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


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


  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.


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

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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.


  1. Nice job…. so you just use the collection like any other powdered laundry detergent? Is it an all-purpose detergent? Why is salt needed? (I’m just full of questions tonight:)!)

    One good thing about buying these ingredients in bulk is that you could use them separately for other uses, too – kind of like being able to use the same pair of black pants for many different outfits. This would help for sustainability and self-reliance.
    .-= MoneyEnergy´s last blog ..US Dollar Reserve Currency Status Now Officially Up For Debate Ahead of G8 This Week =-.

    • Two of the ingredients are the same as the ones in the Jabs Homemade Laundry Detergent… & yes, borax & washing soda are both universal & useful cleaners.

      I did not buy these in bulk at the onset, because I wanted to experiment… but my wife & I are confident now so we will do so in the future. I have also worked out a deal with my local brewery to get the citric acid in bulk for a cheaper price. All told, I’ll probably be washing dishes for somewhere around $0.03/load!

      Yes, all these practices are great for us, and they’re fun!

      • I found your posting recently and started my homemade soap journey! I wanted to share the information I have gleaned about washing soda; its is best know as SODA ASH! Easy and cheaper in bulk! I found that they have natural (dense soda ash) and synthetic(light soda ash). So here is a link for dense soda ask in 10lb bucket for $11($7.10+shipping) with shipping!! Enjoy: http://www.lmine.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=17106-10&Store_Code=LMS

        I have also moved to organic castile soap to replace my old dishsoap: mix 2c citris/mint castile soap w/ 1/2c water.. store in old bottle and quick shake before use!

        • Soda ash is sold in 50 lb buckets at the pool stores. I bought that because I also needed it for my pool. SO that was helpful for me. :)

      • i use 1 1/2 cups each of borax, baking soda, and salt. it averages about $.03 a load. either way, it seems like such a burden is lifted off by not having to pay such a high price so often for the detergent. do you think this would be acceptable for hand washing dishes also?

        • I use a bulk soap (like dr. bronners) with a couple tablespoons of a borax/baking soda (50/50) mix when doing dishes by hand. I use white vinegar in my rinse water too (I don’t have a dish washer). I also use the same ingredients (plus washing soda and Fels-Naptha) for my laundry. White vinegar and baking soda for carpet cleaner…& you get the point. Back to basics.

        • From my experience the washing soda and borax are a bit harsh on hands. If you want to try it as a dish soap use gloves. Usually I have a bar of soap at the sink that I will rub on the sponge or brush to scrub dishes or if I’m filling the sink with water just run the bar under the faucet.

      • Arm & Hammer washing soda is available at Ace Hardware and can be ordered on line and delivered to your local store. The item number is 1380013 and as of 12/18/11 the price is $4.79 per box. Go to Acehardware.com and have fun.

    • Hi there – great stuff! I was wondering, would you possibly know the generic names (or ingredients) of the Borax and of the Super Washing Soda? I live in Israel and we don’t have these products here – is Borax a scouring powder like Ajax and Comet? Is Washing Soda like baking soda? Also, have you tested this to make sure it doesn’t harm the dishwasher?
      Thanks for your help, I think you’re doing a great job

      • Borax is a naturally occurring substance also known as sodium borate. Be very careful not to confuse it for Ajax or Coment which are industrial cleaners and would probably not be good to use on dishware which people will be eating off of.
        Washing soda is also known as soda ash or by its chemical name sodium carbonate. It is not the same thing as baking soda which has a chemical name of sodium bicarbonate.

  2. Neat little recipe I would like to do something like this but I don’t think the wife would be down with it. Maybe I could sneak it in one day to prove it works.

    • If you just make it & wash the dishes with it for awhile she’ll never even know.

      If it helps… I do not publish any homemade product recipes until they are tried, tested, & approved by both me and my wife! We are very happy with this detergent; along with our homemade laundry detergent.

      Go for it Kyle!! :-)

    • Kyle, I think you should try it. If my husband did the dishes, I’d let him experiment all he wanted. :-)

  3. The real question is — does it smell nice? ;p

    It seems like a neat idea, but at $.10 per load savings… the maximum I would save in a year is $10. And realistically speaking… probably closer to $6.

    • Ahhh my friend, but you’ve missed the bigger picture!

      This post is just another small step toward another form of independence – another notch in the self-reliance belt if you will.

      It’s about changing our mindsets to encourage creative thought. It’s also about family fun time together.

      By the way… 10 buck is 10 bucks right?? ;-)

      • also think of ALL the plastic containers you saved from the landfills!

        Priceless in that regard!

        • Exactly…
          Saving on the plastic is worth a lot more in the long run than just $10. Each time you buy anything in plastic it
          finds it’s way into a landfill or, even worse, into the ocean.

    • If thats all the soap you use thats all the savings would be… I started making mine out of necessity, I was out of cash and dishwasher soap but I had all these ingredients on hand so I broke it down and did 1/4 batch. I do at least 2 dishwashers full per day so the savings is bigger. One thing I discovered was this NEVER, NEVER leaves residue on the dishes like so many other soaps have. I still buy commercial stuff every once in a while and I always go back, give the part used bottle to a friend who likes that brand……

      • I just tried this recipe and was disappointed to find that it still leaves white residue all over my silverware and anything plastic. It cleans off the food just fine, but it leaves this nasty dry white residue all over that’s hard to even scrub off by hand. Did you ever experience this? Of course, store-bought detergent is no better. But I was hoping this homemade recipe would do a better job. Any tips?? More citric acid? More vinegar?

        • Run the dishes with the residue through a wash cycle with about 2 ounces of citric acid. This should clean them up. It did mine. Then I would add more citric acid to the mixture.

        • I also had that problem with any soap I tried. It’s a hard water thing and can be cleaned up with the citric acid, as mentioned, or vinegar. I just dump about a half quart of vinegar in, after it fills, and let it run. The dishes came out like new.

        • We have terribly hard water (32 grain). I add a small extra spoon of citric acid to each load and our dishes are sparkling!

    • I’m a female senor citizen living alone. I run a load in the dishwasher every other day. At the rate of 10 cents per load savings, I’d be saving $18.25 a year. I like that!

      When I homemade a savings like that, I write it on my calendar notes. Then, when I’m feeling like having someone cook for me, I’ll go to a restaurant and order whatever I want from the menu. My treat! LOL

      Ao I don’t necessarily “save” the $$$. It is spent doing something I otherwise couldn’t afford to do. I keep track of my coupon savings, savings from finding & using codes for online purchases, using “savers” club cards, negotiated lower rate for my bundled cable/internet/phone service, etc. When I first started doing this, I was surprised at how much I was saving each month. Last year I didn’t do anything “special” with it. Next year I’m going to add it to my Christmas Fund for my two sons and grandchildren, spluging on something extra special for each. Oh what fun it is to save in a no-man house today! (Sung to Jingle Bells.) LOL

      • That is a great idea Pinky… I love the idea of keeping track of your savings, then splurging on things you wouldn’t normally be able to afford. Brilliant!

      • My husband and I also track all of our savings on all reciepts and purchases (me being a crazy coupon girl) and at the end of the onth we add them all up and put that money into savings! It works great

    • The ease of making it your self is way more important. Not to mention I dont remember any of my guest ever sniffing my dishes before they eat off of them! lol

  4. I am not very good at making things at home but, i think we’ll give this a shot at least just for the fun of it….i’ll let you know how it goes
    .-= Ray´s last blog ..Calculating Retirement Needs- A Step by Step Guide =-.

    • Go for it Ray… it is addictive & works like a snowball! You’ll do this & think, “Hmmm, now what can I make?”

      It will save you money and give you a sense of accomplishment & satisfaction.

      GO FOR IT! :-)

    • Hey, I have been making my own laundry soap for over a couple of months now. I was leery about this too when my friend gave me the recipe. But, its awesome and the laundry detergent works great. And its really easy to do. So, what do you have to loose. Have fun.

  5. If it’s about self reliance… sure. I think it is a neat idea. Move off the grid, grow your own food, make your own detergent, etc. And I give you props for sharing a working recipe! :)

    But I would never do this with the mindset that I am saving money (cause as I said… it would probably only be $6/year for me).

    One thing to take into account, too, is that the recommended amount to put in a load for commercial detergent is often overstated. You could probably cut the amount they recommend in half and still be fine… thus making the cost/load advantage of your homemade detergent even less at 5 cents. (And making my yearly savings $3)

    • Yeah, there is definitely a HUGE empowering factor at work here. That is evidence by the fact that my homemade product posts are my most popular. There are a ton of people who are just sick of the consumer choices they have and are ready to take back more control.

      So, although it’s not entirely about savings… savings is also at work; and it is not about realizing a huge financial difference just from one thing. It’s more about taking savings baby steps that eventually turn into huge returns after they build up.

      • I can’t wait to try the dishwasher detergent! We already make our own laundry soap, so I have Borax and Washing Soda on hand and we do homebrew, so getting citric acid is also double duty for us.

        One thing I also think about is that we have well water and live near a river. so in addition to saving even just a few dollars and being self sufficient I like that I’m not dumping excess chemicals into our local river and our own drinking water. Plus if we make the switch to entirely homemade products saving a few dollars on multiple products quickly adds up.

    • Another consideration for annual cost savings is your family size. I have 5 children, and one on the way. We do easily 3+ loads of dishes a day. This totally increases your annual savings! I haven’t tried it, but plan to do do so. I easily use a box of 75 oz powdered detergent a month, closer to 3 weeks. At this rate, it doesn’t take long to increase savings!

  6. Thanks Matt, This is JUST what I had been looking for. I wash a load a day, sometimes more. So I am excited about saving close to $40 in a year! Besides, it is a wonderful way to teach my kids about commercialism, and one more step to keeping scary chemicals out of the house.

    • You hit the nail on the head Bonnie… it’s always nice to save a couple bucks here & there (cuz we all know it adds up fast) but there is more to this homemade product revolution than just money!!

      I’m glad to provide this recipe… it has worked great for my wife & I.

    • Well, this post is about dishwasher detergent not laundry detergent… but either way, all you have to do is add 15-30 drops of your favorite essential oil to give it that scent you love.

      C’mon… go for it Matt! It’s fun & gives a great feeling of satisfaction to create your own stuff.

      • You have to be careful about the essential oils because they might stain your clothes with oily spots. I did this and some of our clothes came out spotted! I think from now on we will just stay away from the oils. :( Too bad though because it made my laundry smell just amazing.

        • If you take a cloth, like a hankerchif or cheese cloth, add a few drops of your fave essential oil and throw it in the dryer with your clothes, it will scent your clothes just fine.

        • I use vinegar as a fabric softener and always add one capful of eucalyptus oil to the vinegar and have never had a problem with “oily” spots. My clothes smell so nice and clean and fresh.

          • I make my own laundry soap and found a neat way to do fabric softner. I love the smell of snuggle so, I do purchase a store bought fabric softner. Then I pour the entire bottle into a 5 gallon bucket and then fill my softner bottle twice with water and add it to the 5 gallon bucket. Then I throw in 5 or 6 sponges. Each time I put a load of laundry into the dryer I pull out one or two sponges, wring them out and throw them in with the dryer load. The clothes are soft and smell wonderful!

