Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Recipes

Easy, effective (money-saving!) recipes for homemade dishwasher soap

Switching to homemade dishwasher detergent is a huge money saver. It's also amazingly easy and quick to do. I don't know why more people don't make the switch.

Commercial detergents often contain harsh chemicals that leach toxins into our water. These recipes contain baking soda and borax, which are both natural disinfectants and gentle abrasives, perfect for scouring away stuck on food and germs without poisoning you or the environment.

The two homemade detergent recipes here are formulated for use in automatic dishwashers. Click on the link for homemade dish soap for handwashing in the sink.

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Recipe (Powder)

Deceptively simple, this homemade dishwasher soap cleans without toxic chemicals. It works best if you rinse heavily soiled dishes first.


1 cup Baking Soda

1 cup Borax

20 drops Lemon OR Clove essential oil (or use 10 drops of each)


  1. Combine the baking soda and the borax in a plastic container. Stir in the essential oils.

  2. Store, covered, in a cool dark place.

  3. To use, add 2 to 4 tablespoons homemade dishwasher detergent to your dishwasher's soap compartment.

Note: This recipe worked great when I lived on city water, not so great when I moved to the country where the water is really hard. I recommend using the liquid dishwasher detergent recipe below if your water is hard.

I also definitely recommend using vinegar in the rinse cycle (see below) even if your water is good.

The World's Simplest Rinse Aid

Boost your dishwasher's cleaning power by adding white vinegar to the rinse compartment before you run the dishwasher. Not only does it reduce spotting, but it also helps prevent odors and mineral build-up in your dishwasher.

In fact, to get rid of gunky residue from your dishwasher, fill the detergent compartment with pure vinegar and run the dishwasher on a normal cycle.

You can even use vinegar to rinse handwashed dishes. Just add a couple tablespoons of vinegar to your rinse water, along with one drop lemon essential oil. Your glassware will sparkle!

Liquid Homemade Dishwashing Detergent

This recipe is kind of cheating because you still use store-bought dishwasher detergent, but it's better than expensive, toxic name brands. Look for phosphate free detergent for a more earth friendly option.


1 cup Baking Soda

1 cup Borax

1 cup boiling Water

1 cup store-bought liquid dishwasher soap

10 drops Grapefruit essential oil

10 drops Lemon essential oil

10 drops Orange essential oil


  1. Dissolve the baking soda and borax in the hot water.

  2. Stir in the liquid dishwasher detergent, then add the essential oils, stirring to mix.

  3. Pour into an old dishwasher detergent bottle. Use 2 to 3 tablespoons per load.

Buying Homemade Dishwashing Detergent Ingredients

I prefer Mountain Rose for all my basic ingredients. I trust them - their quality is always great, their prices are good and their customer service is terrific. Their essential oils are a great choice if you're on a budget.

For essential oils, I use doTerra. After comparing and experimenting with my recipes, I saw that recipes using doTerra's oils worked faster and better - plus I never experienced any of the glitches like headaches that happen with some other brands.

doTerra's oils cost more, which makes sense because with essential oils, you always get what you pay for. Spending a little more for something stronger and cleaner makes sense to me. (Plus I actually use fewer drops than the recipes call for, which cuts costs. Genius!)

You can shop doTerra retail by clicking the Shop button at the top. Or click Join & Save to become a wholesale customer and get 25% discount. Message me to get more info on the perks of wholesale membership. Discounts are awesome!

If you're someone who loves choices, Amazon is great. You can compare, read reviews, and there's lots of price ranges to fit your budget. Just remember to buy the best essential oils you can afford - they go directly into your bloodstream, so you don't want junk.

What Next?

Try these other recipes for easy homemade cleaners... and clean the rest of your home with inexpensive, healthy cleaners too.

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Homemade Dish Soap

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Homemade Laundry Detergents

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