Looking for an easy, all-natural recipe for homemade dishwasher detergent? This Fresh Lemon Homemade Dishwasher Detergent uses real lemons, salt and vinegar to make liquid dishwasher detergent that is effective and non-toxic.
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Good & Bad Homemade Cleaners
I make many different green cleaning recipes for home care, I love knowing exactly what ingredients they contain and that they are safe to use near my kids and family. I also love researching new DIY cleaning recipes and analyzing their effectiveness.
Yeah, I’m a super big nerd.
If you’ve ever tried making your own cleaners you know the some homemade versions work great and some are a complete waste of time. It’s a totally bummer when you make a new concoction and discover that it doesn’t work.
A reader posted a message to my Facebook page asking me to investigate a homemade dishwasher detergent recipe she found on Pinterest, The recipe is for dishwashing gel that uses fresh lemons as a main ingredient.
I was skeptical when I read the original recipe.
The green cleaning recipe uses just lemons, white vinegar, salt and water. I decided to test its effectiveness and made a batch. Overall I was fairly pleased with the results.
Original Recipe Results
- The original version was easy to make and smells amazing! The house and dishwasher smell like lemony goodness.
- The detergent does a good job cleaning dishes. Even the glasses and silverware were sparkly with no water spots.
- The original recipe left tiny bits of pulp and rind behind in the detergent dispenser and stuck on some of the dishes.
- Gunk left behind is a deal breaker for me!
New and Improved Formula
I developed a new version of Fresh Lemon Dishwasher Detergent that cleans dishes beautifully… no lemon pulp in sight!
How to Make Dishwasher Detergent with Lemons
Get the full instructions:
- 2 cups diced lemon (Use both the rind and fruit with seeds removed, about 4 medium lemons)
- 3 1/2 cups water (Divided into 1 ½ cups and 2 cups)
- 4 oz white vinegar
- 1 cup kosher salt
Cut lemons into small ¼ inch thick chunks, making sure all seeds are removed.
Place the lemons into a small sauce pan with 1 ½ cup of water.
Heat the lemons and water to a slow boil. Simmer for 20 minutes until water is reduced and syrupy and lemons are very tender. Make sure to stir frequently, add water if needed.
Add the cooked lemon and syrup mixture to blender with 2 cups of water, blend on high until very smooth.
Strain lemon mixture back into your saucepan using a small colander. (I was left with approximately 1 tbsp of pulp and rind.)
Add vinegar and salt to saucepan and stir until well combined.
Bring mixture to a slow boil and cook for 10-15 allowing it to thicken slightly. It will be the consistency of runny applesauce when done.
Cool completely in sauce pan, stirring occasionally to incorporate salty crust that may form on the top. Attach a free printable label and store in a glass container
To wash dishes: Fill your dishwasher detergent dispenser with the fresh lemon gel. I use about 3 tablespoons of detergent.
Why Fresh Lemon Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Works
There are five (5) reasons why Fresh Lemon Homemade Dishwasher Detergent works well (Disclaimer: I am not a chemist just a green cleaning enthusiast!):
- The citric acid in the lemons helps to clean mineral deposits.
- The naturally occurring lemon oil in the rind has antibacterial and cleaning properties.
- The white vinegar contains acetic acid which is a good degreaser, descaler, and also helps as a rinse agent to soften hard water.
- The acid in the lemon juice is a great degreaser.
- The kosher salt acts as a mild preservative and scouring agent.
- The rind and white pith of the lemon are rich in pectin, a natural thickening agent. The high pectin level is why the mixture forms a gel. Do not leave out the rind and pith!
Notes for Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
- Store the detergent in the refrigerator to prolong shelf life. It is made from all-natural ingredients that will ferment.
- My batches last several weeks in the refrigerator, I do a load of dishes a day and it is all used up before going bad.
- The recipe take a bit of time to prepare, but it makes the house smell amazing while cooking.
- Grab a free printable label for Fresh Lemon Homemade Dishwasher Detergent. Print on full sheet labels for easy application. I use a swing top jar.
Natural Cleaning Boosters
Having trouble getting homemade dishwasher detergent to clean as well as commercial detergent? It’s because homemade dishwasher detergent is free of phosphates, chlorine bleach, and other dangerous substances. If you live in an area with hard water you may experience filming or spotting on your dishes. The citric acid and acetic acid in this recipe help to remove the minerals in the water, but you can also try these tips:
- Rinse off food residue before washing your dishes.
- Place a small cup of vinegar on the top shelf of your machine to act as a natural rinse aid. Use about 1/4 cup per load.
- Clean your dishwasher every few months to remove minerals from the lines. This Dishwasher Cleaning and Tune-Up tutorial is an easy, green way to get your dishwasher running (and cleaning) like a new machine.
Fresh Lemon Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Cost
The price of the detergent varies with lemon prices:
- Lemons, approximately $1.30
- Kosher salt, approximately $0.35
- White vinegar, approximately $0.10.
Total cost -> $1.75 for 32 ounces or about $0.10 a wash. My favorite store-bought dishwasher detergent costs about $0.19 a wash.
Like this recipe remake? Like BrenDid on Facebook and let me know what cleaning recipe you want me to analyze!
