Homemade Dishwashing Detergent*

*that actually works

I know this seems unbelievable but it's true - this homemade version is the best I've found that actually washes dishes as well as you can expect for any detergent, homemade or store bought, "natural" or chemical-laden.

Years ago we bought a new dishwasher, thought it was great and then quickly started having problems. Leaks, grinding noises, you name it. Several repairs, a significant amount of money and distress over the spongy-squishy feel of some floorboards and we took the advice of our repairperson, who suggested that LG dishwashers are basically junk and the best thing we could do was put ours down.

Prior to the arrival of our new (seemingly functional) Maytag I had realized that I was already doing so much work before the dishes went into our awful dishwasher that I may as well give the homemade stuff another try. And if it could do a passable job in that useless machine? I knew I had a winner. The thing is, I think we have a somewhat unrealistic expectation from dishwashers; they are not magical. They do not contain garbage disposals (despite a lot of common misconception, according to my wonderful appliance guy) and if you can't scrub dried egg off with a sponge, the dishwasher likely won't fair much better. So, don't expect a miracle but DO enjoy the freedom from that liquid stuff that promises to leave your dishes smelling like a mojito but doesn't usually get them spotless, either.

I've tried several variations I've found on the internet but I found the key was to up the washing soda a bit.

** Some sources recommend using gloves when handling citric acid. To learn more about the uses and benefits of citric acid, look here



1 cup Borax
1 1/4 cup washing soda
1/2 cup citric acid** Some sources recommend using gloves when handling citric acid.
1/2 cup kosher salt
20-30 drops of essential oil, if you choose. I'm liking a blend of fennel, rosemary and lemon.

*Dish soap, if desired, with each load


Combine the Borax, washing soda, citric acid and kosher salt in a container (I like a gallon glass jar) and shake to get it thoroughly combined. Add the oils, if using. I use about 2 tablespoons for each load and I add about 5-6 drops of dish soap on top of the powder to each load.