How to Make Dishwasher Detergent - Eco-Friendly and Safe Detergent Recipes

How to Make Dishwasher Detergent - Eco-Friendly and Safe Detergent Recipes
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When you make your own automatic dishwasher detergent at home you’ll be getting your dishes clean without the use of harsh detergents, fragrances, or phosphates. Homemade dishwasher detergent contains safe and effective ingredients you can find at most grocery or hardware stores. You’ll be saving a good deal of money, too, by washing your dishes for only pennies per load! Both the environment and your pocketbook will benefit.

If you’re new to making your own cleaning products you’ll be pleased to know that most everything in your home can be cleaned with non-toxic substances. Try the recipes for dishwasher detergent, then go on to make your own laundry detergent and household cleaners with essential oils! Once you’ve got the hang of it, you can also learn to make homemade shampoo, facial cleaners, and more.

The recipes below for dishwasher detergent can be adjusted as you see fit, depending on the quality and hardness of your water. Most people report wonderful results following these recipes, but if one recipe doesn’t seem to work for you try another. If the detergent leaves white spots or a film on your dishes, next time try filling the rinse dispenser full of white vinegar.

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent #1

borax (such as 20 Mule Team brand, found in the laundry aisle)

baking soda

Mix equal parts borax and baking soda in a lidded container (you can reuse a large yogurt or deli tub for this). Use 2 Tablespoons of the mixture per load in your automatic dishwasher.

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent #2

1 cup borax

1 cup washing soda

1/2 cup sea salt

Mix borax, washing soda, and sea salt in a lidded container. Use 2 Tablespoons of the mixture per load. The washing soda in this recipe works well for homes with hard water, and the sea salt helps to get glassware sparkling clean.

NOTE: washing soda (sodium carbonate) is often found under the Arm & Hammer brand at the grocery store in the laundry aisle. It is not the same as baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). Use gloves when handling washing soda, as it is caustic.

Semi-Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

store-bought dishwasher detergent


baking soda

You can stretch any type of dishwasher detergent by using half the recommended amount (or even less) and adding a mixture of borax and baking soda. Mix equal amounts of borax and baking soda and store in a lidded container. For each dishwasher load, use 1 Tablespoon dishwasher detergent and 1 Tablespoon borax/baking soda mixture.

To learn more about the safety of using borax and washing soda in your home for cleaning, you can read the information provided below from

The Borax Information Page

Washing Soda is Environmentally Friendly

photo courtesy creative commons license