Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

After a comment on this post about Borax being potentially toxic, I have since removed this recipe and have not yet found another frugal and natural option for my dishwasher. If I ever do, I’ll repost, but for now, I’m going back to buying a safer option.

About Donielle

Donielle is an amateur herbalist and natural momma to two littles (with another babe in heaven) after dealing with being less than fertile. She has a passion for nourishing nutrition, natural living, and spreading the word on how food truly affects our health.


  1. momof4sweetsisters says:

    Sounds great! I’m gonna give it a try. Thanks!

  2. I never would’ve thought of trying this! What a great idea!

  3. The Schneiders says:

    Sounds pretty easy. where do you find citric acid?

  4. Relishing Life says:

    Great idea! I like the idea of using only things that I know in order to wash my dishes! Thanks!

  5. Donielle says:

    You should be able to find citric acid at most larger supermarkets. Although the cheapest I’ve found is through http://www.MountainRoseHerbs.com
    You can buy one pound for 3.50. My local health food store sells 4oz for 4.99!! SO order online if you can!

  6. Brianna @ Heart(h) Management says:

    Oh, thanks! Any idea what the cost breakdown is of this? I feel pretty confident that I’d have to order the citric acid online. My little bitty town doesn’t have much selection.

  7. Brianna – I’ll put this in the post as well, but my cost breakdown for each batch is as follows:
    Borax – .80
    Washing Soda – .80
    Citric Acid – 1.00
    Total – 2.60 per batch

    It should make it through about 35-40 loads. At 35 loads it costs approx. 7 cents per load.

  8. momof4sweetsisters says:

    Do you know if this can be used in the dishwasher?

  9. Wonderful! I’ve been using the recipe without the salt and I was disappointed in the reside left over. Thanks for the tip!

  10. Andy and Jennifer says:

    Thanks for the advice; I’d also been using just washing soda, borax, and vinegar to rinse and had a white residue on my glasses (everything got clean though). We switched to a natural dish detergent, but that’s expensive! I am going to try the salt trick tonight!

  11. I’ve been looking for a DW detergent recipe…thanks! Is washing soda the same as baking soda?? Sorry…I’m just not quite sure what that is:) Thanks!

  12. Donielle says:

    Katie – washing soda is a bit different and you can normally find it in the laundry aisle of your grocery store. Usually in an out of the way place like the top shelf! (it’s a yellow box)

  13. Washing soda = yellow box = differetn than arm and hammer??

    I am all about trying this. I don’t like the smell of commercial soap but am too lazy to wash them by hand.

  14. Donielle says:

    Jessica – To make it more confusing, it’s actually Arm and Hammer Washing Soda. :-) It’s in a much larger box than normal baking soda though and a bright yellow. I find it over by the bleach most of the time, on the top shelf (way out of the way) and you’ll normally see a blue box of borax right near it too.

  15. momof4 – This recipe is actually for the dishwasher. Although some folks do use it to wash a pan or two by hand. It won’t foam up though.

  16. Catherine says:

    I’ve been using a recipe similar to this but without the washing soda. For those of you that want a smell, a few (10 or less) drops of essential oils is all it takes. My husband has the mindset it won’t clean unless it smells. There is no lasting smell. We use Bergamot.

  17. homespunhope says:

    Why can you not use the salt with stainless pans? Is that all stainless pans or just certain kinds?

  18. I have never tried making my own but have tried other “natural” dishwasher detergents and have not been happy with the results. Maybe I will try this just for kicks as I normally just use the Cascade gel pacs which are probably about as far from natural as you can get.

  19. borax is toxic, isn’t it? i’ve seen homemade recipes with this as ant bait!