DIY Automatic Dishwasher Detergent

homemade dishwasher detergent

Detergent for the dishwasher has two components that I don’t like: the trash and the chemicals in the average dish detergent. Even the ones that are “natural” are chock full of things I don’t want my family possibly ingesting… Like what’s in this detergent:

Sodium CarbonateWater Softener
Sodium SilicatepH Control
Sodium Salt of Polyacrylic AcidControls Thickness
Sodium HydroxidepH Control
Sodium HypochloritePrevents Spotting
Disodium Decylphenyl Ether DisulfonateCleaning Agent
PolyquaterniumPrevents Spotting
Zinc ChloridePrevents Corrosion
Sodium StearateControls Thickness
FragrancePleasant Scent
Titanium DioxideMakes Product Opaque
Sulfuric AcidpH Control

Pretty nasty stuff, right? I mean, if you can’t pronounce it, why on earth are we using it?

Does it really do that good of a job cleaning? For me, it didn’t. I used to try everything on the market, especially in my coupon days and I found they all pretty much worked the same. As in they didn’t.

We have very hard, high iron, well water and it takes a lot to get our dishes clean. And, the commercial stuff just wasn’t cutting it. An when I really started researching the chemicals, I knew that there had to be another way to get our dishes clean!

So, me being ME, I decided to make my own Homemade Auto Dishwasher Detergent with 4 Simple ingredients that I had on hand (like always!)

borax baking soda citric acid washing soda

Automatic Dishwasher Detergent Recipe

Author: The Homesteading Hippy


  • 1 cup of borax
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1 cup citric acid


  • I place in a covered jar.
  • Gently shake.

Add 1/2 cup plain white vinegar to the rinse cycle and there you go:

distilled white vinegar next to auto dishwasher mixture

I figured that this cost me only a few dollars to make…and this batch will last about 4 weeks, using 2 Tablespoons per wash load.

The best part of this was that it really worked on caked on food and grease, which is good because my kids aren’t the best at pre-rinsing. I didn’t have to worry about any type of nasty residue being left over and getting into our food and bodies.

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