Wednesday, July 6, 2011

DIY Dishwasher Detergent

We are on day 3 of DIY week. Are you pumped? I'm pumped. Let's go!

**UPDATED** The first few days that I used this detergent, everything seemed fine. After that, the entire batch of detergent seemed to clump up and solidify. I forged ahead, and stirred it every day to minimize the clumping. I continued to use the detergent for a good week to two weeks and over time there seemed to be a cloudy film on the dishes that built up the more times they were run through the dishwasher. So because of this, I have to recommend that you NOT make this recipe. If you were wondering, I was using the vinegar during the rinse cycle, but it didn't seem to help. I apologize if anyone made this and was not pleased with the results. I wasn't either. :(

Next on my list to DIY is dishwasher detergent. This recipe comes from Crazy Craft Bugs and Flitterbugs. Be sure to check out their posts and tips. I love my dishwasher, old and small as it is. I grew up the youngest child of three and as such I was the go-to dishwasher. I have to say, I don't miss washing dishes by hand. If my dishwasher broke I would survive, but I enjoy the convenience of loading it up and going about my business.

As you can see my container was a bit large but I didn't want to buy a canister when I had one that worked perfectly well, even if it is a bit big. Check the comment section for an approximate price breakdown. Ready for the recipe?

Updated: If you have extra hard water, this recipe might leave a white chalky sort of residue on your dishes. You might want to try a test batch before making a full batch of detergent.

Note: Instead of buying straight up citric acid, I used the suggestion from Amy to use the "Fresh Fruit" product in the canning section of the grocery store. Buying citric acid can be a little hard to find so I bought one bottle of the Fresh Fruit. It contained 1 cup of the product so I went ahead and doubled the recipe since the original recipe only called for 1/2 cup.

Even though the ingredients add up to only 3 cups, after I stirred it up and measured it, the air incorporated into the mix and added a bit of volume.

DIY Dishwasher Detergent 
3 1/4 cups or 52 Tablespoons

1 cup Borax (Usually in the laundry detergent aisle)
1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (Usually in the laundry detergent aisle)
1/2 cup Kosher salt
1/2 cup citric acid (see note above, I used "Fresh Fruit" found in the canning aisle)

1. Mix all ingredients in a clean container and cover.

To use: Add 1 Tablespoon of detergent per dishwasher load. Be sure to add white vinegar to the rinsing agent compartment to stop dishes from getting cloudy.

Source: Crazy Craft Bugs


  1. Quick and easy recipe! Thanks!

  2. I am going to pass this on to my wife... But I see a fried banana recipe just perfect for me!

    Actually, what are the savings compared to buying the box o suds????

  3. @ Aime, Kathy & Carrie - You are welcome and thanks for visiting :)

    @ Year on the Grill - I don't have a precise break down on the savings. But here is my thinking.

    I use the Borax and the washing soda to make both dishwasher detergent and laundry detergent. I made batches of both of those (2 big jugs of laundry detergent, and a double batch of dishwasher detergent).

    I still have a TON of borax and washing soda left. Which you can use for all sorts of homemade products as well. So for me, the reason I made this myself was 1 - to be frugal and 2 - to be self sufficient and to not rely on overpriced commercial detergents.

    I run the dishwasher about once a day, or every other day. So I go through quite a bit of detergent. This is expensive when you buy the liquid detergent.

    I will have to measure out how many cups of dry detergent this made to figure out how many cycles it will do. I will get back to you!

  4. Okay my double batch of dishwasher detergent was 6 1/2 cups. That will be enough four about 104 loads of dishes.

    My approximate price is 4.50 for 104 loads. So that is about ~.04 cents per load of dishes.

    You will have to compare that cost to what brand you use for your dishwasher and how frequently you run your machine. Hope that helps!

  5. Great post! Love the cost breakdown!

  6. This is so great! I bet you end saving tons of $ in the end!

    XO Lindsay

  7. Ohh wait I just saw that you did a breakdown! Holy cow! You ARE saving! Way to go!

  8. I am totally needing this 'recipe' right now! Thanks for sharing!

  9. I saw this on Pinterest! Does this really clean well? I mean is it leaving any residue? I use organic stuff and it's not super clean and leaving residue that the liquid detergent didn't.

    Becky B.
    Organizing Made Fun

  10. That was my question - how does it work?

  11. @ Becky & Chicky -- I ran the dishwasher twice with this mix and it cleans really well, but it does leave a residue that I am having trouble getting rid of.

    According to the many blogs that have made this recipe, using vinegar in the rinse agent slot will stop the residue, but my chamber is broken! So I can't actually tell if the vinegar would work.

    You might want to check the links that I posted and ask the authors there if they had any residue.

    Everything is really clean, but after it dries there is a light white almost chalky residue, which I didn't even notice until this evening. So I am at a loss :(

  12. Ali thank you for posting this. With a family of 6 , three meals a day, we go through a huge amount of dishwasher detergent . I will be making this this weekend.


  13. very nice things that u discover th blog .I liked very much.
    Commercial Dishwasher