Homemade Dishwasher Detergent and Rinse Agent

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Why do we make our own homemade products like homemade dishwasher detergent?

It all started with our first batch of homemade laundry detergent, since then we’ve been hooked! Now we’re on a mission to make as many household products as we can. It saves money and gives a sense of joy and accomplishment.

Up this week is homemade dishwasher detergent.

When you’re done making this check out these other related articles:

When we develop product recipes we focus on: 1) saving money, 2) simplicity, 3) and effectiveness.

Let’s see how easy this really is. Below you will find the written instructions, pictorial instructions, and tips to avoid clumping, cost savings breakdown, and borax safety.

Note: No time or desire to make your own dishwasher detergent? You can always purchase natural brands like these.

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Recipe

Yield 24 ounces

Ingredients

  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • ½ cup citric acid
  • ½ cup kosher salt (for scrubbing action)

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Use 1 Tbsp per load (you can use a heaping tablespoon if you feel the need, but we do not).

Each batch yields 24 ounces of detergent. We recommend storing in a container you were going to dispose of anyway, like an old yogurt container or coffee can you can fit it under your kitchen sink. Feel free to double the batch, or multiply to create any amount you’d like.

For a DIY rinse agent, simply fill the compartment with white vinegar.

Notes

To answer common questions we wrote a dishwasher detergent FAQ page to help you better succeed with this recipe.

Deteregent Ingredients and Cost

  • A 55 ounce box of Arm & Hammer® Super Washing Soda = $2.19
  • 1 – 76 ounce box of 20 Mule Team® Borax = $4.29
  • A 48 ounce box of coarse Kosher Salt = $1.99
  • 1 – 5 pound container of food-grade Citric Acid = $27.00 You can find this online, in the canning aisle of your local grocery store, or at your local brewery or specialty beer store. If you cannot find this you can substitute LemiShine. If you do not use some form of citric acid you may see a cloudy residue left like most “green” cleaners leave.
  • 1 – gallon of White Vinegar = $1.79

Continue reading for pictorial instructions, tips to avoid clumping, cost savings breakdown, and borax safety.

How to Make the Detergent

For visual leaners, like myself, enjoy these pictorial instructions.

1. Start with these 5 ingredients:

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent 1

2. Begin with 1 cup of borax:

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent 2

3. Add 1 cup of washing soda:

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent 3

4. Add 1/2 cup of citric acid (double for hard water):

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent 4

5. Add 1/2 cup of kosher salt:

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent 5

6. Put the lid on and shake it up good:

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent 6

7. Use 1 Tablespoon per load:

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent 7

8. Fill “Rinse Aid” compartment with white vinegar:

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent 8

(You can also add lemon juice as a rinse agent)

Use 1 Tbsp per load (you can use a heaping tablespoon if you feel the need, but we do not).

Note: No time or desire to make your own dishwasher detergent? You can always purchase natural brands like these.

Continue reading for tips to avoid clumping, cost savings breakdown, and borax safety.

Tips to Avoid Clumping

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

  • Add a teaspoon of rice to the detergent to help absorb moisture.
  • After combining ingredients, leave mixture out (without a lid) and stir several times each day for a day or two before storing with a lid.
  • Add ½ – 1 teaspoon citric acid separately to each dishwasher load rather than adding it to the detergent.

Some people have had success forming blocks of detergent by using ice cube trays. We have never tried this so we can offer no help here; if you want to try it look to the comments for help.

Note: To answer other common questions we wrote a dishwasher detergent FAQ page to help you better succeed with this recipe.

Cost Savings Breakdown

Prior to making our own, we were using Palmolive eco+ liquid detergent. Here is the cost analysis:

  • borax | 76oz = 4.29 | 8oz=.45/batch
  • washing soda | 55oz = 2.19 | 8oz=.32/batch
  • citric acid | 80oz = 27.00 | 4oz=1.35/batch
  • kosher salt | 48oz = 1.99 | 4oz = .16/batch
  • total for 24 oz = $2.28/batch
  • white vinegar (as rinse agent) | 1gal = 1.79 | 4oz=.06/fill

Use 1 rounded tablespoon of this homemade detergent per load. If you feel it necessary use a heaping tablespoon, but we do not.

  • Palmolive® eco+ gel 75 ounce detergent – $3.79 – 28 loads = $0.14 per load
  • Homemade powder 24 ounce detergent – $2.28 – 48 loads = $0.05 per load

Here are the cost savings for the homemade rinse agent that goes along with this recipe:

  • FINISH® JET-DRY® Rinse Agent 4.22 ounce solution – $3.99 – 1 fill = $3.99 per fill
  • White Vinegar as a Rinse Agent 1 gallon solution – $1.79 – 1 fill = $0.06 per fill

That is a huge savings of 6650% on an effective rinse agent. Sounds too good to be true… but it is indeed true! The rinse agent costs just pennies and detergent only half as much.

Note: No time or desire to make your own dishwasher detergent? You can always purchase natural brands like these.

Is Borax Toxic?

After thorough research, I concluded borax is only as toxic as baking soda or table salt; if you ingest it in high quantities, it may make you sick. If you use it as described in our recipes, it poses no toxic threat.

Just make sure you don’t confuse Borax with Boric Acid, the two are NOT the same. Use borax (I recommend 20 Mule Team brand), steer clear of boric acid.

For those of you who want more info, read this excellent Crunchy Betty article where she expounds the toxicity levels of borax; I couldn’t have said it better myself, thanks Betty.

At the end of the day, decide for yourself to use it or not, and afford others the same courtesy.

There you have it folks… simple, easy, and effective homemade dishwasher detergent.

What are you waiting for? Go get started.

*******

References and Resources

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for us to support our website activities, we may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for our endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this website.

DISCLAIMER: Information on DIY Natural™ is not reviewed or endorsed by the FDA and is NOT intended to be substituted for the advice of your health care professional. If you rely solely upon this advice you do so at your own risk. Read full Disclaimer & Disclosure statements here.

Comments

  1. Hi I wondered if anyone has advice, i made my first batch around sept and it was great, it turned into a powder, i’ve since made the mixture a further four times with the same ingredients and quantities but it keeps coming out really watery, we live in the uk and it certainly getting colder and damp.
    Any suggestions
    Caroline

    • By watery, do you mean liquid or is it clumping? Even with the humidity in the UK I can’t imagine the dry ingredients turning to a liquid. Did you add a liquid to the dry ingredients? Perhaps the vinegar for the rinse aid?

  2. I started playing with this recipe (we live in Kansas – hot and humid summers, and to save a little on the cost of heating in the winter we vent our dryer into the house so it is almost always HUMID in our home and thus this detergent is a bit clumpy – I am going to try keeping it in Mason jars and see how that works)…what I’ve found to work best for hard water stains (that chalky film on everything including the dishwasher) is to blend the recipe as given, then use maybe a 1/2 Tablespoon of straight citric acid in the pre-wash compartment – it works just like Lemi-shine at a fraction of the cost. A few things; 1. I don’t really care if Borax is “safe” – it can’t possibly be less “safe” than commercial detergent…and I’ve used it for better than a dozen years mixed with lemon juice to clean porcelain tubs (it works beautifully and better than anything on the market – don’t care what CLR or Clorox claim…they lie). 2. Citric acid is easy to find online, I purchased mine at bulkapothecary.com or in a pinch you can find it at your local grocery in the food preservation isle where you find pectin and canning jars/lids. 3. Generally, though I do hate to admit it, I buy my ingredients at the big bad Walmart…no one sells Borax or Washing Soda cheaper (those you find in the laundry isle). 4. Most Importantly….THANK YOU for inspiring me to start making my own everything, Laundry Detergent, Dishwasher Detergent, Deodorant, Body Soap, Fabric Softener…I’ll keep trying to replace more and more commercial items in my home until I can no longer find things to replace!

    • Trisha,

      Great note! Save even more money by buying the .50/box baking soda a Wallmart, and convert it to washing soda yourself. Also, I have started using diatomaceous earth to avoid clumping. As little as 1/8th of a cup to a 3 cup batch works wonders!

  3. So…. I have been using this exact formula for quite a while now. This is despite the fact that it does not do well with hard-water. Has anyone else ever noticed that the bottom of their dishwasher is all brown-ish? Is this just really hard water? My dishwasher is new”er”. What is going on? What to do about it? I also use the vinegar for the rinse aid.

  4. Can people please tell me where you are purchasing the ingredients? I do most of my shopping on Amazon and the prices are WAY higher. The washing soda (55 oz) is $10.17!! Talk about a price hike! Kosher salt (48 oz) is $9.99! Help, I am trying to save money! Thanks!!

    • Wal-Mart is usually the cheapest for me but I am also able to get the ingredients at Target, Cub Foods, and Walgreens. I live in Minnesota.

    • I don’t know how widespread they are, but I always preferred Rural King. Not sure how the prices compare but I hate going to Walmart. Our local hardware store also has lost of these ingredients.

  5. Hi Rosemary:
    I just substitute an equal amount of Fruit Fresh for the citric acid (1/2 c per batch). I would say it is by far the most expensive ingredient in this formula. The little bottle (approximately 1 c) cost $3+ so I will probably order the citric acid online and see how it compares. I was just too impatient to try this out! I find it is a very effective substitute!

  6. I had wonderful success with this formula (still on the first batch).
    For citric acid I used Ball (the canning company) Fruit Fresh. I couldn’t find citric acid anywhere (and was too impatient to order online). Citric acid is the 3rd ingredient in this stuff. It also has a non-clumping agent which is probably why I
    am not having clumping issues. I also am using white vinegar in the rinse agent
    dispenser. My dishes are cleaner and less cloudy than using commercial packets.
    I also have a water softener. BTW, also a huge fan of the laundry detergent. Clothes come out just as fresh and clean with only a TBSP! Amazing!

  7. I am going to make my second batch. I have had mixed results. Cloudy glasses, silverware changing colors, dishes not completely clean and residue on dishes. Now I do have hard water and a water softener. I just read to use the high temp wash which I am trying right now. I will let you know how that works but I am trying to save money and I’m not sure how much it costs for that setting on the dishwasher. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

  8. My (portable) dishwasher started leaking when I added rinse aid after about three years of using vinegar for that. I suspected the vinegar might have been too acidic, but it is an old dishwasher too. Thanks for sharing your recipes. I love how simple the laundry one is! Trying it today :).

  9. WOW! I am so impressed with this formula!. I made it up today and just used it for the first time. The dishes came out SHINY! I also added vinegar to the rinse agent compartment. The silverware had no spots! Neither did the glasses! Also noticed that the dishes were almost completely dry, usually have to finish drying them as I put them away. NOTE: I couldn’t find pure citric acid in the stores so I bought Ball Fruit-Fresh. It has other stuff, including an anti-clumping agent. I’ll let you know if it clumps. Thanks for the great $$ saving recipe. This works way better than the expensive packets I was buying.

    • Sheila
      Thanks for the great idea to subsitute the citric acid with Ball Fruit-Fresh. How much of it do you use when making a batch of the dishwasher detergent?
      Thanks again

  10. Since everyone seems to have a problem with clumping, I was thinking I could use that as an advantage and maybe put it in an ice cube tray and make little detergent bricks, one for each load. Had anyone tried this?

  11. Altough something is natural does not mean it is safe. Borax is not non toxic and should never be used with things that come in contact with food.
    Also, Do not INHALE!

    • Noon: Show us the proof then. I refer you to this site:
      http://crunchybetty.com/getting-to-the-bottom-of-borax-is-it-safe-or-not

      Bottom line up fron: unless you are spoon feeding yourself high quantities of the detergent created here, it is highly unlikely that you would have any issues whatsoever. And the issues you would have by eating this detergent are no more severe than swallowing huge amounts of baking soda, or salt. Yes, you should not inhale it (duh!), and I don’t think swallowing huge amounts of this natural detergent would be good for your colon. But it works great on your dishes, and so far, leaves no appreciable residue. So, I don’t buy your argument.

      PS: Noon, do you ever use talc? Yeah, don’t inhale that either, nor do I recommend consuming it in large quantities.

      • Yeah, I guess I was trying to be a bit rude. I get that way sometimes. Sorry, I am trying to be a better person. 😉

    • Dear Noon,
      Thank you for your concern. There certainly has been much controversy surrounding borax recently. To be completely honestly I am more comfortable using this recipe than I am buying a box of detergent from the store. I have done a lot of research regarding borax. I feel borax is safe to use for my family. That’s my personal call for my family. I know it is well rinsed from the the dishes so I am not concerned.

      • Serena and Brett are correct that Noon’s argument cannot be supported via research and Brett hit the nail on the head when he likened the toxic levels of borax equal to that of table salt and baking soda.

      • I am sorry, something went wrong here, i ment to just copy a couple of links for the proof about borax not being safe.

        Dont get me wrong, i am no advocate of telling people what they should do but stating borax is safe is just not wright.
        In europe where i am from it was considerd safe till 2010. What you read in the above message is from wikipedia in german it will give you the links from E.U regulations.
        You could translate if you wish

  12. Hi Matt, I made this recipe but even with the vinegar rinse, my dishes come out filmy and cloudy. Any suggestions of what to try differently or add to the existent recipe so I don’t have to waste?? Thanks!

  13. I halved this recipe and am almost finished with the first batch. Not all the time, but I’d say half of the time, there’s a chalky residue left mostly on the upper rack. Mostly on my drinking glasses. Am I using too much? Is it just that my food trap might be clogged? There’s no food left on the dishes just chalky soap. What should I do?

    • I am having this same problem. On the top rack and also on the silverware. If you can figure out a solution I would love to hear it! 🙂

  14. I’m still on my first batch, but am bothered by the fact that it’s increasingly becoming more and more hard and clumpy. To the point where I could barely break clumps apart with a fork. What can I do to prevent this? Otherwise, works great as long as everything is rinsed/scrubbed well and there is no food particles left when placing items in the dishwasher.

    • I make mine in smaller batches. Yes, this means I have to do it more frequently but it’s so easy I don’t mine. I also keep mine in a Mason jar. I highly recommend doing the same or another rubbered gasket sealed lid container. Hope this helps. Happy green cleaning!

        • I made some homemade dishwasher detergent with results that weren’t great. I didn’t find any citric acid, though, so that may have been the issue. As for storage, I started out with a ziploc freezer bag and it was horribly clumped. Then at Target I found a glass canister with a lid with a rubber seal and have less clumping. I use a coffee scoop to scoop it out. After a few cloudy washes (even with vinegar in the rinse agent container), I mixed it half and half with Cascade. We have really hard water in Texas, so sometimes I also have to run a rinse cycle with vinegar. With all the money I’ve spent on trying to get clean dishes (including an under-the-sink filter), I probably could have bought a water softener. :-/

          • I can never find citric acid either and I’m way too impatient to order order online and wait so I use Lemi Shine Original as the substitute. It’s usually quite easy to find at most retailers. I recommend trying the recipe again. If your water is really hard you can try adding more Lemi Shine to your mixture. I hope this helps. Good luck!

          • The best place to look for citric acid is in the canning section of any grocery store. It’s used as a preservative in jam and jelly. fyi a 5 oz jar is more than you need for 1 batch

          • With respect Jacqueline,
            if you purchase citric acid from the grocery store it will be significantly more expensive per ounce then buying a larger quantity online.

    • I mentioned early so sorry to repeat myself, but in our dry climate I’ve noticed that as soon as I put a tight lid on mine, it begins to clump. I’m better off leaving it off. To my first batch I tried adding a few grains of rice with lid on, as mentioned earlier. That didn’t work. I inadvertantly left the lid off another batch and voilà! No sign of clumping. Folks in Florida would have a brick in short order, so it really depends on your climate. Maybe make cubes in an ice cube tray? It’s worth expirementing with. It’s good stuff!

      • As I posted earlier, I am experimenting using diatomaceous earth, and so far, it doesn’t appear to be to abbrasive for my glassware. It has totally prevented any clumping, but leaves a slight film. I will reduce the proportions to see if this helps. So far though, it is very promising. I use 1/4 of a cup for a three cup (plus the 1/4th cup) batch. I will decrease it to 1/8th of a cup and see if it still performs well.