Thank you for sharing! I have a question about the shelf life. How long do you think it will last if we do not refrigerate it. Thanks again XD
It will only last a day or two if not refrigerated. Sorry!
hello! i dont agree with the authors’ answer… i have been making this since 6 years ago when i was taught the recipe by an italian farmer and have never refrigerated it as i live off grid with no power (i use it to wash dishes by hand) and it has never gone bad!!! works amazing!
I made this yesterday – works really well! I’m so impressed, and am a actually quite proud of myself. Thank you 🍋🍋
That is awesome!! Thank you much for sharing the recipe!! I usually wash my dishes with plain bicarbonate soda.
It is possible to use citric acid instead of lemons?
You need the whole lemons in this recipe to make the gel.
Thank you for the great recipe! I’m someone who enjoys making cleaning products in bulk. Do you think the effectivness of this detergent would be significantly affected, if I tried freezing it for longer storage?
Thank you in advance!
I have never frozen it but it should still work. I would freeze a small amount and test it before freezing an entire batch.
Did you try freezing some? If so, how did it work out?
Hi Bren, I love your website and am so grateful for all of the natural cleaning alternatives. I’d love to try this recipe but I’d like to check a couple of things first. 1. Is there any chance of vinegar harming the dishwasher in any way, for example the rubber parts that make it run (or anything else)?
2. If vinegar is completely okay, is 6% or 8% safe? I read your comments about each % higher making the solution a lot stronger but 6% or higher seems to be the only percentages available in France.
Thank you so much Bren for everything!
Tasch, the amount of vinegar in this recipe should not harm a dishwasher’s internal parts. I DO NOT recommend filling the dishwasher rinse aid compartment with vinegar. This does not empty completely with each load and the vinegar can damage those parts when it sits for a long period of time. 6% or 8% vinegar will work fine in this recipe. If you can only find a higher strength you can dilute it with water before adding.
Thank you so much Bren !!
Thank you SO much for these recipes and all the research and knowledge you share!
I am about to make the lemon dishwashing detergent but wanted to check first, I read a comment somewhere (I can’t remember where now) that a woman’s washing machine rubber parts were ruined from using vinegar and she had to call in a plumber to fix the machine. Do you know if it’s possible vinegar could damage a washing machine in any way?
Also, I can only find 6% vinegar as the least strongest available, would that be appropriate to sub for the 5% you use?
Thank you again XO
The amount of vinegar in this recipe should not harm a dishwasher’s internal parts. I DO NOT recommend filling the dishwasher rinse aid compartment with vinegar. This does not empty completely with each load and the vinegar can damage those parts when it sits for a long period of time. 6% or 8% vinegar will work fine in this recipe. If you can only find a higher strength you can dilute it with water before adding.
What do you think about adding that lemon mixture to the laundry detergent?
I have not tried that… I think it might be too acidic.
Hey there! I love this recipe! I wanted to know, can you use limes instead of lemons? Have you ever tried limes? I have a huuuuuge lime tree that dropped hundreds of limes, so I am thinking of ways to use them. Thanks and I can’t wait to try this recipe out!
Did the limes work? Lemons are quite expensive in Mexico where I live. Please let me know if the limes worked and if I should alter quantities or procedure in any way. Thanks!
Hello great article! I have been doing this for about 3 or 4 years and I keep it in the fridge as it’s hot most of the year here in OZ. I got my recipe from a European lady. Mine has kept fine for close to a year as my batch last about 9 months. None has ever gone off due to antibacterial / preservative effects of salt and lemons. My question: I’d like to know if anyone has tried it with grapefruit as I have a tree?
After reading this blog post and all the comments I can’t wait to try this. I think I learned from your comment to another poster why my rinse aid compartment leaks – I always filled it with vinegar. From now on I’ll put some in a bowl on the top shelf. One question about the storage/using of this gel. Is it thin enough to store in a repurposed squeeze bottle (like a large ketchup bottle), or is it best to store it in glass with maybe a plastic pour spout cap?
Either will work for storage. I like to use glass instead of plastic when possible.
I’m a dirty rotten cheater, but, I was thinking — what if you used Lemon Juice instead? In my case, it would be a lot easier, since I don’t currently have a working blender. I was also thinking to myself — maybe using Corn Starch to thicken it — and having a nice consistency for when it’s being poured in.
The lemon juice does not contain pectin so it would not naturally thcken. I am not sure what the corn starch would do to the cleaning power.
Could you use pure lemon juice to save yourself from using real lemons and having to boil, etc. ??
No, you need the pectin from the rind.
I have a question, is kosher salt absolutely necessary? It says course but since it is boiled with the vinegar what would be the difference in kosher salt versus using half the amoint an dusing regular idodized salt? Does Kosher salt make magic happen?
Kelli, I’ve only made the recipe with Koser salt so I’m not sure what would happen if you use regular salt. Let me know if you try.
I used regular salt. My wife says the dishes clean perfect. Interior of the dishwasher is also left much more spotless than using store bought detergent. Big thanks to Bren.
I just discovered your blog this morning and I am in LOVE with it! Thank you for sharing all of your amazing, green, house-cleaning knowledge. I only wish I had known about it sooner.
About this home-made dishwasher detergent – if I make a large batch, can it be frozen to increase shelf-life? Or would this not work because it would need to be used shortly after thawing?
