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These DIY Dishwasher tablets are so simple and easy to make. Commercial Dishwasher products contain all sorts of toxic chemicals, small amounts of these chemicals remain on your dishes, and then these are inadvertently consumed when you cook in or eat off those dishes. Yuck!

I have tried many DIY dishwasher tablets recipes since I have converted to a low tox Lifestyle and most have been extremely disappointing. But after neatly 2 years working on this recipe (yep seriously!) I think I have finally cracked it.

What Ingredients are in These DIY Dishwasher Tablets

Washing Soda

Washing soda (Sodium Carbonate) is used in these DIY dishwasher tablets as it is a super water softener and raises the pH of the cleaning water providing a more effective clean. Washing soda is also effective at cutting through grease and oil and descaling deposits in the dishwasher.

Citric Acid

Citric acid keeps hardwater deposits suspended in the wash water so they don’t settle on anything. It can also be used in the rinse compartment. The only catch with citric acid is that it neutralises the washing soda!! The trick is to not add too much citric so you don’t neutralise all the washing soda and hence reduce the cleaning power of your dishwashing tablets. A general rule is to have a maximum 4:1 washing soda to citric ratio.

Oxygen Bleach

Oxygen Bleach (Sodium Percarbonate) breaks down in the presence of water into washing soda and hydrogen peroxide. The washing soda adds more water softening power. Whilst the hydrogen peroxide disinfects, sanitises and removes stains from dishes.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are optional but can contribute to the effectiveness of your DIY dishwasher tablets. They can help to cut through grease and grime, provide anti-bacterial action and most obviously provide a beautifully fresh fragrance. Some essential oils that I think work particularly well in DIY dishwasher tablets are citrus oils like lemon and lime and thieves.

What’s not in These DIY Dishwasher Tablets

There is no Borax, salt, or Baking Powder in this DIY dishwasher tablet recipe. But most importantly there are no chemicals such as synthetic fragrances, preservatives, SLS and dyes that can be toxic to both humans and the environment. You can find more information on what is contained in commercial dishwasher detergents here. You can also check out EWG’s ratings for a popular brand’s dishwasher products at their site, some of their products scored as bad as an F.

No Borax

Borax is a controversial ingredient. In the context of DIY dishwasher tablets, it is used for softening the water and raising the PH, however, washing soda is much more effective at both of these. Using washing soda rather than borax will give the final product more cleaning power.

No Salt

Salt is used in other DIY dishwasher recipes for its water softening properties, but again it is not as strong as washing soda. Using washing soda rather than salt will reduce the water spots and get things cleaner. Additionally salt can cause pitting in stainless steel pots and pans, so is best avoided in your DIY dishwasher tablets.

No Sodium Bicarbonate

Sodium bicarbonate, aka bicarb, is only half as strong as washing soda in raising the pH and softening the water. Why use it when you can use a more effective ingredient.

Eco-Friendly and Low Tox

All the ingredients in these dishwasher tablets are both environmentally friendly and safe for you! With only 3 ingredients there is really no reason not to have a go at making your own.


DIY Dishwasher Tablets Recipe

What You Need

2 cups Washing Soda
1 cup Oxygen Bleach
1/2 cup Citric Acid
~40-60 drops Essential Oil (optional)
Moulds or ice cube trays

What To Do

  1. Combine all the above ingredients well. (I find a thermomix or food processor works best at mixing in essential oils, but a whisk will do the job)
  2. Transfer the powder to moulds and press down firmly.
  3. Leave to harden for 24-72 hours.
  4. Transfer to an airtight container for storage

How To Use

Depending on the size of your finished tablet and how dirty your dishes are use 1-2 tablets per load. Make sure you use a low tox rinse aid with these DIY dishwasher tablets such as vinegar or citric acid solution to reduce spotting or residue film. If you find you are getting a reside on your clean dishes try reducing the amount/size of tablets used. I find that there is some residue, particularly on plastics, if I use too much.


  1. Makes 50-80 tablets depending on the size of your mould. I use mostly chocolate moulds and end up with around 80 tablets weighing around 8g each.
  2. The dry powder will absorb moisture from the air and harden in the mould.
  3. To accelerate the hardening processes you could a tiny amount of water to step 1
  4. This recipe can be left as a powder but will harden over time. To avoid this you could try adding a sock of rice to the container or keep in a super airtight container. I have had success with reusing a commercial dishwashing powder bottle.

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