Make Your Own Dishwasher Soap and Keeping My Fingers Crossed

by Kimba on September 7, 2011

in Cleaning Stuff,Do it yourself

Oh girls. Please keep your fingers crossed with me today. My ding-dong dumb’puter caught a ding-dong dumb virus and I’m waiting on a prognosis. Apparently, I caught the same bug that infected Centsational Girla few weeks ago. Unfortunately, my DIY debugging efforts were not successful and now Old Faithful is off at Dr. Dumb’puter. We’re hoping for the best.

Luckily, I took Kate’s wise advice and started a Carbonite subscription just last week. So even if my computer can’t be revived, I’ll be able to restore every. single. picture. file. document. and. song. Hallelu.

In the meantime, I’m working on a borrowed dumb’puter (maybe I should stop the name-calling?), without any of my pictures or programs. I feel so lost.

Luckily, my camera contained a complete set of pictures from a quick project that I did over the weekend. I made my own dishwasher soap! Like a lot of you, I’m looking for ways to pinch a few pennies these days and it always drove me nuts to spend so much money on dishwasher soap. I mean…it’s just soap, right? Why so expensive?

There are lots of homemade dishwasher detergent recipes out there, but I decided to try this one that I found on Being Creative.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 box of Borax (4 lbs)
  • 1 box of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (55 oz.)
  • 3 cups of Epsom Salts
  • 24 packets of unsweetened lemonade powder (This may stain your soap dispenser.If that bothers you, use citric acid instead.)

The young’uns helped me dump it all into a giant roasting pan and mix it up.

I’m storing the bulk of it in a big pitcher from Wal-Mart. Thanks to Being Creative for that recommendation too!

And I’m keeping a more reasonable amount in an airtight container in the kitchen. You only need to use 1 tablespoon of the mix for each load of dishes and I’ve filled my rinse agent dispenser with white vinegar to help with spots. That seems to be working pretty well.

Clearly, this makes a huge batch that you could easily cut in half. The total recipe cost less than $13 and I estimate it will last me for at least 9 months. Love those pinched pennies!!!

Do you make any of your own cleaning products? Is it worth the effort? The cost savings?

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1 Laree @ Ever Heard of Euless September 7, 2011 at 9:41 am

I haven’t tried the detergent – but I’m more excited about the idea of vinegar in the rinse dispenser. I’ve never heard of that one, but I might just need to try it out!

2 Kimba September 7, 2011 at 3:29 pm

So far, it’s working out for us. It makes me crazy to spend $3.99 for a little bottle of the regular rinse agent.

3 Condo Blues September 7, 2011 at 10:54 am

I clean with vinegar and make my own daily shower cleaner and HE laundry detergent. I tried homemade dishwasher detergent. It worked great for the first two batches. After that it left a film on glasses and glass bowls. I just switched back to regular dishwashing detergent.
Condo Blues´s last blog post ..One Small Green Change: Natural Dog Food

4 Kimba September 7, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Oh bummer! I hope that doesn’t happen to me!

5 randee September 7, 2011 at 11:12 am


i got a dumb virus from a blog a couple of months ago. it’s a google ad virus. & when you google something it sends you to crazy websites. & there is no cure.

we might try the homemade dw detergent if it works for you. the powder (without the harmful whatevers) was leaving such a terrible film on glass. we heated up vinegar in a crockpot & soaked each glass for a couple of minutes to get rid of the film & now they sparkle. so we had to start paying up & now use the gel thingies.

please pray for our new little grand daughter, lydia. she’s in children’s hospital here awaiting heart surgery for tapvr. she’s only 8 days old : (

take care –

6 Kimba September 7, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Oh sweetie. I’m so sorry to hear about Lydia. I’ll be praying. You must be so worried.

7 Centsational Girl September 7, 2011 at 11:30 am

Aw shucks friend, so so sorry to read about your computer woes but hooray for Carbonite!!! Thanks for sharing your recipe, and that glass container looks so pretty compared to the store bought stuff, bookmarking!!!


8 Leighann September 7, 2011 at 12:18 pm

I’ve been meaning to make my own detergent. Thanks for the motivation. 9 months!

9 Dana @Cooking At Cafe D September 7, 2011 at 1:32 pm

About cleaners for the computer….if you don’t already, you can download the free version of ccleaner at

(Click in the upper right corner. Do not pay, the free version is what I’ve used for about 8 years now. Or, course, you certainly CAN pay, if you have a little change you want to send their way.)