          • I make my own lye soap…could you use a bar of castille lye soap with your laundry and dishwashing detergents? I made a liquid version and it did not gel like other soaps do….since bar soap is just detergent in bar form! It is quite halarious what companies do…sell you the same product with different names and in different departments! lol!

  7. Yay!!!!!! I am so glad I have this recipe, now. I just made my own laundry detergent about a month ago and I was thinking there has got to be a way to make dishwasher soap. So I am glad I have this now. I am so excited.

      • I dont own a dishwasher so I have been looking for a recipe for liquid dish detergent that i can make at home. 6 kids make alot of dishes and i am tired of buying what the store thinks i need. Could i sprinkle this recipe into my dish water??? any ideas would be helpful

  8. Hi I love the recipe and can’t wait to try it! I already have been making my own laundry soap for almost a year now and I’m happy I can make the dishwasher powder now too! I do have one question though……what is the purpose of the Kosher salt? I know that the Washing Soda is like peroxide when you add water (same main ingredient in Oxyclean), and borax is a water softener and deodorizer and makes things bright and clean, but salt? Is it to further purify them?

    • The Kosher salt purifies & provides scrubbing action. Helps break down the nasty crud.

      Make sure you let me know how it works out for you. It works great for us!

      • Really the salt, in my opinion, would lower Ph which will allow any cleaning agent to work more effectively on a high Ph soil. Most soils are high Ph. You could do this with other ingredients, but none that are as eaily available and cheap as salt. Incidently, if you lived near the ocean, a few cups of sea water would act as a substitute.

  9. Hey Matt,
    Thanks for the recipe, we’re almost out of our current stuff, so I’m going to try it. I found Borax today for $2.98 at Wal-Mart. However, they only had A&H Baking Soda (next to the Borax). I looked all over the store and couldn’t find the washing soda, do you know if baking soda would perform as well or is it the same thing with simply a different label? (I’m trying mine with the lemon Kool-Aid as well.)

    • They are different:

      Baking Soda = Sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3)
      Washing Soda = Sodium carbonate (Na2CO3)

      I don’t shop at Walmart if I don’t have to… you have better luck looking in the laundry detergent isle at your local grocery store.

      That said… for this recipe, you can use either baking soda or washing soda. However, I found that using washing soda gave us less of a “cloudy” residue.

        • It is something that leaves the dishes cloudy, it is nothing to worry about, other than most people want clear glasses. If you use the citric acid you don’t have to worry about it… as it remedies this issue.

          • The reason I’m curious is that I have just inherited some old glass plates of my grandmother’s. They’re pretty but cloudy, and it seems to be permanent. Is that the kind of film you’re talking about? I’ve been wondering if there might be a way to clarify the plates and now I’m wondering if citric acid could do it. But vinegar hasn’t.

          • Not sure about that, but if you are going to make the dishwasher detergent & will have some on hand… give it a shot & let us know

    • I found the cheapest place to get washing soda (which I also use in my homemade laundry detergent) is Ace Hardware. For $3.97 they will ship it to my store for free.

      • They only place that I could find it where I live is also at Ace Hardware. The one I went to was a little mom and pop type store and everything they had was marked up. I ended up paying $6.99 for the washing soda because I couldn’t find it anywhere else. I am going to have to drive a little further to get a cheaper price.

  10. I just tried something similar, with even less ingredients: equal parts borax & baking soda. Works just as well as the 7th Generation powder detergent I was using! I have also been using vinegar in the rinse aid for a while; no idea why I should even pay for the blue-dyed chemical.

    • It does work great doesn’t it Anne! It is so exciting to create your own solutions. We use the citric acid because it combats the cloudy residue. The salt helps to work as an abrasive crust remover.

      The rinse agent is the largest money saving part of this post! The chemical laden store bought bottle for $3.99, or the white vinegar for $.06. It is amazing the things our consumer advertising industry has convinced us to buy!

      • “It is amazing the things our consumer advertising industry has convinced us to buy!”

        soooo true…
        .-= artyant´s last blog ..Wearable Art – Free Shipping Worldwide =-.

  11. Ah, this is interesting: you’re actually putting the vinegar in the rinse aid dispenser? Huh… I’ve been pouring about a quarter-cup into the washer just before turning on the machine–that’s in addition to the blue stuff in the dispenser. It helps a lot to get rid of that filmy deposit. Dunno if vinegar alone would work, whether the dispenser would release enough of it to do the job. But then our water is pretty hard.

    • White vinegar as a rinse agent is known to work very well in homes with “hard water” or well water.

      Give it a shot & let us know.

    • Just a tip I figured out…adding vinegar in the washing machine will keep your towels from getting that yucky smell.

  12. Hi Matt.

    Just found your recipe and am excited to try. Went out and bought the citric acid today–found at the health food store. I had the other items because I have made laundry detergent for about a year now. None of the natural brands have worked for me, always leaving white residue etc… I have tried other recipes and had negative results. I am tired of ingesting all the chemicals!!! SO, thank you! I will let you know what I think. I will be a good critic because I have hard water :-)

  13. why can”t i use the liquid laundry soap i made< the only difference seems to be the added ivory soap bar< could I take that laundry soap and add citric acid to it somehow?

      • I figured I could use the homemade laundry detergent in the dishwasher because it hardly lathered in the clothes washing machine. (But it works great on my clothes) I was wrong…there were suds on my kitchen floor at the end of the dishwashing cycle. Even the small amount of Ivory soap is too much lather for my dishwasher. I bought some citric acid today and will stick to the dishwashing detergent recipe from now on.

        • I have tried the laundry detergent in the dishwasher when we ran out and had no problem with suds – I use Felsnaptha soap though, not Ivory. Glad to have this recipe! I will go get the citric acid tomorrow and make some – I am almost out of our current dishwasher detergent.

    • Hi! I’ve used my laundry soap and it does work well in the dishwasher as well. Vinegar is great as the rinse aid, but because mine is hard to tell when to refill, I put my vinegar in a squirt bottle (a clear version of those cheap ketchup and mustard bottles) and put a few drops of food coloring in it and shook it up. Easy to fill the dispenser and easy to see when I need to refill. Only thing I miss about the store bought rinse aid is that the dishes were dry. Now they still have water on them (especially plastic stuff) after the running them through even with the drying setting set. But, it’s only a couple of wipes with a dish towel, so not too bad. :)

    • I wouldn’t use Ivory soap in the dishwasher. The main ingredients are saponified coconut oil (sodium cocoate) and saponified palm kernel oil (sodium palm kernelate) both of which are added to soap for making a very bubbly hard bar.

      If you wanted a laundry soap that does not suds I’ve heard Fels Naptha does not bubble. If you look at the ingredient list of a soap bar as long as it doesn’t mention the coconut oil or palm kernel oil (which is different than palm oil) you’re on the right track. Any soap which you’re not sure about test it out in a top-load clothes washer first. If it starts to suds then it’s probably not good for a front load washer or dishwasher.

  14. I wonder if you could leave the citric acid out of the mix (to keep it from clumping) and add the acid as you add the scoop to the dishwasher. If so, how much would you add per load? For those of you that have made this how many loads do you get out of this recipe?

    Also, I can’t find citric acid anywhere. Online shipping costs more than the product. Any other thoughts on where to buy it?

    • Most brewery’s (brewery stores) sell citric acid.

      Yes, you could add it to the load as needed. This recipe will yield approximately 50 loads and since you’re adding 2 oz. of citric acid, you would add about 1/25 of an ounce to each load.

      • There are 12 teaspoons in a 1/4 cup. So, if my math is correct that is just a little less than 1/4 teaspoon per load. 1/4 teaspoon would do 48 loads.

      • Wait… isn’t there 16 Tbsp in a cup?
        And you use 1 1/2 cups dry measure total.
        That’s only 24 Tbsp….

      • Wait… isn’t there 16 Tbsp in a cup?
        And you use 1 1/2 cups dry measure total.
        That’s only 24 Tbsp….

    • They sell a product at Wal Mart called Lemi Shine and yes it is food grade ( I looked it up) . Also a product called Fruit Fresh is citric acid and it is sold in grocery stores. They put citric acid on fruit to keep it from turning brown. Im surprised you are willing to add the citric acid later because most people want an ” all in one” product. I hope this helps. Sadly all these homemade recipes are going to cost just as much as buying the product itself because of the huge price increases and shipping costs are going to kill our ability to be frugal

      • You can also purchase “sour salt” in some groceries stores, which is just another name for citric acid. Making this detergent is much less expensive than store bought… especially if you buy the ingredients in bulk – but even if you don’t the savings are at least double over store bought.

        • Just be careful of the amount of citric acid or “lemi-shine” that you use. I started using the “lemi-shine” a few years ago as directed on the label, and it worked great, but I found that it removed the decorative banding from my favorite glasses (made in the 50’s and inherited from Nana).
          I realize in retrospect that I should not have been putting them in the dishwasher, but just wanted to share the “heads up”. It IS an acid, so don’t us too much or it will remove applied decorations.

        • I just made my first batch of dishwasher detergent and I was able to find the citric acid at a Menanite store for $1.69 for 1 1/2 batches per your website….I already had the borax and superwashing soda…I think its amazing how inexpensive it is! YAY! I can’t wait to see how it works! I also made 10 gallons of the liquid laundry detergent! I had all those ingredients except the fells naptha. SOOO EXCITED! Next- Mouthwash! I LOVE THIS SITE and share it with everyone!

  15. I have a great recipe for window cleaner. 1/2 cup of any cheap shampoo, 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol and 1 gallon H2O.
    Awesome and I will never use anything else. No streaking either. Don’t clean windows in the direct hot sun though or it will streak.

    • I may just try this, thanks. My wife & I have not made a glass cleaner yet, still trying to use up what we already have. As soon as it’s gone, you better believe we’ll be going homemade all the way!! :-)

      • Alcohol cleans all sorts of things one might say too well. It dries out wood and rubber, and probably is bad for the window glazing putty, drying it prematurely. If you’re only touching the glass, fine, but don’t let alcohol touch finishes or anything organic.
        On another note, if you have a dehumidifier, then you have, practically, distilled water. Save the water and use it for cleaning windows, with just a touch of ammonia. It won’t have all the calcium, copper, and iron that tap water has.

          • I’ve been using a 1:1 vinegar-water mix for windows and mirrors (and everything else – all-purpose) and it’s been working great! The best thing I found for windows no matter what you use is the ultra-fine microfiber towels. I have Mr. Clean brand. They’re awesome!

      • I just use a vinegar and water mixture in a spray bottle for my window and glass cleaning. It has always worked great for me. My mum owned her own cleaning business and that is what she used as well.

    • Straight up vinegar works wonders as a glass cleaner; especially since I know you already have it on hand :P Plus you can use newspaper or coffee filters to wipe the glass with too!

  16. Matt, What’s the difference between Kosher salt and sea salt? Will the latter work? I bought some in bulk because the Kosher was so expensive at the store I was at. THANKS! Can’t wait to try your recipe! (amyjoivey(at)yahoo(dot)com
    .-= Amy Ivey´s last blog ..lessons from Sara =-.

