Monday, February 8, 2010

Money $aving Monday - Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

I have been wanting to try to make my own dishwasher detergent for quite some time, but it has always ended up at the bottom of my "to-do" list. After one reader asked specifically for a recipe and another shared her recipe with me, I thought it was high time I move it to the top of my "to-do" list. So, I did some research and experimenting over the weekend.

The two basic ingredients that you need are Borax and Washing Soda (which is similar to my homemade laundry detergent recipe). I get mine from You can also add salt and citric acid (which can be found in the canning section of the grocery store). The salt helps, especially if you have hard water, and the citric acid helps to get your dishes sparkly. I didn't bother adding the salt, and if you use a rinse agent, you shouldn't need the citric acid. A great (and cheap) rinse agent is vinegar.

So here is my recipe:

1 Tablespoon Borax
1 Tablespoon Washing Soda
Mix and use!

Yes, it was that simple. And my black dishes came out sparkly clean and my clear glasses were shiny and clean. My regular (and expensive) dishwasher detergent usually left spots on my black dishes, so this was a definite improvement.

Today I will be making a larger batch (one cup of each) and storing it in a container with a lid. Then when it's time to start the dishwasher, I'll just add a tablespoon or two of the mixture.

Here is the recipe using salt and citric acid:

1 C Borax
1 C Washing Soda
1/4 C Salt
1/4 C Citric Acid
Mix together and add about 2 T to each dishwasher load.

Remember that white distilled vinegar is a wonderful rinse agent.


  1. Thanks! I too have been meaning to try this. I just added some washing soda to my Alice order.

  2. YEAH! Thank you! Thank you! This is so awesome! ~ Christy

  3. This is so good, I would really like to try it.
    Is the washing soda- lectic soda?
    In australia we can get lectic soda crystals that disolve in hot water.
    Do u put the white distilled vinegar straight into the rinse aid dispenser or do u dilute it?
    Sorry for all the Q's, Thanks for this
    my first ever step into the world of blogging:

  4. Thanks for your comment!
    Washing soda is basically sodium carbonate. According to Wikipedia, lectric soda and washing soda are in the same 'family,' so I think using it in your dishwasher detergent would be worth a try. If it doesn't work, you could use baking soda in place of the washing soda.
    I just put straight vinegar in my dispenser.
    Hope this helps!

  5. So we just started using this last week when our other stuff ran out. Oh my goodness, it's amazing!! Even Chris noticed that the dishes are suddenly cleaner than ever. Wowser, woman, you're brilliant! ;)