Oh, and I’m not affiliated in any way – just love ccleaner.

About (non-computer) cleaners…no, I haven’t tried anything other than always watering down the Bath and Body Works soap. I have a spare bottle, so I make do a 50/50 with water and it works beautifully.

I once had some BBW shower gel on hand, but ran out of hand soap. I watered down the shower gel. BAD MOVE! It chapped our hands really bad. (Which chapped my hide – lol.) So, in our home, the shower gel stays in the shower. 😉
Dana @Cooking At Cafe D´s last blog post ..Friday’s Two for $10! Oh, yeah!

10 Sarah September 7, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Would love to hear an update in a couple of months to see how it’s working for you. The homemade dishwasher soap not the dumb’puter. Hope that gets fixed asap!

11 Gina September 7, 2011 at 5:00 pm

I agree, I’d love an update too. The recipes we’ve tried have been disappointing but it kills me to spend so much on soap. Keeping my finger crossed for your computer!

12 Gina September 7, 2011 at 6:04 pm

I made my own laundry soap once – it smelled like the Chinese soap I love to buy. I guess it worked fairly well. But I don’t have a stockpile of little soap chips now that I had then. One day, I’ll make it again. For now, I am loving Gain..

13 Jenn September 7, 2011 at 6:54 pm

Yes, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let us know how it works in a week or month or whatever! I HATE my dishwashing detergent (leaves a nasty white film on metal items, only). If your homemade recipe works, I would be ecstatic! And, hmm, vinegar in the rinse aid spot………just might have to try that, too!

14 Shelly September 7, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Great post! I too want to hear how it will all work out. Like the vinegar idea too. Carbonite all the way! I never, ever, ever, want to lose our digital photos!!!

15 humanmama September 7, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Amazing! I was thinking borax, etc. would actually be more expensive. Shoot, now, does that mean I’ll feel guilty every time I buy detergent? Probably. I’ll have to make some!! Thanks for the ideas 🙂
humanmama´s last blog post need a blog

16 Tracey @ Control The Chaos September 8, 2011 at 4:42 pm

i make all my own cleaners, with the exception of dishwasher soap. I tried it once and wasn’t satisfied. I’ll be interested to hear how yours turns out since it’s a different recipe from the one I used. Cleaners are so easy to make, including laundry soap. Worth the time for the money saved, and for the use of natural vs chemical ingredients.

17 Tracey @ Control The Chaos September 8, 2011 at 4:44 pm

oops typo in my web address…here’s the correction.
Tracey @ Control The Chaos´s last blog post ..XPAT BLOG HOP – 5 THINGS

18 Maria Matter September 9, 2011 at 11:14 am

can’t wait to try this recipe, thanks for sharing!!!

19 IdahoMom September 9, 2011 at 11:20 pm

I have tried a similar recipe and wasn’t happy with it. The dishes were always left with a white film on them. After experimenting a bit, I found 1T of homemade laundry soap in the prewash cup (using the Duggar’s recipe) and 1T of lemon juice in the wash cup, along with the white vinegar in the rinse agent dispenser, works quite well! The Fels-Naptha soap does not cause sudsing problems with the dishwasher and actually get the dishes clean!

20 Jo September 11, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Doesn’t look complicated, so will definitely try to prepare a “case” in order to save some money
Jo´s last blog post ..Indoor Gardening

21 Kathleen Grace September 14, 2011 at 5:02 pm

I tried that exact recipe for dishwasher detergent. We have pretty hard water and this recipe said it worked well for that. It didn’t work for us. As one of your other commenters said, it seemed to work ok the first couple times, and then our dishes had a greasy film and just were not clean. I still don’t know what to do with all the leftovers!
Kathleen Grace´s last blog post ..Art & Apples

22 Susie September 14, 2011 at 11:54 pm

Always add Lemu Shine to your dishwasher. Cleans out your dishwasher and fixes the hard water Deposit. Then the homemade would work. I add the “Lemu Shine” every time I wash and it works great!!

23 Angie Weldy October 1, 2011 at 12:35 am

How’s the dishwasher soap working?? I’d love to hear!

24 Mindy October 1, 2011 at 12:42 pm

I’d love to hear also what you think of this dishwashing soap. I recently started making my own laundry soap and love it so was hoping something would work in the dishwasher equally well. Not worth the time/effort/money though if it doesn’t work very well!

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