  17. I want to try this. I found some Arm and Hammer product in the detergent aisle but it doesn’t say washing soda. It says activated baking soda deodorizer and the ingredients say it contains an anionic and nonionic surfactants as well as sodium carbonate. It smells as if it has some fragrance in it. Something tells me this is not what I need. Can anyone help me?

      • Well, I call the company to find out where in my area I could find the washing soda and found some. They were also offering to ship it (without shipping cost) though the price was a bit higher than at my semi local Albertson’s. I also found the citric acid at my local health food store with the bulk spices without any difficulty. Now I am finally going to start using home made!

  18. Aside from the fact that this will save you money, people should just be thrilled that this is going to be MUCH better for the environment. Detergent/cleaner companies are not required to list any of their ingredients on their products….scary!! There are things in laundry detergent that have been known to mimic human hormones. And they get on our clothes and leech into our bodies through our skin! GROSS!! So something like this (and like the detergent recipe) are wonderful, cheap, easy solutions that are much safer and healthier than the stuff on our store shelves!!

  19. My dishwasher is very old and I am wondering how I can use the vinegar as the rinse aid when I do not have a specific compartment for it?

    • Hi Erica. I’m assuming you can just stop the dishwasher in the rinse cycle and simply pour a splash of white vinegar in to the washer… simply pour directly over the dishes – I think a tablespoon should do the trick. Let us know what you find.

      • Erica ~ I’ve used a spray bottle with vinegar to spritz everything inside the dishwasher. That may help in this situation?

      • my dishwasher advises running a cycle with just plain vinegar every so often, so it actually probably HELPs it! it’s like running vinegar though a coffeemaker: cleans out the hard water deposits. also, since water softener is sodium chloride, i think, would perhaps increasing the salt in hard water areas be a good idea against water spots?

  20. Fabulous!!!!!!! I just got back from Costco; the phosphate-free (very inexpensive) dishwasher detergent I’d been using has been recalled (?!?), so wasn’t available. So, I thought I’d do a search for a recipe, and voila! I have all the ingredients on hand, because I make my own laundry detergent, use 1/2 c. vinegar in an extra rinse (due to family-wide skin sensitivities), make my own “gatorade” (using citric acid), and cook w/ kosher salt! Woo hoo! Now, I’m happy I ran out, because I can’t wait to try this “recipe.”
    .-= Karen Joy´s last blog ..Homeschooling reality =-.

      • I would also love your gatorade recipe. I have 2 boys in sports and we go through tons of that stuff. I would love to be able to make my own and save some money too.

    • Hi Guys! Remember that Gatorade has mineral supplements in it to replace what is lost while sweating. Plain water will not do it and I don’t think Citric Acid is a substitute either. Not sure about the Citric Acid, though…better check with a pharmacist or chemist before thinking you are giving something good to your dehydrated kids for their depleted minerals. One of those guys should be able to tell you how to supplement the minerals…..potassium, calcium and magnesium are what you sweat out. Sugar is also not a substitute—it may increase energy a bit, but still not replace the necessary ingredients. Not sure what Gatorade has in it besides sugar and flavoring. Pedialyte has a wee bit of potassium for dehydration.

  21. P.S.

    To Funny about Money ~ Adding vinegar to the wash WITH the borax & washing soda chemically offsets their effects. Borax & washing soda work — among other ways — by making the water more basic (higher pH), and vinegar would lower the pH back down. So, you’d just be making a neutral solution if you use both, which limits their chemical action (hope that makes sense).

    Also, Matt, do you distribute the Tbsp between the pre-wash and regular wash compartments? Or??

    Thanks again!
    .-= Karen Joy´s last blog ..Homeschooling reality =-.

    • Actually, that is incorrect Misty. Citric acid is used to REMOVE rust from stainless steel. Many motorcycle detailing shops use citric acid to polish rust away from the chrome.

      • I guess the poster was wrong, then… but I quit using the dishwsher detergent with citric acid and got no more rusted stainless.

        • Try using this recipe… we do not get any rust on anything we wash. Could have been a different ingredient or combination of ingredients that were in your old dishwasher detergent??

          • No idea, but I do plan on making this and the laundry detergent. The store stuff for the front-loading machines is megaexpensive. Thanks for recipes :)

  22. I have to say I am excited about trying this. I started using those little packet things months ago and started noticing black greasy specks on all of the plasticware that I run through the washer. I did some research and it seems the problem is the dissolvable packet material itself. Thanks for the info!

  23. Matt… just had to say that I have used this recipe for more than a week (1-2 full loads of dishes per day in our 7 member household), and I’m not happy with it. It leaves a powdery film on the dishes, and doesn’t seem to clean very well. :( I do make my own laundry detergent, which I’ve done for several months, and I’m VERY pleased with that, so I still have faith in homemade cleaners. But, I’ll have to look for a different recipe. Bummer.
    .-= Karen Joy´s last blog ..Worst baby yeast infection ever (but her face is healing!!) =-.

    • Did you put the vinegar in the rinse compartment? If I don’t add the vinegar, I do get white stuff on my dishes, but it works great when I add the vinegar…

  24. Matt, early in August someone gave you a recipe for glass cleaner. I use only two microfiber washcloths and some water. Wash with a damp one, wipe dry with the dry one. Done! And clean! No smell, no cost beyond the cloths you can find for a buck for two or three at a dollar store. Have you tried this? It works on mirrors and windows.

  25. Thanks for posting this – I made up a batch last night and ran the dishwasher. I was soooo excited.

    This morning, opened the dishwasher and EVERYTHING was coated in a fine white powdery residue. Any ideas why? Everyone else here seems not to have had that problem.


      • This recipe didn’t leave white residue – on further inspection, it has ETCHED every glass, dish, mug, and plate I had in the machine.

        New dishes for me!

      • OK, I made my first batch of homemade laundry soap a few weeks ago and LOVE it! I actually used a different recipe to make it liquid rather than powder, but it’s similar to yours and since I know that powder works better, I’m going to try yours once I get through this batch (which won’t be long with 4 kids.)

        However, I’m having the same problems with the dish detergent that others are. The one thing I haven’t tried yet is the citric acid. I was wondering if it has to be sugar free kool aid lemonade mix or if I can use regular lemonade mix, with sugar. I have that in the pantry so thought I’d see if it would work before buying something else. I’m also going to try adding more salt since I’m having some food still left on. I also have uber hard water so I know that’s factoring in.

        I’m one of those who believes that I shouldn’t have to wash my dishes before the dishwasher does and I know mine does the trick with an electrasol tab so it’s not the dishwasher. I’ve tried the laundry detergent in there as well as a couple of drops of liquid dish detergent and the vinegar in the rinse cycle, but so far still no luck. I’m really hoping this works since I’m almost out of electrasol and I don’t want to buy more.

        • Casandria – DON’T USE SUGAR KOOL-AID! :-) It has to just be the small packet, sugar-free stuff, and also has to be lemonaid only (others will color the inside of your dishwasher!)

          The citric acid seems to be the key ingredient. When we used this recipe w/o it, we had food still sticking and had a cloudy residue. My advice is to go to a local brewery and buy citric acid in bulk if possible. You can also buy it online.

          • If there’s not a local brewery, I found mine in the bulk spice department of a natural grocery. Citric acid is often used in home canning.

            By the way, Matt, I had to abandon my recipe, as well. It did clean off virtually all the food, but it still left a cloudy, dusty residue on everything, even though I followed the recipe and all your suggestions 100%. I’m wondering if it has something to do with the different manufacturers of dishwashers??? I have a Whirlpool Quiet Partner III. Maybe the way it goes through the cycles just does not allow the detergent to work in the same way that it does in your washer. (Just theorizing.)
            .-= Karen Joy´s last blog ..Just doing a little balancing… =-.

          • Yeah, it could be the difference in dishwashers, it could also be the difference in water.

            I always tell people to increase the citric acid, because that is what takes away the cloudiness. If you tried that & it’s still cloudy… I would increase it more & try again.

  26. Do you know how many cups of Borax and how many cups of washing soada are in a box?

    Also have you considered SOUR SALT. It has citric Acid and kosher salt you find it in the grocery isle with the Jewish foods. It may be cheaper.

  27. Hi Matt – this looks great! I’m teaching a class tomorrow night for our women’s group at church about homemade cleaners, and I think I’ll include this in the recipe packet! In case you’re interested, I thought I’d share a recipe for an all-purpose cleaner I found. I’ve been using it for a couple of months and LOVE it – I use it on my counters and table top, on my windows/mirrors, in the bathroom (counters and toilet surfaces), and on my laminate floors. I use lavender essential oil to scent it (I use about 15 drops instead of 10) and it smells great. :)


    It works great and I love that it’s non-toxic, so my 2 1/2 year old can “help” me clean too. :)

  28. For those having difficulty finding the citric acid, I bought mine at a local Indian grocer. It’s commonly used in Indian cooking to impart sourness on the dish. I paid $2.29 for 4 ounces, so about the same price that Matt paid.

    Thanks again for this recipe, Matt! I can’t wait to make a batch!
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..Jen’s Twitter Updates for 2009-10-01 =-.

  29. Quick question: are Borax and washing soda interchangeable? Do they do basically the same thing? What is the advantage of using Borax over washing soda, or vice-versa?
    .-= Lisanne´s last blog ..What not to eat =-.

    • Hope it’s OK to jump in here: Borax is like a naturally-occurring OxyClean. It converts some of the water molecules (H20) in your wash water to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), which acts as a whitening agent. Washing soda has a different effect. It cuts grease and biological stains by, among other things, its alkalinity. So, no, they are not interchangeable — they do completely different jobs.
      .-= Karen Joy´s last blog ..The way on, sort of. =-.

  30. Thank you so much for this recipe! I love this detergent, however even with two packets of lemonaid koolaid, I was still getting white film and deposits on my dishes. Also, the heating element at the bottom of the dishwasher was completely crusted with the white deposits. Then I discovered a product called LemiShine, which basically is super concentrated citric acid and natural lemon scent. http://www.envirocontech.com/products/Learn-More-about-Lemi-Shine.html

    The instructions on the container indicate that you need to clean the inside of your dishwasher by filling the detergent cup with the LemiShine and run the dishwasher empty. It cleaned the heating element right up.

    I’ve been using it for almost a week and now my dishes are crystal clear! I did have to hand scrub some of the dishes that were heavily deposited to get it all off. But it’s not reappearing! The LemiShine does make the mixture very sticky, but no big deal, it scoops pretty easily. The LemiShine is less than $4 for a 12 oz (net weight, not fluid ounces) at Walmart and it is found in the dish detergent aisle right next to the rinse aid. I used 1/4 cup and it looks like I can get 3-4 more makings out of this one 12 oz container, so it’s definitely more economical than the food grade citric acid. I might even be able to get away with less than 1/4 cup b/c it does seem so concentrated.

    Thanks again!! Great site, you are a wealth of information!

    • Yeah, actually I went to purchase a bottle of LemiShine but they did not clearly list the exact ingredients so I bypassed it as another chemically laden product of the industry. I know it has some citric acid in it… but I’m wondering what else is in there too.

      After bypassing on the product itself I tried looking for a homemade lemishine recipe but never found one… and the citric acid does the job great in our home!

