Disclosure: My blog contains affiliate links, which means I receive a tiny commission from qualifying purchases. I link to these companies and products due to quality, regardless of whether you buy or not.
Do you know what ingredients are in your dish detergent?
Most store-bought dishwasher powder contains chemicals called carcinogens, which preserve the product over time and prevent bacteria build-up. It might also have chemicals to prevent hard water spots or add a sweet smell to the cleaner. However, these chemicals are highly toxic.
The dishwasher detergent you choose depends on personal preference, but homemade powder options are economical and much less toxic. Sure, there are also commercial non-toxic cleaning products available in many stores. Unlike any store-bought options on the shelves, homemade dishwasher detergent recipes help you save money.
Plus, you know exactly what is in products when you do-it-yourself. My DIY dishwasher detergent recipe contains only three ingredients: baking soda, washing soda, and lemon essential oil. The powder is fast and inexpensive to create. You can even mix a small or large amount as you see fit.
Keep reading for the step-by-step instructions to make your own dishwasher detergent powder. It’s eco-friendly and entirely personalizable.
How to Make Powder Dishwasher Detergent
My dishwasher detergent powder recipe is easy to follow. You only need three basic ingredients and an airtight jar to get started.
5-15 drops of essential oil (lemon is my go-to kitchen scent)
Large mason jar
Sea salt (optional)
Use less oil for a smaller amount of powder. If you’re only making a single-use amount, for example, only use a few drops of essential oil. You can always add more essential oil for a stronger scent later.
Then, store the powder in an air-tight glass jar. I repurposed an old spaghetti sauce glass jar to hold the dish powder. To fill my large mason jar, I used 2 cups of baking soda, 2 cups of washing soda, and around 15 drops of lemon essential oil.
To use, fill the dishwasher chamber (or the chamber designated for powder) and run the machine as usual. The powder should pour easily from your jar.
Optional Sea Salt Addition:
For tough-scrubbing dish detergent, try adding in a cup of coarse sea salt. Salt removes stuck-on messes quickly. You can also leave sea salt out of your powder dishwasher detergent recipe and instead add a small amount into the chamber of your machine as needed.
Essential Oil Alternatives for Dishwasher Detergent
Any citrus scent is ideal for cleaning products or kitchen use. I prefer lemon because I love the way it smells after the dishwasher runs. Some people prefer to mix lemon with orange essential oil. Other substitutes include:
Choose the scent you enjoy the most. You truly can’t go wrong with any RMO scent.
Regularly Clean Your Dishwasher for the Best Results
I highly recommend you fill the dispenser with vinegar to clean the dishwasher once per month, especially if you regularly use homemade detergent. The dishwasher will continue running its best and you won’t see any build-up.
Results vary based on how hard/soft your water is. If you have any trouble, substitute around 1/4 to 1/2 cup of citric acid for the vinegar. Citric acid removes mineral deposits and other residues from the dishwasher. Run the empty machine on a regular cycle for five minutes and allow the solution to soak for 3-4 hours before completing the cycle.
Don’t have any citric acid? Two packets of unsweetened lemon Kool-Aid works too.
Clean the dishwasher before you use DIY dish detergent for the first time as well. Whichever cleaning technique you use, starting with a clean machine helps you see clear results.
Have you tried other homemade dishwasher detergents in the past? How does my recipe compare? Share your experiences in the comments below.