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I’m showing you how to make homemade, eco-friendly dishwasher tabs that are quick and easy to make using a few simple ingredients. They’re a big step towards a healthier, toxin-free home!

I’ve been making eco-friendly dishwasher tablets as part of our family’s mission to ditch the grocery store and become more self-sufficient.

We’ve slowly been making the switch from store-bought products to ones that are healthy and homemade wherever possible. 

Creating our own homemade dishwasher detergent felt like a great place to start since conventional dishwasher detergent is filled with chemicals. Since it touches the surfaces that come in contact with our mouths on a daily basis, it’s not something I want to have in our home. 

This is a recipe that I have used regularly and loved. In fact, there was a point a few years ago when I used these toxin-free dishwasher tabs exclusively. Recently, I started using a store-bought version again simply because life got busy and I didn’t prioritize making homemade recipes. 

As I get back on track with making homemade dishwasher detergent again, I want you to know it’s a tried and tested recipe. Contrary to many of the recipes you’ll find on the internet, these eco-friendly dishwasher tablets use only a few completely natural ingredients. No Lemi Shine, Borax, or other questionable commercial concoctions…just simple, non-toxic ingredients. 

There’s just one caveat before we get started.

I know some people believe that homemade dishwasher detergent isn’t good for dishwashers. I personally haven’t found anything to convince me not to use it, and I haven’t had any problems with my dishwasher. However, I also know that my dishwasher’s warranty is voided by using a different product than the manual recommends, so that’s something to look into and be aware of. 

What You’ll Need to Make Homemade Dishwasher Tabs

3 mini ice cube trays. Note that these are smaller than regular ice cube trays. Mine were from Walmart

¾ cup of lemon juice

1 cup of baking soda

1 cup of washing soda (this is different than baking soda so make sure you have the right product! You can buy washing soda locally in the laundry detergent aisle at the grocery store, or on Amazon)

1 cup of kosher salt, or any course ground salt

A large bowl

A spoon

How to Make Homemade, Toxin-Free Dishwasher Tabs

  1. Add 1 cup of baking soda, 1 cup of washing soda, and 1 cup of kosher salt to your bowl. Stir well so the ingredients are combined. It’s a good idea to use your hands to break up any chunks. 
  2. Add ¾ cup of lemon juice. The mixture will fizz at this point, which is normal and expected. If you have little helpers working with you, this is also a fun experiment!
  3. Stir until all of the dry ingredients are saturated with the lemon juice.
  4. When the fizzing stops, use a spoon to pack the mixture into the ice cube trays. I use about 1 tablespoon per hole. 
  5. Tamp down so there are no air holes. This is an important step! If you skip it, the tabs will be crumbly. 
  6. Leave the tabs out on your counter, still in the ice cube trays, until they are completely dry. This should take about 12 hours. 
  7. After the homemade dishwasher tabs are dry, pop them out of the ice cube trays and store in an airtight container. 

How to Use Your Eco-Friendly Dishwasher Tablets 

To use, simply put one homemade dish tab in the same compartment you would normally put the store-bought ones. Run your dishwasher using the same settings as you usually do. 

And that’s it! Toxin-free dishwasher tabs you can feel good about using in your home. 

The whole process takes only a few minutes and is a meaningful step towards using healthier cleaning products.

Bonsu? They smell lemony and fresh. 

Using Vinegar as a Rinse Aid

Optionally, you can use white vinegar as a natural rinse aid. Just add it to your rinse aid compartment. 

Again, this suggestion of using vinegar as a rinse aid comes with the warning that many people will advise you that vinegar will ruin the rubber gaskets on your appliances. Personally, I use vinegar all the time in my dishwasher and my front load washer (and all over my house, really). I haven’t had any problems, but it’s something to use at your own risk.

Do These Homemade Dish Tabs Work Well to Clean Your Dishes?

Ok, so you’re on board with the concept of replacing conventional household cleaners with homemade, toxin-free products, but an important question remains.

Do these eco-friendly dishwasher tablets actually get your dishes clean?

In my experience, the answer is yes! These toxin-free dishwasher tabs have consistently given me good results. Most importantly, the dishes don’t come out cloudy and no spots of food remain after the wash cycle is complete. 

If you’re new to homemade cleaning products, natural ingredients have cleaning superpowers. Lemon juice is an antibacterial agent and the baking soda works to cut out grease. 

Is It Worth My Time to Make Homemade Dishwasher Detergent?

Of course, it’s easy to grab regular dishwasher tabs at the store. But, if your house is anything like mine, the dishwasher always seems to be running. 

In addition to being toxin-free, which we already covered, store-bought dishwasher tabs are surprisingly expensive. Making your own is definitely cheaper in the long run. 

And, since they’re quick and easy to throw together these homemade, eco-friendly dishwasher tablets are absolutely worth the extra few minutes of effort. 

When I break down the cost per dishwasher tab, the homemade ones work out to about 6 cents per load. This is a great deal compared to, say, the at least 18 cents per load you would pay for Finish tabs at Walmart or on Amazon.

So, not only are these eco-friendly dishwasher tablets safer for our homes and the environment, but you’ll also save money!

This is definitely one swap on our way to self-sufficiency that I feel good about, no matter how you look at it. 

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  1. I am on my 2nd batch of the homemade dishwasher tabs and love that I can make a healthy option for cleaning my dishes. However,I do find my dishes a bit cloudy. I have rinse aid in the rinse dispenser and I have tried pouring some white vinegar into the tub but my glassware still looks a bit cloudy. I have some food grade citric acid that is past the due date so I am sprinkling some on the door of the Dishwasher currently to see if that helps. Any suggestions? Should I increase the salt maybe?? Or one of the ingredients in the recipe?

    1. I think you are on the right track with the citric acid. Try adding some to the recipe. I’ve heard of this helping with hard water.

  2. Hi! I tried making these and followed the directions very closely. The dishes are coming out with a salt film. What am I doing wrong?

    1. I’ve heard about this happening from people who have hard water. I would suggest adding some citric acid to the recipe to help prevent this buildup.

  3. I tried this recipe, and it was a disaster. I followed the instructions, but I used bottled lemon juice instead of fresh. The pods were too big for the detergent compartment. When I tried to cut them down, I found they were hard as rocks, so I put them in the flatware rack. They didn’t dissolve completely. After several days in a closed container, they developed a terrible odor, so I disposed of them.

    1. I’m sorry you had problems with the recipe! As for size, it’s important that you find a mini ice cube tray, not a standard one. Also, I don’t fill the holes to the top. As for the consistency, and not dissolving, I’m really not sure. I’ve never had this happen. As for the odor, this tells me something was funny with your ingredients. They definitely shouldn’t smell bad.

  4. I made a vinegar cleaning spray with fresh lemon peels and vinegar, could I use this as a rinse aid?

  5. Thanks so much for sharing this, I just made it and it smells divine. I’ve been looking for a recipe without citric acid because it is quite expensive where I live to buy it and I can only get small quantities. Can’t wait to try it my dishwasher and kitchen are going to smell amazing! And I have small children so I love knowing exactly what is in the cleaning products I use, many thanks x

  6. Hi there I just came across your page :). I ran out of dishwashing detergent and thought about just making it homemade today.
    So my question is similar to the first comment, I just made it as well, and I put it in an airtight container, does it have to be completely dried out before sealing it or as is is fine ?

  7. Please suggest a better lemon juice. This has preservatives and lemon oil and the label says 100% juice (a lie if you read the ingredients on the website) can real lemon juice work? I would think so but is there a reason why you use this juice that is not really all juice? Thank you. =)

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