DIY dishwasher detergent

Facts about me:

1. I hate rinsing dishes. I always just put them in the dishwasher with all that food gunk on ’em. What’s the point of having a dishwasher if you have to wash the dishes before the dishwasher washes them…?
2. I hate long projects.
3. We eat a lot of food. And have a lot of dirty dishes. I need to save money on dishwasher detergent.

Facts about this project tutorial diy homemade dishwasher detergent whatever thing:
1. One tablespoon of this magic makes my dishes shine… WITHOUT having to wash them before they get washed in the dishwasher.
2. This takes 15 seconds.
3. This is cheap. 4 cents a load or something ridiculous like that. Plus, now that you have borax/washing soda, you can easily make your own 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. Marjorie August 13, 2012 at 9:50 am

    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?

  2. Bonny Miller August 27, 2012 at 7:54 am

    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.

  3. Stacey August 27, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    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!

  4. erica August 28, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    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.

  5. Jenna September 28, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    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.

  6. Lisa November 27, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    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.

  7. drew welch November 28, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    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.

  8. April Brown February 17, 2013 at 10:18 am

    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.

  9. Christi March 21, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    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.. :-)

  10. Tina June 19, 2013 at 11:17 am

    Can’t wait to try this!

  11. Paula April 20, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    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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