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Looking for a homemade dishwasher detergent recipe that actually works? Look no further! This all-natural homemade dishwasher powder is easy to make. It uses just four ingredients: washing soda, baking soda, citric acid, and kosher salt.

Plus, it’s better for the environment than store-bought detergents. It contains none of the harsh ingredients or plastic packaging. This detergent is highly effective at removing grease and grime from dishes and costs pennies compared to store-bought alternatives.

ingredients for homemade dishwashing powder detergent

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Recipe

This recipe makes just under 3 cups of detergent, which should be enough for about 44 dishwasher loads!



Step 1: Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl.

Step 2: Transfer the ingredients to a storage container. Or, place all of the ingredients in a container larger than 3 cups capacity

mixing homemade dishwasher ingredients together

Step 3: Simply shake to mix!

shaking ingredients together in a jar

That’s it! So simple and easy to make.

final homemade dishwasher powder stored in quart sized mason jar

How to Use Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

When using this homemade dishwasher detergent, it is best to use about a tablespoon for each load of dishes. If your dishes are particularly dirty or have hard water, you can try using a little more dishwasher powder (up to two tablespoons). You can add it right into the dispenser.

If your detergent gets clumpy, mix it with warm water before putting it in the dispenser. If you use a homemade rinse agent (white vinegar), add it to the compartment that’s designated for that purpose. Finish up by running a normal cycle.

putting homemade dishwasher powder into dispenser
Use about a tablespoon for regular loads

How to Store Homemade Dishwashing Powder

Because this dishwasher detergent has no harsh chemicals, it can be stored in various ways. You can store it in a glass mason jar with a metal lid or a recycled spice jar.

The recipe makes about 2.75 cups of detergent, so it fits well in a quart-sized container. You could also use a plastic container as long as it is BPA-free.

Store your detergent in a safe place, out of kids’ reach, and label your jar clearly. Despite the ingredients being all-natural, they can still be harmful if ingested.

Is Powdered Dishwasher Detergent Safe for Septic Systems?

Homemade powdered dishwasher detergent is very safe for septic systems. This dishwasher detergent is also phosphate-free, an important feature for septic systems.

Phosphate can kill off the bacteria and enzymes that help things break down in your septic tank. Without those, your tank can become full faster or become clogged.

However, if you are concerned about this or unsure of your particular situation, it’s always best to consult with a plumber who can assess the health of your septic system.

What ingredients are needed for homemade Dishwasher Powder?

Ingredients for this recipe were chosen based on the following criteria. They had to:

  • Be easy and inexpensive to source;
  • Be all-natural;
  • NOT come in plastic packaging.

Of course, they also had to be effective, and the overall recipe had to work! Here is a bit of information on each ingredient in our recipe:

Washing Soda is one of the most common homemade cleaning agents. It is made from sodium carbonate, a compound found in nature, and has been used for a variety of cleaning purposes for almost 200 years.

The purpose of washing soda is to soften the water and cut through grease and grime. It is also an ingredient in our homemade liquid laundry detergent and dish soap!

Baking soda is another natural compound made from sodium bicarbonate. It’s a multipurpose cleaner and degreaser that has been used for centuries.

Its purpose as an ingredient in dishwashing powder is to help scrub away food and grease and help keep your dishwasher free of bacteria.

Citric Acid is derived from citrus fruits like lemons and limes. As an ingredient in dishwashing powder, it helps to break down protein-based food bits.

Kosher Salt is salt that contains no iodine. We use it in homemade dishwashing powder because the sodium in salt does a great job of dissolving grease and food bits on dishes. It is also great at removing stains from cutlery.

Combined, these four ingredients produce a dishwasher powder that removes stains, cuts through grease, and breaks down bits of food.

How much money can you save by making Dishwasher Detergent?

Homemade dishwashing detergent is cheap to make! The ingredients are readily available and inexpensive, especially if you buy them in bulk. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Washing soda – about $0.75 per cup
  • Baking soda – $.75 per cup
  • Citric Acid – $1.40 per 1/2 cup
  • Kosher salt – $0.32 per 1/4 cup

The total cost of this recipe is $3.22 – less than 7 cents per dishwasher load.

For comparison, an all-natural powdered detergent bought at the store can cost about $13.00. This box may only do about 65 loads. That’s about 20 cents per load. So, with this recipe, you’re saving about 14 cents per load, or 65% off store-bought prices.

We hope you’ll give this homemade dishwasher powder recipe a try! It’s easy, all-natural, and free from harsh chemicals – AND it works!

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Carrie Williams Howe is an educational leader by day and an aspiring homesteader by night and weekend. She lives on a small homestead in Vermont with her husband, two children, and a rambunctious border collie. She blogs about her family's homestead life at The Happy Hive.

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  1. I am not sure I will use this in my dishwasher, but I will definitely try it for other dish-doing uses! I have been using powdered dish soap from BlueLand to avoid disposable plastic containers, but it costs $$$. This mixture sounds good and costs pennies! I will try to comment again after I have tried it. Thank you!

  2. We made this at our house and it’s rock hard after sitting for a few days. What did I do wrong?

    1. We have found that having an air-tight container, and storing the mix in a cool, dry place is essential. If moisture gets into it, it can harden up, but I can usually free it up by stirring with a butter knife or shaking.

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