DIY Dishwasher Detergent
This DIY Dishwasher detergent is so simple and easy to make and be left as a powder, or made into tablets, whatever works best for you! 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 This DIY Dishwasher Detergent
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 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 (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 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 This DIY Dishwasher Detergent
There is no Borax, salt, or Baking Powder in this DIY dishwasher detergent 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.
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.
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 this dishwasher detergent 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.
If you love this recipe be sure to check out some of our other Natural DIY Cleaning Recipes to help you kick toxins to the curb and save money!
We Also Have A collection of DIY Personal Care and Beauty Recipes To Nourish Your Body Naturally…
- Combine all the above ingredients well. (I find a thermomix or food processor works best at mixing in essential oils if using, but a whisk will do the job)
- Transfer the powder to moulds and press down firmly.
- Leave to harden for 24-72 hours. In most cases the humidity in the air is enough to harden these tablets, but in some cases when the humidity is really low they remain a powder. If this occurs you can try spraying with some water, or just use as a powder. If you choose you can add a small amount of water during the mixing stage although it is generally not required.
- Transfer to an airtight container for storage
- Combine all the above ingredients well. (I find a thermomix or food processor works best at mixing in essential oils if using, but a whisk will do the job
- Transfer the powder to a container (or leave in the bowl), leave uncovered and place in a safe location away from inquisitive kiddos
- Leave exposed to the atmosphere for 24-72 hours, mixing up the powder periodically with a whisk or spoon. It will absorb some moisture from the air and go a bit lumpy, but doing this will ensure that it doesn't clump together and harden in storage.
- Transfer to an airtight container for storage
To Make Tablets
To Make Powder
- Citric acid tends to absorb moisture from the air. This is how the tablets harden without added moisture and why powders containing citric acid ted to clump together.
- 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.
How To Use
Depending on the size of your finished tablet and how dirty your dishes