Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Recipe {2¢ Per Load}

I decided to finally take the jump and try more homemade cleaners.  I have been using vinegar/water (1:1 ratio) as my all purpose cleaner in the kitchen and bathroom.  Dawn, vinegar, and the "magic wand" have made a major difference as our homemade bathtub cleaner.  It beats the Magic Eraser, Scrubbing Bubbles, and other bathroom cleaners.   Homemade definitely saves lots of money.  This homemade dishwasher detergent cleans just as effectively as Cascade.   I will mention that peanut butter, eggs, and cheese are always my nemesis, regardless of the brand or cost.  Sometimes those food items come clean...and sometimes they don't.  Part of the problem may be that I only run the dishwasher once a day. 
Thanks to Danielle and her recipe for inspiring me to research homemade dishwasher detergents.  Since her recipe was similar to the winner out of six dried oatmeal tests at this site, I opted to try the winning recipe.  I have been very pleased with this DIY dishwasher detergent, especially at just TWO CENTS per load.

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
1 cup borax
1 cup Super Washing Soda (NOT baking soda) 
1/2 cup kosher salt
5 packets of unsweetened lemonade

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container.  To keep from clumping, place rice in a tied sock (or something similar).  Shake container to keep detergent from clumping with each use.  

Use one tablespoon of detergent per load.  Use two for very dirty loads.

Where to Find
The borax and Super Washing Soda are found easily in the laundry aisle of your grocery or department store.  I use 20 Mule Team brand for Borax.  Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda looks like baking soda, but don't mistake one for the other.

Be sure to reseal your borax and Super Washing Soda so they clump in the boxes.  I use packaging tape to reseal my boxes.

This peanut jar works well to store the detergent.  I printed the label, cut it, and then used Mod Podge to place it on the jar.  I would suggest including directions (1-2 tablespoons per load) on the label, as well.
Cost and Savings
At just 2¢ a load, compared to 40¢ for store-bought dishwasher detergent, that is big savings if you run your dishwasher daily.  (I am trusting the math from the site above.)

I always thought homemade would mean less effective when it came to cleaners.  Instead, I am finding healthier, effective cleaners and loving it.  The cost savings is definitely a big incentive for us, too.

Update: I have used this homemade dishwasher detergent for about six weeks.  When I had only 3-5 tablespoons/loads of the mixture left, the ratio of borax to washing soda to salt must have become unbalanced.  Suddenly my glasses came out "frosty" instead of clear.  I just wanted to mention this to you in full disclosure.  

What homemade cleaners have you tried?  Be sure to give our DIY bathtub cleaner a try.  It truly works...even on grimy tubs.  Coming soon: Check out my Homemade laundry detergent.  It works fabulously.

~ Annette W. {This Simple Mom}
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  1. Totally caught me off guard with the unsweetened lemonade!!

    I haven't tried homemade detergents but I'm not opposed. I just....haven't done it yet!

    1. I think I read the lemonade adds scrubbing power (and a bit of scent). The test showed the lemonade cleaned better than the citric acid, which took me by surprise.

  2. Great tip, thanks, I finally used Dawn and White Vinegar this weekend to clean the kitchen countertops, cabinets and stove.


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