        • diatomaceous earth is mostly silica, which is abrasive when used in a paste for things like counter tops where pressure is applied. Your idea got me thinking about trying something like Bon Ami, which won’t harm glass and doesn’t have the clay component that diatomaceous earth has, which might be the cause of the slight film. I’m going to try adding Bon Ami as a parallel test. Keep up the good work.

          • Hi all. Update to the use of the diatomaceous earth: I cut down on the amount. I now use about 1/8th of a cup for a 3 cup batch. So, here is my formula:
            1 Cup Borax
            1 Cup Sodium Carbonate
            1/2 Cup Salt
            1/2 Cup (maybe a little more if I am feeling frisky) Citric Acid
            1/8 Cup Diatomaceous earth

            So far, no clumping whatsoever! Hoorah!

          • You mentioned a slight film problem, has cutting back on the diatomaceous earth cured that as well?

          • No more film with about 1/8th of a cup. It has been dryer here, so perhaps the lack of humidity is helping in the anti-clumping dept. But I think I will try less (may 1 Tbs) and see if it still produces good results.

  15. I am so close to going out and getting all the items recommended but have a few questions, I see Borax and Washing Soda are both Laundry boosters. Why are both needed? Also, Borax, Washing Soda and Citric Acid are all to help in hard water areas. Why are all three needed? Lastly, Why even use Vinegar if Citric Acid helps eliminate water spots? Please help me to understand the role of each ingredient. I don’t have alot of money!

    Love Your Site!!!

  16. Some recipes call for no sugar added lemonade koolaid packets if you can not find citric acid. Some say that the lemonade can stain the dishwasher. Can an essential lemon oil be added to this recipe for a nice scent? What would you recommend?

  17. I’m on my third batch. In our dry climate, I’ve found it’s best to leave the lid off and add nothing extra. Only way I can avoid clumping. Bread or rice makes it worse. The detergent simply absorbed the moisture from them. Obviously my idea would be a disaster in a humid climate.

  18. All: I am trying diatomaceous earth as an anti-caking agent. So far it seems to have totally prevented the clumping. I will let you know if it affects the quality of the detergent.

    • Is diatomaceous earth abrasive enough that, over time, it might micro-abrade glass and fog it up?

      • Well, I am not sure yet. I found one web blog that included it as an ingredient in a “cleaning paste.” Specifically, they claimed that, “This paste is effective for most household cleaning chores and contains no harsh abrasives to harm surfaces. The paste resembles a gray putty, except that it is slightly softer and has a bubbled surface. The chalk or diatomaceous earth provides a fine sheen without scratching.” I will be sure to let you know. I used 1/4 of a cup in about a three cup batch. . .

  19. hi i made the dishwashing detergent and it cleans better than any other product i have bought, totally impressed, i’m inspired and am trying other products

  20. I am really getting into making my own cleaning supplies. How safe is this on our septic systems?

  21. Hi I am really keen to be more envionmentally friendly, however i’m in the UK and struggling to find some of the ingredients, eg kosher salt is there any alternatives i could use

    • Sure Caroline, any bigger crystal salt (similar to the kosher size) will work. Or just omit the salt and give it a shot without, you should be fine. Cheers.

    • The recipe calls for borax so we can’t stand behind a recipe without it, but give it a shot and let us know how it goes. If you have hard water be sure to include the washing soda. Blessings.

  22. I’ve been using this now for about 2 weeks. I was so happy at first with how clean my dish washer is but my dishes just aren’t coming clean. They are very cloudy and don’t feel clean and smooth. I’m using the kosher salt and vinegar, what am I doing wrong?????? Thanks

    • I’ve been using this recipe since January 2012 and occasionally have a problem with cloudy glassware, also, although the vast majority of loads come out sparkling clean and clear. My checklist is: Did I overload? Did I have something aluminum in the load? I’m not too sure about the aluminum, but someone cautioned me about it clouding glassware. Overloading most definitely is the biggest factor in how well my dishwasher works with any soap, but there does seem to be some factor I haven’t identified yet. Have you figured out anything?

  23. oh!! can l use organic soap? ingredients are: sodium palmate..sodium cocoate..glycerin..sodium citrate..cinnamonum..zeylanicum..bark powder..eugenia caryophyllus (clove ) leaf oil..citrus aurantium dulcis orange peel oil..limonene..eugenol.
    Is this ok to use,or can you recommend a cheaper version?

  24. try using another organic acid like tartaric acid or malic acid they also work and actually remove stains better, they are more expensive though, you can special order in the pharmacy of your choice

  25. Just tried this the other day, and my dishes came out with a film on them. Any suggestions for this? Tweaking the recipe, perhaps? I always use vinegar directly in the bottom before starting, too. I would really love for this to work. I hate the strong smell that emits from my dishwasher when I use the commercial stuff.

  26. Hi Cristy,

    That’s what I figured was the problem. Do you know a solution to this? Should I use less/more of the citric acid? Do you know if the citric acid is necessary? I am using the lemon kool-aid packets and doubled the amount since I have hard water. Thanks for any tips or suggestions.

    Cindy

  27. Krystal, perhaps you’re ‘missing the point”. I’m trying to ‘fine tune’ my recipe and don’t even know how much citric acid I’ll need or if I even want to switch. Why would I buy FIVE POUNDS of citric acid I may never use or it might be enough for me for 20 years!?! If I want to buy two walmart kool aid packs for 12 cents a piece every 3 or 4 months, get over it already.

    • Well, Nan, you could recycle your kool aid packets into shoes and donate them to homeless children. and then you could feel sanctimonious too. 😉

      • Christy,

        Tarnish on silverware is usually caused by sulfur compounds in the air or water, such as the rotten egg smell in some water. I haven’t tested this, but you may need to increase the amount of salt. Cindy is right about adjusting the amount of citric acid.

        I do have a fairly easy way to remove tarnish from silverware that I’ve used. Take a glass baking dish like a cassarole dish, line it with aluminum foil and put the silverware on the foil, make a mixture of a quarter cup of baking soda per quart of water. Heat the water mix and pour it over the silverware, be ready it’ll foam a bit. After a couple of minutes the tarnish will be gone and you can wipe and rinse off the remaining tarnish.

    • Ladies, this comment form is for helpful comments only, please keep this in mind. We’re here to help each other, not tear each other down. Let’s stay positive.

  28. I have read all of the comments on this page and decided to give it a try. I do have to say though those of you talking about using kool-aid are missing the point. You are suppose to be making this a cheaper/greener solution. As pointed out prior the packets are adding to our waste and the kool-aid is more exspensive. Ordering online or looking for a local store that carries the citric acid is not that difficult. Please reconsider the kool-aid option and try and help uour enviornment. Every little step helps. P.s.- I have used vinegar as my rinse aid for over 5 years now with no seal issues.

  29. Matt,
    According to the site I linked to, it is 200 degrees F. I have seen it as low as 140 Degrees F, and as high as 400 degrees F. The key according to one site is to get it above 140 degrees F. That is when it starts letting go of the of the CO2. The higher the temp, the faster the process.

    • That article is partially correct, the conversion of sodium bicarbonate to sodium carbonate begins at 212° F, but full conversion requires 392° F. Solid NaHCO3 begins to lose carbon dioxide and water around 100°C (212° F), but complete conversion to sodium carbonate does not happen until 392° F (200° C). If cooked at a lesser heat, full conversion will never happen.

      Best solution is to put baking soda in a glass dish about 1/4″ deep and bake at 400° F (nice round number) for an hour.

      I suppose I should write an article about it. 🙂

      • Good to know! I am not a chemist by any stretch of the imagination . . .I just try to do as much research as possible. Thanks for the site and your knowledge. 🙂

        • My pleasure Brett, I’ll be writing an article on the topic soon so we can have a thorough, go-to guide for people looking to make their own.

  30. Could you please tell me where to find Washing Soda, it’s definately not $2.19 as stated at Amazon! Thanks!!!!

  31. Tried it for the first time yesterday…seems to work great!

    Anyone try adding an oxygen-cleaner (such as Oxiclean) to the mix? Reading the list of ingredients on our nearly empty box of 7th Generation powdered dish detergent includes sodium percarbonate, which is the main ingredient in Oxiclean. I think Oxiclean adds some suds-producing agents though, which is not what you want in a dishwasher. I have found another product called Oxyboost which claims (corroborated by my research online) to have a higher percentage of the active ingredient (sodium carbonate) and the only other ingredient is sodium carbonate (washing soda, already in the recipe), no sudsing agents. Just wondering if anyone has tried it and if so, how much you used. I’ll try my own experiments and post again if no one speaks up.

    It may not be necessary to add more ingredients, it’s just we do a lot of dishes and home based cleaners don’t always do as good a job. We’ll see!

    • Sodium percarbonate is sodium carbonate (washing soda) + hydrogen peroxide. I think it sounds like a great idea, but I’m not really qualified to opine. Please let us know what happens!

    • I substituted a generic version of Oxiclean for the Borax (simply called Oxygenated cleaner), plus half the amount of baking soda. Here’s what I came up with so far. I also use vinegar as a rinse agent.
      1 Kosher salt
      2 Baking soda
      2 Washing soda
      2 Sodium percarb
      2 Citric acid (lemi)

  32. Is your calculation of cost correct? It doesn’t seem quite right.

    Your recipe calls for one FLUID 8-oz cup of borax, and the calculation uses the 55 oz WEIGHT of borax, for example.

    Anyway, I’ve been using this recipe and it’s working great! Clumped up but I just stabbed at it a little, and the clumps dissolve just fine in the dishwasher. Thank you!

    • I remade this today and weighed each item as I added it. Turns out your calculation was close enough! With your costs per box of ingredient, it worked out to a total of $2.25. Thanks again for this!

  33. I thought I seen a detergent recipe on your site before for hand-washing dishes. If so, I can’t seem to find it again. Could you please let me know what it is if you do have one? Thanks! 🙂
    P.S. Really enjoying your site and passing on to others!

  34. I love your detergent, many thanks to you and your wife for sharing your recipe and experiences. The detergent It is fun and easy to make and I really appreciate your troubleshooting page. I live in MD and the well water here is REALLY hard so at first I was having problems with cloudiness & residue even after doubling the citric acid. However, after going back and following your suggestions to increase the amount of detergent (I use two rounded TBSP) and adding 1/2 cup of vinegar to the wash, it has virtually resolved the problem. In addition, I love the cost savings and peace of mind that comes with knowing exactly what it is my detergent. Again, thank you so very much!

  35. I was wondering if I could add some Baking Soda to this as well, for a little extra cleaning? I have also heard of doing a pre-wash with Baking Soda in the first dispenser, and the detergent in the other.

  36. I used vinegar for every load of dishes for three years because our water is so hard. Now the racks in our dishwasher are very rusty and falling apart. The seal is fine. (I used a commercial detergent just fyi; now I’m here looking for a homemade recipe so as avoid vinegar.) The bolts on our toilets are also rusty from using vinegar.

    • I’m not sure vinegar is the cause of the rust. I, also, have very hard water and the racks in my dishwasher are very rusty & falling apart. However, I have only used commercial detergent & commercial rinse aid.

      • Thanks for that, Stephanie! Very good to know. Wish I could find a non-corrosive softener now that the damage has been done.

    • The vinegar is not causing the rust. Vinegar will actually take the rust out. If you soak the parts in vinegar then scrub them with a soapless steel wool, the rust should come off. If the parts are too big to soak, soak paper towels in the vinegar and wrap it around all the rusty spots and leave it for a while, then come back and scrub it with the soapless steel wool. It works. I tried it on a rusty crock pot.

  37. That doesn’t make sense! I have used vinegar in EVERY load of my now 4 year old front load washing machine. It isn’t going to cause the rubber to break down like bleach will.

  38. We had an appliance repairman do some work on our dishwasher. He told us to never use vinegar in a dishwasher or front load washing machine because it can weaken the seal on the door of such machines. And, specifically he said that there are rubber seal peices on the inside of the dishwasher and around the motor that slowly errode from vinegar. I love using natural, but affordable vinegar in exchanged for expensive appliance just doesn’t weigh out to me. Anyone else heard this before?

      • This makes sense, but we’ve also been using it for well over a year with no problems. I need to make another batch of auto dishwashing powder; but I had such clumping problems with the citric acid, I want to try the unsweetened lemon Kool Aid – how many packets do I use??

  39. With a bit of research, I found some excellent sources of ingredients at much better prices:

    Batch
    citric acid: 10 lbs $26.99 $2.70 /lbs 4 oz $.68
    borax: 4lbs 12 oz $3.38 $.70/lbs 8 oz $.35
    soda ash: 3 lbs $1.56 $.52/lbs 8 oz $.26
    kosher salt: 4 oz $.16
    _________
    24 oz $1.45

  40. I’ve been using this for about a year and really like it. But the last batch I used, was with the citric acid. By the next day, the whole batch was so hard, I had to get DH to use his drill to break it up! I’ve been scraping off enough to use (make it in a gal size plastic jar), but I guess I’ll have to throw out the whole jar with the remaining quarter in the bottom…we cannot loosen it up anymore. We have extremely hard water, and I have to scrub everything before they go into the dishwaher, and pour 1-2 c of wh vinegar over everything at the beginning of the last rinse cycle or everything’s half-dirty and covered in lime. ew.

    • Add 1/4 cup of rice to your recipe. It won’t hurt your dishwasher, it will just wash down the drain.

  41. Hi, I have hard water and have been using the homemade dishwasher detergent for about 1-1/2 to 2 months. The detergent cleans my dishes really good, and I’m very happy with it. However, it is turning my flatware dark. Some of my flatware is not shiny anymore and is turning black looking. Do you know what is causing this and is something I can do to fix it? Has anyone else had this problem? I really don’t want to stop using the detergent, however, I can’t have black looking flatware. Thanks

  42. Well, that last comment of mine was supposed to be a reply to MSGran’s comment/ question about washing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher! lol

    I made a batch and only ran one load so far. Mostly there was glass on top and bottom and mostly it came out sparkly clean but there were some discolorations (food stains) remaining on heavily dirty items. Also, one bowl that had been used with vegies sauteed in butter came out with light to medium greasy residue.

    I think I’m going to add more citric acid; all of our faucets have lime/scale build up so the evidence suggests doing so would be helpful. My hubby says one role of the citric acid is to remove grease… I wouldn’t know that for sure- can anyone else confirm, please? Otherwise I think I’ll be researching chemicals to add to the mix for that purpose. 🙂

  43. Love this recipe! Made it yesterday and used it on my first load of dishes last night. My dishes came out super clean. Better results than the other junk you buy in stores IMHO! One thing I did different was I used 10 packets of unsweetened lemonade since they are mainly citric acid. I used store brand at .12 each. Just came across this site yesterday and I am hooked! The homemade bug has bitten!

  44. you can get 1 lb or approx 3 c of citrus acid powder from dharma trading for 4.25 + shipping…fyi. Theyre super nice and a great company too.

  45. You can use the small Kool-Aid packet (no sugar) as the citric acid. They are mostly citric acid anyway.

  46. I just ran a load of dishes and they are fabulously sparkly clean. I actually poured the white wine vinegar in the bottom of the dishwasher – a splash or two. If you can’t get your dishes clean perhaps try that? I didn’t measure the dry powder, I just filled the soap holder, closed it, then poured a splash or two of the vinegar. LOVE this. Love it.

  47. I’ve just made my second batch of the dishwashing detergent and love it. Because of our hard water I followed the suggestion to use double the amount of citric acid. Our dishes are clean and there is no residue. It works great. Since it has been working so great, I thought I would try it in my shower to remove hard water stains, soap residue and grout stains. I started by sprinkling the detergent on the shower floor and spraying with a water bottle – I loved watching it foam up. After letting it sit for a few minutes I scrubbed it with a brush. I did the same thing with grout stains on the tile walls by making a thick paste of detergent and water letting it sit for a few minutes and scrubbing with an old tooth brush. Although it took a little of elbow grease the shower is sparkling clean and I didn’t have to suffer through inhaling all of the toxic fumes of the toxic cleaning agents I’ve used in the past. Thanks!

