Homemade dishwasher detergent

homemade dishwasher detergent

Written by contributor Melissa Allen of Green Owl Art

A little over a year ago when I was living in Los Angles I considered myself to be one of the more eco-friendly, earth loving, attachment parenting kind of momma’s. Then I moved to Portland, OR. These moms here are in an entire league of their own when it comes to “green” sustainable living. They are amazing and I am a sponge soaking up all the glory they have to offer. From chickens in the city to yogurt in your crock-pot, I am ready to take it all on.

A fellow mom from Emma’s school, Christina (AKA Earthy DIY Goddess), gave me this great recipe to make your own dishwasher detergent pods! Brilliant! Right? I knew I had to try this.

homemade dishwasher detergent


  • 2 cups Baking or Washing Soda
  • 2 cups Borax
  • 3/4 cup Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Kosher or Sea Salt
  • 6 drops Lavender Oil

homemade dishwasher detergent


1. Add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix.


2. Squeeze some of the mixture in your hand. You want it to easily clump together. If it is too dry add a little more vinegar.

homemade dishwasher detergent

3. Spoon some out onto an ice cube tray or any kind of small molds you have. We used this heart silicone one. The hearts were the perfect size to fit in our dishwasher soap spot. If you use a standard ice cube tray be sure not to fill them all the way or they may not fit.

homemade dishwasher detergent

4. Next, Emma got to work pressing the soap into the heart forms. You need to pack them in very tight. Once they are filled this will dry for 24 hours. The next day you can pop them out and store them in a jar or any other container you have. They work just like store bought pods, just pop them in and hit start!

Result: My dishes came out spotless and my dishwasher smelled like a lavender bouquet! I love this. Oh and best of all, my kids helped and learned just another way to be resourceful and earth friendly all while having fun together as a family. Hey, it’s not your typical family evening, but it was pretty great to us. Oh and did I mention, I calculated and this cost around $1 to make about 50 pods!

For more creative inspiration from Melissa, head on over to Green Owl Art.

, , ,

32 Responses to Homemade dishwasher detergent

  1. Grandma Lia April 15, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

    I want to try this, too! Also, do you have a recipe for clothes detergent. I know it’s around but figured you would have something you can recommend. Thanks for all your great ideas!! Love you all, Grandma Lia

    • Heather May 20, 2013 at 11:40 am #

      Clothes Detergent
      4 cups borax
      4 cups washing soda
      1 bar of cheap white soap grafted with cheese grater

      Add together and stick in washer before adding clothes.
      Keep in air tight storage container far away from little hands

  2. Capri + 3--Theresa April 15, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

    That is such a clever idea. I look forward to making some dishwasher detergent pods. Thank you so much for the great tutorial.

  3. Jackie Bennett April 15, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

    I’m going to Target tomorrow to buy borax! Can’t wait to try this. Thanks!!

  4. Arianna Carlson April 16, 2013 at 5:01 am #

    This is awesome! I cannot wait to try this!!!!! THANK YOU!

  5. shauna b April 16, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

    Love this! We do this already, but love the idea of putting into molds. We use borax for our laundry detergent (plus a couple of other ingredients) and it works excellent! Costs about $3 for a whole months worth! If people knew how easy this stuff was, they would never buy Tide again. (I haven’t bought laundry detergent or dishwasher detergent in years)
    Love the posts – keep em coming 🙂

    • Cheryl December 17, 2015 at 4:35 am #

      Would you mind sharing your laundry detergent recipe? You mentioned a couple other ingredients. Also, do you know if this can be used in a He washing machine? Thank you for your assistance. It is appreciated.

  6. Sarah April 18, 2013 at 8:24 pm #

    So lovely!

  7. Valentina April 29, 2013 at 8:21 am #

    Hey! Lovely recipe! definately going to try it as soon as I finish the commercial pods!

    Got a question: Can the this graywater be utilised for watering the garden plants?
    Will the vinegar or Borax harm them?

    Thank you!!

  8. suvo May 18, 2013 at 9:00 am #

    Thank you so much for the mention. Actually Homemade dishwasher detergent may seem like a lot of trouble but, in fact, it’s ridiculously easy! While the original investment may be somewhat more than a small box of detergent might cost, over time this could ultimately save the average consumer money and valuable resources.

  9. Joy T May 22, 2013 at 7:35 pm #

    Can u use a different essential oil than lavender? I have pepperment and orange essential oil. I can’t wait to make this! I’ve been check out the borax in the laundry isle and wanting to get it thinking it could help me made dishwasher pods, but didn’t have a recipe to try, now I do! Thanks sooo much! .)

    • Melissa Allen May 22, 2013 at 8:19 pm #

      Hi Joy, Yes, any essential oil will work (it’s just to get that great smell!) Orange would be lovely. 🙂 Hope you enjoy making the pods. I strangely find it very relaxing!

