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Clean Up with these Homemade Dishwasher Soap Tablets

Homemade dishwasher soap? Of course! This recipe is made from less caustic ingredients than many of the dishwasher detergents you’ll find on the supermarket shelf.

For hand washing dishes, be sure to check out this recipe for a solid dish soap bar!

homemade dishwasher soap tablets, square and slightly pink

What’s wrong with store bought dishwasher soap?

Some name-brand dishwasher detergents contain some pretty nasty ingredients. The Environmental Working Group rates skin care and home cleaning products, ranking each based on their combined ingredients. (You can check your favorite brand here.) They take both environmental and human impacts into account. Just one example?

Cascade Complete Powder Dishwashing Detergent is of “highest concern” and given an “F” based on its ingredients.

With ingredients like methylisothiazolinone, surfactants, oxygen bleach, hydrozincite, and polyacrylates, some of these dishwasher detergents are an unpronounceable collection of toxins. Making your own homemade dishwasher soap is an easy way to avoid some of those harsh ingredients.


Homemade dishwasher soap ingredients

The ingredients for this recipe are few: washing soda and citric acid, along with optional essential oils. I’ve changed this recipe over time, as I experiment with it in my own kitchen, and this simple list of ingredients works consistently better than other formulations I’ve tried. Note that the hardness of your water may impact the final results. You can fiddle with the amount of citric acid to see what works best for you.

Making dishwasher soap tablets

This part can be a bit fiddly. It will depend a lot on the humidity. In my very humid climate, it doesn’t take much moisture at all for the dishwasher soap mixture to hold together. If your region is very dry, you’ll likely need to add more than I do.

No matter, add the moisture very slowly by using a spray bottle and misting the dry ingredients with just a spritz or two at a time. It will fizz a bit when the water hits the dry ingredients; that’s okay. You just really want to be sure not to add too much moisture. If you do, the dishwasher tablets will keep foaming when you try to form them.

If you prefer not to bother with making tablets, simply combine the dry ingredients until well blended and use 1 tablespoon of this homemade dishwasher soap powder per load.

For washing dishes by hand, be sure to check out these vegan dish soap bars from the folks over at Etee!
homemade dishwasher soap tablets on a piece of wood, with peach and teal dish cloths in background.

★ Did you make this homemade dishwasher soap? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below! ★


Homemade Dishwasher Soap Tablets

Homemade Dishwasher Soap Tablets

This recipe is made from less caustic ingredients than many of the dishwasher detergents you'll find on the supermarket shelf.


  • 1 cup washing soda, In the laundry aisle at the grocery store
  • 1/2 cup citric acid
  • 15 drops of essential oil, optional - citrus is good
  • spray bottle filled with water


  1. Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, making sure to break up any chunks.
  2. Add optional essential oil.
  3. Mix until well-combined. The mixture should be slightly damp. If it still needs more moisture, or if you're not using essential oil, use a spray bottle to spritz on a little at a time. Don't add too much water! damp mixture in a glass bowl for making homemade dishwasher soap
  4. Press firmly into ice cube tray or mold. You can do a test with just one tablet to make sure it holds its shape before adding more water.
  5. Allow to dry completely, then remove from molds. Store in an air tight container.


Note: These images show homemade dishwasher soap tablets made with a bit of food coloring for photography purposes. 

Nutrition Information:
Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g

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16 comments… add one
  • Nancy Oct 25, 2020 @ 8:01

    How many tablets does this recipe make?

    • Kris Bordessa Oct 26, 2020 @ 12:12

      About a dozen.

  • Carol Reynolds Aug 10, 2019 @ 15:53

    I am going to give this a try! Thank you for researching all of this Kris. I love your post. Carol

  • Amy Jul 31, 2019 @ 7:07

    What kind of citric acid do you recommend using?

  • Vero Dec 16, 2018 @ 21:23

    My tablets are rising like little dinner rolls. I think I used too much water???

    • Kris Bordessa Dec 19, 2018 @ 7:50

      Yes, too much water. It takes a *really small amount.

  • Neyssa | Latina Mom Meals Aug 19, 2018 @ 4:32

    OMG Kris! I run my dishwasher 2-3 times a day, I need to make these dishwasher tabs ASAP! Thank you so much! I bet lemon would smell amazing too. 🙂

  • Emily bledsoe Aug 8, 2018 @ 15:31

    If i want to leave out the borax in the dishwasher tablets what should i sub in, more washing soda? Do there leave a residue on the dishes? Ive tried to make my own before and it made everything so covered in white film i went back to store bought! I would like to try your recipe!

    • Kris Bordessa Aug 22, 2018 @ 18:14

      Well, it would be experimental, as I’ve not tried it, but I’d give citric acid a whirl.

  • Barbara Jun 22, 2018 @ 12:02

    If I wanted to add Borax how much would I add. I do make my own laundry detergent and use borax in it. Find no adverse affects from it and am just curious. I am going to mix as your recipe is tonight and see how it goes. Thank you for the share and the work you did involved in the mixture. It is appreciated.

    • Kris Bordessa Jun 28, 2018 @ 12:51

      I don’t know, as I’ve not tried that. Sorry!

  • Grainne May 3, 2018 @ 0:28


    Borax is about to be banned in the whole of Europe a s a pollutant and is actually already banned in the country where I live.

    • Kris Bordessa May 3, 2018 @ 7:12


    • Morgan Crampton Jun 20, 2018 @ 3:31

      Actually it’s banned as a food additive in Europe, not as a whole.

      • Kris Bordessa Jun 23, 2018 @ 11:11

        Thank you for that clarification.

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