Thursday, August 23, 2012

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent TABLETS!!

With my tiny girl becoming a toddler (who gets into everything!) and the availability of green cleaning products on the market these days, I've become obsessed with using all natural products and inexpensive homemade alternatives to clean as much of my house as I can.  When someone from my house says "Mom, is okay if Amelia just ate______(fill in the blank with non edible item)?" I like to be able to stay calm and know that we are not on our way to the emergency room.  You may be thinking, doesn't this lady childproof her house? The answer is a confident "YES", but this kid is super smart, and it's a matter of days before she figures out, at 16 months, how to open the childproof cupboard locks.  She's already figured out how to open the refrigerator, and door handles, so I'm not taking any chances.

The homemade dishwasher detergent became a part of my repertoire as an emergency substitute to the all natural tabs that I was using. The brand that I like is only carried at one store on the other side of town, making it difficult to replenish my supply when I'm not paying attention to the number of tabs in the bag.  One of these occasions happened on a day when I had a sink full of dishes and company on their way in a matter of hours.  I had seen homemade dishwasher soap recipe on and having all of the components (who doesn't keep borax and citric acid on hand?!) around decided to give it a try.  I was impressed.  The recipe worked like a charm and saved the day!

As great as this new discovery was, however, I haven't been using it exclusively because I really like the convenience of the tabs.  So, when I found myself out of dishwasher tabs again the other day, and didn't want to leave the house, I went back to my computer and scoured the internet for a recipe for the tabs...I found nothing.  It didn't make sense, there are recipes for bath fizzies and homemade tabs of all sorts, but not for dishwasher detergent?!  So to my kitchen I went.  Armed with my box of borax, washing soda, citric acid, and salt.  I was determined to find the solution to my dirty dish dilemma.  And here it long last the results of my experiments that day...Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Tabs!

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Tabs
This recipe yields 48 tabs for under $2
2 cups borax
2 cups washing soda (baking soda works in a pinch)
1 cup Kosher salt
1/4 cup citric acid
10 - 15 drops essential oil, such as lemon, grapefruit or lavender (whatever is your favorite)
approximately 1/2 cup water

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl and add the water a little at a time, until the mixture is moist and clumps together.  Be careful not to add too much or the dry ingredients will dissolve.  Pack the dishwasher soap into ice cube trays and allow to dry for 2 hours.  Place in a nice jar and pop one in the dishwasher for each load!

Tip: One other secret to making this work, and getting your dishes super clean, is to fill your rinse aid container with white vinegar instead of store bought rinse aid, it works much better and it's SO much cheaper.


  1. If I used the koolaide how many package would that be? Any idea's

  2. I just tried making these tablets and am not having much luck getting them out of the ice cube tray without crumbling. Any suggestions?

    1. Im having the same problem. Did u ever find a solution?

    2. I found that if you made the mix a little bit wetter than the recipe calls for, they dry a bit harder. let them set in the tray for 4-5 hours then tap them out. I found the pampered chef 1 tbsp scoop was perfect for me and went much quicker than pressing them into trays and allowed me to make them a bit drier making them easier to disolve. Be careful making them too hard though..... an older or even some newer washers seems to have a hard time breasking them down....

  3. I am going to make these tabs tomorrow and was wondering if anyone tried making this with lemi-shine instead of the citric acid. My dishwashing detergent recipe is 2C borax, 2C washing soda and 3/4C lemi-shine. So can I just add 1/2C water to my recipe and stuff it in ice cube trays to make them into tabs?

  4. Maybe line the ice cube trays with plastic wrap?

  5. you have to let them be to dry for 12-24 hours. when they are totally hardened they will come out easily but if they aren't hardened enough they won't come out, it's the same for when you're making bath fizzies. I have found my impatience is when they all crumble lol

  6. I would suggest putting a sheet of plastic wrap over the ice cube tray, push it in to fit the holes, and then put the soap in. This should pull them all out at once, without having to risk cracking them

  7. Leuke tekst hier! Ik ben op zoek naar een aanrechtblad van keramiek, graniet of composiet en vroeg me af of jullie betere prijzen weten te vinden online dan Ik ga namelijk een nieuw aanrechtblad kopen

  8. I know I'm probably too late to post on this, but my experience has been to let the DRY for at least 24 hours. If they are the least bit moist, they crumble when you take them out. Also, using a silicone mold of some sort rather than the ice cube tray is easier - you just push them out and they stay intact.

  9. What is washing soda?