It should work fine after freezing and thawing. However, I would encourage you to make a single batch first to see how it works with your dishwasher, the water in your area, etc. before you make a ton. Thanks for the kind words! I’m so glad you found the blog. -Bren
Hi Bren, I tried your dishwasher detergent liquid recipe, it works well, it would be great if you have any recipe for dishwasher rinse aid?
I use a small cup on white vinegar on the top shelf of the dishwasher.
What kind of strainer did you use for this?
I use a kitchen sieve that hold about 3 cups.
What would happen if i handwash my dishes using this?
Nisha, it does not have the foaming ingredients that dish soaps contain so it does not work well.
Nisha, you could likey add some castile soap (like Dr Bonners, for example).
I’m thinking about using this dishwashing detergent recipe as the liquid binding agent in a dishwasher tablet recipe.
Can this be made with other citrus fruits too? I have sooo many oranges 😊
I’ve never tried it with another citrus fruit but it might work. Let me know if you try!
Can you use just lemon and vinegar and not salt to it?
I’ve never made the detergent without salt so I am not sure it would work.
Love love this recipe! Just finished making my third batch. The house smells wonderful, and my dishes come out beautiful.
I followed the directions, but it’s very liquidity and not gel like. Trying it out to see how the dishes turn out.
Kim, it should still work even if it is thin.
Awesome! I’ll try this recipe today! Thanks a lot for this green diy recipe 🙂
Can this be used as regular dish soap and not in dishwasher?
No, it’s just for the dishwasher. My hand washing dish detergent recipe is for the sink.
Diana K Price
Surely adding an eco bleach would help?
I use my dishwasher every 3 days or so, often it’s coffee stains that don’t come out
I’m not sure what adding an ecobleach would do to the recipe, sorry. I fill mugs with coffee stains with white vinegar then soak to remove stains.
Baking soda removes coffee and tea stains like a boss! rinse your mug well, add a bit of baking soda, rub around with your fingers, rinse and done!
Please don’t mix acids (this recipe is acidic) and bases (bleach is a fairly strong base) together when cleaning. This is an extremely dangerous, and even deadly, mistake to make.
Just made this and am excited to try this out! When storing it, does it need to be refrigerated?
Yes, refrigerate as it contains no preservative.
Could you make cubes in ice trays & store in freezer?
I’ve not tired to freeze it. Let me know if you do!
Did you try freezing some of this? That was going to be my question as well.
Have you tried this in a stainless steel dishwasher? Probably a bad idea? I want to try it!!
I use it in my stainless steel dishwasher.
You said it typically last a few weeks how do you know when it is out of date? and if you have extra whats the best way to dispose of it?
The smell or consistency will change when it goes bad. I rinse mine down the drain after mixing with water to thin.
Is the dishwasher detergent supposed to be watery?
It should be gel like.
Can you sub lemon juice for the lemons? I am totally broke and I’m out of dishwashing detergent with a machine full of dirty dishes have everything needed except lemons
No, you need whole lemons. The peel is what makes it gel.
Omgsh! Thank you for your comment! I was contemplating whether or not to try this out, but after reading your comment I’ve decided to try this out later today or tmr! I can totally relate to what you said; I, too, notice that whenever I fill my glasses with water or any liquid I get little bubbles, but if I dump out the first fill-up and then refill the cup or if I rinse it before filling then, just like you said, this doesn’t happen. I get really OCD with sometimes silly things so I just kept telling myself it was just from the splash of the water (since there’s not really any taste), but phew! Its nice to know I’m not alone (especially since my fiance said that he didn’t really notice anything)! Thanks again for you comment!
Must I use kosher salt or can I use Iodized salt?
Coarse salt works better.
I loved making this as the whole place smelled so lemony fresh. However, I had no success in dishwasher as it left a brown scunge on my dishes. I’m wondering if bicarb soda chucked in the machine would help this?
I’m not sure, let me know if you try!
Hi, I was wondering if it needs to be kosher salt?
It needs to be a coarse salt.
I am relatively new to homemade cleaners and was so excited to try this recipe. The smell is great and I love the natural ingredients. However, this isn’t cleaning my dishes well. I have food built up on many dishes, utensils, and cups. I scrape and lightly rinse off food when needed before I put them in and don’t have hard water. I checked the dishwasher but the filter is clean and there is no build up in the washer. Is there something I can add to boost the cleaning power? And is it safe to say the dishes without gunk are clean? I really don’t want to throw out the batch I made to buy detergent from the store.
Amanda, try adding a drop or two of dish detergent (the hand washing kind) to the compartment when you add the lemon detergent. Just a drop or two, no more!
I made it..loved the smell and enjoyed making it. Most of the dishes came out squeaky clean! I did have a couple with stuck on food as above. Will try the 1-2 drops and using the machines pre-wash container option too.
Love the recipe- environmentally safe and economical!
Can i use this to wash the dishes with my hands using sponge instead of using it in dishwasher machine?
I’ve never used it this way. It does not contain any ingredients to make bubbles. You can try my homemade handw ashing detergent.
Could I use oranges in place of Lemon?
I’ve never made it with oranges so I am not sure how it would work. Let me know if you try!
I made this recipe with little cuties. Cleaned pretty well, but did leave an orange cast on the inside of my dishwasher. Making another batch with lemons…curious if the orange will disappear.