  31. This recipe isn’t cleaning my dishes:( Will try to add more citric acid. Am going to try using my laundry soap in it right now.

    Maybe it’s my well water?

  32. Hi Matt,

    Man, thanks so much for posting this recipe. I’ve been looking for a homemade dishwasher detergent for a long time, and all of the ones I tried before were terrible. This one ROCKS. It’s actually cleaning my dishes better than the store-bought stuff I was using. Now I’m optimistic to try your laundry detergent as well.

    By the way, have you ever heard that putting a couple of tennis balls in your dryer with your clothes keeps them static-free and fluffs them up nicely?

    Thanks again,

  33. I didn’t use KOSHER salt as they didn’t have ANY at the store I went to today. I just bought regular salt. Is there a reason it’s KOSHER? I don’t know if there is something different chemically.

    This may have been addressed in an earlier comment but there are so many, I didn’t have time to read them all.

    Also, I just used KoolAid (at about 10 cents a package) 3 packs is equal to about 1/8 cup, so I made a half batch. I don’t know where I would buy citric acid locally but I do know where to get Kool Aid. I also think Kool Aid is cheaper. Is there a reason to use the citric acid instead?

    • Hey Lindy – congrats on making this… don’t be afraid to put a little more of this or a little less of that to come up with the combo that works perfect for your water & dishwasher. Part of the beauty of making your own is that you can control exactly how well it works! :-)

      You can buy citric acid from the links in the article – or a local brewery – or a local Asian market.

      I use Kosher salt because the big crystals help scour better… but you should be fine using your salt.

      • so course salt is the ingredient. I have some at home that I will use in the next batch. We do have an Asian Market just down the street. Why is citric acid available at an Asian Market? Just curious. Also in which “section” would I find it?

        Thanks so much for your quick reply. I haven’t used my detergent yet, but I can hardly wait to get a load of dishes going!! (I don’t think I have ever said that sentence before)

      • i would like to pipe up here! the reason kosher salt it used is because it is purer than regular table salt, which is iodized and therefore has additional chemicals. Pickling Salt is actually much better then kosher salt, and my be easier to find. I like to pick up bunches of the salt and citric acid, among other canning supplies, when walmart clearances them out for the winter (like no one cans during the winter?!) anyways, just thought i would add my two cents. p.s. I use homemade laundry soap, dishwasher soap – with all the problems you all are having as well, it is in the amounts needed for YOUR water, take the time to adjust the amounts as it is worth it – and homemade cleaners and dish soap with Dr. Bronners. That works really well in the shower too – add some baking soda for a facial and with your shampoo in your hair (added benefit of being a natural lightener!) Enjoying all the ideas that everyone is having and posting, keep it up all!!

  34. Matt,

    Just a note to say we’ve been using the dishwasher soap and laundry detergents for a few weeks, and the results have been great. We have well water, and I use a rather generous scoop as a result. We’ve not been using the citric acid yet. (Thank you, everyone, who’s mentioned where to find it!) But, the residue isn’t too bad…which is encouraging. Especially considering I’m using extra detergent each time.

    And, to follow on to what was said awhile ago….my wife RARELY throws things at me when I’m doing the dishes. And, my kids give me a wide berth, as I’m inclined to ask them to help. It’s one of the safest, quietest corners of the house! :-)

    Thanks for the tips!

  35. Matt, we use the laundry detergent mix at 1c + 1c + 1bar (same as yours but 1/2 bar of ivory at your mix), works great. Just finished a double batch 10 minutes ago in the food processor. So I went looking for dish soap and found this site. For the people that look for sources, there is soapgoods.com, you can get all the stuff in bulk. And a lot of other interesting things too. Plus you can learn what some of those other ingredients do (the ones we have no idea what they are much less how to pronounce them)!
    On another site I read a thread on how to “get the stink” out of a dishwasher. A full 1/4 cup of vinegar in the pre-wash cycle (before adding detergent) seems to do the trick, and in my guess it’s the acid that cleans out the plumbing in and beyond the washer itself. Bleach doesn’t even work as well. Once a month did the trick for us.
    Your site is great, I’m off to explore more of it.

    • Awesome Jeff, glad you found us, and glad you’re making your own… what an awesome thing when we found out the power, joy, and savings of making our own products! Vinegar is simple amazing…

      Thanks for the tips.

  36. Hey Matt! Thanks for the recipes. I’ve got my laundry going right now with my homemade detergent. Yeah, me!!! I’m wondering about adding essential oils such as tea tree to the detergent. I add tea tree oil to the load to kill mold or deodorize when needed. Any advice?

    • You go girl! ;-) Ummm… we have not added any essential oils yet because we have not needed to. There are a few ladies who have reported very positive results when washing even dirty cloth diapers. They say odors are gone and things are very clean. I figure if it can clean dirty diapers effectively you shouldn’t have to add the essential oils unless you really want to, or if you prefer the scent of the oil. You stand to save more if you do not add it… let us know what you decide.


  37. Ok, I read through almost all of thre responses on here & I don’t think I saw this question, so I’m going to ask it! We purchased a water softner about 7 years ago. You mentioned using a tablespoon of your detergent…do you even need to use that much with the softner? I know with my laundry detergent, I only use about 1/2 the recommended size…so I’m wondering if the same would hold true with the homemade versions of these products?

    • We have a water softener, and while we were using less regular dishwashing soap, we’re using a tablespoon in each the pre-wash and the wash cups (about the same as we used with commercial soap). But our dishwasher is quite old, so YMMV. (Just try it with less — if the dishes aren’t clean, try it with more.)

  38. I have been using vinegar in my HE washing machine for some time. I never thought about adding it to my dishwasher. I am going to try this

    • We had a similar problem with our laundry detergent getting lumpy. We put in some of the food preservative packets that come with the seaweed wraps we buy. It draws out the moisture. Sometimes you see them in purses, bookbags, etc.

    • We tie a little bit of dry rice in a cheesecloth bag and keep it in the container – absorbs moisture and does the trick

    • I have been using the silica packets that you find in shoes and purses. Just toss in a few with the initial mixture. No clumping at all. I mix my products in a large kitchen garbage bag, not a bowl it is so much easier to mix the product. Then I can reuse the garbage bags again. No waste. No clean up. Enjoy your free-pouring Dishwasher Soap.

  39. If I have soft water will it make etching marks on my glassware? Also if I rinse my dishes very well before they go into the dishwasher can I just leave the salt out?

  40. I just want to say that I “stumbled” into this website and i’m going to be totally hooked!! I LOVE homemade products and now that i’m a Single mom, i need to be more resourceful. Nevermind the fact that homemade is better for our health. Thank you and I plan to spend a lot of time here.

  41. I hate to tell you this, but the reason your figure for the percentage of cost savings sounds too good to be true is because it IS too good to be true. If your homemade solution were free, that would be a cost savings of 100%. If it costs you anything at all, then your savings MUST be less than 100%. For it to be more than 100%, (you state 6000 + %) you would have to have a negative total cost for your ingredients, or someone would need to pay you more than it costs you to make it.

  42. It also would seem to make more sense to add the citric acid to the vinegar rinse solution, as the reason washing soda is an effective cleanser is that it is basic. In using an acid to counteract residue being left behind, you would also be, at least in part, counteracting its innate cleaning power.

    • Debra, I continue to have the white film on my dishes, despite using the citric acid mixed in with the soda, etc. I just read your comment, which makes sense. Have you figured out a way to effectively mix citric acid with the vinegar without having it harden? I fear mixing the two and pouring them in, only to have the solution get “stuck” in my rinse aid compartment.

  43. I tried 1 part borax, 1 part washing soda, as found on other websites. That didn’t work very good, cloudy and dirty dishes. I added the citric acid and salt (sea salt since I didn’t have kosher salt) as per your recipe, and the results were great! I’ve tried it twice so far, and both times I couldn’t tell that I used a homemade recipe. I’m never buying dishwasher detergent again!!! Thanks so much!!

    Now I just need to find a good shampoo replacement. I’ve tried a few homemade mixtures that didn’t work very good on my shoulder length blond hair. :(

    • I have used 1 c. warm water, 2 Tbsp. baking soda, and equal parts cornstarch & oatmeal flour to thicken it (approx. 3/4 Tbsp). I forgot cornstarch the last time, and it still worked okay. I would like to use a touch of honey in it sometime too. I did this for my kids, and they loved it. This works with my longer blonde hair and we have very, very hard water. I don’t use any rinse.

    • For shampoo, I tried the oatmeal flour but found it too cumbersome to make. I love the Dr. Bonner’s Shampoo recipe found herehttp://www.passionatehomemaking.com/2008/08/homemade-natural-hair-care-shampoo-recipe.html
      Lots of suds. I still need to try a good conditioner out yet but I’ve been using this for months on my shoulder length hair. I use an old shake bottle rather than a spray bottle and I do not add but a drop or two of the oils as there seems to be plenty in the Bonner’s mix. Worth a try.

  44. I have been making my own laundry detergent for over a year now. I do use fels naptha soap. Does Ivory work just as good? Will never go back to store bought. I love teaching my kids to be self sufficient and frugal. I have been toying with trying dishwashing detergent. I do usually two loads of dishes a day!!! I can’t wait to try this. Have to get citric acid but I know its with canning supplies. You should also try mixing 1/2 cup borax with 4tbsp of Murphys oil soap. Its the best hand cleaner/degreaser ever!!! I also use it as a spot cleaner in my laundry.

  45. Does the above recipe really wash 50 loads? I don’t understand how you are getting 32 oz. of product with the measurements you are using? Did you double anything? I made mine and am very excited to use it. I actually want to share it with several friends, but I don’t see how the amount of product I ended up with can wash 50 loads using 1 tbsp. per load.

  46. I use white vinegar in our rinse compartment. I’ve been getting what looks like rust/brownish residue coming from the compartment. Is it possibly rusting something in there? What can i clean it with?

  47. Thank you Kristen!! I read ALL of these posts tonight trying to find out if anyone else was finding the math didn’t add up. I made the batch, washed with it, loved it, but the qtys don’t add up! I really thought I was losing it! It only adds up to 1 1/2 cups of product… So…
    what am I missing?
    Also, I see that someone said they bumped up to 3 packets of koolaid… I had to use 12 packets to get the 1/4 cup. Did I miss that too?
    I’m so confused…

  48. Hi! Been making my own laundry soap for quite a while and I LOVE it!!! Came across your website after doing a demo on the laundry soap for a women’s group. I love your posts and have tried the dishwasher soap and it is fabulous. Thanks!!!!

  49. Hi -I was wondering if any type of citric acid blend would work. I went to my beer making supply store and all they had was a blend of citric acid with other acids (asorbic and others) Would this work? It looks like the same jar as yours. Or should I just go the kool aide route? Thanks….

  50. FYI, the math on this is incorrect. The cost would be $0.10 cents a load, not $0.5. There are only 24 batches, not 50. 1 1/2 cups equals 24 tablespoons. Fun to make, but more expensive than regular dishwasher soap.

    • It depends upon what dishwasher soap you normally use… if you use something full of chemicals & bleach, then that may be cheaper, but if you use anything that is supposed to be safe and is bleach free, this is far cheaper =).

