Friday, April 20, 2012

DIY Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

My vintage blue Ball jar is filled with 
my homemade DW detergent.
I ran out of dishwasher detergent last night. 
I had just squeezed  the last two brownie 
plates into the dishwasher and it was
 ready to do the day's worth of dishes. 
Ah! my back-up supply in the garage cabinet. 
But....the cupboard was bare. 
No matter how long I stared at the empty
 spot where another box of DW detergent 
should be, it did not appear!
So into my la-bor'-a-tory to mix up a batch.
 I have seen so may bloggers make 
their own. I Googled. I found.
Borax, washing soda, kosher salt
 (in the jar), and a packet of lemon
Kool-Aid  (unsweetened).
I didn't have the Kool-Aid last night
so I just used the Borax and soda.
 I combined my own batch
and that worked fine. 
  I bought Kool-Aid the next day 
and added that along with the salt
 to my next batch.
You can also use LemiShine.
I found it in the dishwasher detergent isle.
Finding a cute container is a must! 
I don't need to tell you that.
Any jar will do, they're all good.
 Of course, 'pretty is as pretty does'. 
It got everything clean!
Remember those yucky brownie plates?
Squeaky clean!
no harsh chemicals
does not emit chlorine gas
effective sanitizer
effective stain remover
effective water softener
phosphate free
 (environmentally friendly)
did I say CHEAP?
 One more tip; fill your rinse dispenser with 
vinegar. It's the best, and the cheapest.
 Rinse agent (Finish or Jet Dry) = $3.99
per fill. Vinegar=$.06 per fill
That's a saving of 6650%
(No, your dishes will not smell of vinegar.)

Rita's Dishwasher Detergent
1C Borax
1C washing soda
1T kosher salt
1 packet lemon Kool-Aid
(unsweetened) or
1 T LemiShine
Mix until well combined. 
Store in airtight container.
Use about 2T per load.
(Make a double or triple batch
to fill your container)

Keeping it clean...
and Easy to remember 1-1-1-1


  1. I'll have to give this a try, Rita! It will be fun to look for a pretty jar to put it in, too! that's an AMAZING savings on the Vinegar rinse!

  2. Hi Rita,
    You have hit the Jackpot for me with this great idea. Sweetheart and I are retired and on a fixed income. Every helpful hint to save money is a blessing. I love the vinegar rinse also. Great Job. P.S. I love your blog.

  3. Are you using the Koolaid for the citric acid content? Could you use invisible Koolaid or actual citric acid instead? ~~ASW

  4. Yes, citric acid or lemi-shine would work in place of the Kool-Aid. I just haven't found those yet. They are on my list.

    1. I found citric acid in the health food store (vitamin C powder), but it would also be with the canning things for jams and jellies, pectin, jars, etc.

      I really like this and will try it soon. The tip to stir it every day or so is also helpful.

    2. Are you still using this recipe Rita?

    3. Are you still using this recipe Rita?

  5. Just an FYI, I kept my in the exact same container and lid. You will want to stir it up every couple of days because it can get as hard as a rock and have to be chipped out. I actually just poured in some hot water in the bottom part of mine to soften it a little and make it a little easier to get out. Not sure if there is anything that will prevent it from hardening.

    1. I FOUND IT! I ground up some dried orange and lemon peels, and mixed it in thinking it would add a nice lemon scent. And - no clumping anymore! I don't know why this is the magic ingredient - but this batch hasn't clumped at all!

  6. Never heard of this but sounds great. I use vinegar for lots of things but hadn't thought of this use...will definitely try it. That is, when my dishwasher gets fixed or I replace it!!! Mine has been on the blink and I've been doing dishes by hand...I've actually sort of liked doing that! (Can't believe I just said that after wishing for a dishwasher for years before I got one!!!)

  7. ummm... not sure I would use borax for dishes... it is poisonous and classifies as a hazardous substance :-(

    1. Borax is not boric acid it is sodium borate which is salt. Consuming too much salt is toxic. It is safe as a cleaning agent. ALL commercial dishwasher detergents are toxic. Do not eat any of it.

  8. I am definitely going to try this. I make my own laundry detergent right now and I love it. How economical and a blue glass ball jar is very pretty indeed ;-)

  9. Thanks for this information. I even have the perfect jar for it. Now if only my dishwasher was working. One day it just stopped so I've been washing by hand ever since. This makes me want to get it repaired!

  10. OK, this recipe really has me wanting to do the homemade dw detergent! Now if hubs will agree.. He has to do the shopping now so it's up to him to get the Arm & Hammer. Never saw KoolAid in a recipe, would sure beat the chlorine smell we get from commercial!! Thanks!