Sharon van den Berg
Hi there. Thanks a million for this recipe! It also cleans toilets brilliantly on our homestead. Having a septic system we can not (or don’t want to use chemicals. I just pour the dishwash in the toilet bowl and leave overnight. Next morning flush and hey presto, a pristeenly clean toilet. It also cleans window panes beautifully. Now you know. Kind regards
Thanks for the tips, Sharon! I haven’t tried these surfaces before so I’ll have to give it a shot!
I’ve used this over and over for about a year and still love it. I started down this path because my family noticed that “clean” glasses from the dishwasher bubbled when filled with tap water. Regardless of the rinse, we got these bubbles that went away if we rinsed the glasses first and refilled them. There was obvious residue from the detergent, and I prefer we not eat detergent. Love this alternative!
I use an old Mrs Meyers lavender multi-purpose cleaning bottle. It holds the lavender scent and gives it a nice lemon lavender scent.
Thanks so much for this great recipe!
Great storage idea, Mary. I bet the squeeze bottle is convenient. I’m so glad to hear that you love the detergent! -Bren
Omgsh! I was contemplating whether or not to try this out, but I notice that whenever I fill my glasses with water or any liquid I get little bubbles too, but if I dump out the first fill up and then refill the cup or if I rinse it before this doesn’t happen. I get really OCD with sometimes silly things so I just kept telling myself it was just from the splash of the water (since there’s not really any taste), but phew! Its nice to know I’m not alone (especially since my fiance said that he didn’t really notice anything)! Thanks again for you comment!
Love it! This stuff gets my dishes cleaner than conventional store-bought detergent and smells so good, you’ll want to eat it. I plan to put some in a pump bottle I can refrigerate and bring to the sink for for washing items by hand.
Question: does the coarseness of the salt really matter, if it’s being dissolved by the liquid ingredients? I used table salt because I was out of kosher, and I’m still delighted with the results.
kn, the coarseness of the salt should not make a huge difference. I like to use kosher salt because it is cheap and generally contains less additives than table salt. You can use whichever you prefer. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the recipe!
I was looking up the ingredients as I love the look of this recipe and I wondered what kind of salt you use?
When I checked the ingredients of supermarket table salt it has sodium ferrocyanide added as an anti-caking agent.
I looked up sodium ferrocyanide and it said that when added to an acid produces a toxic gas.
I’m now reluctant to try the recipe but thought I would check what salt you use.
I use kosher (also called pickling) salt. In the United States kosher salt is less likely to contain anti-caking agents and iodine.
How do you store this? On a pantry shelf or in the refrigerator? How long does it stay good? Also, has anyone tried freezing it in 3 TB quantities? I feel like making a bigger batch and freezing might be an easy way to keep it from going bad.
Store in the refrigerator. Yes, you can freeze but should defrost before using for best results.
I love how easy your recipie is! I’m going to make this and store it in a pump bottle. The consistency looks great enough to use when doing the dishes by hand.
Would you be able to list the same recipe with some easy food grade preservative? I would like the convenience of storing it at the counter top near the sink. Even a week or two of shelf life would be great..
Sorry, Niketa. I’m not aware of any food grade preservatives that would make it last on the counter. I recommend my DIY handwashing dish soap for that purpose.
Just came across this and it sounds lovely. One question… I am worried about whether it can kill all raw meat bacteria – are you able to advise? Thanks!
Cari, it’s the high heat of the water that sanitizes dishes when using a dishwasher. Hot water over 120°F kills bacteria. Dishwashers usually run somewhere between 130-170 degrees Fahrenheit. You can read more here and here.
Hi Bren, I am trying to very strictly cut out chemicals from our home. Do you think the lemons need to be organic, or will it not really matter too much because you are heating them?
If you are trying to keep pesticides out I would use organic lemons. Cooking or heating a substance will help kill bacteria or other living organisms in a substance but will not remove pesticides or other chemicals that are sprayed on the skin of the fruit.
Hello there. Is there another alternative for Kosher salt? I’ve been looking over the place for it with no such luck :/
I’ve never made it without Kosher salt, but another coarse-grained salt should work.
Great recipe, can’t wait to try it! Been using soap nuts in my dishwasher and they work great, but don’t always get the very fatty things clean. So I was thinking, could one substitute the water in your recipe with liquid soap nut water…extra cleaning power? Thank you!
I’ve never tried it with soap nuts, let me know if you do!
I made your lemon dishwasher gel a while ago and I liked it so much that I made it again and again, but after a while I started buying dishwasher tabs again – partly because I am a little lazy sometimes and partly because I wanted to try some so-called ‘100% natural’ lemon tabs that I came across in the store. They seemed to work well so I just got into a habit of buying and using them. However, a few times recently I noticed my dishes would have some powdery residue on them, presumably undissolved stuff left over from the tabs. This just got me thinking… if I’m going to have residue, I’d rather know EXACTLY what it is and know it was food-safe. So today I decided to make a double batch of your dishwasher gel again and I used it in my 30-YEAR-OLD dishwasher. I just opened it up and the dishes are so beautifully clean – much cleaner than they were getting with the shop-bought tabs.
Ps. I make mine on the runny side and it works great. I use 1/4 cup of it in the dispenser, then put that measuring cup on the top shelf to wash. I found measuring with a tablespoon to be too messy.
Thanks Emma! Great tip on the measuring cup!
