DIY Eco-Friendly Dishwasher Detergent

Ingredients for DIY eco-friendly dishwasher detergent

photos for Northern Cheapskate by Jessica of Save Green Being Green

I have been thinking about what product I buy that I might be able to make up myself with supplies that I already have in my home and it occurred to me that I spend quite a bit of money on dishwasher detergent and would love to figure out a lower cost solution to a quality dishwasher detergent instead of continuing to buy boxes of Seventh Generation powder detergent. Personally, I like powder better. I think it works better in my dishwasher.

I already use vinegar as a rinse aid and it works great. I notice a huge difference  in the cleanliness of my dishes if we forget to add vinegar or run out. Even though we have a water softener, I still have water spots UNLESS I use vinegar as a rinse aid. I do have a rinse aid dispenser, but I don’t think it dispenses enough vinegar per load to do an effective job, so I just pour some in the bottom of the dishwasher (about ¼ – ⅓ cup.)

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DIY Eco-Friendly Dishwasher Detergent

  • 1 C Washing Soda
  • 1 C Borax
  • ½ C Epsom Salt
  • 2 packets of unsweetend lemonade

Directions: Just pour all of the ingredients in a container and stir together until well blended. Use as you would any other powder dishwasher detergent in your dishwasher.

Mixing the dishwasher detergent

* I find that stirring with both a spoon and a whisk really help to mix the ingredients well. Now for some cost comparison:

  • Homemade Dishwasher Detergent (with name brand lemonade & non-sale prices) = 7 cents/oz.
  • Homemade Dishwasher Detergent (with store brand lemonade) = 6 cents/oz.
    • You could save even more if you buy the washing soda, Epsom salt & borax when there is a sale price.
  • Store Brand Eco-Friendly Dishwasher Powder = 9 cents/oz. (sale), 11 cents/oz (non-sale)
  • Seventh Generation Dishwasher Powder = 11 cents/oz. (sale), 13 cents/oz. (non-sale)

So, what does that mean as far as dollar values? It means if you made homemade dishwasher detergent with store brand lemonade & everything is regular price it will cost you $2.70 to make 45oz. Whereas the store brand eco-friendly dishwasher detergent would cost you $5 (non-sale) or Seventh Generation $6 (non-sale). So, as you can see the savings are about half when you compare them to the regular store prices. I am not exactly sure how much dishwasher detergent I go through, but if figure I use a box & a half a month that adds up to a savings of about $25/year.

DIY eco-friendly dishwasher detergent

You can also use the washing soda & borax to make Homemade Powder Laundry Soap. Both the borax and the vinegar are great for regular natural cleaning around your home. And the epsom salt is great for making bath salts, which also make great gifts.

About Jessica Shallow-Miller

Jessica is a crafty stay-at-home mom of two, who tries to find ways to save money while being green. She is also the author of the blog Save Green Being Green.


  1. says

    I buy a gallon jug of white vinegar of whatever is cheapest. Most white vinegar is the same acidity, but I did notice that ValuTime is just a little bit lower and didn’t work quite as well. But Food Club & Heinz & the store versions at other stores all have said the same acidity.

  2. Amy says

    Interesting. How long have you used this formula? I assume the lemonade is for the citric acid….I have some on hand from making bath bombs a while back, perhaps that would work instead of the lemonade? Also, have you tried kosher salt instead of epsom salt? Curious one works better that the other…epsom salts seem really chunky. Thanks.

  3. says

    Yes, the lemonade is for citric acid. I am not sure how much citric acid you would need if you use that instead. I have not used kosher salt, the epsom salts I have are pretty fine, but I do know what you mean about them being chunky as I bought one in a carton one time that were chunky, but these in the bag are fine.

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