DIY Powdered Dishwasher Detergent | Dishwasher Detergent

DIY Powdered Dishwasher Detergent

I know right about now you’re thinking: another post that has nothing to do with food?  What’s up with that?  Why is she posting a recipe(?) for powdered dishwasher detergent instead of a food recipe?” Could this even be considered a recipe?  Can’t say for sure, so for the remainder of this post, we’ll just call it a “non-recipe”.   Feel free to skip this post if you’re not into DIY kitchen hacks or saving money and/or just don’t care to make ANYTHING that you can easily find in the store.  Buh-Bye.
For those of you that stayed, here’s part one of the answer to the question “Why this post?”.  THE ANSWER: I’m a slightly neurotic person.  Ok, ok — I AM a neurotic person! Admission is the first step towards recovery or something like that. Whatevs, I admit I suffer from neurosis. (Self diagnosis and Google are a dangerous combination for people like me folks.  Just throwing it out there).

I am the type of person that owns a dishwasher yet does dishes by hand. Yeah – I’m that type of person, don’t judge. I’m sorta like the person that actually enjoys ironing……..psshawNOT!   Now those people have serious problems.  I mean, who the heck loves ironing?   Certainly not me!  My idea of ironing is putting the clothes in the dryer and as soon as the buzzer rings, take the clothes out, hang them up and tada…ironing’s done!

But seriously, I do find it somewhat therapeutic to do dishes. Now before you go tying up my phone line (hold on, a song just popped into my head as I wrote that:  I know when that hotline bling –  that can only mean one thing…).

So where was I?  Yeah – so before you start calling me to make reservations for me to come and do your dishes, I said I was neurotic not certifiable.

I did assign my daughter to what she defines to be the “dreaded task” of doing the dishes. I’m hoping she develops the same compulsive-type behavior I developed when my mother assigned this “dreaded” task to my sisters and me. The difference from me is that I had two other sisters to rotate this baby with. Jasmine has no one except me and a hope, on any particular given day, that I feel the need for “therapy” and feel compelled enough to do them myself.  Which, I’m not gonna lie, has been known to happen many times much to her relief. I’m so obsessed with doing the dishes by hand that even though I own a dishwasher, this is what I use it for:

Yes much to Jasmine’s chagrin, my dishwasher no longer works because, what is it they say?  If you don’t use it you lose it? Yup I didn’t use the dishwasher for so long it actually broke. Don’t laugh IT HAPPENS. So hubby said he’s not replacing it being that I use it for “storage” anyway. I guess if I didn’t suffer from this neurosis, I would totally veto that bill (as I’ve been known to do) and I would have a working dishwasher, but aaahhh, I like having the extra storage space better.  So cheers to those who find this to be a helpful kitchen-hack tip: Turn your non-working dishwasher into a “plastic storage” pantry.   Your welcome!    

So now you’re probably wondering what oxymoron makes and posts about a DIY powdered dishwasher detergent when they DON’T EVEN HAVE A WORKING DISHWASHER!!!!   Here’s part two and the final answer to the reason for this post.

Remember the condition I self diagnosed myself with?  Well, it was kicked in full gear one day when I looked at my sink (a double bowl sink: garbage disposal sink on the left and full size sink on the right). I noticed the garbage disposal sink was totally being under-utilized, so I set off to correct that.

I decided to disinfect the garbage disposal sink with antibacterial spray which by the way has now become a rule in my kitchen for BOTH sinks before anything goes in them (I might have forgotten to mention that I’m also a germaphobe.  Yup – and proud of it!).

I then placed the stopper in the drain hole, filled the sink with HOT HOT water, dissolved a dishwasher pac in the water with a little squirt of degreaser (Stanley brand, gotta love that stuff) to completely cut the grease, then placed all my dirty dishes in the prepared solution to presoak them.

homemade powdered dish detergent steps

 Brilliant huh?  I know.  Sometimes I scare myself.

The idea to make my own powdered dishwasher detergent came when I saw a link for it on the internet and realized how much money I was spending on dishwasher pacs.  Not to mention how bad for the environment most if not all of these are.  When I saw how easy it is to make my own, that’s exactly what I set off to do.  I was pleasantly surprised with the results.  In the long run you will save a lot of money – but more importantly you will love the fact that you’re using more natural ingredients that are actually safe for the environment.  Ok that was my very brief “go green” statement for today.

These are the ingredients you’ll be using:

  • Borax Detergent
  • Super Washing Soda (NOT baking soda)
  • Kosher Coarse Salt
  • Citric Acid (now before you go crazy and start writing to me about this, this is NOT the chemical substance that if it comes in contact with your skin, will turn you into the Batman’s Joker or Two-Face). This is a totally safe natural product that can be used to clean around your home and can also be used in foods (especially in canning).  It also can be used to descale hard water buildup in your tea kettle or coffee pot and many other uses too numerous to list.   My point is this: it’s totally safe to use.

If you’re interested in the cost to make this yourself, scroll down after the “non-recipe” and see what you should expect to pay if you buy these ingredients in bulk.

Ok enough of all this blah blah blah and on to the “non-recipe”.  I Promise next post will be something you can actually cook and eat -pinky promise….

Yields 24 oz.

DIY Powdered Dishwasher Detergent

DIY Powdered Dishwasher Detergent Recipe Type : Non-Recipe Cuisine: DIY Author: Angie's Kitchen Shenanigans Serves: 24 ounces A DIY version of powdered dishwasher detergent to save you money and save the environment!

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  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • ½ cup citric acid (NOTE: If you DO NOT use citric acid you may see a cloudy residue left like most “green” cleaners leave)
  • ½ cup kosher salt (for scrubbing action)


  1. Mix all your ingredients together and transfer to a container big enough to hold. If you wish, you may add a few drops of essential oil (I highly recommend the lemon scent or lavender).
  2. TO USE:
  3. Use 1 Tbsp per load (I always use a full two scoops for my sink trick, but if you're using a dishwasher, just a tablespoon will do).
  4. If you will be using this homemade detergent powder for your dishwasher you will definitely need to include a rinse agent to your machine as homemade versions of dishwasher detergents will likely leave a residue especially areas that have hard water. As a DIY rinse agent, you can simply fill the compartment with white vinegar.
  5. Each batch should about 24 ounces of dishwasher detergent. I do recommend that you store this batch in a container that will hold at least this amount. I've seen big plastic containers in Dollar Tree (take a look at the picture for what I use).



The cost for each ingredient is as follows: (remember that you’re buying bulk and making bulk)

NOTE: I’ve enclosed affiliate links to the ingredients you will need but you may purchase these wherever you wish, it’s your choice.  Clicking and purchasing through these links will help me with the maintenance of this blog if you purchase them through Amazon):

1 – 55 ounce box of Arm & Hammer® Super Washing Soda (Get both Washing Soda and Borax for $15.99
1 – 76 ounce box of 20 Mule Team® Borax = $4.29
1 – 48 ounce box of coarse Kosher Salt = $1.99
1 – 5 pound container of food-grade Citric Acid = $16.99   (You can also find this in the canning aisle of your local grocery store or Walmart, but it will be in the 7.5 oz. containers about $2.99)

Tips on how to prevent clumping:

This homemade detergent will clump because of the citric acid. Following are a few hints that will help make it clump less.

  • Add a teaspoon of rice to the detergent to help with the absorption of moisture.
  • After combining your ingredients, leave the mixture out (without covering with a lid) and stir it several times each day for a day or two before storing with a lid.
  • Add ½ – 1 teaspoon citric acid separately to each dishwasher load rather than adding it to the detergent.