Maybe this is a weird question… But how big were the holes in the colander? I tried using a fine mesh strainer, but it’s letting almost nothing through. But I’m worried my colander will let too much of the pith through.
Robin, I use a very fine wire colander. If you place it over a bowl the mixture will drip through. I use a spoon to stir the mixture/scrape the pulp of the wire colander every once in awhile when it slows. Hope this helps!
I infused lemons in half water half white vinegerfit two weeks. Then I blended till nice texture. Added the salt. Didn’t cook nor added the water. Cleaning well( this was my third experiment after reading your blog). Thanks a ton
Thanks for the idea!
What happens if borax is added?
Laurie, I’ve never added Borax so I am not sure how it would change to detergent. If you try it let me know how it goes! 😉
That is a wonderful idea. Chemical detergents leave residue in utensils which is causing colon cancer and ulcers.
I love your blog and all your experiments!
In your other non toxic hand washing dish detergent soap you mentioned you mentioned most of the dish stains are acidic so they should be cleaned with basic substance but in this recipe you are using lemon and vinegar both acidic? Can you explain chemical part (scientific) of its effectiveness?
Great question, Karuna. I don’t have a scientific explanation for its effectiveness since I made it as an experiment. I suspect it has something to do with the acid working well with the hard water in my area.
It worked better than my dishwasher detergent.. no hardwater marks on the utensils at all.. and my dishwasher is also looking super clean :).. Thanks Bren..you did give a very nice detergent recipe!
Can I substitute Kosher Salt for Sea Salt?
Denise, I think it should work. However I have never made the recipe with sea salt so I can’t promise great results. If you give it a try let me know how it turns out.
Will this work on hard water? Currently, my dishwasher and finish detergent is leaving really ugly white film on all dishes. I’m starting to regret buying it 😣
I use it on hard water. Have you tried placing a cup of white vinegar in your top basket? It can help with white film.
Can you use other fruits for different scents? If so which ones?
Also can you put the vinegar in the rinse aid compartment in the dishwasher? Instead of in a bowl on the top shelf….
btw….I just love your blog. Thank you for sharing this info with us. I made but powder laundry detergent last night and LOVE it!
Thanks, Lindsey! I use vinegar in a bowl on the top rack since it is an acid and can eat through plastic/rubbery parts inside your dishwasher if left in contact with the parts too long. The rinse aid compartment slowly lets out the solution over a few weeks so the vinegar stays exposed to the plastic for a LONG time. Hope this helps! -Bren
I made this detergent and I like it except for my clear drinking cups get a grit on the bottom of them on the inside. I always rinse my dishes before I put them in the dishwasher. We have soft water and I used vinegar as a rinse aid. Could my dishwasher just need a cleaning cycle? Would the fact that I have some jet dry in my dispenser have anything to do with it? Just curious if you could help me pin point what my problem could be. Other than that I love this recipe! Thank you so much!!!
I would run a cleaning cycle on your machine or follow this green dishwasher cleaning tutorial. You can also try adding a single drop of hand washing detergent to the dispenser with the powder (just one single drop!) just before running the machine. It can help with glassware and plastic residue. Good luck!
Thx for the Great ideas! I have two questions
1) my hubby used a super-fragrances dishwasher detergent (sample) and we can’t get the fragrance out of the dishwasher (and the dishes and the house). Please, Do U have advice for me????!!!!!! I am about to try this lemon homemade recipe hoping it will clean the machine?! Thoughts?
2) we usually use this DW detergent: Young Living Theives. Found at. powder.https://static.youngliving.com/en-US/PDFS/ThievesDishwasherPowderPIP.pdf
Would you please evaluate it for me?
I would use white vinegar in the empty dishwasher (just pour a cup in the bottom of the machine) and run the heaviest cycle to deodorize the machine. I would check out your cleaner at the EWG (http://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners#.Wcl4n8h96M8) – if the cleaner is not listed you can enter the individual ingredients – or at on the Think Dirty app (https://www.thinkdirtyapp.com/). I’m a little concerned about there being eucalyptus oil in a mix mean for dish washing, I would not want to ingest eucalyptus oil
(read more here: http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/eucalyptus). Hope this helps.
I tried this recipe but I substituted the lemons for 1 cup citric acid, 1 cup salt, (I used epson salts because that’s what I had) 1 cup vinegar in 14 0z. water and cooked it just under boiling for 15 minutes. The salt and citric acid disolved well in 14 oz. water and even though it was watery, it did a super job of cleaning my dishes. I’m so happy with this recipe.
Thanks for the tips, Dianne! I am glad to hear the substitutions worked for you, I’ll have to give your version a try!
I’ve just finished simmering this DW Soap, now to wait for it to cool. I have to admit…….I’ve never been so excited to do a load of dishes 🙂
Thanks so much for your dedication to natural cleaners, you’re making it so much easier for me to ditch the chemical in my home.
Thanks, Nikki! I’m so happy that my posts are helpful! 🙂
Got 15 organic limes from a farmer. Can I make more than 1 batch and freeze it? I could defrost on a later date and start using that batch…do you think it will still work after formula is defrosted?
