Making Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Posted on Apr 5 2012 - 11:39pm by Susan Bewley

If there is one thing I love to do, it is experiment with different homemade and natural cleaners. The last time we ran out of dishwasher detergent, I was determined to find a way to make my own.  It seems like every time we run out of dishwasher detergent it is the only thing on our list, or we are ordering it online, meaning it won't be here for another two to four days.  Since I cook all of our meals, I consider this completely unacceptable, especially since my kitchen in this apartment is tiny!

This backup homemade dishwasher soap recipe works fairly well and gets you out of those messy situations where you have no dish soap.  From what I have seen, making your own homemade dishwasher detergent is very easy and seems to work better than many natural dishwasher detergents I have tried in the past.

For those who are willing to make the jump to making your own detergent, this is the best recipe for homemade dishwasher detergent that I have found to date. It doesn't leave spots on your dishes and even gets out some of those sticky messes in your pots (such as burned rice). 

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

1 Cup of 20 Mule Team Borax

1 Cup of Washing Soda (any brand)

1/2 Cup of Salt

1/2 cup of Sure Jell Fruit Pectin

1) Mix all the ingredients above. Stir them for about 2 to 3 minutes, to make sure everything is mixed well. If you don't, it will clump and not clean properly.

2) Put 1 Tablespoon of the power in your dishwasher in each area where you normally put detergent.  I usually just put it in the closable area and call it a day. 

3) Store in an airtight container.  Label it to make sure no one confuses it for Stevia or flour.

Below, are some before and after pictures of how well this homemade dishwasher soap works. As you can see, it does an excellent job with dishes!


(I tried finding a worst case scenerio to give you an honest look at how this homemade dish detergent works)                                                        












Based on the amount I made for this recipe, I predict it can run about 30 to 40 loads of dishes, depending on how much soap you need to put in your dishwasher.  In our apartment dishwasher (which is a bit old) I’ve found I need to put in two scoops of soap for some loads.  For the times when it lasts 30 loads, it costs me about .21 cents per load. It will likely be cheaper for others who make homemade dishwasher detergent, however, since everything costs more in the northeast, something I can vouch for having moved from northern Kentucky.  If nothing else, this recipe is a fantastic way to save money and give you options if you run out of dishwasher detergent!


Susan Bewley is a professional writer who has been writing content online & in print format for over 10 years. As well, she is an alumni of the University of Louisville with a Masters Degree in Special Education. When not working as an online business consultant or ghost writing, she can be found writing on Budget Earth, on her own novel, or working with various entities in the pet industry.

25 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Audie Greco April 24, 2012 at 4:24 pm - Reply

    Thanks, I've recently been searching for facts about this subject matter for ages and yours is the best I've discovered so far.

    • Susan Bewley April 24, 2012 at 10:14 pm - Reply

      glad you are enjoying our site!

  2. Faith Young May 12, 2012 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    Love the website 😉

  3. Gloria Dorris says August 13, 2012 at 7:45 pm - Reply

    Love the website and all of your articles

  4. J. Ivy Boyter August 20, 2012 at 11:50 am - Reply

    I have a Pinterest board of homemade cleaners I plan to try when my current cleaners run out.  Unfortunately, I recently stocked up on dishwasher detergent, but I'll be saving this for the future!

  5. MamaBreak August 20, 2012 at 4:44 pm - Reply

    A great way to save money AND the environment! Thanks!

  6. Angie August 23, 2012 at 11:28 am - Reply

    Super tip! I am so tyring this! Thank you!!!!

  7. Tamara August 28, 2012 at 2:14 pm - Reply

    I havent tried this, Ill have to get the stuff and make it and see how it works with out hard water, its difficult to find something that gets the dishes clean.

  8. Patty A September 4, 2012 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    I wish I had a dishwasher… this just makes me want one even more. 

  9. Melinda Dunne September 16, 2012 at 11:35 am - Reply

    Thanks for posting this! I never would have thought of pectin! 

  10. Alaina Bullock September 16, 2012 at 2:44 pm - Reply

    Awesome!  I love all these homemade cleaners you show us how to make!! They work great and save so much money, and help the environment!  Keep posting and thank you!

  11. Maria Iemma April 30, 2013 at 3:42 pm - Reply

    I did not know it would be so easy to make. I am going to go and buy the ingredients. I am so tired of paying a lot of money for something that can be made at home…Thank you so much for posting the recipe.

    • Susan Bewley April 30, 2013 at 4:34 pm - Reply

      Yes, it is really super easy! You can also add a scent but putting one or two drops of essential oil. I don’t bother though since it’s just dishes 😉

  12. md kennedy November 14, 2013 at 8:16 am - Reply

    I have to try this!  What is the purpose of the pectin?

  13. Barb H December 16, 2013 at 2:38 pm - Reply

    I stopped using my homemade dishwasher detergent because it left a film on everything.  I am definitely going to try this recipe…Thanks!

  14. katrina c. April 29, 2014 at 3:12 pm - Reply

    I love to make my own cleansers, however it is time consuming. For me anyway…I have two small girls and a 10 year old who constantly keep me running around. Thanks for watching over our environment!

  15. Ashley May 28, 2014 at 7:02 am - Reply

    Thank you for this. My family has a fit when we run out of detergent as well, so it would be nice to have this on hand.

  16. Lynn C. May 30, 2014 at 12:31 pm - Reply

    The thing that typically blocks me from trying these homemade cleaning solutions is when they contain an ingredient I’ve never heard of or wouldn’t know where to buy. In the case of laundry detergent, it was Fels Naptha (whatever that is), and in this one the only thing I’m confident I could find is salt. Yes, I know I give up too easily, but I thought I’d say what I’m using in my dishwasher that’s working really well in case any other easily-frustrated souls are looking for the second cheapest answer. For several months, I’ve been buying the Great Value disolving pack-thingies from Walmart, and they clean as well as any name brand I ever tried. For a little extra sparkle, I sometimes fill the dispenser with vinegar. If the dishwasher itself is getting cruddy, I’ll throw in a packet of lemonade mix (Kool-Aid, Wylers or any off brand is fine) that costs about a dime.

  17. Megan June 22, 2014 at 5:43 am - Reply

    Do-it-yourself laundry detergent? Is actually it secure towards use.

  18. Christy Caldwell June 7, 2015 at 6:48 am - Reply

    Great idea! I’m trying this. Thanks bunches.

  19. RANDY FULGHAM October 17, 2015 at 1:35 pm - Reply

    this sounds great,i will tell my daughter about this,–i dont have a dishwasher–thanks

  20. Jes November 26, 2016 at 9:51 pm - Reply

    I’ve never seen the Pectin added to one of these recipes before, hm

  21. Sandy Cain May 25, 2017 at 9:04 am - Reply

    Pectin! Who would have thought of this? Not me! I have to try it, I guess it helps hold it together? Love the Borax in this, it’s a great water softener and I always add it to the laundry, too!

  22. Sohair August 24, 2017 at 9:57 pm - Reply

    I knew about the borax but pectin first time ty for the post

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