  51. Ok, so I really like the concept of the dishwasher detergent. But, I think I need help. I have always used Electrosol dishwasher detergent and no rinse agent. I have never had a cloudy glass or spots on anything. I made up a batch of your detergent. The first couple of uses, cloudy glasses & spotted dishes. So, then I added the vinegar to the rinse compartment, thinking that maybe this recipe requires a rinse agent. Still, cloudiness & spots. Any ideas what I’m missing here? I am definitely wanting something less harsh b/c I often ended up with “dishwasher crud” in some of my bottles, etc. using the Electrosol. I know that can’t be too healthy. But, I don’t want cloudy, spotted dishes, either. Especially since we’ve had ours for years with no yucky residue on them. If you can think of something that’s not working, I’d like to try to tweak my mix to make it work. Thanks.

    • Up the amount of citric acid you’re using. I live in the city and my water is super hard. I have to use way more than what is called for. Keep adding more and see what happens. :)

  52. Still getting the yucky film. I’ve tried increasing the citric acid. I’m going to search elsewhere for a better recipe — one that does not leave my dishes cloudy & spotted. And one that makes the quantity specified. I spend just about $3 for each of the ingredients listed (except the salt, which I already had). So, $9 for 24 loads (granted, I still have Borax & Washer Soda left — will use those around the house for other cleaning jobs) of spotted, cloudy, ruined dished. I know the ($3) Electrosol is not the greatest health-wise, but at least I can run an extra rinse cycle to remove the chemicals & won’t have nasty looking dishes. Maybe I’ll just spend the $9 on eco-friendly commercial dishwasher soap. Who knows?

    • Don’t be melodramatic. They’re not ruined. They’re spotted. Just run them thru once with the electrosol and they should be back to normal.

    • I’m having the same bad experience with the white residue that you had. Did you ever have any luck figuring out a solution?

      • Brandon, add more citric acid to your mixture to rid of the cloudiness (the amount of citric acid to add differs greatly based on water quality.) Also, to keep from clumping mix in a teaspoon of rice. All of this info is in previous comments already, but I know there are too many to read through to find this quickly. God bless.

  53. I made this last week & have been using everyday with great results. I used 15 pks of the koolaid (Walmart brand, 12cents/pk) — EVERYTHING comes out shiny & clean, even greasy taco plates. Thanks for the recipe. I will never use store bought again – the “smell” of harsh cleaner has always bothered me…

  54. Okay, I tried the recipe. My dishes have a cloudy film on them and I can feel it. I hate buying store bought anything and I am trying to save money. I really love the idea of homemade cleaning agents. I need more ideas to get rid of the film and spottiness. What is the deal with the kool aid packets????

  55. Is it me? I have tried every which way to add up the oz in the dishwasher soap recipe. I cannot come up with 32 oz.per batch
    8=washing soda,
    2=kosher salt &
    2=citric acid
    What am I missing?

    • It’s not supposed to add up to 32 ounces. It’s just stored in a 32 ounce container.

  56. I was delighted to see your website. I have tried the basic recipe that required equal parts borax and washing soda. I was disapointed because frankly, it didn’t clean as well as what my hubby insists I use–Cascade Action Powerpacks. Talk about expensive. The homemade version I tried using not only left streaks, but also left some food residue still left on my dinnerware. Does your recipe work better than the cheaper store bought brands or does it actually really work?

    DIY homemade cleaners has become a hobby of mine as well. The savings are amazing and I am confident in the residue that is left behind that my children play around won’t hurt them.

  57. I know you posted this ages and a half ago, but I am using it for the first time AS we speak. I already had the borax and washing soda since I use it in my laundry detergent. I happened to have the kosher salt because some random people at a parade handed boxes out. And I also live on cleaning my toilets with vinegar. We tried with those and (no surprise) were yicked on the results sans Citric acid, but in our tiny town, I’d HAVE to buy it online and didn’t want to wait. Then I remembered….. my 5 year old got a science kit for Christmas. :D I’m excited to see the results. And anxious for the dust to clear from the shaking up of ingredients! :D

    • So, it didn’t get rid of last time’s ick factor, but I’m going to try it one more time on a new set of dishes to see if it’s better there.

  58. Hi,
    I love the idea of making my own dishwasher soap and rinse agent (those little bottles of rinse agent kinda scare me). However, I’m concerned that the kosher salt will etch my glassware. Have you or anyone else had that experience?
    Thanks for sharing!!

  59. Hi there – great stuff! I was wondering, would you possibly know the generic names (or ingredients) of the Borax and of the Super Washing Soda? I live in Israel and we don’t have these products here – is Borax a scouring powder like Ajax and Comet? Is Washing Soda like baking soda? Also, have you tested this to make sure it doesn’t harm the dishwasher?
    Thanks for your help, I think you’re doing a great job

    • Hi Nurit,
      In Australia, washing soda is sold as Lectric Soda. Borax is sold as borax (sorry). Maybe it’s the same in Israel.

      • Hi Monica,

        This just came thru to me as I am subscribed to the thread :)

        Look below at my previous post #366….I am in Australia and used Lectirc Soda (that exact brand) instead of washing soda and everything else the same as per the above ingredience and it came out as a slushy wet mess!. I noteced that the Lectric Soda has WATER as one of the ingredience (although they don’t appear to be wet or anything)
        Anywho, have you done this detergent before with Lectric Soda? Did it work for you? I’m just confused why it came out all wet, foaming and sloppy!

        • Actually both borax and washing soda (or Lectric Soda) have water in them. They are very hydrophilic chemicals (love water) so in naturally occuring (and under normal conditions) they form crystals with water trapped in them. So you get dry crystals because the water is part of the crystal structure. If they are heated in special laboratory conditions the water can escape and you get smaller sized crystals. Even if the packet doesn’t say it, these products have the water in the crystals, because if you did have the anhydrous (waterless) crystal version, as soon as you exposed it to the air, they would attract the water in it and puff up to make crystals like are in the packet.

          I have tried making the recipe with Lectric Soda (I’m also in Australia) and didn’t get a wet mess….no moisture at all. Did you add the citric acid as a liquid? Or add the vinegar to the mix, not separately in a different compartment in the washer as a rinse aid? Because the Borax and Soda are alkaline salts, when they mix with an acid (vinegar or citric) you will get a foaming reaction (which will also neutralise things and stop the chemicals working as cleaners). That is also why getting the amount of citric acid in this recipe just right is so important – too little and the salts aren’t “used up” and deposit powder on your plates, too much and you can effectively etch your glasses (if they are delicate).

          Also, I haven’t experimented myself, but some ideas for the people who are getting a film or fine layer of powder on their dishes – before adding more acid (either citric or vinegar), have you tried using less of the recipe in the first place? Second, have you tried dissolving the powder first (I know you can’t then put it in the compartment) – if I got powder on my clothes after a wash, I would have assumed that the powder hadn’t dissolved – maybe the same is happening in the dishwasher? I would also imagine that the temperature that the dishwasher works at would effect things (and eco settings often use lower temperatures). Lastly the hardness of your water will effect this recipe – Washing Soda (and borax to an extent) work as water softeners – if your water is softer, or harder than the people for whom this recipe is working well, you could have excess softener, or not enough, which could be leaving the results on the dishes.

          Although the commercial products are full of chemicals we don’t recognise, expensive and often caustic, dishwasher detergents are very carefully and precisely developed products to do a specific job. It would make sense then that one general cleaning recipe (many here have mentioned its similarity and interchangeability with clothes washing detergent) is not always going to be able to magically perform the same. It may mean that a comprimise of standards is needed, or a fair bit of experimentation to get it just right for your washer and water supply. Keep trying!

  60. Does it leave film or residue on your glassware? I am not a big fan of cloudy juice glasses. :P


  61. Matt, any idea about a laundry detergent for the new front loaders that are only supposed to use HE detergent? I’m scared to try a homemade recipe on an expensive machine. I ordered my citric acid a few minutes ago, can’t wait to make my own dishwasher detergent and share the recipe with my mom friends! Thanks for your efforts and willingness to share. This too is my passion!

    • I have a HE front load washer and dryer. I used the homemade laundry detergent and it turned out AWESOME! I used a scented Dial bar soap so the clothes came out clean and smelled good too! I have always used regular detergent before I made my own. I didn’t even know there was a special soap you are “supposed” to use. Either way, I will NEVER EVER EVER go back to using commercial laundry products!

  62. Oh, forgot to ask. My mom gave me some fruit fresh and I read this can be substituted, but perhaps need to use more. What do you know or think? I may need to make some before getting my citric acid in the mail and hey, the fruit fresh was free!

    • Hi Charlotte, yes these homemade cleansers are quite suitable for HE washers because they are low suds… that is the requirement for HE detergent so rest easy.

  63. I can’t wait to try this! I found the Borax at my Walmart for under $3 for the box, the washing soda at Wegmans in the laundry aisle for under $2.50, couldn’t find citric acid so i was looking in the canning aisle and saw “Sour Salt” and looked at the back and volia….CITRIC ACID is the only ingrediant! CITRIC ACID = SOUR SALT…under $2.00, already have sea salt so i’m going to try that instead of kosher…anyone ever tried sea salt? results?

  64. I’d pretty much given up on using our dishwasher completely. It’s supposedly the best one that was available at the time, 5 years ago or so (a tleast that’s what my SO says. He bought it before I met him). The majority of the time the glasses and cups came out dirtier than when they went in. They always have what looks like ground up food bits (even though we rinse the dishes first) and clumps of calcified goo stuck to the bottoms. We even have a water softener, so what the heck? Anyway, I was like, “What’s the point of wasting the water, electricity, expensive Cascade and Jet-Dri to end up with dirtier dishes?” Then one day I got an e-mail newsletter about homemade laundry and dishwasher detergents. Since vinegar was in abundant supply in the house, I filled the rinse aid dispenser with it. Voila! No more disgusting crud stuck to the dishes. I can’t wait to make the detergent itself now. I couldn’t remember the final ingredient that I needed when I was at the store, the kosher salt, so I have to make another trip to the store first.

    • Most dishwasher have a small grinder that eats up whatever solids come off your dishes. Either that line is blocked or you need to take apart and wash the components of your dishwasher.

      • I am done having dishwashers with integrated internal food grinders. They’re just not worth it. It’s a part that can cause problems or wear out. They also add significantly to the machine’s decibel level.

  65. I have been using the laundry and dishwashing soaps for almost a year, and they work great. I add 1 scoop of oxyclean to the detergent when I mix it (my kids are always staining their clothes) and I rarely pre-soak anything anymore and everything is stlll coming out clean. The savings have been tremendous for our family. The citric acid has been the hardest to find in our area, but we found it at our local Amish store. They use it for canning so it is always available. I also store my dishwasing soap in the fridge, this keeps it from turning rock hard.

    • Awesome Carrie… great to hear our recipe is a blessing to you and your family! We think it’s awesome too. :)

  66. They use it for canning so it is always available. I also store my dishwasing soap in the fridge, this keeps it from turning rock hard.