The inside of my dishwasher has a black greasy film (need to wipe with a paper towel to be able to see it) . I pre rinse and use the cup of vinegar on top shelf. HELP…really need this to work! Thank you Lalita
I’ve never see a black film. Yikes! Have you tried the deep dishwasher cleaning? Yoummight have film left over from other products.
Wow, Bren! I am in awe with this mixture! After reading all your natural cleaners, O was so pumped about i, that I made it! Well, it came out just like the pictures you have! AND, my dishes clean and shiny! I absolutely LOVED it! My boys were amazed with the smell it was giving out while cooking! I made a modification though…I had not Kosher Salt so I used Epsom Salt, and it still worked just fine! I am.very pleased! THANK YOU!!! 😊
Thank you, Nid! I am so glad it worked well for you. I also love hearing that it works with Epsom Salt!
Oh my goodness! I can’t STOP reading your recupes! 😱 I was writing my cleaning supply lost when I found your pins! I just scratched off the laundry detergent and softener as well as the dishwasher and dishsoap liquids; instead, I substituted them with the ingredients you mentioned in those categories. I use vinegar A LOT! I use it to mop my floors since we have stained concrete, and it’s pretty sensitive to many chemicals! But I am trying to get rid of all man made chemicals in my house since my babies have asthma. I really want to stick to all natural stuff, but the ones at the store are super expensive, and small batches, making it hard to buy when on a budget, right? We eat pretty clean, and organic most of the time, so I’m trying to save money on cleaning products as well as eco-friendly! THANK YOU SO MUCH, BREN FOR ALL YOUR RESEARCH making it easier on us, right? 😝. Someone has to do the dirty work of research! 😜 I just need to go get me some containers to put my stuff in, and can’t wait to try’em all! 🤗 Blessings!
A big thank you to your husband for his service!
Thanks, Nidia! I wish you great success with all the green cleaning!
Mine did not thicken to gel consistency. Could I have overcooked it? It smells nice, but it’s pretty much just a liquid with a little thickness. I don’t think it would stay in the dispenser. 🙁
It should still work fine, Donna. If you want it thicker you can simmer it to let more of the water evaporate which will thicken the mixture.
All I can say is Wow! This worked great on our dishes, and the biggest bonus is that it removed the horrible orange gunk that was always left over at the bottom edge of our dishwasher after using store bought dishwasher detergent. Thanks for sharing this – Couldn’t be happier!
Thanks Josh! I’m so glad it worked great for you!
Hi, Thank you for the recipe my question is should the salt still be a bit gritty I followed the directions to the tee if so do you have to stir before each use? Also I used my Vitamix and there was so pith or peel leftover so no waste at all. I just need some dirty dishes to wash lol
It should have a little roughness to it but not chunks of peels or large pieces of salt grit that needs stirred. Hope you enjoy the detergent!
Hi I just made this today and it looks like what you said it should the question I have is should the salt still be a little gritty? And if so do you have to stir it before each use? Also I used my Vita mix and there was absolutely no pith or peel left so it’s just the salt that has me wondering.
Thank you I have been glued to this site for 2 days.
I don’t stir it before each use because it doesn’t separate for me. It has a little roughness but not grit that needs stirred. Hope you like the recipe!
Hi Bren I used this the way you suggested and added a bowl of vinegar but my plastic came out with a film and they were new so it was not past use. Any suggestions? Thank you
Teri, it may be an issue with water hardness in your area. You can try adding a few drops of dish soap to the detergent dispenser and see if that helps.
Thanks for sharing Bren. Please I wash with hand and not a dishwasher. Can I use this recipe and does it foam? Thanks
This recipe is non-foaming and does not work well for hand-washing. I have a hand washing dish detergent recipe here. Good luck!
Thank you. I will check the recipe out as suggested. Hopefully will get the ingredients used here in Nigeria
Could I add bicarbonate soda to this mix?
The lemon would neutralize the baking soda. Read more here.
You may have answered this in a previous post, but that is one long thread you’ve got going there. Does the acid from the lemons mar the plastic parts inside dishwasher? I tried a homemade DW soap that called for unsweetened lemon Kool-aid and it damaged the inside of the DW. Just wondering. Thanks, Im looking forward to trying this.
I’ve had no trouble with my dishwasher. You should consult your owner’s manual and decide for yourself. Good luck!
Do you use distilled vinegar or cleaning vinegar?
Either will work.
Hi Bren. Tnx for sharing your recipe. I was in search for a green DIY zero waste dishwasher liquid. The water is hard where I live but I found out about it after a few failed attempt with Castille soap and lemon and vinegar. I used your recipe although I did change it a bit since I didn’t have lemons I used 2 limes instead. You were right about the smell! The house smells amazing. The machine just finished the load and I could not wait to see the results. I am absolutely trilled!!! It works like a charm. All the dishes are super clean and smell great! tnx a million :-*
Sasha, I am so happy to hear that the recipe worked well for you! I am also excited to hear how limes worked, I get that question quite often and it’s nice to hear a personal testimony!
My name is Justin a student me and my partner tried doing this for our experiment it turned out ok but it when we boiled it it didn’t thicken.What do I do
Continue to cook on low so that more water evaporates, this will help to thicken the mixture. Watch it carefully and stir frequently so it does not burn.
I was very excited making this recipe. I didn’t except much but i was wrong oh my god my dishes especially glasses came out very shinny. I have only problem with tea stains in mugs .They become black otherwise vey satisfied. Do you have any ideas to get rid of tea stains. I also tried adding vinegar and castile soap but dint work .
