Less-Toxic Dishwasher Detergent

Homemade less-toxic dishwasher detergent, from Cheap Recipe Blog

I recently read a news article about a young child who died after eating a dishwasher detergent pod. This is a heartbreaking and unnecessary casualty of the toxic and chemical-filled world we live in. This tragic story makes me wonder:

  • If one dishwasher pod can kill a toddler, what does long-term exposure to a small amount of dishwasher detergent residue do to our bodies?
  • What about all the other questionable ingredients and substances we are exposed to on a daily basis? (Chemical cleaners, air fresheners, sulfates in soaps and shampoos, etc.)

I’m not attempting to answer that question. But I am on a personal mission to reduce the amount of chemicals I expose my body to on a day-to-day basis.

That is one reason why I have started making my own dishwasher detergent at home. This is a less-toxic cleaning agent that leaves my dishes clean and sparkling without using questionable ingredients.

ingredients for homemade dishwasher detergent

How To Make Less-Toxic Dishwasher Detergent At Home

This homemade dishwasher detergent is made out of readily available ingredients that are low in toxicity (most of these ingredients are ingestible) and also quite affordable:

  • Baking soda – Buy at any grocery store.
  • Washing soda – I bought a big box at Walmart for $3.00. You can also use washing soda to make homemade laundry detergent (photo below).
  • Citric acid – I bought mine, oddly enough, at an Indian grocery store. Check at your local drug store, natural food store or buy online.
  • Salt – Buy anywhere. Any type of salt will work.
  • Essential oils – I used lemon essential oil which I bought at Whole Foods. Citrus essential oils (lemon and orange) tend to be low cost and are great for kitchen use.

Make your own laundry detergent at home for much less

Check out more DIY body and household product posts.

Join me while I attempt to reduce the amount of toxic chemicals I use in my house and on my body. If you are on a similar journey, I would love to share ideas with you! Please stay in touch via Facebook or feel free to leave a comment below.

Homemade Less-Toxic Dishwasher Detergent

Homemade Less-Toxic Dishwasher Detergent

I would recommend making a small batch to begin with. This detergent can dry out over time.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 2 parts baking soda
  • 2 parts washing soda
  • 1 part citric acid
  • 1 part salt
  • Essential oils, optional (I used lemon)


  1. Mix all ingredients together according to ratios given above. If the citric acid is granular, you may wish to blend the ingredients to make a finer consistency. However, if your citric acid is the consistency of salt or sugar, you can skip this step.
  2. Use this detergent as you would use normal dishwasher detergent: Two to three tablespoons per load or so.

5 Responses to “Less-Toxic Dishwasher Detergent”

  1. 1

    violet — June 29, 2014 @ 5:20 am

    I tried this tonight and my silverware came out sparkling clean, noticeably shinier than the brand I have been using. THANK YOU for sharing.

    • Haley replied: — July 3rd, 2014 @ 6:37 pm

      True story! I was there 🙂

  2. 2

    laurel — July 8, 2014 @ 2:32 pm

    How does glass turn out after using this soap for say a week or so?
    Every DIY I have tried for the dishwasher has given me a white film. Yes hard water – but terrific water softener and I’ve tried the citric acid as well as Lemi-Shine, lemon juice, vinegar rinse, you name it!

    • Haley replied: — July 9th, 2014 @ 2:12 am

      Hi Laurel – I have noticed that this detergent makes silverware VERY shiny, as well as CorningWare-type plates. My glasses weren’t super shiny, but regular dishwasher detergent doesn’t get them super shiny either. Hope this works for you!

  3. 3

    Jennifer Abraham — November 25, 2015 @ 3:35 pm

    This recipe is very efficient and so much safer for all the family. I prefer mixing my own cleaning products from natural ingredients and the only thing I haven’t tried to mix was a dishwasher detergent. I mixed it a week ago and I’m so glad to have it in addition to my “tested recipes” bunch. Thank you fro sharing it!

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