      • Joy T May 30, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

        Thanks! Made some tonight,when I washed my hands they felt soooo smooth after doing it! one question is, what if you put too much vinegar? What ingredient do you add extra/first. Also…is this a way to make bar soap? Or do you have any recipes for bar soap? And what about laundry pods? How do you make those? Thanks sooooo much! Joy 🙂

        • pat hintz September 3, 2013 at 3:44 am #

          You have to be careful with these ingredients, and wash your hands thoroughly after touching this stuff. I would recommend using a utensil as much as possible when mixing the ingredients. Your hands were smooth because the borax and washing soda have a pH that is base. The vinegar is acid, but so little is used that it doesn’t balance the base level, so the pH is well above neutral. Anyway, the bottom line is it can cause chemical burns if it is on your skin for awhile. Keep contact with skin to a minimum.

  10. jackie August 9, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

    I made this a few days ago. My dishes aren’t spotless (especially glass) and my silverware isn’t completely clean. Could I have done something wrong or could it be because of my hard water?

    • Melissa August 10, 2013 at 7:01 am #

      If you have hard water I’ve heard adding a capful of vinegar to the jet dry spot can be helpful. Hope it works for you!

    • rebecca October 8, 2013 at 7:58 pm #

      you can add citric acid or lemi-shine to the mixture to cut the hard water – i would say 12oz or so would work. you can find citric acid with the canning suppliea and lemi-shine with the rinse aids.

      • Terri Makely January 5, 2015 at 8:02 pm #

        I heard that citric acid can be pricey, but lemon kool-aid (un-sweet) works just as good for only pennies

  11. ugg australia sale kids 950 December 7, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

    Ugg presents the new collection and the Official Store Directly to buy online. Official Website cheap ugg, cheap ugg Cheap Shop
    ugg australia sale kids 950

  12. Rhys April 24, 2014 at 10:25 am #

    Very good info. Lucky me I recently found your bkog bby chance (stumbleupon).

    I have book-marked iit for later!

  13. Gabriella May 24, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

    Hey there! I’m curious to hear your thoughts on Borax. I was under the impression that it’s a safe cleaning agent with a million uses and have been using it for laundry and dish detergent. But I recently read this article from EWG:

    I was crushed! I trusted Borax and EWG, and now it seems I have to let one go. What do I do??

  14. Denise June 12, 2014 at 8:57 am #

    I use the Duggar family liquid laundry detergent recipe. Get a clean 5 gallon bucket with a tight fitting lid. Grate 1 bar Fels Naphtha soap…I use my food processor. Put in a sauce pan with 4 cups of water and melt on med heat until dissolved. Fill the bucket halfway with tap water as hot as you can get it. Put 1 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda and 1/2 cup Borax. Pour in the soap from the pan and stir until dissolved. Fill the bucket to the top with more hot water, stir, put the lid on and let sit overnight to gel. You can add any favorite essential oils for scent or leave it as it is. The next day fill an empty laundry detergent dispenser with equal amounts of the soap and water and shake to mix to break up the clumps of the gelled detergent. You will have to shake slightly every time to prevent the clumps from clogging the spout. For front loaders its 1/8 cup and 1/2 cup for top loaders. It should yield over 600 loads. I’ve only had to make 4 batches in the last two years.

    • Terri July 20, 2014 at 5:24 pm #

      I used this for years until I got an HE washing machine, then didn’t know if I could still use it. Do you know? Because I loved it as well as this small cost!!!

  15. jennifer January 4, 2015 at 3:21 pm #

    I have a lot left over how can i store it ? I don’t want it to dry out.

  16. Corey February 18, 2015 at 6:02 am #

    I tried this and my glassware and silver ware is spotted. I ran it a second time and put vinegar in the rinse aid spot. I also have citric acid in the recipe. Any other suggestions on how to get rid of the spots?

    • Corey March 3, 2015 at 8:55 am #

      I found this product called Citrishine. I put the detergent at the bottom of the dishwasher and the Citrishine in the dishwasher cups works perfectly.

  17. Jill March 3, 2015 at 8:08 am #

    This is fabulous! Thanks you for the recipe!

  18. Christal June 18, 2016 at 12:53 pm #

    He machines ?

  19. Christal June 18, 2016 at 12:53 pm #

    HE machine ?

  20. Chloé August 28, 2016 at 8:24 am #

    Hello ! I was looking forward to try your recipe but i did my own research and i found that Borax is kind of toxic if highly used. What do you think ? Isn’t it dangerous to use ?

  21. lynnz November 23, 2016 at 10:21 am #

    I think everyone that has a problem with their glasses spotting,your water is not hot enough. Cleaned a lot of homes, and in a lot of homes the water took so long to get warm. your dishwasher will not work well if the water is not hot enough.

  22. lynnz November 23, 2016 at 10:24 am #

    I use the recipe as stated without the citris and it works wonders. I hope it works for my sis as I plan on making some for her Christmas gift.

Leave a Reply