How to Make Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Without Borax

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Clean wine glass, homemade dishwasher tablets, and hand pulling plate out of dishwasher

How to Make Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Without Borax

If you’re looking to save a little money, help keep toxic chemicals out of the water supply, and use more natural and eco-friendly cleaning products in your home, you can’t beat homemade dishwasher detergent.

Even better, these homemade dishwasher tablets are easy to make, only require a few ingredients, and you can use them exactly like you use commercial dishwasher pods.

Why Doesn’t This Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Use Borax?

In the eco-friendly living world, you’ll find two areas of thought regarding borax. On one side, you have those who point out that borax is a natural mineral that people have been using for decades as a cleaning agent.

On the other side, you have people arguing that the FDA has banned borax as a food additive, it’s a natural pesticide used to kill ants and cockroaches, and it has an F score from the Environmental Working Group.

So which side do I fall on? The better safe than sorry side. Borax isn’t a necessary ingredient in homemade dishwasher detergent, so I’m not going to use it to clean dishes my family uses to eat.

Ingredients for DIY Dishwasher Pods

Supplies for Homemade Dishwasher Tablets

Directions for Making DIY Dishwasher Tablets

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the washing soda, baking soda, citric acid, and salt.
  2. Add the water to the dry ingredients in the bowl. The mixture will start to bubble and fizz. Wait about 1 minute for the bubbles to reduce, and then stir to thoroughly combine.
  3. Scoop 1 tablespoon of the mixture into each mold of an ice cube tray. Use your fingers to flatten the mixture into the molds.
  4. Let the trays sit overnight.
  5. When the tablets have dried, give each tray a twist to help release them. Then turn the tray over, and tap it against the counter until the tablets pop out.
  6. Store the tablets in an airtight container.
  7. Pop one tablet into the detergent dispenser in your dishwasher, and run your regular cycle.

Tips for Using Your Homemade Dishwasher Tablets

You can also eliminate toxic and expensive rinse aids by pouring a ½ cup of distilled white vinegar into the rinse aid spout before each cycle. Vinegar aids in drying, which helps prevent streaks from forming on your dishes.

The kosher salt helps to soften hard water, so you might need to adjust the amount based on the water where you live.

In the case of detergent, more isn’t better. If your dishes come out with a light film on them, cut back on the amount of mixture you use to make each homemade dishwasher detergent tablet.

If you have a very small detergent dispenser in your dishwasher like I do, simply break up the tablets to make them fit. I also found that these ice cube trays tend to make skinnier tablets than other trays.

More Homemade Cleaning Products

Interested in cutting out even more toxic cleaning chemicals from your life? Check out a few of our other popular homemade cleaning products:

White dishwasher tablets on blue towel with text overlay How to Make Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Without Borax

Dishwasher tablets on towel with text overlay How to Make Incredibly Easy Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

6 thoughts on “How to Make Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Without Borax

  1. My homemade dishwasher tabs are not getting coffee stains off my cups? Any ideas on what I could add to this recipe do get the results I want?

    1. It sounds like you might need a scrub to clean those stains. Whenever I get tea stains in my mugs, I make a quick and easy scrub to clean them. I put a sprinkle of baking soda in the bottom of the mug and add just enough water so the baking soda turns into a paste. I then use this paste to scrub the mug. When the stains are gone, I rinse it out and put it in the dishwasher to wash like normal.

  2. I’ve let mine sit for about 24hours and they don’t seem like they are drying at all. I live in Utah where it’s very dry, so I was anticipating them drying quickly. Any thoughts?

    1. That is unusual. I live in Florida, and when the humidity is high, I sometimes have to let them sit for more than 24 hours before they completely harden. To speed up the drying time, try putting them in the sun for a few hours. The next time you make them, I would recommend cutting back on the amount of water you use. Perhaps try a 1/2 cup and see what consistency you get. The minerals in your water might be reacting with the other ingredients to make it a little more soupy than usual.

  3. I’ve tried cubes using borax…not good, I put lemon essential oil in these cubes….smells good but not good for glassware. I began having film on my glasses having to rewash in the sink..ughhh! This batch I’m adding more baking soda….and NOTHING ELSE….follow this recipe…it’s a good one!

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