Creating Your Own Environmentally-Friendly Dishwasher Detergent

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Green Living Borkowski

I’m not entirely sure where I first discovered this recipe for homemade dishwasher detergent. I do know that eco-friendly dishwasher soap was not widely available at grocery stores years ago, and when it was, it was expensive. As someone who strives to be environmentally conscious while also working on a limited budget, I sometimes need to find more cost-effective ways of doing things. In this case, that means making my own detergent.

While many people are familiar with the concept of homemade laundry detergent, fewer are aware of homemade dishwasher soap.

This detergent effectively cuts through grease on your dishes. For the best results, fill your dishwasher’s rinse agent reservoir with distilled white vinegar. Doing so will leave your dishes free of grease and looking shiny, and it won’t damage any of your vintage or antique items.

The biggest advantage of this homemade detergent, however, is the savings. It costs less than one penny per load to make, or just 50 cents for 50 loads of dishes. That’s a frugal choice anyone can appreciate!

Ingredients for Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

This environmentally-friendly dishwasher detergent uses four main ingredients:

  • Washing Soda – This natural substance, made from salt and limestone and scientifically known as sodium carbonate, is great for cutting through grease. It can be used for many cleaning projects throughout your home and can be found in the United States under brands like Arm & Hammer. If you can’t find it in stores, it is readily available online through retailers like Amazon.
  • Borax – Borax occurs naturally in the environment and can be either mined or created in a lab. It is toxic in concentrated amounts and should be kept away from children. You can find it near the laundry detergent; Borateem is one brand.
  • Kosher Salt – Kosher salt is a pure salt that is often used in cooking because it provides a cleaner taste. It’s included in this recipe, although I’m not certain why.
  • Citric Acid – You can use food-grade citric acid like Fruit Fresh, or simply use unsweetened lemonade packets.

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Recipe

  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1 cup borax
  • ½ cup salt
  • ½ cup citric acid

Mix these ingredients together and store them in a tightly-covered mason jar. Use one tablespoon of the detergent per load, and add vinegar to the rinse dispenser for the best results.


1. What is eco-friendly dishwasher detergent?

Eco-friendly dishwasher detergent is a type of detergent that does not contain harmful chemicals and is safe for the environment. It is usually made from natural ingredients such as baking soda, citric acid, and essential oils.

2. Why should I switch to eco-friendly dishwasher detergent?

Switching to eco-friendly dishwasher detergent is beneficial for both the environment and your health. Traditional dishwasher detergents contain harmful chemicals that can harm aquatic life and cause health problems in humans. Eco-friendly detergents are safe, biodegradable, and do not harm the environment.

3. What ingredients are needed to make eco-friendly dishwasher detergent?

The ingredients needed to make eco-friendly dishwasher detergent include baking soda, citric acid, borax, and essential oils. These ingredients are natural and safe for the environment.

4. How do I make eco-friendly dishwasher detergent?

To make eco-friendly dishwasher detergent, mix equal parts of baking soda and citric acid in a bowl. Add a tablespoon of borax and mix well. Finally, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil and mix again. Store the mixture in an airtight container and use as needed.

5. Can I use eco-friendly dishwasher detergent in any dishwasher?

Yes, eco-friendly dishwasher detergent can be used in any dishwasher. It is safe for all types of dishwashers and will not damage your machine.

6. How much eco-friendly dishwasher detergent should I use?

The amount of eco-friendly dishwasher detergent you should use depends on the size of your dishwasher and the amount of dishes you are washing. As a general rule, use about two tablespoons of detergent per load.

7. Will eco-friendly dishwasher detergent clean my dishes as well as traditional detergent?

Yes, eco-friendly dishwasher detergent will clean your dishes just as well as traditional detergent. It may take a little longer to dissolve, but it will still get the job done.

8. Can I add vinegar to my eco-friendly dishwasher detergent?

Yes, you can add a small amount of vinegar to your eco-friendly dishwasher detergent. Vinegar acts as a natural rinse aid and can help prevent water spots on your dishes.

9. How long does eco-friendly dishwasher detergent last?

Eco-friendly dishwasher detergent can last up to six months if stored in an airtight container. However, it is best to make smaller batches and use it within a month or two for best results.

10. Is eco-friendly dishwasher detergent more expensive than traditional detergent?

Eco-friendly dishwasher detergent may be slightly more expensive than traditional detergent, but it is still affordable. Making your own eco-friendly detergent can also save you money in the long run.

11. Can I use eco-friendly dishwasher detergent for hand washing dishes?

Yes, you can use eco-friendly dishwasher detergent for hand washing dishes. Simply mix a small amount with warm water and use as you would any other dish soap.

12. Can I use eco-friendly dishwasher detergent to clean other things besides dishes?

Yes, eco-friendly dishwasher detergent can be used to clean other things besides dishes. It works great as a natural cleaner for sinks, countertops, and even toilets.

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