Whether you like it loose, or in little tablets, making your own dishwasher detergent is super easy, cheap, fast, and best of all, effective. Save time and money, and let your ingenuity shine as much as your dishes will with this detergent recipe!

TIME: 5 minutes
MAKES: About 45 loads of sparkling, clean dishes
COST: $10

2 cups borax
2 cups washing soda
1 cup salt
1 cup citric acid
1 cup white vinegar (optional)

1 clean jar with lid
Small silicone molds to make tablets (optional)

1. Mix borax, washing soda and salt in a jar.
2. Fill your washer’s detergent tray with 1 tbsp of the mixture and 1 tsp of citric acid just as you would powdered detergent.
3. If you have hard water or would like an extra rinse agent, place an upright glass filled with a cup of white vinegar on the top shelf of your washer and run the machine as usual.


  • Keep things simple by mixing all of your powdered ingredients and pouring into small silicone molds until the mixture has hardened. Pop ‘em out and voilà, dishwasher tablets! Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
  • Add 30 drops of your favorite essential oil (we prefer grapefruit) to your mix for a divinely-scented dishwashing experience.

If you prefer powder to tablets, avoid clumping by adding 1 tsp citric acid to each dishwasher load instead of mixing it with the rest of your ingredients.

Luckily, borax and washing soda are easy to find in recyclable, cardboard packaging.  (Find them here). Finding vinegar that doesn’t come in plastic is another story. You can usually find small glass bottles of distilled white vinegar in health food and grocery stores. Spectrum Organics and Heinz are two brands to look for. And if you have to buy it in plastic, let go of the guilt! Those gallon jugs will last a long time and can be recycled as well!