Save money by making your own homemade dishwasher tablets. Here’s a simple recipe, without borax, that works incredibly well.
Over the last several years, we have been making our own beauty and personal care products – we have also been making our home household cleaners with essential oils.
My goal to making these dishwasher tablets was to avoid having to go to the store. Having to take all of the kids to get stuff isn’t the most exciting experience. Over the last six months, I tried to make dishwasher tablets over a half dozen times and failed miserably.
Talk about a HUGE challenge.
I googled a million homemade dishwasher tab recipes, and tried over and over, without any success. Talk about complete frustration – some of those recipes were totally horrible!
I was starting to wonder if it was just me… or if the recipes shared online were just ineffective to start with.
One thing I noticed while perusing through recipes is that some people use borax and some people don’t. It seems to be an ever going debate. After trying a series of recipes, I modified what worked and eliminated what didn’t, and came up with my own recipe.
This recipe does not include borax.
In all honesty, I don’t mind including Borax. But I was looking for something that didn’t have borax because I didn’t have any at home. I also wanted something that would incorporate my essential oils.
I let these dry over the course of a weekend, and then I used them several times for some heavy wash loads that I had. They worked. My dishes were clean. Over the next week, I used them over and over numerous times.
They continued to work.
I felt incredibly successful – who ever thought a few simple ingredients could replace the traditional dish tabs we had been been buying for so very long?
One thing to remember when it comes to homemade dishwasher tabs is that rinsing your dishes is essential. If your kids are loading the dishwasher, it’s imperative that they scrape and rinse as much off as possible.
(That rings true whether or not you are using homemade dish tabs or commercially purchased tablets. You should never put your dishes in the dishwasher with tons of gunk on them!)
Homemade Dishwasher Tablets:
- 1 C. Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (cleans) – I recommend buying at your grocery store for a better price
- 1 C. Arm & Hammer Baking Soda (helps cut the grease)
- 1/2 C. Epsom Salt
- 1/3 – 1/2 C. Lemon Juice (we used fresh squeezed but you can use bottled)
- 25 drops Thieves Essential Oil (added cleaning power)
- 15 drops Lemon Essential Oil (added cleaning power)
- Wilton Square Mold (this works perfect for dish tabs)
- Combine your washing soda, epsom salt and baking soda along with the lemon juice and essential oils and mix until combined. Avoid using a plastic bowl since you are using citrus essential oil.
- Add more lemon juice, 1 Tbsp at a time until the mixture is damp (not crumbly, but damp enough to hold together with your hands)
- Press the mixture into ice cube trays or, use the Wilton Square Mold – making sure you push completely down to form the squares properly.
- Allow to dry overnight preferably (or, up to 24 hours), before popping them out and storing them in a tight, sealed container.
- Add a tablet in your dishwasher tray upon washing a load.
- *Tip: it helps to add a little distilled water or vinegar to the compartment that you would add Jet Dry to ensure that you soften your water a bit (it’ll prevent spots and streaks on the glasses).
If you like this DIY, you might also want to try this easy DIY. It’s super handy for those times when you don’t want to push a mixture into molds.
Could you replace the Thieves oil with another if you don’t have it?
If so which one?
Absolutely! Pick something that you have.. lately I’ve been using Lemon because I have more of that but you could use whatever works best.
Jill McDonald says
I think Stacey is asking the same thing I want to know. If I already have a small supply of something like Bronner’s can it be substituted for Thieves unti gone?
Jill ~ Thieves is an essential oil and Bronner’s is castile soap.. adding a bit of Bronner’s might make them a tad bit less “stiff” (so to speak), so you may have to up the washing soda & baking soda a bit to compensate. Just keep an eye on it and see… if you don’t have Thieves you can skip it altogether though, it’s not 100% needed. Let me know how they work for you!
Are these suitable for use in a dishwasher lined with stainless steel?
Deb, yes -my dishwasher is lined with stainless steel and they work great.
Hi, I gave this a go & everything came out squeaky clean, but the glass dishes are now cloudy? I already have vinegar in the rinse compartment. Any ideas to prevent this happening?
I think the biggest thing with homemade dish tablets and soap (from my experience of trying a MILLION recipes..) is that the quality of your water will help or hinder. It seems like that is what the hang up is for most folks — do you have soft water? Or hard water? If you have hard water (or water with a high mineral content), then that tends to make for the cloudy effect after the washing. You might want to try using a half of a tablet or making your tablets a little smaller (as too much detergent can only make cloudiness worse and not better).
Thanks for this! i choose not to use essential oils – mainly because i wanted share with some of my friends who don’t use essential oils. i just needed more lemon juice. Turned out great and worked great. So happy i can save some money this way.
trying, once again, a dish washer detergent recipe. I have never tried wth epsom salt before so I have high hopes.
How many dish tabs does this recipe make? Thanks!
24 – for me, using my mold. The number it makes for you may vary based on the size of your mold. Hope that helps!
Aloha and thank you for this recipe! Do you think that we Could we press this between 2 sheets of parchment and cut squares?
I think it might be very difficult!
Naomi Williamson says
Hi just wondered is it on to make and sell from your recipes ? I have a ecofriendly business and this would be a good low waste option. Thanks Naomi
I don’t mind at all 😉