  48. My mother warned me that using anything but commercial “dishwashing” soap” is horrible for your diswasher and will clog all the pipes…but I refuse to believe this. Is homemade dishwashing soap safe to use in my new dishwasher? We have an apartment and I don’t want to risk destroying it!

  49. Ah but using citrus can also leave spots on silverware or other stainless products. I bought some good Odina Flatware and they said do NOT use anything with citrus it takes the finish off the flatware.

  50. Same thing happened to me. I really wanted to continue to use this but who wants to wash the dishes before you put them in the dishwasher?

  51. I just tried this a few times but I’ve noticed that I really need to scrub the dishes well before putting them into the dishwasher for this to actually work. The scrubbing power of the detergent itself doesn’t get food marks off my dishes. I tried washing them in hot water as well as adding some extra Kosher salt the load but neither worked. Has anyone else seen this happen? any tips? I really want to move away from the Cascade gels I currently use but they really do a great job getting food off the dishes. Thanks.

  52. I have made dishwasher soap with just borax and baking soda. I think I will try this but would the citric acid just be to produce a nice smell? The borax and baking soda worked pretty well. Just trying to keep it simple but would love to know the reason that the citric acid was needed.

    • I dont use citric acid, I use lemonade koolaid, the unsweetened kind, 2 packs per container of soap I make.

      • Brooke, then you are using Citric Acid. But you are using a very expensive version, with a lot of waste (packets). Look around and buy the citric acid in bulk online:

        check out http://www.dudadiesel.com/search.php?query=citric

        The citric acid is just like using lemishine. Not just for the nice smell.

        Also, a nice additive to your chicken kabobs or what not for a good citrus zing! Think lemon pepper (ever wonder why it clumps: Citric Acid)

    • Lisa,
      I have hard water in the winter and softer water in the spring and summer and yes it does matter. Hard water has higher concentrations of calcium and magnesium, which causes limescale and the white or tan powder. One of the key components to Matt’s detergent and commercial detergents is high sodium content which softens the water and prevents the calcium and magnesium carbonates from precipitating on the dishes. Commercial detergents are formulated for closer to mid-range hardness and as such don’t work as well when the water is harder than they are designed for. With the homemade detergent I can adjust the proportion of the ingredients to give me better results than commercial detergents. Hopefully this helps a bit.

  53. Okay guys..I have made my own dishwasher soap and this time I am trying the ice cube tray method. I know to leave it in the trays for 1-2 days, however I am a little nervous on how I am to get them out of the trays??? Do I just try to loosen them and they fall right out, or is there a trick of some kind that may not know about???
    HELP!!!!

  54. Please explain the citric acid. The volume and the cost seem prohibitive to me. How big is a 5-lb bag? Like a bag of sugar? And why is the container in the photos so small? It’s hard to picture this working out to be cheaper than dishwasher detergent when the photo shows such a tiny bottle of citric acid.

    • A 5-lb bag will make about 20 batches or 960 loads, if my math is correct, which works out to about 2 cents per load. The bottle shown in the picture is 2 ounces, which will make about a half batch.

  55. How about regular dish soap for the sink doing dishes by hand??? I cant wait to try all of these things!!! I am switching everything over to natural if I can I have even made my husband a believer on some things.

  56. You can make your own washing soda-put the baking soda in a 400 degree oven-it will change to washing soda because of the oven heat, about half hour for 1/2 cup.

  57. Ok….there’s no date on any of the posts or comments, so I have NO idea how late to the party I am here….the citric acid (seems to be a hot topic)….the container you show would hold nowhere NEAR 1/2 cup….so the literalist in me is confused. I bought a small container about the same size….I’d have to buy a few more to make 1/2 a cup….am I missing something?

    • The container is the large 32oz yogurt container. The contain of which you are thinking is only six ounces.

  58. I wanted to let you know that not only are my dishes shiny and clean – but my dishwasher has no residue and smells 100% better than when I was using commercial detergents.

    THANK YOU!!!!

    Renee

  59. As far as clumping goes I use a piece of a plain bagel in the container. Seems to last longer and does not fall apart

  60. I have been using this for about a week now, and I have noticed that my plastic stuff comes out with a film on it. It rinses off just fine and I have opted to just do an additional rinse, but that wastes water. We have softened water and without thinking about that fact I used a cup of citric acid, thinking about our hard water. Could this be the problem? Any suggestions? I do use vinegar as the rinse agent.

  61. Love your home made cleaning products. Just started using the laundry detergent and I can’t wait to try the dishwasher detergent. I saw a few comments regarding locating citric acid. Sorry if my info is redundant I did not read every comment. I found a 5 lb bag of citric acid on amazon.com from Spicy world for $19.23. If you utilize amazon prime shipping is free.

  62. Thanks, Matt: I am so pleased to be saving money on my detergents that I feel like a kid with a new toy! Now, do you have any suggestions for a substitute gasoline so I can save money on that as well? One good tip from the blog…the clean floor that resulted from the overflow…I can’t wait to try this detergent on my kitchen floor as well!

  63. “B” you keep saying a dishwasher is not a garbage disposal but the last 2 dishwashers I’ve owned both had garbage disposals in them.

    Your dishwasher must be very old or very low end if it doesn’t have a garbage disposal.

  64. I have heard that if you put some sticks of chalkboard chalk in the mix it will also absorb the moisture. I just tried this today so I will let you all know if it works for me.

  65. I use the same recipe as posted here but with one difference…I add two drops of dawn dish washing soap to the detergent compartment along with vinegar in the rinse aid compartment and have had nothing but success with everything I have washed in my dishwasher. No film, no cloudiness, just sparkling clean dishes.

  66. I am amazed at how simple this was to make and that it works. I have hard water (with a water softener) and am still adjusting the amount I need to use, some of my glasses didn’t get clean the last time I ran the dishwasher. My detergent also turned rock hard, here is what I did to combat that. I broke it up the best I could, put a slice of bread into my container and shook it around every so often. Worked like a charm! Thanks for the wonderful idea!

  67. HI Not sure whats going wrong with your results. I have well water and thought maybe the lack of “treated ” water had something to do with it. So I put 2 table spoons of the powder mix in rather than one and all is very clean

    • I put in 2 tablespoons of the mix and have achieved excellent results. Thanks for taking the time to share your insights.

  68. I followed the directions with great results and then the last two times a ran a load I had some poor results. The glasses were not as clean. Either lip stick or chap stick remained on edges. My everyday silverware also seemed liked it was not rinsed as well. To try and correct the matter I added an extra 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid to the 1 tablespoon of cleaner with no luck.
    Please advise.

    • Baking soda and vinegar has worked wonders for me! Sprinkle baking soda on dishes, and scrub with scrub brush. For heavier messes, do baking soda step before, then spray diluted (or straight) white vinegar onto the dish and let it soak for 5-10 minutes and scrub off! This worked on my stove grease catchers!

    • Danny, prices on ebay change frequently, and shipping prices depend on where you live. The cheapest I can find on ebay for 5lbs of Citric Acid is $42.

  69. Who ever priced citric acid at $27 bucks for 5 lbs clearly does not know how to shop. Ebay 5 lbs $14 bucks free shipping

  70. THANK YOU for putting the price breakdown!!! So very many bloggers are posting “homemade” cleaning products that may be better on the environment, are CRAZY expensive to actually make! KUDOS to you!

    • You’re welcome Crystal. We try to make all our recipes fit 3 criteria vs. their store bought counterparts: 1) cheaper 2) work just as good or better 3) made of natural ingredients.

  71. HELP!!! I haven’t tried using my dishwasher soap yet (mostly because I was waiting on my store bought to run out), and I’m not sure I’ll be able to! I used borax, washing soda, kosher salt, and powdered LemiShine (as I couldn’t find citric acid). Well… I left the top off of the container and stirred it several times for a few days – I thought it was good to go, so I put the top back on and I went to grab the container just now and it’s one big block! I can’t even break it up. I don’t know what to do!!! I do not want my money to go to waste, so can someone please tell me what I can do to bring it back to it’s powder-form…?
    Something that may have influenced it turning into a block so fast (I’m guessing) is that I had it sitting on my dryer… I have a bad feeling that the heat from the dryer did something to cause it to clump into one big block. Oooops!!! I have it in the refrigerator right now, hoping I can break it up after it cools, but I dunno…
    Suggestions please!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Grind it up in a food processor or a blender, or dissolve it in water and use it as a liquid.

  72. If I still have some rinse agent left in the dishwasher can I still go ahead and put in the vinegar?

  73. I noiced everyone with comments are using baking soda and not the washing soda that is suggested…there is a difference. I also was wondering if this could be used for hand washing dishes, since I do not own a dishwasher. Thank you.

    • I occasionally use it to hand wash dishes. I just dissolve a bit in warm water and voila.

    • Some of the commercial dishwasher detergents, such as Finish, use both baking soda and washing soda. Some go the other way using lye and chlorine bleach etc., but almost all of the major brands use washing soda. Baking soda is a wonderful product with many uses.

  74. Hi! I tried this recipe (using a portable dishwasher) and my kitchen floor is now covered with foam :S. Any thoughts on what I did wrong? Thanks for sharing these awesome recipes!

      • If you used baking soda and and vinegar it would foam.. the recipe suggests washing soda not baking soda..big difference. Just wondering.

    • Just a thought. Maybe there was a residual soap buildup in your dishwasher that caused the foam?

      • Thanks for the feedback. I did use washing soda, not baking soda. The dishwasher was second hand and it was the first time I had used it. I ran it once without any detergent after the foam incident (my floor is now sparkling clean, btw – lol) and have decreased the amount to a heaped teaspoon. The dishes are coming out just fine and no more super clean floors! So it could very well be that there was some buildup that needed to be eliminated (didn’t see anything but I sure did smell a lot of chemicals when the dishwasher came iinto the house) Thanks again for a great recipe 🙂

        • That happens to me if I accidentally leave detergent soap in my sink and don’t rinse it down! The pipes are shared, so whatever is in the sink pipe can get in your dishwasher 🙂

  75. Just found citric acid in the canning section of Walmart. Just over $3 for 7.5 oz. thought I’d share 🙂

  76. I used this recipe for the first time a few days ago! Citric acid around here is WAY too expensive, so I just bought packets of the Wal-Mart brand unsweetened lemonade mix. So far so good! My daughter loves the way the detergent fizzles when it combines with water. lol I see in other comments how the detergent becomes solid, and I am experiencing that as well. I see that you suggest adding rice into the container. My question is, do I add the rice directly to the detergent? Or, do I place the rice into something and then add it into the container?

  77. I made this soap with citric acid and my dishes aren’t coming clean. I have to handwash before they go in, and if i don’t they need scrubbed after they come out. Please help!

    • Your dishwasher is not a garbage disposal. Treating it as such is going to necessarily require extra strong cleaning agents to completely dissolve your leftover food.

      • I don’t know about new dishwashers, but the last 2 that I purchased (both are +15 years old now), have garbage disposal units in the bottom and are designed to remove and liquefy small bits of food left on dishes.

        I do not rinse my dishes unless I don’t plan to run the machine for a few hours. I do soak and rinse or scrub pots or baking pans that have burned on food stuck to them.

        I use use the above recipe, with an added cup of oxygen cleaner (sodium percarbonate), and I use 1 tablespoon in each of the dispenser cups. I am pretty happy with the result. Using twice the amount and adding the oxygen cleaner do add to the price, but this is still much cheaper than the tablets I was using before and I know that no one in my family is sensitive to any of the ingredients.

  78. Matt and Betsy, I tried the dishwasher soap and struggled like others with dishes not really getting cleaned. I bought your Household Cleaners book and made the dish soap recipe and used it in the dishwasher. Love it so far. I’m still playing a bit with on how much I “really” need to use but we are liking how it works so far.

  79. You should know that Lemi Shine make a rinse agent as well as a powder. The powder is what helps with the hard water film. I have a stainless interior in my dishwasher and we have a well with very hard water. Lemi Shine powder not only makes the dishes sparkle, but keeps the dishwasher interior free of hard water deposits, even the drying elements stay clean.

    • How much Lemi shine did you use and does it get mixed w/ the borax and the Arm & Hammer of does it go in the rinse agent compartment?

  80. I need help! I just made my first batch, and when my washer was on the final (steam) cycle my kitchen filled with steam….. WAY more steam than it normally generates. I thought it was smoke at first. It has a funky almost metalic smell to it. I am pregnant, due in a few weeks, so I called posion cintrol to be safe. They said since Im not coughing or having trouble breathing I should be OK. My question is: has anyone else had this happen? I checked the recipie. My measurements were correct. Doee anyone know what could have caused this? I used Lemi Shine, not citric acid. I do have vinegar in the rinse aid spot. If anyone knows Id appreaciate it! Thanks all 🙂

  81. Has anyone found unscented washing soda? I have tried Arm & Hammer and VIP brands, and they are both scented. Those are the only brands that I have found so far in my area, but if I knew the name of another one I could look online or have family in other areas look for it.

    The main reason I want to make my own is so that I can make unscented products. We have several family members with serious sensitivities to scented product.

    • I actually found out that the bag of VIP washing soda that I bought had been accidently contaminated at the factory and VIP sent me a new, unscented bag by courier!

      • where did you find the VIP brand washing soda? I also have an EXTREME sensitivity to scented products (sets off my asthma). Also what bar soap do you use that is unscented?

        • I live in western Canada and VIP products are available in most grocery stores here. I don’t know if they are available other places. Their website might have more information about where you can find products. it is vipsoap.com

          I use dove sensitive skin bar soap for the shower, but it wouldn’t work for making your own laundry products because it isn’t really soap. I had been using unscented high efficiency laundry detergents and adding borax and an unscented oxygen bleach powder until I realized that borax, oxygen bleach, and washing soda work much better. Those are all expensive here, so I was not saving money, but my clothes were clean and I wasn’t allergic to my clothes. I now use a powdered laundry detergent called Country Save that has the same ingredients, is unscented and is less expensive than making my own.

          That is the only pre made cleaning product I use, everything else are my own variations of the DIY Natural recipes. I am sensitive to most essential oils, and allergic to a few of them, so I don’t use them in my recipes. I can use tea tree oil so I do use a few drops of that in a few cleaning recipes.

          I am still looking for a shampoo and conditioner that work well for my very dry, curly hair, but have not found an unscented one that is satisfactory.

    • You can also make your own washing soda by baking regular baking soda in the oven at 400 degrees. You’ll be able to tell when it’s done when it’s no longer clumpy.

  82. I have used both receipes for the dishwasher and clothes washer and neither seem to get my dishes or clothes clean. Food is left on the dishes and heavily soiled pants(son and husband) don’t seem to get clean either. Any suggestions?

      • Is the citric acid what gets the clothes/dishes cleaner? I didn’t use that in my receipe. I did however use a whole bar of Fels Naptha soap in mine.

        • There is no soap called for in this dishwasher recipe. Be sure to follow the recipes for each closely for best results. Also, be sure to tweak for best results with your water (all water sources are different).

          • I guess I should have been more clear…….I used the soap in the clothes washing receipe.

    • I use Ivory soap for my laundry and a little bit of oxygenated cleaner helps get out extra tough stains 🙂

    • Dishwashers aren’t even meant to remove crusted on food. They sanitize your dishes. You aren’t going to have good success overall (with any detergent) running the dishwasher with a lot of food on your dishes since the hot water will tend to blast the food particles from the lower rack onto the dishes in the upper rack where it will form a hard crust.

      I don’t think many people realize this and blame their dishwasher as a result. Your dishwasher is NOT a garbage disposal.

    • My husband comments all the time about the use of the laundry mixture, how our clothes seem cleaner and fresher. We use Fels in our mix. I use the bigger grate for ease, then put a big into my coffee grinder to make it smaller for a quick grind. Then mix it well and store in a half-gallon container. I noticed that some older clothes that had spots on them have slowly become more thoroughly cleaned. Just LOVE mix.

      • I’ve just done a 1-month trial with soap nuts and am going back to making my own from this recipes, which I’ve used for the previous 6 months. With Matt’s recipe the dishes (and laundry) were always clean; with soap nuts everything slowly became more and more dingy and grimy. I really wanted them to work, but they’re just not as effective.

