DIY Chemical Free Dishwasher Detergent

For those of you who know me & follow the blog, you know that cleansing our home of chemicals has been an ongoing focus of mine for some time now. When it comes to the house & cleaning products I’ve been looking into and trying out different chemical- free options, including all- purpose cleaners, soaps/ detergents (see my homemade laundry detergent- which I lovehere), and have now found a formula for DIY dishwasher detergent that’s free from bleach & harsh detergents/ chemicals that works. It gets the dishes clean, the glasses crystal- clear & free from filmy residue, and the dishwasher smells fresh after each use.
Before you think I’ve completely turned into a modern- day hippie, I want you to do this one thing: go fetch your dishwashing detergent/ tabs/ whatever you use & look at what’s in it. Those ingredients leave a residue on the plates you eat off of, the glasses you drink from, the cutlery you use, & all of your cooking/ baking/ storage containers. Yum. And I get it: you’re busy, you’ve used the same brand for forever, and you don’t want to switch now. So if you can’t quite bring yourself to try this little recipe/ experiment out, I hope you’ll at least try some of the natural brands available to compare the difference.
But if you’re curious about a chemical- free home, this is a simple place to start. Plus any ingredients below that you don’t already have serve a multitude of purposes in various applications throughout your home. You might spend a couple bucks up front but the ingredients will go a long way. I got the recipe from The Makeshift Nest & she has great step- by- step photos if you’d like to see what everything looks like. The only difference I found was that my batch didn’t make as many as hers for some reason, but no biggie.
So, let’s get to some making!
You will need:
1 cup borax*
1 cup washing soda*
1 cup vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 or 2 ice cube trays
Tip: I recommend looking at the detergent compartment in your dishwasher before you start, so you know how big it is & it’s a funky shape. This will affect how you pour & dry your detergent tabs.
*You can buy these ingredients in most grocery stores & find them online on sites like
To make:
1. Combine the dry ingredients in a large Pyrex jug & make sure to get out any lumps- a fork works well here to mash out the lumps
2. In a separate bowl combine the vinegar & lemon juice
3. Stirring constantly, pour the liquid mix into the dry mix, again trying to work out any lumps that may form
4. Pour your mixture into the ice cube trays & allow to sit for an hour
5. When dry/ solid to a light touch, pop out the tabs onto a piece of wax paper. Depending on the size your dishwasher’s detergent compartment, you may need to use a knife to gently slice them in half so they fit. Allow to dry for another half hour or so
6. Store in a glass container & use 1- 2 (full- sized tabs) per load, based on how dirty your dishes are
Makes around 12- 14 full- sized tabs using standard ice cube trays

In addition to maintaining the dishwasher, making sure that you have added it to a home warranty plan, which you can get from places like First American, for home warranty texas, florida, and many other places will ensure that if anything does go wrong with the dishwasher you are then covered to get it repaired or replaced in a quicker time than without a plan and for much cheaper. In the meantime, keep cleaning and maintaining your dishwasher to avoid malfunctions in the future (although it’s always good to know you can go to this site and get someone out if you do find your dishwasher in need of a repair).

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