I’m so glad you like the detergent! To get out the tea stains you can wet the inside of the cup then sprinkle baking soda on the stains, let it sit for 10 minutes and then scrub clean. You can also use my recipe for all-purpose cleaner or my no scrub cleaner (they are both all natural so they can be used on dishes). Castile and vinegar won’t work because the vinegar unsaponifiables the castile soap, you can read more about it here in Green Cleaning Ingredients You Should Never Mix. Let me know how the cleaners work for you!
can you substitute lime for lemon?
please answer, we got tons of lime here that we can use and I kinda hate the smell of lemon
I have not used limes, so I can not give you a definite answer. However, if you read the comments, I think another reader used limes and was successful. Hope this helps! -Bren
Hi! I love this recipe! Thank you so much for sharing it. I don’t know if somebody asked this question. I didn’t have time to read all of the comments. But I was wondering if you made a batch and was able to freeze it? I was just thinking of having an extra batch in the freezer.
I have never tried freezing it, but it should work okay. The mix might be less gel-like after freezing and thawing but it should still work. Let me know if you try it!
Hi! I made this today and used it. It did pretty well! There were a couple of dishes that didn’t get super clean but I think I overloaded the dishwasher. Oops! The pots came out great!
Thanks for sharing this with us!
Thanks, Elizabeth! I am so glad it worked well for you.
Hi, Bren! I made the dishwashing gel. Loved the smell and how crystal clear/spot-free all of my glassware and silverware are now! But for some reason any pots/pans and some plastic ware (like spatulas) come come out with a white coating on them? I don’t what the deal is. I followed the recipe and as I said, I love it for everything else. I am just wondering if you have had or heard of anyone else having this issue and/or any ideas what I can change?
Sorry you had a problem, Jorja! Are you using the vinegar rinse (place a small cup with 1/2 cup of vinegar on the top rack or add during the rinse cycle). You could also try a rinse aid (I love Honest Company’s Rinse Aid ) or try green cleaning your dishwasher. Hope this helps!
I have not used the vinegar rinse. I will try that! Thank you! I love the clean smell and the my glasses come out sparkling!
Just forgot to ask can I substitute the Castile soap for an olive oil soap bar or a glycerin bar something that doesn’t contain the coconut oil since I am allergic to it????? And you are so right about borax!!! I have been trying to tell some of my friends for years that it’s so toxic and it’s also used in pesticides and to kill bugs, mice etc. My friends keep telling me that I am not right about that but I looked it up and saw that it is very toxic.
I ll hold off of making it until I hear from you. I had bought some course kosher salt, washing soda, and baking soda and also citric food grade soda for a detergent recipe I had found on the web that also used glycerin but a lot of the glycerin soaps use coconut and I can’t since one of my daughters and I are allergic to coconuts. Thank again… Gotta head to bed… Goodnight!
Thank you so much for the advice and also for the laundry detergent recipe. Yeah I hate this machine. We paid so much for how fancy it looks but I hate how it washes. Dryer is pretty good though!! I do leave the door open until it dries sometime it takes days to dry out. I do wipe the door with a cloth and dry most water but oh gosh that bad odor smells like old wet towels. I ll try your recipe out. ????
I just made this last week and was soooo excited to try it! And it bombed 🙁 I added it instead of my usual tablet that I always used with lemon shine and bleh. Nothing looked clean. The glasses were horrid like they had never been through a wash! So my Daughter suggested trying my regular dishwasher tablet with the natural lemon mix instead of the lemon shine. So I tried it that way and everything looked fine like it normally does.
But the question is — why bother using it if it did not work by itself? If I have to still use my dishwasher tablet with this it isn’t really cleaning it is just giving things a nice shine, which is what my lemon shine always did. I am really disappointed. My dishwasher is a LG and works great so it’s isn’t the washer 🙂
Sorry you didn’t have great results, Susan. If you’re just beginning to move from commercial cleaners to more natural cleaners I recommend a green dishwasher cleaning to make sure your lines are free of mineral build up and detergent deposits. I also recommend rinsing your dishes before using the dishwasher. Sometimes when moving to homemade natural cleaners it is necessary to try a few different recipes to see what works best for your water type and personal preferences. If you are currently using commercial detergent and also find it necessary to use lemon shine you probably have very hard water and would prefer a homemade detergent with powdered citric acid. The question for me, as a green cleaning enthusiast, is not “Why bother using it?” but rather “What dangerous substances am I trying to eliminate from my home?” It does take some trials and failures to find natural cleaners I love, but in the end I am always happy that the effort has brought me to a safer cleaning solutions. I hope you can take some satisfaction from that part of the natural cleaning journey.
Thank you so much Bren!!
Finally found something that works great with my dishwasher that won’t leave any residue on my dishes and it’s all natural!!! Bless your heart for sharing it. I think maybe next time I might blended it a bit more and double strain it before I return to the pot with the salt and vinegar to cook for another 15min. I had maybe a couple of spots that had tiny lemon grit dots but hey that can be solved and it’s way better from harsh chemical soap residue that we taste. 100% thumbs up!! Keep up the good work.
Could you substitute limes?
I’ve only made it with lemons, sorry I can’t be more helpful. If you try limes please let me know how it works!