        BTW: I put my finished dishwash mixture into ice cube trays and let them dry out for a day or two — they turn into hard little cubes that fit into the soap dispenser, just like the really expensive tablets from the store.

  83. I like the laundry detergent a lot. I like that this is the only dishwasher soap that seems to be able to get dried milk out of glasses. However, I’ve been using the dishwasher soap for about 6 months and noticed that my dishwasher is beginning to get what looks like brown mold. I never had that problem before. Now I alternate it with store and homemade dishwasher soap. It makes me wonder.

    By the way Jess, we found when we put the dishwasher soap in the door, it just clumps there and doesn’t come out, but if we pour the soap right onto the dishwasher door and then just run it, it does just fine.

  84. Has anyone made this in liquid form? My dishwasher does not like powdered detergents, they just clump and don’t seem to clean my dishes. Thanks all!

    • We mix a Tbs of the powder plus 3 drops Dawn liquid soap and up to 1Tbs water in a small bowl to turn the powder to liquid form, then add it to the soap dispenser. If we don’t do this it clumps in the dispenser. But haven’t tried making it all liquid to start off with.

  85. I’d love to use white vinegar in my dishwasher. Did you notice any difference using the white vinegar in terms of damage to the heating elements or anything like that? I’d love to try this, but it’s my aunt’s dishwasher and not mine…so I have to be careful about what I use. Greetings from the ocean shores of California, Heather 🙂

  86. Im looking for a recipe that will be safe for silver plate silverware or china with gold trim. What do you think about this recipe?

    • My mom’s been running her gold trimmed china through the dishwasher for 40 years and hasn’t had any issues with it at all.

      I wouldn’t suggest the silver plate though. I think it does tend to come off, based on a spoon we’ve washed.

      • Can’t speak from personal experience, but a friend of mine told a story once about not knowing that the dishes she was washing (for a friend) were gold rimmed, put them in the dishwasher and the whole pattern came off. SO GLAD that didn’t happen to your mom, Tami! 🙂

      • With silver items I was told to avoid soaps with lemon scent because of the acid in them. I’ve washed a silver (probably silver plated) spoon once with lemon scented detergent in the dishwasher and it had a chemical like reaction causing the metal to bubble up. So..I would avoid the citric acid with the silver plated stuff.

        I recently just tried baking soda only in the soap dispenser, a little extra in the pre-wash slot, and vinegar in the rinse. Everything came out looking clean. Not sure how that would affect silver or gold trim. Question: Are the dishes really clean? lol

        • Yeah, they’re clean. The hot water sanitizes, the detergent helps clean, and as long as there are no chunks/film, you’re good.

  87. Yes it does. It says to 4. Add 1/2 cup of citric acid (double for hard water). I understand that you only use a tbsp of the batch per load but my question was how much citric acid do you use per load if you add it seperate. You answered my question already but I asked because the only thing was adding the 1/2 cup of citric acid to the batch.

  88. So, I just tried this recipe in my dishwasher last night. I went to put them away this morning and the “soap” had formed a clump in the soap dispenser. I used a paper towel to get it out. What did I do wrong? I did use vinegar in the rinse aid compartment.
    Thanks!

      • I did not let it sit before running. However, after trying it two more times, I use less detergent and the extra heat boost. That seems to do the trick! I’ll keep fussing with it until it works perfectly. Thanks!

  89. If you add the citric acid separate, do you just a Tbsp per load? The recipe calls for 1/2 a cup but I’m assuming you don’t use that much per load…. I tried the dishwasher soap that had you use lemonade and epsom salt and it doesn’t do the job for us. I’m hoping maybe this might?

  90. I’m on my fourth batch and love it!! I have to double the citric acid because we have hard water, but I get it at an Amish store for $2.40 a pound. I double the recipe and put it in a plastic bag. I’ve also put some rice in old pair of pantyhose and then tied the end…this keeps the clumps down. Using this and vinegar in the rinse, I’ve NEVER had a problem with dirty dishes. Thanks for the great recipes. Buying your book this week!! 😀

  91. My son lives in town with very HARD water and must run CLR through it at least once a month, (tried white vinegar as a friend said but didn’t work), I was wondering, before purchasing all the ingredients would this help with that too!

    • It’s definitely worth trying Debbie, since hard water is usually what keeps people from having great success. Try it and let us know!

      • Matt, I had forgotten about this and the other day I was at my son’s house and ran his dishwasher using your Dishwasher Detergent that I had made up for him months ago. I had a plastic container that still had an oily residue on it in there and after the dishes were finished I checked it and no residue left on it and everything was clean & sparkling! I told him about it (he’s a bachelor and doesn’t think to check those kind of things, and he said he would never go back to the bought dishwasher soap! White vinegar in the rinse and things are running great (no CLR used in months)! YIPPEE!!! Thanks for all your ideas, I love your site!

  92. I made a batch of this dish washing detergent and it doesn’t seam to do the trick. My plastics always have a powdery film on them. While my glass and plate sparkle beautifully. I also use vinegar as the rinse agent any suggestions? I hate the film on the plastics… (cups picnic plates etc)
    Thanks
    Norbina

  93. I like liquid detergents, can this be mixed with water like the homemade laundry soap detergent

    • I made mine a little different but I added equal parts water and it works the same.
      I used
      1 cup borax
      1 cup baking soda
      1 cup water

  94. I am trying it with the LemiShine to see how it works because I couldent find citric acid, and lemonaid is for drinking in my house =) Ill let y’all know how it works.

    • I found the Citric Acid in the canning section of my Wal-Mart. They do not have it year round just in the spring and summer months. I hope that helps!

  95. I found a simpler concoction for dishwasher detergent To be: 1 cup washing soda, 1 cup borax and 2 packages of unsweetend lemonade mix. Use 2 tsp in main detergent hopper and 2 tsp in pre-wash hopper.

  96. I love adding vinegar when I use anything with baking soda in it. I found powder vinegar online and added 1/8 cup to the recipe… it works great! When you add water it foams while it is reacting to the baking soda. Plus adding a handful of rice works to reduce clumping! Awesome recipe!

  97. I found that you really have to watch the amount you use. If i get to liberal with the powder it causes a film. really try to stick with the tablespoon amount. One for the pre wash and one for the reg wash dose it for me! and I use the vinegar in the rinse spot. Hope that helps!

  98. I read somewhere that if you use a Silica packet it helps keep your dish detergent from clumping or getting hard (kinda the same idea as a clay disk for your brown sugar). Silica packets are what you find in a new purse, wallet, or pair of shoes….you know those tiny little bead filled pouches we chuck out after we purchase one of those items?? It helps keep the moisture out, and IT TOTALLY WORKS for me!!!!! Try it!

  99. I’ve had the dishwasher detergent turn solid and I get the white film on everything. It would be nice if I had a fix for both issues. Would live to keep using this detergent but it is looking doubtful right now. Please Help!

    • Try keeping in the refrigerator.
      This will not only prevent clumping, but will also make it more soluble when you put it in your dishwasher. Let me know what you think.

      you could also try using silica packets. They are usually in vitamin bottles, and are great for absorbing excess moisture. Just put the packet in the mix (do not open the silica packs)!

      • I have been keeping it in the refrigerator for three days now and I’m clump free.
        Thanks

  100. Something in the ingredients caused my plastic glasses to come out of the wash with a white, powdery film…any idea why?

  101. Ok. So I made this and it was getting a tiny bit clumpy so I added some uncooked organic basmati rice and now the whole thing is a giant block in my glass screw top canister. Help!!

  102. is their a substitute for kosher salt as this variety is not easily available
    thanks

    • You can use epsom salt.

      1bx borax (76oz)
      1 bx arm & hammer super washing soda (55oz)
      24 pkg unsweetened lemonade drink mix OR citric acid (check canning aisle)
      3 cups epsom salt
      lemishine rinse aid OR vinegar (1 Tablespoon in bottom of dishwasher before each load start)

      mix all and use 1 tablespoon per load

    • Any grocery store has Kosher salt in their baking aisle next to the regular table salt.

  103. I’m fairly new to the DIY world but have been experimenting with your recipe for dishwasher detergent with fairly good results considering I have a 14 yr. old dishwasher. Thought I’d share some comments from my sons: “Ah, Mom. You’d be the herbalist we have to visit on our computer game, Sky Rim!” “Mom, you remind us of Eazma on The Emperor’s New Groove when she’s in her secret lab making up potions. ‘It’s dinner time!’ (evil laughter)” “Guess we’d better keep an eye on her as she’s making dinner!”

  104. Just took the dishes out of the dishwasher and they are clean and sparkly!!!! Thank you soooooo much for sharing this! P.s. I left out the critic acid because I had dirty dishes that couldn’t wait for me! LOL The plates came out clean even after a 24hour sit in the dish washer….

  105. In your recipe for making this, you give the ingredients in ounces, but in the photos you are using measuring cups. I can’t be sure if it was here or on another site that the amounts were previously given in volume measures (cups). I noticed there is a big difference in the weight per volume of the ingredients involved. Should I be weighing the ingredients?

      • Matt, 1 cup of washing soda weighs .6 pounds while 1 cup of borax weighs .376 pounds and 1/4 cup of citric acid weighs .110 pounds. Kitchen measuring cups measure in volume and ingredients differ greatly in mass. This is my confusion. The ratio of ingredients changes when you shift from volume to weight.

  106. I made a batch following the directions and it has left a white residue on the dishes. I have well water so this may be a factor. Anyone have any suggestions?

  107. Just found your recipe and I used 2 cups borax and 2 cups washing soda. It still needed something. So I’m Gonna add the salt, citric acid and the vinegar. Oh and I also use vinegar in a downy ball in the washer for my clothes! Thanks again! Ill let you know how it goes!!

  108. How would I gel this for hand washing use? Trying to save money but all these recipes seem to be for the machine. Thanks for the wonderful recipes 😛

    • I saw in another comment that one person used aloe gel, bought from a dollar store. You might just use in powder form for dish washing, too. I use soap berries, as I repurpose my dish water in my garden but plan to make this recipe for my grandmother, who uses a dish washer.

  109. Hi Matt and others…

    I really really really want to get this to work. I am concerned b/c my non patterned dishes look bad after 1 pass w/ this w/ double the citric acid. I am also concerned about using things not recommended by the companies making the dishwashers…can I be doing damage here? I called GE and they said not to use anything organic – why? What are they talking about…anyone please???

  110. please help me with the following querry.
    what should i put in the salt compartment and what is kosher salt. pls also suggest an alternative to kosher salt.
    thanks
    ashwani

    • Ashwani,

      The salt is mixed in with the other ingredients for the detergent. Kosher salt is a large grained pure salt (no additives). Any coarse grained pure salt will work. In a pinch, you can use a good table salt. One of the major benefits is to soften the water.

      I hope this helps.

  111. i was searching how to make dish soap and found this site. i’m gonna try this and see what happen, thanks for sharing!

  112. i mixed up my batch last nite and spooned it into ice cube trays to make tabs. how long should it take for them to harden enuff to remove? it has been about 24 hrs, and while they are firm, they still crumble when i try to get them out. thanks!

  113. Steve,
    Thanks so much my husband was very angry when he found out I was trying this again and told me anything that had a film on it was getting thrown out lol. So I knew this was my last shot so I wanted to make it count. I am going to play with this a little now that I know it works ha ha. I did it and now i know he isnt going to kill me anymore for making a mess.

    I filled one of my children’s kid cups with vinegar on the dishwasher top rack. Then I used equal parts of washing soda, baking soda, borax, and kosher salt using 2 tsp where i used to add commercial soap. Also I put vinegar mixed with blue dye so I could tell when I needed to add more to my rinse cycle. This worked great. I feel confident my dishes are clean with these ingredients Do I need citric acid and if so what is its purpose and why? Any thought on what I am using? am i over killing it even though it worked.

    thanks again steve for all the help in helping me do this

    • Thank you. I’m glad it’s working for you! In my opinion, you’ve got a mix that does the job, so tweaking it isn’t necessary. If I was going to tweak the recipe, I might add a little sodium percarbonate (Oxi Clean or the generic equivalent, what I bought was simply called oxygenated cleaner, much cheaper than Oxi Clean).

    • Crystal,
      I used Matt’s recipe:
      1 part borax
      1 part washing soda
      1 part citric acid (I used Lemi Shine as my citric acid source)
      1/2 part Kosher salt
      1tbs/load

      I put a wide mouthed glass upright in the top rack and added about 1/2 cup of vinegar to it. I also added vinegar for the rinse cycle. My reasoning was that the glass of vinegar would be added more slowly throughout the wash cycle and flush the dissolved calcium salts before they precipitate and the vinegar in the rinse cycle would take care of the rest of the calcium.
      Let me know how this works for you. Try a small batch, a tsp=a part.

  114. please help i am getting fustrated and really wanting this to work. i mainly use plastic due to my kids. my water is not hard. i have not bought citric acid yet but have tried borax powder, washing soda and rinsing with vinger. i had a white film on my dishes. i tried the above again with kosher salt still white film. i tried again with lemonaide koolaide still a film. then orange juice still a white film. can someone please help my glasses are fine its all the plastic i use that is the problem. thanks so much

    • This might help. I had the same problem with the plastic lunch and storage containers, so when I loaded the dishwasher, I put about a half cup of vinegar in an upright glass in the top rack, before I started the wash. I also used vinegar as a rinse agent. Let me know if this helps.

  115. I made the dishwasher detergent and didn’t understand completely about not adding the Citric Acid. I added it and now my container of detergent is hard as a rock!! I can hardly move it with an ice pick. What would be a solution for me??

    Thank you

  116. OK…here goes nothing!! I had all of the ingredients except the citric acid..but after reading about it’s purpose I remembered I had some packs of powdered something that goes to my coffee pot, (for descaling) and it turned out to be citric acid and aluminum sulfate. So I thought why not?? It is in the middle of the wash cycle right now…I’ll letcha know how it turns out! 🙂 Thanks for the help!

  117. Matt

    Any problem with turning this recipe into a liquid……adding water in the appropriate proportions?

      • Matt,
        I think if you add water to the washing soda and citric acid it’ll foam the washing soda and won’t work as well?

        • Oh yes… Steve is correct. I’m surprised I didn’t think of this since I often wash out my water bottle by putting a tiny bit of the detergent in it, and adding some hot water. It fizzes quite a bit and I just shake it up.

      • OK so I tried the liquid. I started with a small batch, produced from the powder recipe you provide here on the site. I didn’t have any problem with foaming or other reactives. We did run it through 3 loads and it worked well….requiring a shake of course to stir up SOME undesolved particles….no problem. The real problem I saw with this was that it was completely water-like……no viscosity to it. SO…unless your detergent dispenser door gizmo has a gasket with a perfect seal on it….the liquid leaks out of that compartment before the machine gets to the secondary wash….and there isn’t soap left for that wash. This isn’t the problem with powders or commerically made gels.

        NEXT…I need something to thicken or gel the watery liquid. After some research, and judging the tone of this panel I learned that normal GELATIN wouldn’t be warmly recieved and so I found an alternative gelling agent called Agar-Agar (made from seawead) to try to gel it up. I went all in with ALL my powder….and ended up with something that looked like it had been drained from my lawnmower after a rough season cutting the lower 40!.

        Moral to the story….using a fresh made batch of powder….and my wie is happy it’s over (though I’m still quietly determined).

        Any other thoughts on how to thicken the liquid, without needed chilling, that would work well with this mix would be welcome.

        The reason for my fixation with the liquid as opposed to the powder is a powdery residue left on the inside of the machine itself. If someone has a means to get past this symptom….I’d be happier to stay with the powder.

        Clean on!

        D

        • Ha ha, I love it… a true DIY’er like myself who will stop at nothing until he gets what he’s looking for. Way to go David.

          Can’t help w/the liquid but to reduce and/or eliminate the powdery residue try increasing the citric acid in the recipe.

          • I purchased a 12 oz bottle of Aloe Vera Gel from the Dollar General and used that to replace the water. It worked! It was a perfect gel detergent. I mixed it all up and stored it in the Aloe bottle, and squeeze it right into the machine when its time to wash.

