How To Make Dishwasher Detergent

Running out of dishwasher detergent might not be a common occurrence in your household but it’s nice to know that, if it happens, you can make your own dishwasher detergent with ingredients you probably already have in your house. Moreover, the DIY dishwasher detergent uses all-natural and safe ingredients that can leave your dishes sparkling clean. That’s why, today, we’ll teach you how to make dishwasher detergent. Both recipes included in this post are quick and use basic ingredients.

Why Make Your Own Dishwasher Detergent?

Making your own dishwasher detergent is not only easy but also a quick DIY project that can help you save money in the long run. The ingredients used in the DIY dishwasher detergent are cheaper than the commercial alternatives you can find on the market. Not only that but your DIY detergent will leave your dishes sparkling clean and smelling nice.

We have two recipes for you today – one that makes a powder dishwasher detergent and one that uses dish soap. Both recipes work for an automatic dishwasher. Just follow the tips we highlighted below to make sure you don’t overflow the kitchen with bubbles if you opt for the recipe that uses dish soap.

Homemade Powdered Dishwashing Detergent Recipe


  • large mixing bowl
  • whisk or wooden spoon
  • airtight container


  • 1 cup of baking soda
  • 1 cup of washing soda
  • 1 cup of Epsom salts
  • 1/3 cup of citric acid
  • 15 drops of lemon essential oil


  • Place all the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl and mix with the whisk or wooden spoon.
  • Add the lemon essential oil drops and citric acid.
  • Mix again. Make sure there are no clumps.
  • Transfer the natural dishwasher detergent to an airtight container.

Alternatively, you can use white vinegar instead of the dry ingredients.

How To Use Dish Soap In The Dishwasher

To wash dishes, use 1or 2 tablespoons off dishwasher detergent per load.

Place the dishes in the dishwasher as you normally do. Add the DIY dishwasher detergent in the detergent cup and run the dishwasher machine.

Why Lemon Essential Oil?

Lemon essential oil is natural and it has a pleasant citrus scent. But these are not the only reasons for using this essential oil in your homemade dishwasher detergent. Lemon essential oil is also…

  • able to cut through grease and to remove food residue stuck on the dishes;
  • remove burned food particles from pots and pans;
  • make the glasses and silverware shiny and sparkling clean;
  • remove food or drink stains from cups and dishes.

Other Essential Oils You Can Use To Make Dishwasher Detergent

If you’re out of lemon essential oil, you can use other citrus essential oils in the above recipe. We recommend citrus essential oils because they are great for homemade cleaning products, as most of them have antibacterial properties but also a fresh and pleasant scent that works well for dishes.

Here are some essential oil alternatives to consider:

  • tangerine essential oil;
  • lime essential oil;
  • orange essential oil;
  • grapefruit essential oil;
  • bergamot essential oil.

Dishwashing Detergent Alternative


  • Spoon to measure ingredients;
  • Airtight container*

*optional – you only need it if you want to make more dishwasher detergent and store for later use.


  • 2-3 drops of dish soap
  • 1 ½ tablespoon of baking Soda
  • ½ tablespoon salt

How To Use This DIY Dishwashing Detergent

  • Start by loading the dishwasher machine as you normally do.
  • Add a few drops of dish soap in the detergent cup. No more than 2-3 drops, otherwise the bubbles will overflow.
  • Add baking soda until the detergent cup is approximately 2/3 of the way full.
  • Add salt.
  • Close the detergent compartment and run a normal load.
  • Extra Tip


If you like this recipe and plan to use this type of DIY dishwasher detergent, you can mix baking soda with salt in advance and store the mixture in an airtight container. To do so, use 2/3 cup of baking soda mixed with 1/3 cup of salt. Use 1 or 2 tablespoons of the dry mixture with 2-3 drops of dish soap as recommended above for every load of dishes.