  67. I have made my own laundry soap years ago, don’t remember why I stopped. But I was looking up rinse agent today, I wondered about vinegar and was glad to find this post.
    Thought I’d let you know that I’ve found citric acid in the pharmacy, you have to ask them for it, I use it to make a lemon water recipe. That’s where i’ve always gotten it.
    I plan on checking out the rest of your site now.

  68. Wow! I made the dishwasher detergent a few days ago, right before I ran out of my regular detergent packets. I started using it yeserday and I couldn’t be more impressed. I have been using the all in one detergent packets, so I haven’t used a rinse aid. The vinegar worked wonders. My dishes look better than I can remember and this was so easy to make. I made the laundry detergent last night. It was a little more labor intensive with grating the soap, but I can’t wait to try it. The only question now is, can I wait until I run out of my regular liquid detergent before I try it out? :)

  69. Just a heads up for folks having a hard time finding washing soda. Ace Hardware online ( http://www.acehardware.com ) carries it. If you have them ship to your local Ace Harware, shipping is free. There current price is 3.75, so a pretty good deal.

    Thanks for posting these recipes! We just mixed together a batch of laundry soap… dishwasher soap is next!

  70. I tried this recipe too – all the ingredients were easily available (we have a beer-making supply store in town so I got the citric acid there). The results were disappointing – the glassware and cutlery are coated with a filmy residue, and some plastic things are as well. I did SO want it to work!

    • Double the amount of citric acid and try again. Finding the right mixture for your water is a process.

      • I don’t understand how half of the people posting are getting great results and the other half are not. I wonder if it’s a water quality issue? Could harder water require more citric acid?

        • Yeah, pretty much. Some people think the recipe should be perfect, other people understand they need to try it and tweak it… based on their water quality.

  71. We live on septic, tho, most or our neighbors were able to get sewer installed over the past 20 years. One reason I want to try these homemade detergents/soaps/cleanser, is to: no longer dump harmful chemicals down in the septic which ends out in our local waterways; save money; save my family’s health. My husband has issues with his skin, so the most natural way to clean is better for both of us and the environment.

  72. HELLO~ Just for everyone’s safety… I thought that I’d note that the manufacturer of Borax does not recommend using the product in the dishwasher. Not sure why- but ever since I read that… I no longer use it!
    (even though it’s natural- it doesn’t necessarily mean safe for All uses!)

    I’ve been looking for a safer recipe that doesn’t require Borax. (even though I love Borax for other stuff!) So far- I haven’t come up with much… except Dr.Bronner’s Sal’s Suds. (naturally suponified hemp, olive and coconut oils)

    I also make my own detergent- I use Dr. Bronners’s soap for that as well!

    • Hi Rachel, this is word for word from the 20 Mule Team Borax box: (the new white one, not the green box)

      “Dishwasher: Boost the cleaning power of your dishwashing detergent by removing hard water minerals and residues from the wash water. Add 1/4 cup 20 Mule Team Borax in the bottom of the dishwasher to reduce spots and film from dishes and glasses.”

      Where did you get your information from? Can you quote your source.
      Tnx. Kamila

  73. I made a batch and used it twice with good results, then realized my dishwasher needed repaired, my homemade soap with in two weeks went rock hard. Is there a way to soften it up or do I have to chiesel it off or throw it out? I used fruit fresh as citric acid here is very expensive, could that be what turned it rock hard? There was only 2 mentions of the product going hard and only 2 responses to put it in the fridge to keep it from hardening in the more than 50 comments I read. Someone please advise me.

    • Yes, the fruit juice would make it very hard. Citric acid makes it hard too. To combat this, be sure to use the kosher salt… that seems to help. Also, just stir it up the first few times it hardens (it’s not rock hard if you use citric acid) and it will be fine after that.

      • Is there any way to separate it until it sets up? Maybe use the little snack size zip lock bags and freeze it for an hour or so, then put back in original container? This may sound crazy but what about storing a slice of bread in the container? That’s what I do to keep cookies moist for longer periods of time.

          • I thought about the rice too, but what happens to it in the dishwasher? Won’t it eventually clog up the works when enough gets in there?

          • 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!

          • Mine also got hard so I just mixed it up and put it into ice cube trays and when it was hard I popped them out and now I just have tablets that I throw in with each load.

  74. I have been using ho’made dish detergent for several weeks and have had no problem so far. I’m a little concerned about the comment saying not to use borax in the dishwasher though! Anyway, my recipe is slightly simpler – 2 parts baking soda and one part borax. I was making it up each time I ran the machine (2 T of the soda and 1 T of borax), but I have now mixed a larger batch and am storing it in a mason jar. No clumping problems at all.

  75. Anyone else have trouble with the homemade dishwasher detergent clumping up? Mine has solidified to brick form, and I have to scrape quite hard to get a tbsp worth of stuff. It works well, just have a hard time getting it unclumped.

    • It clumps… it’s the citric acid. The best way to combat it is to stir it up really well a few times a day right after making it… this will improve your results.

  76. Can I substitute pure ascorbic acid powder for the citric acid? I noticed on the Fruit Fresh label the main ingredient after dextrose was ascorbic acid powder. I am patiently experimenting with homemade dishwasher soaps, and am on my 3rd or 4th recipe right now. Still having problems with the cloudiness left behind on the glasses. Thanks~keep up the great web-site!

  77. You’re going way overboard with what you’re using. Try this: 2 Tablespoons of bleach in the soap dispenser, and half a teaspoon of normal Ajax liquid soap. Then, 1 drop (yes drop) about the size of a dime on the inside door of the machine (where it will be used in the prewash cycle.) This cost about $0.01 per load and works perfectly and sterilizes as well. Scientifically, bleach in tiny quantities makes the water, “wetter,” and improves it’s cleaning power by an order of magnitude. The small improved water will strip grease off of anything. Because of the tiny amount of ajax is a surfactant and a solvent that combined with the amount of soap, foaming will not be an issue. If you have foaming, you’re using too much. The drawback being that it has to be mixed fresh, and some people fear bleach as it can spill and damage fabrics, etc. I’m very careful with it, but one accident and all the cost savings will be gone.

    • I’m not sure if I read this one correctly.
      2 tablespoons blean in soap dispenser
      half a teaspoon of normal Ajax liquid soap and
      1 drop about the size of a dime of ……What?

  78. Hi, a few months ago we purchased a new dishwasher as it seemed our old one, which we received used, was no longer cleaning the dishes. Well, when we got the new one I was all excited that now I could finally have clean dishes again. I was a little leery because of a review I had read about this particular dishwasher, but we had gotten such a good deal there really wasn’t an option or choice if I actually wanted a new dishwasher. I mean, when you get a still-in-the-box, top-of-the-line machine for $199, and if the $100 energy rebate kicks in too….you don’t complain! :) But…as I continued to use it I was becoming more and more disappointed. It seemed really no better than the old one. We still had a white film, even though I’d followed the salesman’s suggestions to use much less detergent and rinse things with TANG because of the citric acid. The TANG did help…for a bit. I was in search of a new detergent because I sometimes had little ‘grains’ of white and a constant white film as well. I could only think that maybe it was the detergent….really things just didn’t come clean. So, I looked online about making my own. I had just a month or so ago learned here about laundry detergent & really like that…had great results getting grease & things out with a short pre-scrub…so thought I’d look. I’d forgotten the name of the site I was looking for (this one) so this was not the first place I found. In reading on the other site I found people were anxious to try that recipe but seldom reported back with great results. When I found this recipe it had the salt in it which the other one did not. Most of the people here were pleased with the results. I figured all I need to do is get the salt & some Kool-Aid as I had the other ingredients, live in a small town and couldn’t get the citric acid immediately.

    I could not believe how clean and sparkling things were. I used extra Kool-aid in my mix–figured it couldn’t hurt. (Actually it was Wal-Mart’s brand & I used 22 of them!) Because my things were so bad I also purchased some of the Lemi-Clean (at Wal-Mart). My clear glass bowls, that were basically white when I put them in, came out crystal clear and shining! My stainless bowls I had not seen so clean in a LONG time! I immediately emptied my silverware drawer and washed it ALL in the next load as it had all come to have that same white film on it. I am elated!

    I have decided that when our community recently changed to the newly built/completed water system something drastically changed. It may have been the hardness or softness, I don’t know…but things had been OK & now they were anything but. (My old dishwasher may have done just as well with this new recipe!) Your recipe has made it OK to eat on my dishes again! Thank you so much!

    • I forgot to say that I used the pickling salt rather than the Kosher salt as I got twice as much or more for less money, and it’s only salt…the Kosher one I saw had something to keep it from clumping. Maybe not a big deal, but the price was! I’m hoping, after I’ve washed everything in this, that I no longer need to use the Lemi-clean…it seems rather expensive considering how much you use…if it was an every time thing. The ingredients mentioned on it didn’t ‘sound’ bad, just hoping it’s not necessary forever!

    • so if I can’t get the Citric Acid I can use the Kool aid ( this is the kind you mix to drink) I just got all the stuff but could not find the Citric Acid also what is the kosher salt do?

  79. I was so happy to learn that the only thing I was missing was the kosher salt. I made my batch and once I bought the salt, just added it. I put mine in an icing container that I was about to throw out *gasp* but I saved it and put it to a new life. I used the home made dishwasher detergent yesterday, and they looked just as good as the store bought stuff, whoo-hoo. I had my doubts since reading a lot of negative comments that something didn’t turn out right. But I still had a little hope that maybe I would just get lucky and I did. Awesome stuff, and sooo cheap, my favorite part!

    So I was thinking that maybe you could make an interactive map where people can put a thumbs up or thumbs down if the recipe worked in their area (although it should be your recipe only, and not substituted ingredients). I live in the Norfolk, VA area and it worked just fine for me and I have to those really cheap clear dishes from Walmart too. The only thing is that my plastic came out a little cloudy but I’m not worried, they are made so cheaply, they aren’t made to last. Thank you for your recipe, and pictures!

  80. Food grade citric acid can be purchased from ADM in 50# bags for about $98 (including shipping). We use it in the winery for cleaning equipment.

    One of our student volunteers is planning on a project for next spring making an organic insecticide using citric acid and glycerol for use in our organic vineyard.

    Stop by the winery for a free sample of citric acid to try out Matt’s recipe.

    Ohio River Vista Vineyard, Winery and Research Station
    Cincinnati, OH

  81. HI
    I am wondering where you have found the washing soda for 3.99. WHen I click on your link it takes me to amazon where it is 9.99 for the 55oz box? so far I have tried walmart and target and they dont have it.. only other grocery store by me is a winn dixie and Im not getting my hopes up.Thanks!

    • Try ACE hardware. If they don’t have it I believe you can go to their web site and get it sent to an ACE near you for free shipping.