  118. I made the detergent tonight, added the vinegar to the rinse aid dispenser, dropped in my tablespoon of detergent- and I am highly impressed! Even the dish racks felt cleaner!

    Thanks, guys. The URL is going up on my Pinterest board and my FB account.

    • Just wanted to report back and let you know that this recipe is still working great for us! No nasty film on our dishes and they are clean everytime! I am thoroughly impressed!

  119. I didn’t have citric acid readily available so I squirted a little lemon juice in the detergent compartment after adding the detergent. It worked great!

  120. I used this detergent today on my 24 hr old dishes and they came out even cleaner than with the Cascade tablets. Thank you for sharing this!

  121. Ok everybody, how are you all storing your Borax and Washing Soda? Do most of you leave it in the original box with the punch out pourer or do you transfer to another container?

    • Lizz, I have been making laundry detergent and using these items for a few years and I have always left them in their cardboard boxes. I keep all cleaning agents (even the ‘safe’ ones) in a cabinet away from too much humidity, in my utility room (although we don’t use the air conditioner much in the summer and the room gets warm due to it’s small size and the washer and dryer running regularly). I haven’t had any issues with effectiveness or clumping (moisture in the air) or package deterioration (I’ll have a box for around 9 months before I use it all up). I hope this helps you…

  122. SO where and what department do you find the citric acid. I also found a recipe on here calling for lemonade koolaid, Just wondering if Real Lemon lemon juice would help with cutting grease.

  123. I have tried this receipe several times and am struggeling a bit. I don’t know if it’s my dishwasher or the soap. My dishes do not all come out clean. I still have food and residue on things. Please help with ideas.

  124. What about yucca as a non ionic surfactant as opposed to vinegar in the rinse? Granted you would have to work out ratios but I’m wondering if yucca and borax together is some ratio would be a good rinse.
    Any thoughts?

  125. I made the recipe with 1 cup borax, 1 cup washing soda and 1 or 2 TBS of regular salt. I didnt have citric acid. I also added vinegar to the rinse compartment. I’ve used the recipe twice adding one tablespoon of the mix the first time and 2 TBS of the mix the second time. Both resulted in a dirty film on my plastic bowls and some glasses. I ended up washing half of the top rack the first time and then running it again on rinse only for the second attempt. I’m not sure if I’m doing something wrong or I need to clean my dishwasher??? I feel very uneasy about the left behind film. I’m not sure I want my kids to eat off dishes with potential chemical film. Even if it’s rinsed off. Any suggestions?? I’m pretty sure we have hard city water. Thanks!!

    • To check if my dishwasher needed cleaning, I put a couple of wide mouthed clean glasses in the top rack and ran the washer without adding any detergent. When the glasses came out filmy, it had to be either the water or my dishwasher needed cleaning. I ran it again empty adding washing soda, then repeated the process with with the glasses and they came out pretty clean. That told me it was mostly a gunk buildup in my dishwasher. Hopefully this helps. Maybe somebody else has a better suggestion.

  126. I made this, but the longer I left it out open, stirring when I walked by, the more moisture it seemed to be absorbing. What am I doing wrong?

    • Keep the lid on and keep stirring occasionally, after a few days it will loosen up and you’ll be able to store it. It’s not moisture it’s the citric acid reacting w/the other ingredients.

  127. Just emptied my dishwasher from using DIY dishwashing detergent….AWESOME job!! I found citric acid for $2.65 a pound at my local Amish store. I used an entire cup because we have hard water, and used vinegar in the rinse. No stains, no food residue, no white particles….just clean dishes!! Thanks so much!!

    • To clean my toilet tank and bowl I used a mild muriatic acid solution. It worked very well, but is a bit hazardous. Denture tablets work and sodium percarbonate (Oxi Clean or the product I got simply called oxygenated cleaner) works and is less tricky to use than the muriatic acid.

  128. please please please dont think you know all the chemical reactions when you DIY things like this….Vinegar in a 10 % solution will sterilize any hard surface with 10 minutes of contact…. so it is has phenolic capabilities. Just as peroxide does…. it would be the particles that dont get loose from the dishes that would still be there…. you can’t make it any quicker or stronger to make it happen sooner….10% 10 mins.

      • Distilled white vinegar in US grocery stores is 5%. I’m not worried about it’s safety, considering I mix it with olive oil and spices to put on my salad.

          • I kept waiting for him to answer Adrienne, but he didn’t. I looked at the First Aid Treatment section for Cascade and a couple of things really caught my attention, first was sodium hydroxide=lye, and second was Chlorox. Pass the salad dressing. Matt I agree with you 100%.

  129. I made the mix; couldn’t find citric acid so I got Lemi shine, but I’m not sure how much to use. Please help! Note: I have harrrrrddddd water.

    • Try it in small batches. Normal water would call for the same amount of LemiShine as citric acid, if you have hard water you may have to increase the dose.

      • I washed a load last night and ended up having to use 2 tbsp of Lemi shine. It worked great! The best part is that I added vinegar to the rinse compartment and that got rid of that weird store bought dishwashing detergent smell that’s been lurking in the dishwasher.

  130. what can I substitute the kosher salt with? it is impossible to get in Europe, let alone our lil’ ol’ Slovenia 🙂

    Would regular coarse salt work just as well?

  131. I made this last week and it is amazing!! I have well water and its a constant battle to get my dishes clean. When I ran out of the store bought tablets, I looked for recipes to make my own. I had everything your recipe called for on hand and gave it a shot. I pressed the powder into ice cube trays, turned them out and dried them overnight. They are perfect! No more powder residue and with the vinegar rince aid, no more spots!!

  132. Something that might help with the film problem would be to run the dishwasher empty only adding washing soda. It’ll remove any calcium and magnesium buildup on the heating element and remove any residual soap scum, which should make the dishwasher more efficient and help with the film problem. I use a tbs in my coffee maker to clean it, because it works better than vinegar.

      • Most companies and service repairmen will recommend citric acid to clean the elements. It works great. I use it often for this purpose. BTW, it is used industrially to clean out the inside of pipes.

        • Adrienne and L,

          There shouldn’t be a problem if you don’t overdose the dishwasher. I just used a couple of tbs and ran a couple of empty loads, about the same amount as you’d use for citric acid, until the discharge water ran clear. Washing soda, as soda ash, is also used industrially to clean pipes and boilers. Both work, but I’m not sure what the criteria is for chosing one over the other. To get rid of the film, I think it’s vital to remove the buildup on the heating element and inside the washer.

          • I am not sure if my issue is film. There are also glasses not getting clean. Sometimes I have to wash 1/3 to 1/2 of the top rack after a load is done. If I use the Finish tabs I don’t have that problem. I’ve tried the citric acid in the mix and tried doubling it, but it seemed to etch my dishes when I doubled it. I haven’t tried lemishine yet. My water is just borderline hard. I had it tested and the honest salesman said he didn’t think it was worth my buying a softener. I have whole house filtration and sediment removal and we are on city water. I appreciate any input you have. Thanks!

          • I looked up the chemical formula for Finish and it’s mainly baking soda, washing soda and sodium percarbonate (mixed with water this becomes hydrogen peroxide and washing soda). Also, before using lemishine look at the cautions about using it with painted glassware, aluminum and non-stick cookware.

          • Try this mix. I haven’t completely tested it, but so far it seems to do work.
            2 parts baking soda
            2 parts Super washing soda
            2 parts oxygenated cleaner(that’s the name of the product I bought, an equivalent Oxo Brite is sold at Wal Mart)
            1 part citric acid (I used 1 individual packet of unsweetened Crystal Light)

            Let me know how it works.
            1 part Kosher salt (optional scrubbing agent)
            Use 1 rounded tablespoon per load.

  133. We have salt water and was wondering if this works with that. Everything else leaves spots. Thanks for any help.

  134. Someone may have asked this already and I missed the answer.Could you substitute lemon juice for the citric acid?

  135. Anyone else having problems with the off-gassing when the vinegar and washing soda combine? Mine exploded out of the container even though I added it slowly 🙁

    • Are you adding the vinegar directly into the soap compartment? I put the vinegar in the rinse aid compartment…by the time it empties into the dishwasher, the baking soda is pretty much gone, I think. Just a thought.

  136. Ref Borax toxicity…keep it away from your pets and children…if ingested it is harmful. Some people use Borax water to help remove the flesh from bones of wildlife when making displays for nature/education centers, etc. Our cat got into some poured off water from that scenario, (he was after the fleshy material) and ended up with ulcers all over the insides his mouth from the Borax. He needed veterinarian attention to get well.

    Borax is also used in ant killers, like Tarro, ant a homemade ant killer solution using Borax and sugar water.

    Like most things, if properly stored or disposed of, you remove some element of risk.

    • What Jackie is thinking of or panicking about is boric acid. This is different from borax which is sodium tetraborate. Take a look at earth clinic. com in the borax section if you want to learn more about how incredible borax is. Like Matt said elsewhere in the comments borax is as safe (safer) than table salt.

  137. I have gnarly psoriasis…I’m going to try this to see if it helps! I am allergic to so many fragrances, this may be a great answer both to being more self reliant and to healing my skin.

  138. I buy citric acid every year in 5 oz. containers, Mrs. Wages, when I can tomatoes. It is easy to find in our area in the grocery stores…no need to check with brewery as suggested in the instructions.

  139. I’ve heard and read how toxic Borax is. There is other concoctions that do as well without using the Borax. 11/2 C Baking Soda Wash, 11/2 C Lemi-Shine, 1/2 C Baking soda, 1/2 C Kosher Salt. Use White Vineager as rinse agent. Works ok and I have really hard water

  140. I’m not sure where to get citric acid where I live. Can I substitute Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) or is it better to use Fruit Fresh or something like that?

      • I altered your recipe slightly, due to the availability of citric acid. I used
        1 package of lemonlime kool-aid (about 1 tbsp);
        1 tbsp salt;
        2 tbsp borax;
        2 tbsp washing soda.

        This combination works great. I was greatly surprised at it’s cleaning power. The citric acid in the kool-aid really keeps my glass and plastic from getting a residue on it. Thanks for your recipe!

        • I came up with the same recipe using unsweetened kool-aid and adding a little vinegar in the rinse cycle. I use a little more salt because the water here is very hard. Commercial dishwashing detergents and laundry detergents don’t work well where the water is hard.

        • This recipe that Jessica has sounds great!

          1 package of lemonlime kool-aid (about 1 tbsp);
          1 tbsp salt;
          2 tbsp borax;
          2 tbsp washing soda.

          The question I have is the measurements above for one load?
          Thank you

  141. I have searched and cannot find the purpose of salt in the dish washer detergent. Can you explain it’s use in the recipe? I was trying to find out if it is an absolutely necessary component. Thanks!

    • I have been concerned about using salt if it’s not necessary. The vinegar in the rinse aid compartment would seem to take care of spotting. Has anyone tried it without the salt? I will in my next batch. It seems that the salt would dissolve and not be large enough particles to be effective as an abrasive. Other than wondering about the salt, I’ve been using the recipe for over a month and have been dazzled. Cleans as well as or better than ANY of the commercially made stuff without etching glassware.

  142. I haven’t made the dishwasher detergent yet but I am very excited about it as I really like my homemade laundry soap. I was a bit surprised to find salt in the recipe. Has anyone tried it with and without salt, what is the role of the salt?

    Thanks in advance?

  143. I can’t get this to clean very well. First I tried another recipe with kool aid instead of citric acid, it left white all over the dishes. Then I tried this one exactly with citric acid…no white residue but it just doesn’t clean as well as the Finish tabs. The dishes still are dirty. About 1/4 of the dishes (mostly the plates and pots) need to be redone every time. I have vinegar in the rinse aid receptacle. What can I do to fix this?

    • You’ve really got to play with the recipe a bit, depending on your water quality, age of washer, how well the dishes are “rinsed” before loading into the dishwasher, etc. I have hard well water and have found that doubling the citric acid is what works for me. I also make sure to make sure that there are no stuck on food particles left before putting them in the dishwasher. Some may say that seems redundant, but even with my brand new washer and expensive detergent, it still doesn’t remove food completely if it’s baked on. Also, using too much detergent can cause bad results. Again, you have to play with the recipe to find what works for you. 😉

      • Thanks. I also read some information on natural cleaners and some of them used oxygen bleach (oxy) in them. Gonna try to throw a few scoops that in. I think I’d go broke doubling the citric acid though! That stuff isn’t cheap! Also, If I prewash the dishes any more than I already do, I think I might as well hand wash them.

        My dishwasher isn’t that old. I’m sure it’s not top of the line since we rent though.

        Also, I have started avoiding throwing the detergent right on the door because of the vinegar in the rinse receptacle, I can already hear it fizzling up before I start the wash! I guess it has a little left over vinegar from the rinse on the door or something.

        • I found citric acid at my health food store in bulk for SO much cheaper. It was $6 for 2 pounds. Just an FYI 🙂

  144. I am not understanding some of these comments about saving very little… I do at least 1 load each day, plus some handwashing, and with my math, I personally would be saving at least $35 a year changing to this… May be others live alone and only wash once a week or something. Great website, thanks for all the reads!

  145. I found a few other recipes online that were similiar except they did not have the salt. Can you tell me the role of the salt.

    Thanks for the earlier laundry detergent recipe. I love it!

    Also sorry, if this has already been commented on. –Judy

  146. My question is: does all this kill germs/bacteria?

    I’m a big germa-phob when it comes to doing my dishes. I figured the vinegar would help kill the bacteria, does anyone have any idea?

    I buy chicken in bulk, freeze it and let it thaw on a plate and all that germy-mess goes in my dishwasher.

    • Vinegar on its own is not a disinfectant. Per the FDA, vinegar inhibits bacteria and mold growth (works great to keep shower mold to a minimum), but doesn’t eliminate germs to the level of being considered a disinfectant like chlorine, per se. I’ve come across some recipes that add tea tree essential oil to the mix since that has natural antibacterial properties.
      However, I’ve read somewhere that if you mix vinegar with hydrogen peroxide, then you get a very effective disinfecting cleaner but I haven’t tried it myself and would be reluctant to try it on something I eat from.

      • Vinegar is recognized in regulations for use in restaurants as a disinfectant. Also, if you use vinegar and peroxide, it makes the other even more effective, that is, unless you mix the two. If you do this, it makes both less effective. You would have to spray the one, wipe, spray the other, wipe clean, then rinse.
        You will find if you research it that the borax a disinfectant when mixed with water. Salt disinfects too.
        Another note…if you put too much citric acid in your dishwasher, you can etch the finish and pattern off of Corelle dishes, but this does take a lot to do. My nephew/niece did this not too long ago.

  147. Hi There-love the idea of doing this! (No way I’m going to read ALL the responses)

    How much of the citric acid do you add to the other ingredients if you decide to pre-mix everything else and add the acid later?

    I don’t want to use too much and therefore waste the money I’m trying to save. 😉

    Thanks!

  148. I was told by the guy who just installed a new dishwasher to not put vinegar in as a rinse agent as it would break down the seals. Anyone have any issues with this?

    Also, do you know if you use something homemade and natural if it voids a warranty of the dishwasher? I am renting and the homeowner is worried about it.

  149. Matt and Betsy,
    Thank you so much for the Homemade washing machine and dishwasher recipes. I’m a mother of 4 grown daughters with 5 grandchildren . and I hear them complain that cleaning supplies are so expensive. So this is going to be one of their Christmas presents,making your recipes and storing it in nice air tight containers. Not only helping them but helping the environment. Lookinf foward to your other recipies. May God Bless and have a Merry Christmas.
    karen B

  150. Love your recipes!
    I found your website over a year ago when looking for a better alternative for laundry soap. We have a graywater tank and a septic tank and have to be careful what goes into them. I love the laundry soap, it has improved the ‘health’ of my tanks tremendously. I use the dishwasher soap with the change of 3/4 c citric acid and my rinse agent is 50/50 white vinegar and lemon juice.
    I currently use store-bought household cleaners with paper towels so they don’t go down my drain. But I’m running low and it’s time to try those also. Can’t wait! Thank you for sharing your passion!

