Homemade Dishwashing Detergent

Written by Debra Wyatt (last updated July 18, 2022)

It seems like where ever you live prices on everything just keep going up, making it harder to find ways to stretch your dollar. Being frugal is a great way to extend those hard-earned dollars.

One way of being both frugal and staying "green" is to make your own dishwashing detergent. (I'm talking about the type of dishwashing detergent you use in your dishwasher, not the type you use in the sink.) It will take less than five minutes to make and costs next to nothing. When I was younger my mother had a great knack for stretching her dollars. This is one way that she stretched the money. The fun thing was that other family and friends never knew. Her secret was always safe—until now.

Ingredients needed:

  • 2 cups of baking soda
  • 2 cups of 20 Mule Team Borax
  • 4 tablespoons of citric acid (I have found through other resources that four packets of Kool-Aid sugar free lemonade will work)
  • distilled white vinegar

Put all the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Mix the soda and the borax well. Pour the dry ingredients into a container with a reusable lid. Place a tablespoon either inside the container or attached to the container.

Use only two tablespoons per load. That is one tablespoon in the cup that closes and another tablespoon into the open cup.

Be sure to label the container with "dishwashing detergent," with instructions about how much of the detergent to use in each load. This will help others who may do your dishes from using too much detergent.

If you have hard water in your area then you may have to readjust the amount of borax that you use. This may take a little bit of experimenting on your part. You will be able to tell if your recipe for dishwashing detergent needs to be readjusted if your dishes happen to have a white residue left on them. (If you have residue, you should decrease the amount of borax.)

Water spots on dishes and glasses happen quite regularly whether you are using homemade detergent or store-bought soap. To help keep the water spots from getting on your dishes, use white distilled vinegar. Simply add the vinegar to the dispenser that is used for the clear rinse gel. Keep the white vinegar close to the dishwashing detergent so that you don't have to go looking for it all the time. After your dishes are done take time to notice how clean and spot-free they are.

I found that I could get almost 100 loads with my homemade dish detergent. Normally, when I used the store-bought type of dish detergent I would get anywhere from 27 to 30 loads per container. (This would vary on who loaded the dishes.) With my homemade dish detergent this didn't happen because all that was on the container was the simple instructions that they couldn't help to see.

Author Bio

Debra Wyatt

Deb has a communications degree and applies her talents to her position as Marketing Specialist at Sharon Parq Associates. In her spare time she spends time with her children and grandchildren and devotes time to her church. ...


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