Dirty Dishes :: How to Make Your Own Dishwasher Detergent

After the great success of the Laundry Detergent – clothes are clean and smell nice – I’ve been thinking that I should check out how to make my own dishwasher detergent. It’s not that it’s insanely expensive, but it still does add an extra $6 or so to the monthly budget. If I can make my own for .65 cents for 100 plus loads as Frugally Green author claims I am all about it. I had most everything I needed hanging out under the sink – the koolaid was in the cupboard.


Dirty Dish Detergent

I wanted to start out with a small batch just to see how it worked – I think a good idea for anyone who hasn’t made their own before.

1/2 cup borax
1/2 cup baking soda
1 package of lemon-lime kool-aid
1 glass jar to store it in – had have a bunch of these nice jars from when we were roasting our own coffee so I thought I would use that to set on the counter, it looks nice. A vintage mason jar would work equally well.
1 larger container to mix it all in (with a lid)


Add all the ingredients together in the large container, break up any larger chunks, snap on the lid and shake, shake, shake! Once thoroughly mixed together put into your jar for storage.


Use 2 T of mixture per load – 1T in the closing container and 1T in the open one. If you have a rinse additive receptacle (which we do not) you can add the vinegar to that to get a super sparkly streak free rinse.

I had a nice load of dirty dishes waiting for me this morning and I have to say I’m pretty impressed with how they turned out. The one thing that I’ve read over and over is that you need to really get the food stuff off your dishes before washing them in the dishwasher – which is pretty standard for our dishwasher regardless of homemade or store bought detergents. One spoon turned out a little slimy – I put it in there without wiping it off at all and it was caked with curry gunk – so I think that’s not bad at all. In fact, I think that is better than it would have turned out using the store bought stuff I had been.

Stretchy Dollar has a nice write up on different issues and solutions with homemade dishwasher detergent.

And TipNut has a whole catagory just for cleaning recipes and posts they have written up, you can see the catagory list here.

Next on the list to try is toilet bowl cleaner. I just ran out and I really don’t want to spend $3 on another thing of it. I’ll post about that one and how shiny it keeps my crapper.

Have a good day and happy crafting!

4 thoughts on “Dirty Dishes :: How to Make Your Own Dishwasher Detergent

  1. Very interesting. Why Kool Aid? Scent? Does the sugar do something? I’d rather not have to go purchase kool aid to make dishsoap (lol).

  2. In theory it helps like a citrus cleaner would – the acidity of the lime/lemon koolaid working to break things down. I’m not sure if there is much of a difference in performance. I figured for this first trial I’d try it with the koolaid and then for my second without and see what happens.

  3. My mom used to run the dishwasher empty with just Koolaid or citric acid to get rid of hard water stains, so it might act as a rinse agent in the detergent.

    Also, Flylady (www.flylady.net) says that “soap is soap” and keeps a solution of shampoo (or whatever) and soap in a crock along with her toilet brush and “swishes” everyday. I do this too. If you do a quick swish with a mild cleanser (like shampoo) daily, you don’t need harsh toilet cleansers.

  4. According to the british cleaning ladies on the BBC… soda/coke will clean your toilet. They use vinegar for just about everything else. Oh, and salt and ice swirled around a grungy coffee pot, I’ve seen someone do that with miraculous results.
    I’m not so adventurous. I buy my cleaning supplies at the dollar tree to save a buck or 3.

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