  151. unfortunately, this recipe didn’t work for me. i don’t pre-wash my dishes and i found that lots tiny bits of food would be stuck to other items (a glass, for example)…i don’t have time to read through all 500 comments to see if this is a common problem! just wanted to note it in case someone else is not a pre-washer…

  152. Hi there. I’ve tried the detergent recipe several times now, w/ the vinegar, but it is not working. Actually, the first time it worked pretty well, but I had to still wash out about 3-4 mugs by hand and my glasses weren’t sparkly at all and some needed a bit of rinsing. The next time, I doubled the citric acid and it seems like this may have ruined my dishes. They look like they have lost some of their lustre and it doesn’t appear to be coming back. I went back to the original recipe last night and same result. Dishes and silverware, OK, but about 2 glasses and 3 mugs needed to be washed out and my plates look ruined still. Any thoughts or help please? We do not have horribly hard water. Just borderline and we have a whole house filter and sediment filter too.
    And are you for sure that the borax is safe for the dishwasher?
    I saw another recipe on another site that had no borax, but had baking soda. Seems counter intuitive to me to put in baking soda to clean if the citric acid boosts cleaning power (she had Lemi Shine and baking soda and a few other things). What do you think about that?
    Looking forward to your reply. Thanks in advance.

    • Borax will leave a film. My recipe is as follows have been using this for over a year with no problems:

      1 box washing soda
      1/2 box of Borax
      1/2 box of salt
      1/2 small box of baking soda

      I use cider vinegar as the rinse agent only because I don’t like the smell of white vinegar and my water is very hot. I use just under a tablespoon for a full load. Everyones water is different so it takes some time to get it right, keep trying it is worth it:)

    • Hi Adrienne. Like Kelly said, all water is different so you have to experiment to find what works. The base recipe works for most, but some have to tweak it, don’t give up. Sounds like you have too much food residue in your dishwasher so do three things. 1) Empty it and clean any food traps if you have them, and/or remove any visible food chunks. 2) Run it through once empty using straight citric acid to clean it. 3) From here forward rinse all food off dishes before putting in dishwasher – do NOT put dishes w/dried on food in and expect them clean. Let us know of your results. PS… we have heard LemiShine works better with hard water than citric acid.

      • Matt, I actually do rinse all of my dishes, just not so that they are clean. Are you saying that they need to be completely clean? I’ve always felt that that defeats the purpose. The most difficult things were mugs that had had coffee substitute in them. They still had a film on them from it. Then glasses that didn’t seem to be very clean at all.

        Our dishwasher is quite new so I don’t know if it is needing to be cleaned w/ citric acid already. And if my water is just middle of the road, you still think I would need the Lemishine?

        I am wondering why you thought that I had too much residue on my plates. Thanks in advance.

        – Adrienne

        • Cool, great start. I would still run the dishwasher empty w/only citric acid to clean it. If you still have a problem, try Lemonshine, there’s no way to tell what works for your water w/o trial and error. Let us know how it goes. God bless.

  153. we love your homemade dishwasher soap and laundry soap recipes. Question on the dish soap recipe. we were wondering can you use sweetened Lemonade Kool aid instead of the unsweetened lemonade kool-aid? What does vitamin c add to the dishwasher soap mix and what happens if sweetened kool-aid with sugar is used instead of unsweetened? thanks

  154. Everyone is say how great this works. I have tried it and my dishes are coming out white and funky. What am I doing wrong?

  155. I’m on my second batch. BUT…dishes are all coming out with a film on them and everything looks cloudy…ESPECIALLY my silverware! What can I do about this???

  156. I make this recipe but I use Epsom salt instead of the Kosher salt. Works just as well. Another trick I learned from another site (I’m not sure which one, I have researched so many) is to use UNSWEETENED lemonade drink mix (the walmart brand is $.12)….it contains citric acid and it also gives your dishes a nice lemon scent. I use 25-30 packages when I am making a batch.

    Homemade cleaners are not so much about saving money for me, but about what is healthier for me and my family. Commercial cleaners give me nose bleeds and dish soap (even the gentle brands) make my mom’s hands bleed. She has Lupus and can’t tolerate the chemicals. When making these products, we have no problems.

  157. I just wanted to mention that yes this detergent will get hard. My husband came up with the great idea to just put into ice cube trays and let it harden itself in them then layer in a flat tupperware or reuse your old tablet dishwasher detergent container. I am trying this after it hardened too much in my original container so will see how it works! I did also double my citric acid since I am out in the country with hard well water. 🙂

  158. Thanks for the recipe. I save the silica packages that come in running shoes; I store the detergent with one of these packages in the jar. It absorbs moisture and reduces clumping.

  159. I cannot find citric acid. If anyone has any advice on where it is available, I’d be most appreciative

    • I got mine at the Menanite store. I have seen it many times in the canning isle at the grocery store and at walmart. You can also get it at most bulk natural foods stores.

  160. I just made this and am very excited to try it. I am wondering if one of the ingredients will disinfect the dishes? Also, will the laundry be disinfected with the laundry detergent? Thanks for sharing the awesome recipe!

  161. I actually found significantly less expensive citric acid online at MySpiceSage.com. For 5 pounds it was $19.00 (USA source) and free shipping (USA)! Plus when I ordered, they threw in a couple ounces of free samples of other spices too! I was so happy to find that site. And thank you for the instructions!

  162. I was wondering if there was something else i could use besides the arm and hammer washing soap. My little town doesn’t carry this product but all the others. I am having a serious problem with my dishwasher messing up all of my plastic products. I was wanting to try your soap right away.

    thank you so much

    • Have you tried asking your grocer to order it. Usually they will order anything to make their customers happy in those small town markets.

    • You can also take baking soda and bake it in your oven for one hour at 300 degrees F and it will turn into washing soda (also known as soda ash) 🙂

  163. I’ve been using the dishwasher soap recipe for about a week now, but my dishes are coming out cloudy. I’ve tried increasing and decreasing the amount of soap I put in the machine, but that doesn’t seem to make a difference. And suggestions?

    • This happened to me too, but i doubled the amout of citric acid and it helped. Good as new. I got my citric acid at a Menanite store, by the way…and recently I saw it by the canning supplies. It is wayyy cheaper then Matt’s link. I paid about $2.50 for double the amount the recipe calls for. Just a suggestion….but I have used this about 15 times now and I love it! Im so excited I dont have to hunt down coupons for detergent for my dishwasher any more! YAY! And the vinegar rinse aid has been working great for about a year now. That is better than jet dry in my opinion.

  164. Just made a 2nd batch of this. The first batch lasted, like, 3 or 4 months. So much better than paying $6 for the natural dishwasher liquid we were buying….and that stuff only lasted about 2 months at the most. Usually less.

  165. I cannot wait to make this recipe! I’m trying to lead a more natural lifestyle and cut out harmful chemicals. We’ve also never tried a dish detergent we like, so we’ll give this one a shot! And we’re all about the savings! We run our dishwasher daily, so these savings really add up! Thanks so much for this simple recipe!

  166. I LOVE this recipe. I started with laundry dtgt, and quickly saw how many things I could make with the same stuff. On to dishwasher dtgt I went. It seems to clean really well, I use white vinegar for my rinse aid, mixed with whatever little bit of store stuff was left. Can’t wait for it to be gone and off my dishes. I have a huge problem with it clumping though. It’s a solid brick. Just read about putting it in the freezer & was wondering will that loosen up the brick, or just keep it from clumping in the first place? Either way, I now have the cleanest screwdriver on the block. 😉 Thanks Matt & Betsy for your wonderful solutions to cleaning!!

  167. For someone who already makes their own skin care, shampoo, body wash etc, making home made dish washer detergent was the next logical step. I tried it for the first time yesterday and I am really impressed. My dishes came out sparkling and the glasses looked better than when washed in a commercial product. I put an empty coconut oil jar in to test the grease removing efficiency and it came out clean and sparkling. Hubby was most impressed too.
    Funny story about hubby – will post under home made laundry soap detergent

  168. I’ve been making this recipe for about a year minus the citric acid and added baking soda. I put it in a 2.5 gal bucket ($2.49) at the hardware store and use a tablespoon per load. This recipe is also great for cleaning stanless steel appliances, and countertops without scratching. If a residue builds up, wipe clean with a mixture of 1/2 water 1/2 vinegar. No more chemical cleaners for me!! Borax and washing soda are usually on sale every 3 months at Walmart or Target.

  169. I started making this a month ago and the first week or 2 it was great. Now I gotta tell ya. I’m getting frustrated. My dishes come with a powdery feeling residue and the inside of the washer stays wet with water droplets even after the dry cycle is done. I’m not sure what to do. I clean out the drains about once a week. I’ve used vinegar as my rinsing agent for a couple of years. We do have medium-hard hard water. So I double the citric acid in the recipe. I’m using about 1-1/2 tbsp. per load. Am I missing something?

    At the moment I have CLR running through the machine in case I have build up in the lines.

  170. Ok, so I loved the laundry detergent and want to love this, but I just can’t-at least not yet. I tried it w/ the lemon Kool-aid since I didn’t have a local place to buy citric acid and had to break down the recipe since I didn’t buy enough Kool-aid. Anyway, it work ok-some dishes weren’t really clean. So I ordered some citric acid (amazon and ebay were cheapest) and just added more citric acid to the original batch I made. Well, some of my dishes-plastics-had a film (not cloudy, but a layer of orangish/brown dust on them. So I stratched the original batch and started over. Well, it happened again-only on some plastics. And a few of my silverware were spotted-not real clean. I thought I might need more citric acid since we have hard water, but I don’t remember the film when I used less citric acid. Can anyone help-I really want to like and use this, but I don’t know what to add/subtract!!

  171. Just an FYI…check your dishwasher manual before putting white vinegar in consistently. I had to look in mine for a troubleshooting issue and read to only use white vinegar every so often because it would harm the parts in the dishwasher! I would never have thought that about white vinegar but I am not taking chances with my dishwasher as it’s only 3 years old.

  172. I’m really excited to start using this recipe, and the laundry one!

    One thing: Everyone should be made aware that Borax is a toxic substance. It’s totally natural, yes, but is also toxic — see the MSDS at http://www.hillbrothers.com/msds/pdf/n/borax-decahydrate.pdf. This says it has “low acute oral and dermal toxicity,” but also says, “Symptoms of accidental over-exposure to Borax might include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, with delayed effects of skin redness and peeling.” Also according to the MSDS, “Swallowing small quantities (one teaspoon) will cause no harm to healthy adults.” …but if enough is ingested, it can cause kidney failure.

    The most important thing (to me, anyway) is child safety. Pet safety is also a consideration. Everyone just needs to know to keep it out of reach of kids & pets. If more than a teaspoon would probably cause harm to adults, it wouldn’t take much for a child or pet to ingest enough to cause harm.

    Oh, and Borax is a fantastic natural insecticide — mix it with sugar to get rid of ants, roaches, lots of pests! Of course, be even more cautious around kids & pets if it tastes sweet!

    I’m not arguing against using Borax at all — I’m planning on using it, and I haven’t found a laundry or dishwasher detergent recipe without it that’s much good. But we just can’t be “at ease” about where we leave it.

    • Thanks for the input Carole. On the toxicity note, people need to understand that SALT is toxic if overused too… and that levels of toxicity for borax and salt are about the same so use with confidence, just don’t overuse just like you don’t overuse salt.

    • Borax is just a mineral not designed for human consumption. I wouldn’t exactly classify it as toxic since you’re not supposed to eating it

  173. Is Borax really a necessary ingredient? It softens water, but so does washing soda. It’s a good cleaning and deodorizing agent, but so is bicarb.
    Is Borax really eco-friendly? Where does it come from? Is it harmful in any way? I can’t seem to find a straight answer anywhere, perhaps you can help?

    • If you feel uncomfortable with Borax try substituting baking soda, but borax is eco-friendly. It is a naturally occurring element and is only harmful if overused, similar to the way salt is only harmful when overused.

  174. After a few runs through with just citric acid, I’ve got our first load of dishes running right now! Can’t wait!

  175. i have tweeked the recipe for dishwashing soap and still not satisfied with the results on my glassware. Ready to dump it all and go back to the store brand soap.

  176. Thanks for the recipe: The borax will also help de-fluorinate the water in my dishwasher !! All of these ingredients are great !!

  177. What can I substitute Borax with? I am not in the States and Borax is one of the chemicals under government close watch.. It’s often misused by locals; one of secret ingredients to preserve food as to make it long-lasting and fresher.. Yuckkss…. :_(

  178. I found the Citric Acid to be cost prohibitive. I have very hard water. Is there an alternative ingredient?

    • Cost prohibitive compared to what? It’s cheaper than store bought detergent… especially if you order a decent sized citric acid online. As far as I know Lemi-shine is the only suitable alternative, but I think it’s more expensive than citric acid.

      • The only Citric Acid I could find off line was at Whole Foods in the vitamin aisle… who knows why… It was 15$.

        • Whoa! No way, don’t pay that much… I buy it either online or at our local microbrewery. Stores that sell beer making supplies sell it cheap.

          • You might also try a three packages of unsweetened lemonade drink mix; it’s primary ingredient is (wait for it)…citric acid! $.10 a pack…..

  179. Hi..I love the idea of homemade cleaners, but do you know if your laundry detergent and dishwasher detergent would be safe to use in a septic system? We just moved and have never lived in a house with a septic tank before. Thanks! Keep up the great tips!

    • I have never lived in a house with ciy sewer, so watching out for the septic tank is second nature to me. And yes, these are ok for septic-they are actually better than store bought detergents. Any detergent that has bleach (chlorine/clorox) is not good for the septic-it can kill the good bacteria in the septic that you need to eliminate the waste in there. Any it is almost impossible to find dishwashing detergent without it! Hope this helps!

  180. Okay, I’m one of those who has been deliriously happy with the home made laundry soap and pitifully broken hearted with the dishwasher recipe. Then I saw the comments from Barbara about using Calgon water softener. After all my feeble attempts to make it work and all my disappointed rewashing filmy dirty dishes, I had just a little hope that maybe, just maybe this might help. Barbara, where ever you are….. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!! I am a happy camper! (my family already thought I had lost my mind with my obsession over the wonderful home made laundry soap. now they will probably want to have me commited! haha! I make both the powder laundry soap as well as the liquid since different family members have their own preferences. I use whichever I’m in the mood to use and I am insanely pleased!) Oh the joy and delight of saving money AND having an EXCELLENT replacement without the horrid ingredients these companies foist upon us and then charge outrageous prices to boot! I recently went down the laundry and soaps aisle of the store and browsed the prices of the various brands. I walked out in shock. Why? Because I had previously STOPPED LOOKING at the price. I knew I needed soap and so I bought what I needed only when I needed to and tried not to ‘register’ the ‘cost’. Not to mention the fact that due to multiple allergies in the family (including asthma), it is increasingly difficult to find products that don’t choke you to death with their smell, and we always had problems itching no matter what we used. Nobody is having reactions now! Add me to your “I’ll NEVER GO BACK” club!! 😉

  181. I bought cider vinegar instead of white. Is this OK. I found that my glass wear was still cloudy so need to add the vinegar. Shall I add it to the dish rinse aid or just pour some in before the final rinse>
    I had a jar of the misture and it was so hard I couldn’t spoon it out. So I poured some hot water on it to dissolve. Now I use about 1 big tb of the liquid and works great.

  182. Love this dishwasher detergent. I was having problems with it clumping and getting hard so instead of fighting it’s natural tendency to do that I just put the powder into ice cube trays, leave on the counter for an afternoon and it gets hard enough I can just pop the little tablets out of the tray, put them in my container and throw one in with each wash. Works like a charm!

    • See, now that’s just SUPER clever!!! I might just have to borrow this idea! Thanks for sharing with us!

  183. Love your tips! Found you when I was wondering if I could use my newly made laundry soap for my dishwasher. Thanks for posting the recipe. I’m going to try it!

    I am also the owner of an off-the-grid camp. We have a composting toilet, use spring water, etc. so I appreciate natural cleansers. I’ll subscribe to your newsletter!

