bottle of Jet Dry and that is still in our dishwasher.  When it runs out- should be any day now- I’m going to use the vinegar and hope that works.  Hopefully with the greater amounts of citric acid and the vinegar my glass will be back to sparkling soon!

So overall, I like this one well enough to continue using it but I think each person has to alter it slightly to take into account their unique situation.  Good luck!

Here’s the short and quick version of the recipe:

  • 1 cup Borax
  • 1 cup Washing Soda
  • 1/2 cup Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 cup Citric Acid (optional, more for hard water)

Mix well and use about 2 TB per cycle.  Use vinegar as a rinse agent for sparkling glass.


Filed under Natural Living

2 responses to “Natural Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

  1. Steph

    I have been doing alot of reading about these natural detergents too… For the citric acid some people use unsweetened lemonade kool aid… You have to use multiple packets to get enough but it adds a lemony scent and has the citric acid in it… From what I’ve gathered it works very well 🙂

  2. Carrie

    The dishwasher detergent is one of my remaining purchase-instead-of-DIY items, an it’s for exactly the issue you’re having. Let me know if you perfect recipe 🙂

    I buy 7th Generation- not exactly cheap, but you can usually find a coupon for $1 off on the internets.

    Loving this series, I could have written several of the posts myself 🙂

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