Thursday, November 8, 2012

MCO's Clean Diaries: Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Lately our dishwasher has not been on it's A game and has been causing more of an issue than it should. I will frequently take out dishes that are not very clean and and that have a very strong smell from the detergent that I used. I could even taste the detergent when I would drink a glass of water. It was disgusting. I tried cleaning my dishwasher with those tablets that they make specifically to clean your dishwasher and it still didn't help. When I decided I was going to make my laundry detergent I thought, why not make dishwasher detergent while I was at it! The process seemed just as easy and thanks the the laundry detergent I was already going to have most of the products on hand.

The original recipe I used was from Being Creative although I did a half batch rather than a full batch, and I also left out the instruction to use sugar free lemonade drink mix for a scent as well. I chose to exempt this from my recipe because I have read a lot of reviews that the drink mix does stain your dishwasher, and sense we rent I felt as though it would be disrespectful to stain the dish washer before we move out in May! 

I recommend making a tester size amount of this dishwasher detergent before you make a half or full batch to see if it works for you and your family. I have not read many negative reviews however you want to make sure there are no allergic reactions of any sort. Also, this recipe is recommended for hard water, those of you who have soft water may want to continue to browse for a recipe that will better suit your needs. Use this recipe at your own risk.

What You Will Need:

1/2 of a 4 LB Box of Borax
1/2 of a 3 LB 7 OZ Box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
1/2 of a Container of Lemi Shine
1 1/2 Cups of Epsom Salt
1 1 Gallon Container to Hold the Detergent

The Ingredients

I picked up this pitcher from Walmart for $2.97 to hold my detergent, I figured it would be easy to pour into the dishwasher!

To make your dishwasher detergent, start by lining a stock pot with a plastic bag to avoid having to rewash the stock pot! Next, combine half of the box of Borax, half of the box of A & H Super Washing Soda, half of the Lemi Shine, and 1 1/2 cups of Epsom Salt in the stock pot. 

I then poured the mixture into my empty pitcher and put the lid on (making sure it was nice and secure). Then I gave everything a good shake! I shook the mixture until I felt confident that everything was well distributed.


Please Note: This recipe will harden in the container, unfortunately there is no way around it. You can easily break the mixture apart by "stabbing" it with a spoon and breaking everything up again. This should not affect the quality of your detergent in anyway!

Why Use Homemade Dishwasher Detergent?

Personally, I hated tasting the detergent on my dishes, I thought it was absolutely disgusting and my dishes weren't even getting very clean! I would much rather make my own, know exactly what is in it, and I can save money by using it! 

How Much Do I Need Per Load of Dishes?

It is recommended to use at least one tablespoon per load of dishes, however, I choose to fill up the detergent container. You may also choose to add an extra rinse agent, I've heard that white vinegar works wonders! 

How Much Will Everything Cost Me?

Well, the best part about doing half recipes is that if you also make your own half batch of laundry detergent, you can save yourself even more money! I was able to avoid buying Borax and Super Washing Soda again because I just used the second half of the box! If you are buying just for this project though, your cost will be similar to as follows:

4 LB Box of Borax: $3.38
3 LB 7 OZ Box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda: $3.24
Container of Lemi Shine: $3.96
Container of Epsom Salt: $0.88

Total: $11.46

If you saved half of your Borax and Super Washing Soda from your Laundry Detergent your total would be $8.15.

When you go to make your dishwasher detergent for a second time, you will only have to spend $6.62 (Borax & Super Washing Soda) because you will still have half of your Lemi Shine and at least two more batches worth of Epsom Salt to use! 

Those numbers sound pretty good to me! How do they sound to you?

Want to make your own laundry detergent? Check out MCO's Clean Diaries: Homemade Laundry Detergent

Want to make your own body wash? Check out MCO's Clean Diaries: Homemade Body Wash

Edit: I've had to "tweak" my dishwasher procedure while using this recipe just a tad, I now fill up the entire soap dispenser with the detergent and I pour white vinegar into the rinse aid area to help get the dishes sparkling. I no longer taste nasty chemicals on my dishes while I use them which I love. My only issue with the recipe is that it will harden, even if it is in an air tight container. I haven't figured out what you can do to avoid that but so far I have had no issues with taking some sort of utensil and jabbing at it to break off detergent! 


  1. How about one of those "stones" they sell to go in your brown sugar to keep it from getting hard?

  2. Or crackers maybe to keep from hardening?

  3. What about rice in some type of a muslin bag?

  4. I love this. I bet you save alot of money

  5. I would have never thought of the epsom salt.

  6. THANK YOU! We are so tired of those 'pods' not dissolving, opening the dishwasher when it is 'clean' and just needing to run it again. I can't wait to try this!

  7. What if you pour them into ice cube trays to harden on purpose the size of a dishwasher cube from the store brands.

  8. What if you pour the stuff into ice cube trays to hard on purpose the size of a cube. Then put all the cubes into a containter one hardened.

  9. What if you pour them into ice cube trays to harden on purpose the size of a dishwasher cube from the store brands.

  10. This is something I have wanted to try! The recipe seems simple enough and I wouldn't mind breaking it up when it hardens I don't think....Thank you!

  11. I think I agree with Snowmanluv and I will put it in old ice cube trays I have and then I will have cubes that I can easily pick up and there will be no more wondering what to use to keep it from hardening.

  12. I haven't been excited about any of the DIY dishwasher detergents I've tried, but I haven't tried this one yet, so I'm excited to give it a go! Thanks for sharing!


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