DIY dishwasher detergent

March 28, 2012 by Lauren

laundry detergent! (Or vice versa! If you’ve already made your own laundry detergent, then you already have the ingredients for this!)

So get ready for the super complicated project. You’ll need a lot of paper to write this down:

Step 1: Combine equal parts washing soda and borax in a container. (I used my old detergent container!)

Aaaaaand that’s it. I combined one cup washing soda and one cup borax. Stir. Then, I put one tablespoon in my dishwasher.

Some notes:

-You might need to play with the amounts in your own dishwasher. Every dishwasher is different and has it’s own emotional baggage.
-We add two drops of dish soap each time we put the detergent in the dishwasher. Supposedly that can help with cloudy glasses or something.
USE VINEGAR AS A RINSE AID! So stinkin’ cheap and it works like a charm. If your dishes have a film or scum, add vinegar to the rinse aid compartment thing.

And check out how clean all my dishes are! So simple.




  1. Seriously….not to be all blog stalker but I am totally falling in love with you guys!!! This idea is great!!!!

  2. Christine says:

    I’ve been using this recipe, plus some citric acid, for a few weeks now and I LOVE it! It’s definitely as good or better than the store bought stuff.

  3. AD Lister says:

    Wow going to try that!

  4. jessica says:

    I use this also. I have been wanting a new dishwasher for 6 years now. The one that came in my house just wouldnt work. I started using this and my dishes were perfect. I use 2 cups of each and I add 4 packs of lemon koolaid!! also a Coffee Creamer container works perfect for pouring it into the dishwasher!!! I love this stuff!!

  5. Jennifer says:

    It works even better with citric acid (or lemon koolaid packets). I also add 1/2 cup of coarse salt to mine to keep it from clumping

  6. Jackie A says:

    I just made my first batch of this: 1 c borax, 1 c washing soda (I only had baking soda, so I baked it to make washing soda), 2 packets of sugar-free lemonade mix. I tried it on a load of dishes – no pre-rinsing at all. The dishes this morning were clean and gorgeous. Only had a couple items that had really caked on food that I’m going to have to wash by hand. Thanks so much for this!!

  7. Lynn says:

    What is the purpose of the citric acid or lemon koolaid?

  8. I plan to make this tomorrow I have already used the vinegar and it works great. It is making my dishwasher look and smell better

  9. Cassie says:

    I’m so jealous of your dishwasher. You can actually fit bowls in there. It takes me forever loading up dishes just trying to find a spot to maneuver them in an adequate way, to where the jets will actually spray inside the dishes. Anyway, I’m willing to try this method. I love your blog. It’s very practical.

  10. publicity says:

    Great im defo going to try this, dishwasher tablets are so expensive! btw i LUV ur plates collection! where did them?!? brill blog!

  11. christina says:

    is that actually your dishes? If so, where did you get those dishes.. love love love them. also love this idea… gonna try it tonight!

  12. Tammy says:

    I must have a lousy dishwasher, because I have tried this recipe with the vinegar, and my dishes still look filmy and icky. I tried a recipe that mixes the Borax, washing soda and powdered dishwasher detergent (such as Finish) with Lemishine, and that one works quite well. But I am going thru a phase right now where I don’t feel like making my own detergent, so I just bought some Cascade Action Pacs. LoL

  13. Lauren says:

    they are my dishes :) they are all fiestaware. you can get them pretty much anywhere!

  14. Nicole says:

    Thanks so much for this! I’m definitely going to try it asap. Also, I LOVE Fiestaware – they were our wedding dishes! Yay! :)

  15. Erica says:

    I tired this recipe last night after MANY different recipes had failed and unfortunately, this one didn’t work either. I also have Fiesta dishes and they all have a white cloud on them still. I think this will have to be the one prepackaged cleaning supply I’ll still have to buy for now but, I’m still looking for a recipe or combination that works!

  16. Marjorie says:

    I tried this with 2 cups borax and 2 cups washing soda and a cup of Lemi shine and 1 cup kosher salt and I still get a “film” on my dishes and its doing something funny to my silverware (a yucky film that seems caked on). I use 1-2 tablespoons in my detergent drawer with some vinegar. Any suggestions?

  17. Bonny Miller says:

    I made your dishwashing det. i added Lemon fresh I think it is called -it is made to help hard water in the dishwasher (look for the canister in the dishwahing det section of local dept store) to the soda and borax and just shake. If I put the “regular” amount in dishwasher I get film. if I put in small amount (teaspoon) combined with drop of Dawn and vingar in rinse aid dispenser I get wonderfully clean dishes. Thanks for the fugal green tip.

  18. Stacey says:

    I made this for the first time on Saturday I added about 4 oz Oxyclean just because I’m a freak about whether my dishes are clean. It works great!

  19. erica says:

    This recipe did not work for us :/ We have a new stainless steel dishwasher and after the wash, a white film was left not only all over the dishes, but all over the inside of the dishwasher.
    Bummer. Glad it worked for others though.

  20. Jenna says:

    i made this today, and got a white film, i am determined to find a homemade solution that will work, going to pick up some dawn( of course i am out when i need some!) and see if adding a few drops helps at all.

  21. Lisa says:

    was not happy with this solution alone. tried with dawn and still cloudy dishes. but florida has really hard water. mixing in lemishine because that is a glorious product but a bit expensive. so adding equal amount of lemishine to solution.

  22. drew welch says:

    For everybody who is getting cloudy dishes, you are using too much just put a little amount like a tablespoon. Also a drop or two of dishsoap helps. Don’t worry about using the soap despenser you can also just put mixture in dishwasher if need be.

  23. April Brown says:

    I read this a couple weeks ago and thought to myself “I’ll have to remember that.” Well, I was surprised to discover last night that we were out of our usual dishwasher detergent. I looked up this post and within 5 minutes, the dishwasher was running with this detergent! I had just purchased fresh Borax and SWSoda for my homemade laundry detergent so that was easy. My sons spent more time calculating the cost of each load of dishes that I did mixing up the new “recipe”. By the way, they came up with about 1.2 cents per load. Can’t beat that.

  24. Christi says:

    Even though Borax is easy on the environment, it can be toxic to children even in small amounts.. I would be weary using it to clean the dishes my family eats off of. How can you be sure it is rinsed 100%?! I could be overreacting, but I’d rather not use toxic chemicals if possible.. :-)

  25. Tina says:

    Can’t wait to try this!

  26. Paula says:

    I used this recipe plus a couple tips from another recipe I found! If there is still a film on the dishes try a few drops of Dawn with the detergent plus a half cup of vinegar splashed in the bottom of the dishwasher! Worked like a charm!

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