    Rebekah Gregory, Owner
    CowicheCamp.com

  184. Almost out of the commercial stuff and making my own dishwasher soap and carpet cleaner today! I have always used vinegar & lemishine in my dishwasher. I’m very eager to save $$ and be eco-friendly at the same time. I also use vinegar in cleaning around the house and getting rid of the hard water stains. Can’t wait to make laundry soap, picked up everything for that yesterday.

  185. I just installed a new DW with a beautiful stainless steel interior. I am anxious to try the vinegar method vs Jet Dry. Any information as to how vinegar will react with the SS? I don’t want to ruin the finish. Thx!

    Also, to the woman who made her own dryer sheets/sponges, I can’t wait to try that. What a great idea!

  186. I would like to try this recipe for dishwasher detergent. I have 4 kids plus hubby and I so we go through a lot of dishes! UGH! This might have been asked already but theres SO MUCH to read. Where do you purchase citric acid? Im also going to try your recipe for the powder laundry detergent now. Ive been making the liquid 5 gallons at a time but its a hassle especially waiting for it to gel before I can use it! Thanks for the great recipes!!!! ~Disa

  187. Matt,
    Just had to stop and comment…this is a GREAT recipe and works like a charm! Just a tip for those with hard well water (gotta love Florida, lol), you definitely will need to do a little experimenting/adjusting with the citric acid. The koolaid didn’t work for me, no matter how much I used. Fruit Fresh is ridiculously expensive (per oz) here so I ended up using LemiShine instead and that did the trick. Once I figured out the LemiShine, I noticed I didn’t have to use as much of the recipe per load. Also, make sure your rinse jet/compartment is set to the largest setting (open the jet up to the max). I noticed mine was set to 1 (the lowest) and it wasn’t giving enough vinegar into the rinse. Oh, one more thing…I also noticed that using the “heated dry” setting caused spots so now I just let it run a normal wash cycle without the “heated dry” setting, just let it air dry on its own. It uses hot water anyway so it should be plenty hot enough in there already to steam dry. Savings in the detergent and on the electric! Can’t ask for more! My Tide is almost out so I’ll be trying out the laundry detergent next. 😉 Thanks Matt!

    • I miss the phosphates in both dishwasher and laundry detergent, things just don’t get as clean

      • You can do one of 2 things – keep experimenting until you find the solution that works best for your water, or go back to store-bought. I encourage you to do the former.

  188. This is the same detergent recipe I use–I haven’t read through all the comments, so this may have been said already, but I keep mine in the freezer to avoid clumping 🙂

  189. I have tried the homemade dishwashing recipe and I do like it but have encountered a couple of obstacles. First, the batch turned into a solid brick. I’ve been chipping away at it each time I need to run a load. I see someone mentioned that they put it in the freezer. I may try that. Second, there is truth to “too much of a good thing is not good”. I put too much of it in and I have had to rewash the same load about 5 times; rewashing with the same soap, scrubbing by hand, running just the rinse cycle, etc.. It did clean the plates well but on the glass items – left a residue that you wouldn’t believe! The next time I ran a load, I used 1 teaspoon and it worked great.
    I am trying lots of different recipes that I’m finding on your website and think it is really wonderful. Thanks for all your reserach & information.

  190. I’m gonna give this a try but I have a question. I love lemishine and want to use this instead of citric acid. If I’m mixing up a batch how much lemishine would I mix in it instead of citric acid? Oh and I just mixed up a batch of laundry detergent. Works great and you can get all the ingredients plus all ready grated soap for super cheap at http://www.soapsgonebuy.com for the laundry recipe! I got the ingredients and reverted back to your website to know how to mix a batch! Thanks sooo much for your great website!

  191. Okay, on the salt. What’s the difference between Kosher Salt and Ice Cream salt? Can I use Ice Cream salt? I bought it by mistake, and just wondered if it would work. Maybe I need to blend it up a little smaller? My concern is hearing the talk about the salt etching the glass. I dont want to chance it using the Ice Cream Salt, without a second opinion. Thanks!

  192. Hey you two 🙂 Been using my Homemade Dishwasher Detergent for a few weeks now and I must say it works just as well as any “store-bought” product, except that I have the self satisfaction that I made it, and knowing I’m saving money, in our house every penny really does count! Quick side note, I know I had trouble finding citric acid where I live as I didn’t want to buy a “huge” containers worth on my first batch, I had to go with Lemi-shine, which was the most expensive ingredient, lol, however I did check out something out of curosity, Lemonade Koolaid packets—must be Koolaid brand have citric acid as either the first or second ingredient, don’t remember which at the moment. Anyway, once I’m out of Lemi-shine I might try using Kool-aid instead! Also do you keep your in an airtight container? I put mine in a margarine container and when I pulled it out to use it the first time it was a solid brick! LoL! I just shook the tar out of it and banged it on the counter so now it’s a broken up brick, but it still works! I added the rice to it but I think it might have been a case of too little too late; do you think an air/moisture tight container would improve this or just a fact of the acid? Thanks again for all your awesome posts!

  193. Love it!!! Keep it up & let’s all do what we can to be self-sufficient & purposeful!!!:)

  194. I’m new to this money-saving, make-your-own-cleaning supplies thing but I’m really enjoying the journey so far. I’ve seen this homemade dishwasher detergent recipe in a few places. Some use salt and some don’t. Do you know the purpose of adding salt to the recipe? What does it accomplish? Thanks!

  195. I’m gonna give this a try but I have a question. I love lemishine and want to use this instead of citric acid. If I’m mixing up a batch how much lemishine would I mix in it instead of citric acid? Oh and I just mixed up a batch of laundry detergent. Works great and you can get all the ingredients plus all ready grated soap for super cheap at http://www.soapsgonebuy.com for the laundry recipe! I got the ingredients and reverted back to your website to know how to mix a batch! Thanks sooo much for your great website!

  196. Have you tired making making this as a liquid detergent? My dishwasher doesn’t dissolve powdered detergents very well.

  197. Matt the calgon aslo leaves this to be a clump free dishwaser detergent! give it a try

  198. I have also made the home made dishwashing detergent but in stead of citric acid use one cup of calgon powder found in the laundry department , dishes are shiney clean ,with a great sparkle and we have very hard water this is why we use the calgon I add a cup to my home made laundry detergent too!!! I love all your Ideals and for me it is not the money but putting all the plastic containers in the land fill

  199. This is great! I have recently started making a lot of my own things that I would normally buy – this is one I hadn’t thought of! What started as a way to save money turned into the realization that I was avoiding a LOT of nasty chemicals plus benefits my commitment to “voting with my dollars” (read: keeping my money out of the hands of those greedy corporations!). Then it occurred to me that we are cutting down on A LOT of waste. This process has really become a win, win, win!!!

  200. Hi, once again, I’m a newbie to this homemade money saving thrifty world, but I’m learning from friends and helpful people like you and thought I’d share a tip that was shared with me. I have a friend who uses cheap Aldy’s Lemonaid Kool Aid packets in place of the Citric Acid. It contains Citric Acid and doesnt dye your plastics pink or blue, if you were to use a different Kool Aid flavor. 🙂 I havent tried it yet, but if it works for her, I’m sure it will work for me, and Kool Aid is probably a lot easier to find and maybe even cheaper than the Citric Acid. Would be curious to hear if anyone has reason to object to this substitute. 🙂 Thanks everyone!

    • oops, obviously didnt get to the bottom of your hundreds and hundreds of post, before posting my comment. 🙂

  201. I tried another DIY recipe for dishwasher detergent. It left an awful residue on my dishes and did not even clean them well. So I came across your recipe. I tried it (putting more citric acid than you do and also putting some extra citric acid in the dishwasher itself). I cleaned the d.w. with just citric acid to make sure there was nothing in the d.w. itself, then cleaned a load of dishes with your detergent. It did a better job at cleaning my dishes, but still left a bit of a residue. Guess I’m still on the look out for a d.w. detergent.

    But I did make your laundry detergent and I absolutely love it!

  202. If you don’t have a dish washer rinse agent thing, can you still do this?? I meant to post this here and I posted it under the laundry one… Which works good! My dish washer just doesn’t have one and I live in an apartment so it isn’t like I can get a new one

  203. Since I’ve read so much about clumping or solidifying with this recipe, I was wondering if it would make it easier to pre-measure it into ice cube trays. Then you could pluck out the cubes/blocks, placing them in the dishwasher. I have a tupperware container that I can stack several cube trays in, but I’m definitely giving this a try. Just thought I’d post to offer the idea to others as an alternative to one big solid chunk.

  204. Hello!

    I love your website and all your ideas for independence. This recipe was the first I tried on the website (I plan to try to laundry detergent and the toothpaste soon!). I had trouble with it though. I made this exactly to the recipe’s specifications, following the measurements to a ‘T’. I’ve done 2 loads with the detergent with great results, but when I went to use it again the entire batch is hard as a rock! It is in an air tight “tupperware”-esque container. Any thoughts on what happened? Has it happened to you? Is my whole batch a waste now? Any info would be super appreciated. Thank you!

    • Someone else suggested putting it into a food processor to grind it back to powder. I tried it and it worked really well.

  205. Hi! Thanks so much for your recipies~

    I made 3 batches of this and put it in my old dishwasher tablets TIN. It held the 3 batches perfectly.

    When I went to get some out for my first load, it was all ONE BIG CHUNK lol. Do you have any idea why?? Does moisture hurt it? I put it under my kitchen sink where I also put dirty dish cloths that are somewhat wet. Do you think it was the metal tin? Thanks so much! Megan

  206. My friend just lost her husband & I’ve been trying to think of ways to help her out financially (mostly thru homemade stuff like this)… Between the recipe itself & the comments, I can simply share this & have her well on her way to cheaper living! Thanks y’all!

  207. I just wanted to say thanks for this recipe (and the laundry detergent)! I use lemishine bc I’m too lazy to order citric acid and it does turn into one big rock hard clump. A few weeks ago, I dumped the whole big clump into the food processor and ground it up back into a powder. It’s been a few weeks, and so far so good. So anyone hesitant about the rice or whatever, maybe you want to give this a shot. Thanks again!

  208. sometimes the dishes come through beautifully and other times there is food residue? I did add more citric acid almost doubling the original recipe but not quite. Do you think I should add more citric acid? Are there any other recipe adjustments I can try. Was also wondering if I need to clean my dishwasher-? So glad to have found this blog! Thanks so much!

  209. This is great! I made it last week. I already had the Super Washing Soda and Borax on hand. I found citric acid at a natural food store but it was expensive. I decided to try the LemiShine. It was cheaper and works great. I called the company from the store since the ingredient weren’t listed. They said all ingredients were all natural. So far I haven’t even had the problem of the product clumping. It works just as good as Cascade and I will save a ton! I also have not had the white film or streaking. THANK YOU!!

  210. So excited about this! I started making our detergent with this recipe last week and am loving it. We are saving SOOOOO much money and my husband will actually let me wash his dishes now. Seriously. He wouldn’t let me wash his water cups or the coffee pot in the dishwasher because he could taste the old detergent afterwards. This homemade stuff rinses totally clean so that problem is solved! I couldn’t find citric acid anywhere though, so I bought a big thing of powdered lemonade and it’s working fine. I think next time I’ll get citric acid online though to see if if I can find it for cheaper than lemonade.

    • I am glad to hear you tried the lemonade powder and it worked fine as I just bought the same to give it a shot. Did you use the same amount as you would have used if you were using citric acid?

      • Yes, since we don’t have hard water here I used the same amount, but if you have even slightly hard water I’d increase it. Even though citric acid is the main ingredient in the lemonade, there are enough other ingredients to make more lemonade necessary.

  211. Will lemon or lime juice suffice for the citric acid? Has anyone tried that? If so, do you use the same amount? Thanks!

  212. I wonder if you could use the powdered ‘Tang’ instead of the citric acid? I use tang often to clean my dishwasher.

  213. I recently made a batch of this but I didn’t have the citric acid so I used the 4 packets of kool aid and am not happy with the results the pots and pans are not coming out clean nor are some of the silverware. The detergant has also formed into one big clump. Do you think this is because of the substitution or can I just not use this on pots and pans?

  214. Hi Matt!
    I came across your website last night and I think you guys are doing a great job! I see comments where folks say that they don’t save that much…People should realize that saving money is the bonus! What we have is the option to choose natural, chemical-free ingredients and healthier alternatives. I have already made your natural toothpaste and will try it tonight.

    Talking about natural stuff, I see that Borax is one of the ingredients in the dishwashing detergent. How safe is this product? If it kills rodents and cockroaches and is harmful to pets, doesn’t that make it a pesticide? Is it then safe to be used in and around the kitchen? I am worried about its harmful effects and will appreciate your thoughts on this. Thanks!

    • Thanks for the encouragement Nancy, I’m glad you found us, thanks for sharing the benefits of diy. On borax, do you have a link to any studies, I’d be happy to look them over. God bless.

  215. Has anyone else had problems with this detergent turning into one big brick? After I made it the next day it was one solid piece, and I even added rice. I doubled the “recipe” so may that’s the problem. I also live in NC and it is pretty humid here. Any suggestions?

    • I just had this same issue and have been scraping that darn brick with a fork to get my money’s worth! I need to know how to make this NOT happen next time, or it’s back to the big Costco box of Cascade Advanced powder next time I shop! ugh 🙁 MATT JABS…HELP!!!!!!
      (Oh, and I live in WA and it’s not terribly humid here, so this really doesn’t make sense; AND I added rice too!)

      • You could try using one of those clay tiles (the ones you use for brown sugar) I have not tried this but it’s the same principle.

  216. I read somewhere else NOT to mix anything acidic into your detergent because when it mixes with an alkaline (like baking soda, washing soda, etc.) they neutralize each other. What I’ve read to do is put the baking soda, borax in the washer and then you can use a vinegar in the rinse, but not to put any acid in the soap itself.

  217. Hi, your website is fantastic ! Thanks for sharing all your wonderful recipes.
    A question regarding the dishwasher recipe.
    Do you know of something which can be used in place of borax ?
    Borax is not easy to get over here.

  218. Hi! I am enjoying getting these recipes from you guys! Do you have one for regular dish washing soap?? We don’t have a dishwasher. thanks, terri

  219. If I did the math correctly, this is 14 cents per ounce. I used 7th generation dishwasher soap is 7 cents per ounce.

    • I’m glad you brought this up Sonyia! It caused me to take another look at the going rates for the ingredients at our local grocery… the prices have went down so I reworked the numbers and show it only costs $0.05/load to use this homemade detergent.

      The numbers you’re referencing for 7th gen are for buying in bulk, but if you bought the ingredients for this homemade detergent in bulk you would undoubtedly pay less for it.

  220. Okay so here’s my report – I ran out of dishwashing detergent, found this recipe and tried it without the citric. We must have soft water here because it worked great with no film or anything – just the borax, washing soda and kosher salt, and I had all 3 of them on hand. Thanks for a great recipe! I’ll probably get some citric when I can just because I imagine there will eventually be a buildup but I’ve so far washed 4 loads of dishes with it and I haven’t noticed any white buildup on anything.

    This is especially awesome because I used to live in an area where phosphate detergents were banned – I had my husband go smuggle some in from the next county. He’d literally go on detergent trips for me, bringing back 10-15 jugs of the stuff. No more! Thanks for this awesome recipe.

    Once I get the citric and make it again with that, I’m going to use my half tablespoon to mold the detergent into little chunks so I can put one piece in each section of the little dispenser thing. That will make it even easier, I think,

  221. I live in Mexico right now and we pay a premium for “green” products down here. For this reason I am very excited about trying this recipe. My husband will be pleased with the cost savings. Thanks for providing us with alternatives.

  222. I use lemon flavor drink mix, the packets, not the sugar added. The main ingredient is citric acid. Also smells nice. buy the cheap store brand.

  223. My wife had heard equal parts borax, baking soda and salt. It was leaving film and not really even cleaning food off of the dishes (especially baby food off of the food processor parts), and she read than citric acid will help. She added unsweetened Kool-aid and it helped with the film, but the dishes still weren’t getting clean.