  82. I totally love your homemade detergents. I’m going to make both of them as soon as I run out of the Super Sam’s Size versions I have now, but being single that will be a while, waste not, want not. I have hard water of sorts, as I have plenty of calcium in my water that leaves rings in my toilets and on my fixtures, so these will most likely work way better than what I have now, though I have been using vinegar as my fabric softner, though less than a 1/4 cup and it still works well, and viengar as rinse aid in my dishwasher. I love my vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice for cleaning as they make quick work of my calcium build up along with a pumice stone. Now for you to help us invent a toilet bowl cleaner that won’t harm our septic systems as well as a drain cleaner. I have tried a mixture of baking soda and salt, followed by vinegar as a drain cleaner to sit for about 15-20 minutes depending upon how stubborn the drain is, then flush with very hot, hot water. Be careful though, the mixture does release some noxious fumes from the salt/vinegar mixture (the chlorine)….just where a mask or cover your face with a cloth when you add the vinegar. I mix the salt and soda together before hand and use a funnel to direct the mixture down the drain better than just sprinkling it down. It works best on a dry drain, as a wet drain causes the mixture to clump. It does wonders on a slow drain, but a totally clogged drain…you need a good plunger, elbow grease, and time to shift it before hand of using the mixture. Keep up the good work.

    • I will work on a toilet bowl cleaner and will publish it when I find something that works, I already have some great ideas, but will not publish ANYTHING until I have tested it personally. Right now we, like you w/the Sam’s laundry detergent, are using up a chemically laden product for toilet bowls, and will begin with our homemade recipe as soon as that is gone, which should be quite soon. Thank you for stopping by, God bless you.

      • Try Bi-Carb and Vinegar. You sprinkle the Bi Carb in the bowl (you can leave it sit for a bit) then pour vinegar over it then scub with toilet brush I then like to wipe the outside with Eucalyptus oil or Tea tree oil and sometime put a little in the cistern it smells great.

  83. Hi = great site, just found it
    Can pickling/preserving salt be used as a substitute for kosher salt?
    thank you

  84. I made a batch today but used Fruit-Fresh for the citric acid. The dishes had a light white film that can easily be wiped with my finger. The Fruit-Fresh ingredients are ; dextrose, ascorbic acid, citric acid, silicon dioxide. Should I use more of the Fruit- Fresh or find a different citric acid? Also, is sour salt the same as your citric acid?

    • Calcium citrate is the calcium salt of citric acid. I would just go get some citric acid, either over the Internet, or at a local home brewery store.

  85. Has anyone tried this in a dishwasher witha stainless steel interior I’m worried that the vinegar will discolour the inside of my dishwasher

    • I just wanted to say that I have used vinegar in the rinse cycle of my dishwasher forever, and not had any problem. I don’t know why vinegar would discolor stainless steel, I think you’re ok. I use vinegar in my dishwasher, and the stainless interior is just fine, as is my stainless flatware. I also use vinegar in my washing machine as a fabric softener, and the stainless interior is just perfect.

  86. You guys are the greatest. This is the best site I have found for homemade products. I can’t wait to try all of them! I will be going to the store this weekend to purchase what I need for all of the household cleaners, detergents, hygiene ideas. I already can tell I am going to love them! I’ll let you know what I think next week!

  87. How about a recipe for just cleaning the bathroom? I am picky about the house being clean and the bathtub and the kitchen floor are the hardest to keep clean. The bathroom gets mildewy in the corners where the caulking is unless I clean it constantly and the kitchen floor gets dirt embedded down in the linoleum (and I mop every day). Every once in awhile I need to deep clean the kitchen floor and bathroom and can’t find anything better than Tilex.

    • We have a homemade shower spray that we will be posting soon, along with an all purpose cleaner. We are working on a toilet bowl cleaner and will also be working on a floor cleaner in the future. Stay tuned.

  88. I have found a recipe for a wonderful pre-wash. It works great! Mix equal parts of Wisk laundry detergent, ammonia and water. Spray on garment. This works great and has removed everything I have ever applied it on. Thanks.

  89. A great window cleaner that works wonders for me is:
    1 pint of alcohol, 1 tsp. dish soap & 1/2 cup ammonia. Add enough water to mixture to make 1 gallon. This stuff works great on my windows and mirrors!

  90. Ok, I have to say that I made this detergent with the Kool Aid packets, put it in a jar and closed it up tight…and clumping is the understatement of the year. It is bound together so tight I have to use my hand beating mixer to break it up to use it. A waste of time and ingredients.

    Anyone else have this problem? Could it be because I stored it in glass and not plastic?

  91. I have washed 2 loads of dishes with this recipe but glasses are cloudy. I used Kool-Aid Lemonade for the citrus acid part. Could that be part of the problem? I do have a newer well with hard water. Anything I can tweak to get rid of cloudy residue. I used 1 packed tablespoon plus a little more. The mixture packed really hard into my storage container almost like old brown sugar.
    Thanks, Lisa

    • Put a teaspoon of rice in the detergent to lessen clumping and use more citric acid, as that is the key for a clear finish. There are links in the article for ordering citric acid online… pretty cheap too.

  92. Hello,
    I really want to try the dishwashing detergent, but I want to make sure I do it right the first time. Unless I missed something you say this batch will make 32 oz, I only calculated a touch over 19 oz. Please explain so I can do this right the first time. Thank you very much for putting this recipe on the web.

    • Great question Brandon. I just re-read the article, noticed the mistake, and made the necessary changes. The recipe will yield 20oz, but feel free to multiply the ingredients to create whatever sized batch you desire. Godspeed.

  93. I was reading all the comments i want to try it but i wanted to find out how can i use this for washing dishes in the sink. It seems that all the stuff is dry does it melt with the dishes or what? Please let me know thanks

  94. I was looking for this, and you broke it down beautifully! Now I am so stoked about making all my own soap! Thanks so much for your time and research and for sharing with us.
    -John, Memphis, TN

    • I’m glad to encourage and help others move toward greater knowledge and skill in taking care of themselves and relying upon the Lord. God bless John.

  95. Awesome Amy, I read about this somewhere else recently. I like what you said about buying in bulk from a feed-store, that cost difference makes up for having to pay to bake the baking soda for an hour. Also, you named your Amazon store “Living Outside the Box,” which is funny because I had bought the domain LiveOTB.com, but never ended up doing anything with it and let it expire… but it looks like we are kindred spirits. God bless!

    • My husband is a PhD chemist. He thinks that the author of that article, who is not a scientist, got the temp. wrong. The degrees he listed were C and not F. For a F oven it would need to be 392 Degrees. He has written the author to question him about his calculations. However…if you bring water and Baking Soda to a boil it does produce liquid Washing Soda. You must store it in an airtight container, otherwise over time it will convert back to plain Baking Soda in water. But this might be a really good solution for people who have a hard time getting Washing Soda. They could make a liquid version.


  96. Thanks for all the super tips and sharing the underlying reasons why these things work so well.

    I bumped into a sale at Walmart a few days ago, rock salt for making ice cream with an ice cream machine. It was 50 cents for 5 lbs “Rival Rock Salt”. The package says its ingredients are “Salt”. Can this be used as a substitute for Kosher Salt in the Dishwasher Soap? Or added to the basic Laundry Soap recipe?

    Also, because I usually shop at Walmart late, when most other stores in my tiny town are closed, and WM did not have the washing Soda and was out of the Borax, I picked up a small box of Purex advanced stain remover after reading the ingredients, as the first few listed seemed close to my recollection of the basic DYI recipe. And it was pretty cheap.

    I have wildly sensitive skin, so am wondering if I should just go ahead and return it, or use it, but add an extra vinegar rinse.

    Purex Ultra 2, color safe bleach ingredients:
    Sodium Chloride, Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Silicate, Sodium Carbonate Peroxyhydrate, Benzenesulfonic Acid, C12-15 Pareth-9, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Polycarboxylate, C.I. Fluorescent Brightener 260, Sodium Aluminosilicate, Water, Fragrance, Liquitint Blue Hp

    Thanks for any advice, Zi

  97. I made a batch and tried it for a week. It did not clean my dishes. I was having to hand wash coffee cups, silverware and some plates after they went through the dishwaser!

  98. Wow, I need to try this. I had been filling the first compartment with baking soda and only using store bought dish powder in the closed compartment. I figured I could make the store bought stuff go twice as far and baking soda in the first cycle just softens everything for the wash cycle. Your recipe has to be lots cheaper than store bought and as someone else said on your site – a penny here, a penny there, soon adds up to a dollar.

  99. Hi Matt,
    Excellent recipe! Works wonders! People who are complaining about this product should try adding more Citric Acid as advised by you. And they could also check if the water they are using is not hard water (high in mineral contents).

    I am recommending this recipe to my friends and colleagues, may God bless you!



  100. I can’t wait to try… The internet is so huge and I can’t remember how I got from here to there… but I too have experienced the white film on dishes and glassware… How frustrating. I ended up on an article from the NY Times that talked about the lowering of phosphates in the commercial dish washer detergents and the rising of the filmy yuckiness. I am so looking forward to trying this. At the very least I will implement immediately the vinegar rinse agent! :)

    After reading the comments and such:

    I found the citric acid is available at Whole Foods (more expensive 4oz. for 4.49) or Vitamin Cottage (4oz. for 3.70).

    Has anyone else talked about ruining dishes (scratches and stuff)? I just completed my Fiesta Dinnerware set and would hate to damage any of them!

    That link to make Baking Soda into Washing Soda – yippee! Sams Club sells a big bag of Baking Soda.

    I add my thanks also for all the time and trial that went into creating this recipe. I hope it will work well… I have to weigh the amount of commercial I have left and should I get the ingreds. to make this before or after we move…. Staging and de-cluttering you know?!

  101. Hello, I’d like to add my experience to this discussion.
    After researching for a while, this is what I ended up mixing:
    1c Borax
    1c Washing soda
    1/2c Citric acid
    1/4c Coarse sea salt

    We put white distilled vinegar in the rinse aid dispenser,
    And we had two issues, dirty brown streaks running down the inside of the dishwasher from the rinse aid dispenser; and cloudy dishes.

    I don’t want to give up because I really like the idea.
    I’ll try adding some rice and more citric acid today..
    Any other suggestions?

    • Not sure but is it possible the dirty brown streaks coming from the rinse aid are actually mineral build-ups that the vinegar is breaking down and cleaning out? You may want to just run your dishwasher a few times empty on the hottest setting with a cup or so of vinegar in it to really clean it out.

  102. I was having a hard time finding citric acid, but my sister-in-law showed me a product she was using to help with hard water build up in her new dishwasher, her old one was completely clogged with hard water deposits. The product is called Lemi Shine. It is 12oz. and cost me less than $4.00. Made with “real fruit acids, natural citrus oils, fragarance.” I subbed this product in for the citric acid and so far I have had success. No film from DIY detergent. We’ve only run about 6 loads so far, but things look good.

  103. I’ve been making this for awhile now, since I first found the recipe about a year ago. It works *great* and I love to compare my older glassware (etched all to heck) with my newer (clear as a bell still).

    It does clump, but I counter this by letting it sit for a day or two, just until it starts getting soggy, and using my 1 TB measuring spoon to make little cakes. I measure 1 TB, pack it good and carefully unmold it onto a plate. After a couple of days, they’re dried out and good to grab and toss.

    I tried molding them in an ice cube tray, but they didn’t unmold too well. if I try it again, I might line the thing with plastic wrap, but I doubt I will. The spoon method works really well.

    Thanks for this! It’s saved me a fortune.

