Frugal DIY: How to Make Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

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  This very popular post was screaming for some more attention, so here you go!

Recently we shared a recipe to make your own Homemade Laundry Detergent, today we’re sharing a recipe for Homemade Dishwasher Detergent. Have you ever tried to make this?   We’d love to hear your experiences and/or variations to the recipe too!

Dishwasher Detergent ingredients: (Walmart Pricing)

  • 1 box Borax -(4lbs 12 oz or 76 oz ) $2.98 – found in the detergent isle
  • 1 box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda – (55 oz or 3 lbs 7 oz) $3.24 – found in the detergent isle
  • 24 packages of unsweetened lemonade drink mix, or 1/2 cup citric acid –  $ 6.00 (*Note: lemonade will stain soap dispenser yellow, another option would be to use citric acid instead of lemonade. You can usually find citric acid in the canning isle.)
  • 3 cups Epsom Salt or Kosher Salt – $3.28
Combine all ingredients and mix well. (You will need a very large container to hold all the ingredients.)  Use 1 tablespoon per wash cycle. It has no fillers so you do not have to use nearly as much to get the job done!

Rinse Aid if you use it…

  • White Vinegar (super cheap!) or Lemi Shine – $3.66 (found on the dishwasher detergent aisle).

Here are a few more tips…

This detergent will clump because of the citric acid. Here are a few ways to make it clump less:

  • Add a tsp of rice to the detergent to help absorb moisture.
  • After combining ingredients, leave mixture out and stir several times each day for a day or two. (This is how we do it.)
  • Add citric acid separately to each dishwasher load rather than adding it to the detergent.

If your dishwasher will accept blocks of detergent you can form blocks by using ice cube trays. Simply place desired amount of detergent into trays immediately after combining ingredients. Use 1 block for each load.

Leave a Comment


  1. lyndsee chambers says:

    How much citric acid do I need to put in?

  2. How many loads does this mixture make?

  3. I used this formula and I substituted a bottle of lemi-shine instead of citric acid, because I have hard water. My glasses are coming out cloudy. I use vinegar as a rinse-aid. What else can I add to make my glasses come out clear?

    Thanks -

  4. Is there a difference between kosher salt and epsom salt? I used kosher salt. Should I use the epsom salt next time or can I add it to the mixture I already made? Would using to much salt in the detergent be a bad thing?

    Thanks again -

  5. Barbara Hartley says:

    Sorry to say this “recipe” did not perform up to expectations. The inside of coffee cups retained a stained appearance, glasses never looked clean. We threw away the remaining jar and went back to the grocery store for Cascade. Our dishes are finally clean again!


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