    1. Lemon Kool aid is also good to rum in an emty dishwasher to clean it.

  11. Good to know! I wonder if it's septic safe . . . that would be my only question. I like the savings!

  12. I am going to pin this. I have been making my own laundry detergent for a couple years now and I am thrilled to find out about this because it does save so much money and much better. I just bought a large bottle of jet dry so once that is finished I will switch over to vinegar.

  13. Awesome, I love this - but I've never seen A&H washing soap before, wonder if there's an alternative??


    1. Find it in the detergent isle at the grocery store.

  14. I didn't know there was a recipe out there for dishwasher detergent. I only knew about the homemade laundry detergent. Thank you so much.

  15. Thanks for sharing your idea! Joann

  16. Thanks so much for this idea. I would love it if you shared it at my first linky party that is going on right now! Diane @

  17. Hi Rita, I made some with the same ingredients awhile back but it is hard as brick! I've taken in out and tried to smash it up (with my wooden meat hammer!) but it's just a bunch of small pieces. Any ideas? I did store it in an air tight canister, not nearly as cute as your Ball jar!! Glad it worked for you

  18. What a fantastic idea! And I just love how it looks in the jar too!

    And good tip about the white vinegar tip too. I do that often. It really makes the dishes sparkle!


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  20. Hello Rita,
    I am new to your blog, I found you at “Some What Simple’s” link up party. I have been using this recipe, I simply Love It! All of my dishes come out sparkly clean for pennies.
    Smiles, Paula

  21. Gosh, thanks for this I've been wanting to try making my own dishwasher detergent. I promise I won't eat this or any other dishwasher detergent, even though I have to admit at times its been hard not to. I get such a craving for it! Seriously I will be trying this out. Thanks for sharing you creative inspiration at Sunday's Best Par.tay!

  22. I L-O-V-E this dishwasher recipe, and my hat off to you for suggesting putting vinegar into the rinse dispense! Who knew? Saving money is what EVERYONE is trying to do these days. Your website is truly THEE BEST! Thank you!!! PAM

  23. Thank you for sharing this recipe! I’m currently trying a variety of different ones to find what works best for my water and dishwasher. I may try this one in the future.

  24. Hello Rita I found this on Pinterest I am buying the supplies to make this tomorrow. I can not wait to try it!!! I have tons of dishes with a large family. I am your newest follower.

  25. How about putting one of those activated charcoal packets in the jar to absorb moisture or rice, like in your salt shaker?

  26. Performance is influenced by the number of washing levels, how and where the jets of water are distributed during the dishwashing cycle. A three tier system will provide a good washing and more levels will ensure even better coverage, but price will be influenced.

  27. What is washing soda? Do you have a name brand? :)

    1. Yes, Arm & Hammer like in the picture.

    2. Also if you have a swimming pool and use Soda ASH to adjust the PH . It is the same as the arm & hammer. I keep a big bag for the pool homemade laundry detergent and Now your recipe Thank you.

  28. If you check Pinterest or just google it, turning baking soda into washing soda is a matter of cooking it. You can buy A&H washing soda in the laundry aisle of most grocery stores and at Walmart. It is usually right next to the Borax, often located on the top shelf. New follower. Love the recipe which I found on pinterest. Making it right now. :) Thanks for the great tip! I'm going to throw some of the silica packs that come in shoe boxes in with mine to help with the caking issues listed. Pinning you!

  29. My dear Rita May, Thank you for sharing this great info with us. I am from Australia and I never seen a product called Kool-Aid. If you know of any similar please advise me. Thank very much. Stella.

    1. Use the Lemi Shine instead of the Kool-Aid. Kool-Aid is a powdered drink mix that comes in a small packet. Thanks!

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  31. Rita....I can't find lemon Kool-Aid but other flavors. Does it have to be lemon?

    1. Use the LemiShine instead. I bought a bottle and used it most of the time.

  32. Is it okay to use sea salt instead of kosher salt?

  33. I have used this mixture 3 times and it left my dishes and glasses with a coating on them. I had to rewash many of the plates, silverware and glasses. I am not sure what to do. I don't want to throw it out, but I can't keep using it. Any ideas? Could it because I have hard water?

  34. I have been using this dishwasher detergent for months now and my stainless steel utensils, pots and inside of the dishwasher have lost their shine. Any tips?

    1. That's not good. Do you have hard water? That's a possibility.
      You could also be using too much. Hope that helps.

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