  104. This is great stuff!!! Cleaning action on crusty casserole dishes is vastly superior to commercial products. Some experimentation may be required, however – the citric acid is critical. We have really hard water and the recipe left a film. At first I just added 1/3 cup of vinegar to the rinse, which worked well but was too much work. So I started adding more citric acid to the recipe until the film disappeared. In our case it ended up about 4oz citric acid per batch but your mileage may vary. Works great!

  105. I’ve used a batch of the detergent (with all the proper ingredients) and am not totally sold on its effectiveness. My dishes don’t always come totally clean, and sometimes there is a film on the glassware. If I use more than 1 Tbsp, it seems to work better. The deciding test will be with my second batch.

    • Increase your citric acid, and don’t let food crust up on dishes before putting them in… just rinse them off after eating and before placing them in the dishwasher.

  106. Love this mix. Making it up for the second time. First time I used kool-aid and not nearly enough of it, so it wasn’t great. (Dishes were cloudy.) This time I have pure citric acid I bought for $5/pound. Hoping it’ll work better. I also make my own laundry soap. Sp easy and rewarding.

  107. I have been using the homemade laundry detergent for over a month now and am very pleas!!! My husband put his shirt through a 5 day rigourous test (he is a locomotive engineer), having worn it 5 consecutive days, minus sleeping in it, it passed! He is very picky, I like to call him OCD, so his approval speaks volumes in this household. Since we were so happy with the laundry soap, I just put my first batch of dishwasher detergent to use today, can’t wait to see how this turns out.

    Also, I was wondering, for the laundry soap can you add essential oil to the powdered form?

  108. 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?

    • Then I would avoid it, although it doesn’t effect mine negatively. Lime/lemon juice is citric acid so if you cut limes with the knives and they are okay… then you’re fine.

  109. I was so excited to find and try this recipe because I have tried every brand of dishwashing detergent with my brand new Maytag dishwasher (with excellent reviews)….and am so sorry to report that it did not work.

    I just replaced the dishwasher thinking it was the problem.

    I special ordered the washing soda from my local ACE hardware and am really starting to lose hope here. If this doesn’t work, I don’t know what will.

  110. I just found your recipe for recipe for dishwasher detergent, we are trying to be better and saving money, and was curious what the purpose of the salt is?

  111. I tried this recipe exactly as written and my glasses never looked clean. I used vinegar and I also added a drop of dish soap, still glasses look awful. I think I will probably just go back to buying it in the store.

    • I added another 1/4 cup of citric acid and my glasses came out sparkling. The only downside is it cost me 5 bucks for the citric acid. I’m going to buy it online next time. Thanks

  112. Been reading through the posts. I really like doing stuff for myself, and also like the idea of cutting cost whenever possible. We have hard well water. Even the expensive dishwasher detergent with the expensive rinse aid left spots. That was until the thermostat for the high temp heater burned out. When the high temp went out, there was no more problem with stuck on spots. We went with cheaper detergents this go around (still quite expensive as we see two loads a day in this house) still, no heat = no stuck on spots. I’m thinking to give your recipe a try. I’m also thinking that all those people with severely stuck on residue are using the high temp settings. You cannot make the hardness of water disappear like magic. You can only lessen the affects of it. The loss of the high temperatures seems to be a big benefit in that regard. It also saves money on every load. :) So what if I have to use a dish towel to finish drying some dishes. That’s what they’re for, right?

  113. I have a front loading washing machine and just saw these “Affresh” tablets in the store that recommends using a tablet a month to get the washer clean. I was wondering if you might have a DIY recipe for it. It comes out to $3+ per tablet, with 3 tablets to a package. Any suggestions?

  114. Dishwasher-detergent SUCCESS!

    This recipe works great for me. I don’t have hard or soft water though, but all the dishes seem to come out perfectly. I don’t miss the cloud of chemical smell from opening the dishwasher with the chemical detergents on them.

    A tip on citric acid (2, actually!) I live in Atlanta and there are several co-op stores which sell tea, herbs, etc. in bulk. I found citric acid there for pennies. I also discovered (lurking in my cabinet) a shaker of fresh fruit preserver (to keep cut apples from browning)– it’s from the canning section of the grocery store. It is natural (pectin and citric acid) and that works in the detergent.
    It also works as a toilet scrub– it eats off grossness from the toilet bowl, especially if you leave it overnight! Thanks for the great ideas, Matt! You are a good writer and I enjoy your suggestions.

  115. Maybe Im missing something but if you add up 1/2 c borax (4 oz), 1/2c soda (4oz), 1/4 c acid (2oz), 1/4 c salt (2oz) that adds up to a total of 12 oz??? Thats the measurements on the pics ?? Which is 24 TBS….Soooo how do we get to 30 loads if we use a the recomended 1 TBS???

    FYI…i found that you can supplement cream of tarter for the acid ….just double the amount

    Using this as we speak…will post with results

    • Worked wonderful!!! But please give the correct measurements if you dont mind…right now if I go by the amounts on the pics, and if I have to add 1 1/2 times the acid due to my extreme hard water….im at 12 cents a wash…(.prices in my neck of the woods and using baking soda …not washing soda) but if I can calculate using the 20 oz amount that would be even better…about 7 cents

  116. First time visiting your site (followed the link from MoneySavingMom.com). Love the idea of making things from scratch so shall have to browse around to see what you all have here.
    (I, for some reason, still wash my dishes by hand, so my poor dishwasher doesn’t get much use other than as a storage facility!)

    • Ha ha, as do I Kristin. I actually use both methods by doing the big dishes in the sink and the smaller ones in the dishwasher, that way I have to use it less. Glad to have you here, God bless.

  117. 1-800-524-1328 I just called to find out where I could get washing soda and the wonderful man on the phone informed me they could ship me a box for $2.50, free shipping. Thought this might help those of you that find it hard to get in your area.

  118. I am so excited to try this! I found your recipe for homemade laundry detergent yesterday, made it, and was so thrilled with making something from scratch, I wanted to find dishwasher detergent, too! Will definitely make this as well, as soon as I get some citric acid!

  119. I have been for about a month and not completly thrilled. I get a white haze on my glasses, and my dishes feel like they have a coating on them. Not to mention, they don’t always come completely clean. I have been adding vinegar to my rinse dispenser once a week. Should I be adding it every use?
    Also, we live in an apartment and the dishwasher is a basic model at best. Could that be having an effect?

    Between the extra soaking, rewashing… I don’t think I’m saving much at this point,but I’d be interested to see if you had any suggestions.

  120. I have been using homemade dish detergent for over a year. I have HARD WATER. Really hard water.

    You can buy BULK citric acid on ebay cheap. There are tons of places online where you ban buy it. I tried those hard water balls from UK – great idea but it did not work for me. I tried a “dishwasher water filter” too, but it only worked a few times, then died. (found online).

    I put a tsp of each in, right out of their boxes (not mixed) split between the compartments:

    1 tsp borax
    1tsp washing soda OR oxy sun cleaner
    1 tsp citric acid.

    Rinse – 1 tsp citric acid or 1 cup vinegar – put in during the rinse cycle

    I set a timer for 1 hour (thats when my machine is on the final rinse.) and when the timer goes off I throw in 1 tsp citric acid. That gets rid of the cloudyness. If I forget to put it in and the machine is done, I will put 1 cup of vinegar in and do a *rinse* only. Yes, one whole cup. I buy the gallon containers.

    I have severe cloudiness and it is not from the homemade detergent. Yes, I tried it with the mix and only used 1 tsp period, and that left the cloudy stuff too. I have run my dishwasher every possible way I could just to see exactly what happens. Ive found for me, the cloudy stuff = minerals in the hard water. I get it if I put nothing in!

    If 1 cup of vinegar in your rinse cycle removes it, it is hard water. Putting vinegar in the rinse compartment didnt work for me.

    • add a table spoon of powdered calgon to your dish washer this will stop as it softens the water

  121. Recipe looks great, Matt! One problem for me though…

    The boyfriend and I are getting ready to move into an apartment with a dishwasher, and he’s wary about letting me put “something you just whip up in the kitchen” into the dishwasher.

    I think that he thinks I’m going to blow it up.

    Any ideas for convincing arguments? :)

    • Tell him not to doubt it until you try it, that’s the best argument. Tell him it saves money, it works, it’s better for your health, and to trust you. :) Let us know how it goes.

  122. I’m having the same trouble as Linda and I’m using the vinegar rinse each wash. I’m all for doing what I can, when I can, but I think I’m going to go back to my regular dish detergent.

    I always appreciate other diy tips. If anyone has another recipe that doesn’t involve Borax or Washing Soda, I’d be happy to give it a try. I just think right now, I’d get better results not using anything. Even plain old hot water that is hot enough to sanitize.

  123. Yay!
    I wish I lived in the States just to find all those at the drugstore so easily.
    I do use vinegar for rinsing (well I use it all over the place, as I’ve got Multiple Chemical Sensitivity).
    I use baking soda for laundry and scrubbing of difficult areas in the house cleanup routine. But I don’t think I could find washing soda that easily, or citric acid. I’m from Spain by the way.
    Great tips!! I’m sharing on my blog if you don’t mind!

  124. Great ideas!! thanks for sharing your expertise on this field. Come a time when every family will be making their own laundry detergents, and other cleaning solutions, and oh! what will happen to the laundry detergents, and other products manfacturers?

    • Funny you mention that Brigido… I think that time is sooner than many think and figure it’s better to be prepared, and healthy, than unprepared and clueless.

  125. Couldn’t you use a couple of those moisture attracting packets that come in vitamins, etc? It would recycle them .

  126. I don’t mean that you would put them in the dishwasher. Just scoop out around them. I would think it would prevent clumping.

  127. 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…

  128. 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]

  129. 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.

  130. 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.

  131. 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]

  132. 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?

  133. 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?

  134. 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.

  135. 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?


    • 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.

  136. 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.

  137. 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.

  138. 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.

  139. 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….

  140. 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.

  141. 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. :-)

  142. 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]

  143. 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.

  144. 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?

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

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

  147. 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..

  148. 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!

  149. 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!

  150. 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!

  151. 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.

  152. 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??

  153. 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…

  154. 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.

  155. 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?

  156. 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.

  157. 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.

  158. 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,

  159. 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.

  160. 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

  161. 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.

  162. 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.

  163. 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.

  164. 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.

  165. 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?

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

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

  168. 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.

  169. 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!!

  170. 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!

  171. 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!

  172. 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!

  173. 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

  174. 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.

  175. 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.

  176. 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

  177. 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!

  178. 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. :)

  179. 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!!!

  180. 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

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

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

  183. 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!

  184. 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!

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

  186. 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!

  187. 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!

  188. 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!

  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. 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 :)

  191. 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.

  192. 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

  193. 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!

  194. 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.

  195. 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

  196. 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!

  197. 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.

  198. 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!! ;-)

  199. 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!

  200. 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…..

  201. 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…. :_(

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

  203. 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.

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

  205. 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.

  206. 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

  207. 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.

  208. 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!!

  209. 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.

  210. 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.

  211. 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

  212. 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!!

  213. 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!

  214. 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.

  215. 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.

  216. 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) :)

  217. 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!

  218. 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!

  219. 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.

  220. 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.

  221. 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. :-)

  222. 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.

  223. 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???

  224. 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?

  225. 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

  226. 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