    I have a masters in chemistry, and was thinking about the mixture; the baking soda and the citric acid are basically canceling each other out before they do any work. They’ll fizz up in the bottom of the dishwasher while it’s filling, and have neutrallized each other by the time the wash cycle starts. Further reading of several dish detergent patents online led me to realize that you should not monkey around too much with what you put in your dishwasher if you want the internal parts to not corrode. That means no high pH’s (don’t put more than about 1 tsp baking soda or .5 tsp washing soda in either dispenser cup per batch – ie: if you use 1 part baking soda and 3 parts other stuff, at most, use 1T per cup, probably less), no ionic or anionic soaps (basically any soap that makes suds or even lathers up – this includes lye soap and fels-naptha), and definitely no magnesium or calcium salts (these are trace ingredients in table salt – it will cause spots/film). You need a non-ionic detergent to clean the dishes – I tried rubbing alcohol last night and it seemed to work pretty well. I’m going to try cetyl alcohol, which is a powder. You also need a bleaching agent to get rid of stains – I don’t want to use chlorine bleach, so I added hydrogen peroxide. I’m going to add some sodium percarbonate (Oxiclean) to the mix and see how that goes. For the salt, I’m going to try either kosher salt or pickling salt, as those are both pure sodium chloride, without anti-caking agents.

    • Would you mind keeping in touch w/ me about how your attempts work? I would love to hear. I’ve been working on this a bit and it is not working well. I did notice that the main ingredient in my Biokleen is sodium percarbonate. Did you just use Oxy Clean straight? This is really fascinating to me and I think I am onto a new formula but would greatly appreciate it we could correspond about it. Thank you in advance.

    • I have several questions. What mixture did you come up with? Did you substitute the sodium percarbonate for the hydrogen peroxide or use both? Does your mixture still contain Borax as a substitute for TAED? Do you use washing soda or did you find that the washing soda you end up with after mixing sodium percarbonate is enough?
      Thanks

  224. I just tried this and I dont’ know what I did wrong, but when I blended everthing together is turned into a sloppy wet foamy mess! Also started expanding!?
    I live in Australia and couldn’t find soda wash, but we have soda crystals. The ingreadients are: Sodium Carbonate,Water. There is another website that uses soda crystals and it said to put it with Borax into a food processor to turn into a powder, but this recipie did not have citric acid. All was fine until I added the citric acid and that seemed to cause the foaming wet sloppyness.
    Is is because the Soda Crystals have water in the ingredients?
    I hope I can still use this mixture as I don’t want to pour the money I’ve spent on the ingredients down the drain 🙁

      • Hi Matt, I did not add water, that is the ingredients in the soda crystals packet. is washing soda and soda crystals different? I thought they were the same as they are both Sodium carbonate, just thought washing soda was a powders form of the crystals?

        • I’m not sure Kitty, I’ve never used crystals and have no idea where the liquid is coming from. You can normally find sodium carbonate at your local pool supply store… so give that a shot.

  225. My husband and I have switched to your recipe for dishwasher detergent, and love it. Clean, sparkly dishes with no residue! We haven’t had clumping issues so far. I’ve shared the recipe with my entire family. Next. we are trying homemade laundry detergent…

  226. When I add up your ingredients for the 24 oz batch I am getting $3.26 not $2.33……. is my math wrong or is there a different way that I am not seeing this??

  227. I have posted a comment before, and I soooo want not to give up on homemade dishwasher soap but I have tried 4 different recipes, used lemon juice then vinegar as rinse aid, both in the rinse cycle and the rinse aid dispenser. And still I get film on the dishes, they are not clean all the way, and I have done so many loads by hand….gosh…I just can’t use homemade if it doesn’t get my dishes clean. I do have extremely hard water, but my dishwasher is fairly new and cleans sparkle-ingly with Cascade. I am at wits end…I did just put some Jet Dry in the rinse aid compartment and I’ll try the homemade soap with that…at least that’s a bit of a compromise. I sooo want to do this because I believe in this wholeheartedly.

    • Pat, try experimenting with different soaps… perhaps Kirk’s castile soap, or Fels Naptha. Also, be sure you’re adding salt to your water softener.

  228. Thanks. After reading some more posts, I put my jar in the freezer for a bit and was able to more easily loosen things up. I will try the rice…I do that in my table salt shaker but I just assumed it would clog the dishwasher. I don’t put my dishes in with food particles on them, so it never occurred to me that there was a place for food to go in the dishwasher! I sound like a real idiot, don’t I? I truly am not, but can be a bit ditzy sometimes! Thanks!

  229. This is a great recipe – thanks so much for sharing. I do have one question, does this work with the new energy star dishwashers as well? I know they “recommend” a finer powder mix so I was curious if you had tried it on a newer type dish washer.

    Also have you tried homemade Clothes soap for HE washers yet? They use less water and also need a finer powder able to dissolve in less water. Just curious since I would also like to make my own clothes soap!

    GREAT JOB, again – thanks so much for sharing with us!

  230. Thank you so much for the recipe for the home made dish washer detergent. I made some up today and ran a load. Everything was squeaky clean!

  231. I have been making my own detergent for some time now,just started making dishwasher detergent,it is not just about the savings,it is about me handmaking my own products ( even tho I have to rely on the retailer for the ingredients) I am not putting chemicals into my clothing and into my water supply,and I am saving jugs from the landfill..I also sell my homeade laundry detergent to frineds and family,so I pretty much get my detergent and supplies for free in the long run so I am not paying anything for the detergent I use at home they save money becasue I only charge 2 bucks a gallon..I have altered my recipe and it produces a smooth flowing thick detergent I also add fragarance..people love it..becasue it works,they also save jugs for me. So we are actually helping eachother..those who bring me a bag of jugs I give them their detergent for free..so it also is a bartering and people helping people system..The dishwasher detergent,I just started using,and have had no problems with so far, I will probably run white vinager thru my dishwasher once a week or as some suggested each time accompaning the detergent…in the rinse aid spot..Regardless,I have not bought store bought detergent for sometime and I do not plan on it..I also have started my own deck/container garden..and started making fabric softener as well. I mean really before all of this industial stuff came out what do you think people did? They made their own! this day and age we rely too much on the retailer. I personally want to produce my own products..it saves money,helps the environment,and keeps plastic out of the landfill..if a million people made their own detergent..there would be 5 million less gallon jugs in the landfill..( as a batch of laundry detergent makes 5 gallons of detergent!)..and we reuse the jugs over and over! It is fun. Even if it is only a savings for some to make it of like 10 bucks a year..if you have a cupboard full of homemade products..the savings add up..

  232. Hello. Thanks for your recipe.
    Do you add vinegar only once a months or in every load??? also, how much vinegar do you add>???

  233. Hi. How often do you have to add vinegar to the rinse agent???? Every load or once a month??????

  234. I’m definitely giving this stuff a shot. This may sound like a silly question, but which detergent compartment do you use? The open one, or the one with the snap down lid?

  235. again, I haven’t read all the posts, but I have a question that may really be dumb sounding, but here goes. Can you use ice cream salt? I understand it just has to be a large salt that is in large crystals…

    • Hi Verna – No, I would not recommend ice cream salt because it is traditionally rock salt, whose crystals are much too large for this purpose. Kosher salt crystals are about 1-4 times larger than table salt, but rock salt crystals are much larger.

  236. I just got 5 pounds citric acid online at amazon.com for $27.14 with free shipping for 5-8 day shipping. I’m excited for it to come so I can try my own dishwasher soap 🙂 I also just made my own laundry soap a few weeks ago and am loving it. Which made me think there has to be a recipie out there for dishwasher soap.

    • Reposting the best price I have found for 5# Citric Acid : People seem to be spending more.

      Ordered 5 # Citric Acid for $18 SHIPPEd on eBay . Please see below:

      Description Unit price Qty Amount
      Premium Citric Acid – Food Grade – Fizzies – 5 Pounds
      Item# 370473413709 $12.00 USD 1 $12.00 USD
      Shipping and handling $6.00 USD
      Insurance – not offered —-
      Total $18.00 USD
      Payment $18.00 USD
      Charge will appear on your credit card statement as “PAYPAL *ALPHACHEM”
      Payment sent to [email protected]

  237. Sorry, I was using the laundry detergent to wash clothing, I just posted my comment here by accident. Do you have a problem also with the smells staying with the clothing after they are washed???? I followed ur exact recipe for clothing detergent.

      • I think I might be able to help with this. I have been using homemade’s for over 20 yrs. When using a homemade recipe add your detergent as you start the washer. give 1 to 4 minutes for your homemade to mix with your water, then start putting your clothes in. I have a feeling your “homemade” isn’t getting to all your laundry. I have a top loader washer, always have always will. When washer manufacturers started making front loaders again friends of mine bought them. They said they went thru what you are going thru now. Here is what I told them to do. This should help no matter what kind of washer your use. Use an old cup and fill with 4 to 5 oz of warm water. add your tsp’s of homemade and stir well. Add this to your load. After my friends did this they no longer had problems. Front loaders simply don’t clean as well as top loaders. I still don’t understand why they started making them again.
        Another tip: add 2 tsp of white vinegar to each load. It gets rid of odors and is also a great natural fabric softener. I use an old rag and put some vinegar on it and put it in the dryer again and again.

        Matt, Feel free to move my comment to the laundry thread. I wanted to make sure Alicia saw this. 🙂

  238. Hi. Thanks for the recipe. I just made it today. But for some reason the smells stayed with the clothing. My husbands sweat smell and my sons throw up smell. When I used the regular detergents nothing smelled like that (and i mostly used uncented or very mild scented detergents because i dont like strong smells.) any ideas??

    • Alicia… are you using dishwasher detergent to wash your family laundry? This is a dishwasher detergent article… not laundry.

  239. i too am passionate about using home made products and I am trying everything. I am having GREAT difficulty finding an automatic dishwasher pow deer that works with my very hard water.. I have tried 4 different recipies including yours with the citric acid and I STILl get spots and a white film over the dishes. UG! I have added u[ to 3 times as uch citric acid and still have the film. And I use white vinegar in the rise part.. Help!!! I soooooooooooooo want this to work. I have not tried any liquid dishwasher homemade recipies….

  240. I recently started making this (after having tremendous success with your laundry soap recipe!!) I have “tweaked” the measurements in the recipe to get rid of the cloudy film. However, I have noticed that my Fiesta dishes are etched 🙁 Do you think it is the salt? Am I now using too much citric acid? I’m not sure what to think…I’m not ready to give up yet though!!! Thanks for your help.

  241. I did not read all the comments so someone may have already mentioned this. I read that baking soda becomes washing soda if you stread it on a cookie sheet and bake it in the oven at 450 degrees for 30 minutes. I hope that is true and I hope it helps someone having trouble finding washing soda.

  242. this is great! i love the cost break down.

    i made some of my own today, but didn’t include the citric acid. so far, so good. next time, i’ll try to remember to add the citric acid.

  243. so if i use lemi-shine instead of citric acid, where do i put it and how much do i use?

    also, how much vinegar?

    thanks!

    • Don’t know about the Lemishine, never used it… but I would just try the same amount as the citric acid. Just fill the rinse agent compartment with vinegar.

  244. Thank you so much for your recipes on homemade products. In this day in time I find myself with less money to buy these products already made and after spending the past two days reading all these post I am glad I’m broke because these homemade products are safer for my big family. I am first going to make your laundry soap and will very soon follow with the dishwasher soap. Again thank you thank you thank you. You saved me in these hard times. Can’t wait to see what you come up with next.

  245. I use all homemade cleaners that I make myself, including making my own castile soap for laundry and bathing. I have been using the recipe for about 3 months. After 3 months the dishwasher door, the utensil bins on the door and the dishwasher detergent compartment and the heating element at the bottom is crusted. It’s a hard white crusty mess. I finally got sick of the look or it and tried to wash it off. I actually had to get an old butter knife and chip away at it. I spent 15 minutes of it. I got most of it off. How do I prevent this from happening?
    I also have a tip. Instead of using vinegar for my rinse aid I use Lemon Juice. I live and florida and we have heavey limestone in the water which leaves a white film on everything. Lemon juice neutralizes the limestone.
    Can anyone help me figure out why I am getting this crust? I am using the recipe as stated. Thank you!

    • Update: I have had a water softener installed. My crust has gone away. I don’t need to add the citric acid at all anymore. I do need to add more salt though for scrubbing action. I know how expensive water softeners are. I was lucky. My neighbor had to move out of their home quickly and were not able to take it with them. I asked if I could have it. They even helped me install it in exchange for my family helping them move. They told me they paid 6k for it! OMG. I simply buy and put bags of softener salt in it once a month. The difference in my water has been amazing! This has truly made me realize that there is nothing wrong with this recipe at all! There is also nothing wrong with your dishwasher. It’s your water!

        • Did you try the castile soap recipes I gave you? I didn’t see a topic for it on your site. I have many recipes for soaps I’d like to share. I have a book my Nana made while living through the Great depression. All of them are fantastic! Are you waiting till you find one you like best to post?

  246. Hello,
    My instruction that came with my stainless steel Onieda silverware said not to use any detergent with citric acid in it. It would tarnish and corrode the silverware. Any ideas?
    Thanks,

  247. I haven’t even finished unloading my dishwasher yet and had to comment!! My dishes never looked so sparkly and clean! I live in the northeast and found the Borax and Washing Soda at Hannifords market. Walmart didn’t carry either of them. (I had bought them previously to make the laundry detergent which I also love.) Found the citric acid at the local natural food store for $4.50 for 4oz. But using only 1 TBSP will make this batch last a long time. Thanks for these wonderful recipes.

    • Hi Carol, try adding some citric acid or LemiShine (which is just a popular brand of dishwasher additive that is basically pure citric acid.)

    • reposting my deal on citric acid from eBay; best price I found:

      Ordered 5 # Citric Acid for $18 SHIPPEd on eBay . Please see below:

      Description Unit price Qty Amount
      Premium Citric Acid – Food Grade – Fizzies – 5 Pounds
      Item# 370473413709 $12.00 USD 1 $12.00 USD
      Shipping and handling $6.00 USD
      Insurance – not offered —-
      Total $18.00 USD
      Payment $18.00 USD
      Charge will appear on your credit card statement as “PAYPAL *ALPHACHEM”
      Payment sent to [email protected]

  248. Can I pick your brains for a minute? I’ve been using store-bought dishwasher soap (haven’t had a chance yet to try the homemade) and frequently get a very fine grit left on the dishes. I’ve tried very hot water, different brands of soap and lots of Jet Dry but nothing changes. Is this the hard water residue people talk about? It is so frustrating to wash your dishes in the dishwasher only to have to rewash them by hand. arggg.

    Thanks in advance.
    Sue

  249. Well, i’ve given this the “old college try”–6 months and it just doesn’t quite clean as well as I’d like. I tried the lemonade substitute (no sugar added) because citric acid isn’t readily available where we live and I didn’t want to order it online. I did find Lemi-shine at the grocery store after I’d been using the homemade dishwasher detergent for a month and it helps with the hardwater residue but there’s still an issue of dishes not being as sparking clean as I’d like them to be. I KNOW I won’t use Cascade–that was what sent me on my journey to find something better–but I’ll have to say I won’t be making a second batch. I’ll just use the washing soda and borax in the laundry room.

  250. Ordered 5 # Citric Acid for $18 SHIPPEd on eBay . Please see below:

    Description Unit price Qty Amount
    Premium Citric Acid – Food Grade – Fizzies – 5 Pounds
    Item# 370473413709 $12.00 USD 1 $12.00 USD
    Shipping and handling $6.00 USD
    Insurance – not offered —-
    Total $18.00 USD
    Payment $18.00 USD
    Charge will appear on your credit card statement as “PAYPAL *ALPHACHEM”
    Payment sent to [email protected]

  251. Just found this recipe a couple of weeks ago, thanks! However, we are having a problem where the detergent doesn’t clean dishes that had egg on them. Sounds odd, but everything else comes out perfectly clean- but plates or forks with egg on them have white smears where the egg was (no cooked on food, just white). I’m using the recipe in the post (but with more citric acid since we have mildly hard water) and vinegar in the rinse aid. Any suggestions? If I can’t fix it my husband is going to make me go back to Cascade…