Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

I’ve posted a lot of recipes for DIY natural cleaners in the past, but dishwasher detergent was one that I had trouble figuring out. I’d experimented with a lot of recipes, but all of them left a little residue, especially on glass. I wasn’t sure if I had too much of something or if I was missing an ingredient that would make it more effective.

Natural Dishwasher Detergent

Thanks to a little tip on Pinterest last week, I figured out what the missing ingredient was: Citric Acid.

Thankfully, I already had this on hand for making soothing salt bath bombs and after birth bath fizzies, so I was able to give it a try.

The result: clean and shiny dishes… finally (and naturally).

Much Ado…

I should mention that this recipe does include Borax, which has been the center of much online debate. In my personal opinion, Borax is very much on the low end of the scale when it comes to the potential toxicity of chemicals in cleaning products.

If not, I’ve also used enzyme cleaners like Biokleen and Tropical Traditions’ dishwasher soap and both seem to work well and do not contain borax.

DIY Dishwasher Detergent Recipe


2 parts borax
2 parts washing soda
1 part citric acid
1 part salt
essential oils for scent (completely optional)


Combine all ingredients and store in an air tight container.
Use 1 tablespoon per load as needed.
For an extra boost, add a few drops of dishwashing liquid (only a few!!!) to the powder before closing the soap container in the dishwasher.
You can also add white vinegar as the rinse agent, though honestly, I forget this most of the time and it still works.

1 Part= Any Measure you want.
In other words, if 1 part=1 cup, you would use 2 cups each of borax and washing soda and 1 cup each of citric acid and salt. If 1 part was 1/4 cup, you’d use 1/2 cup of borax/washing soda and 1/4 cup of citric acid/salt.

Not Working for you?

Homemade powdered dish detergent can be tricky and depending on how hard/soft your water is and the temperature you wash dishes at, it can be really difficult to find a recipe that works.

If you aren’t up for the DIY option, here is my review of all the natural store-bought versions I’ve tried and which ones actually worked. Also, there are quite a few other homemade dishwasher detergent recipes floating around online, like this one from Crunchy Betty and this one from Kitchen Stewardship, so if you want to experiment with other recipes, check theirs out.



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