Going Green in the Kitchen: Creating Your Own Dishwasher Detergent

We don’t have to tell you that there are multitude of dishwasher detergents to choose from. The grocery store shelves are practically sagging from all of the different powdered, liquid, and powder/liquid combinations. Most people find one brand that works well for them and stick with it. However, what if you have had no luck and are about ready to give up trying? Maybe you would also like to cut back on exposure to all of the chemicals typically found in dishwashing detergent?

Dishwasher Detergent

In order to save money or as part of their effort to go green, some consumers are making their own cleaners. Such homemade recipes have worked well on surfaces like windows, floors, walls, and clothes, and they can also make your dishes clean and sparkly.

Are you ready to try brewing your own dishwasher detergent? Here is a combination you can try. It can also come in handy on evenings when you need to get a load of dishes done, but have run out of the store-bought detergent.

Here is what you will need:

Washing Soda

Not to be confused with baking soda, Washing Soda is the shelf name for sodium carbonate. Excellent at fighting grease, Washing Soda comes from limestone and salt. You can find it at your local grocery store.

Kosher Salt

This is another chemical free product with excellent cleaning properties. When added to food, kosher salt tastes no different than the regular alternative. However, the kosher variety is coarser and often contains an anti-caking agent, which makes it a valuable ally in the fight against food encrusted pots, pans, and casserole dishes. Available most anywhere you can buy salt for cooking.


This white mineral has some relation to salt in that it occurs naturally in some alkaline salt deposits. It is a first-rate cleaning agent and goes under the scientific designation sodium tetraborate decahydrate. You can find it stores under the Borax name.

Citric Acid

Another great natural cleaner, citric acid comes, of course, from citrus fruits. However, for our purposes, it is much easier to purchase citric acid powder, which is available online and in some grocery and big box stores.

White Vinegar

If you have already experimented with green cleaning in your home, you are likely already familiar with the awesome cleaning power of white vinegar. In addition to removing dirt and grime from floors, walls, and countertops, vinegar makes a great natural rinsing agent for your dishwasher.


Get a sealable container and add the following amounts:

  • ½ cup of Kosher Salt
  • ½ cup of citric acid
  • 1 cop of Borax
  • 1 cup of Washing Soda

Thoroughly mix these ingredients together.

When your dishwasher is loaded and ready to go, add a tablespoon of your cleaning mix into the dishwasher’s container. Fill the rinse dispenser receptacle with the vinegar. Run the dishwasher through its regular cycle. You should be pleased with the results and the fact that your homemade mix costs less than the store-bought equivalent.


When finished, tightly seal your container to ensure that moisture does not get in. Note that although this mixture is fine to use in the dishwasher, Borax can be toxic when ingested, so make sure to keep this container away from children and pets.

Danby offers a variety of compact, portable, and counter top dishwasher models that will fit into virtually any kitchen setup. Visit our online showroom for more details and ordering instructions!

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