I made it with limes today, and it seemed to have worked!
Thanks for stopping back to comment, Ashley! I get the lime (and even grapefruit) question a lot. I am glad to hear it worked for you. I’m happy to learn from anther fellow home care experimenter! 🙂
Thank you for the recipe! Unfortunately, my mixture did not thicken enough. 🙁 Do you think that I didn’t let the lemons cook long enough? Also, I added water to the lemon-water mixture, so perhaps it was too much water?
How much additional water did you add while cooking? My lemon/water mixture is thick like real maple syrup (not the gunky fake stuff) before adding it to the blender. You can put the whole mixture back on the stove and simmer it to make it thicker. It will still clean when thin, it’s just a bit harder to pour.
I think I missed it…how is your version different from the original in regards to having pulp left behind in your washing machine? Thanks!
The original recipe did not cook the lemons before blending which left bits of pulp and rind behind in the dishwasher. My version cooks the lemons so the soft rind is blended completely up and strains the blended lemons mix (as an extra precaution). This means NO pulp/rind left behind in the dishwasher.
Great idea, will definately be trying this! Im wondering if lemon juice could be used instead of the actual lemons, for those concerned on the price of lemons. Im more concerned about the number of chemicals we use everyday, in manmade detergents etc. the price of lemons isnt much, when compared to the cost of our health. Just a thought.m
You have to use whole lemons it’s the pith and peel that make the mixture thicken (read more in the post). I agree, I am more concerned about the chemicals than the price of lemons.
Great idea IF you have your own lemon tree. Otherwise, lemons are too expensive to be fussing around and wasting. Buying it pre-made doesn’t make sense either. It probably gets moldy, like an old lemon, unless it contains a preservative.
This detergent costs about $1.75 to make 32 ounces, that’s about $0.10 a wash. My favorite store-bought dishwasher detergent costs $5.95 or $0.15 a wash. I’m willing to put in a bit of time since I can easily make the detergent while cooking or cleaning the kitchen. It’s not available pre-made so there is no worry there!
I am looking forward to making this. Question – how many washes do you get from one batch? Using your calculations it would be 8-9 ($1,75/$0.20 per wash)?
Also, I would imagine a mason jar (or 2) would also suffice and might be easier to pour from than the larger swing-top jars. Not to mention that they would also be more readily available for folks.
The detergent makes 32 ounces, I uses 3-4 tbsp (1.5-2 ounces) per wash (this amount fills my detergent compartment, I don’t measure each time). This means you can get 16-21 washes from each batch. I do a load a day and it last about 3 weeks. You can store in a Mason jar or whatever container you desire. I love the look of swing-top jars so I sometimes use those to store the detergent and sometimes use Mason jars.
Got 15 limes from a farmer. Can I make more than 1 batch and freeze it? I could defrost on a later date and start using that batch…do you think it will still work?
This looks like a great recipe to try.
made it yesterday and it cleaned everything perfectly! So chuffed 🙂
Thanks Marissa! I am so glad you like the detergent.
Again, I’m new to all this. I cannot stop reading your site with all the DIY cleaners and such. I have a question about Vinegar and Lemon – since they are acidic….are they safe to use in dishwashers and any HE washers. I was wondering about the acid slowly destroying the plastic in the washers. Thanks.
Yes, both vinegar and lemon juice are acidic, but they are not lingering in the washer or dishwasher for a long amount of time. They are washed out fairly quickly with the rinse water. I have been using both vinegar and lemon juice for years with no problems, you should check your manufacturer’s guide if you have concerns. I am more concerned about the man-made chemicals in commercial products. As a side note: I do not recommend filling your dishwasher rinse compartment with vinegar or lemon juice (this solution stays in the compartment for multiple wash cycles and can corrode the plastic).
Just made this recipe this morning. Unfortunately I didn’t think that a recipe with all edible ingredients would ruin my pan however it did. I used a stainless steel Oneida sauce pan and the soap ruined the finish on the pan. Hopefully it won’t do that in the dishwasher!
I’m sorry you had a bad reaction! I make mine in my stainless steal All Clad saucepan with no problem.
Rikki A Miller
Hi bren! I made this….. I added some sodium borate and sodium carbonate I will report back my findings. Thanks!!!!
Thanks Rikki, can’t wait to see how it works!
Can I use Epson salt?
What could I add to it so I could make it into tabs?
I have never used Epsom salt in the recipe, I am not sure how it would work. You could freeze the gel in an ice cube tray to make tabs, otherwise it is too liquid to form tabs. However, I’m not sure how it would work from a frozen state.
When cleaning naturally the whole point is to rid your household of chemicals, so I wonder why the recipes don’t specifically call for organic citrus. Typically citrus isn’t part of the dirty dozen, but that’s because the skin isn’t usually used. All that being said, I love the recipe, I will definitely be making some using organic citrus.
I hope you like the detergent, Jamie!
Well, horray! This is the first natural cleaner recipe I’ve tried that came out the same colour and consistency as you described here (even had only a couple of tablespoons of pulp). And it tastes fabulous! (I had to try, I’m weird like that.) I sure hope it cleans as well as it smells /looks. Thank you.
I’m so glad you succeeded at the recipe! I bet it was bitter and salty.
Could this be made with sea salt instead of Kosher?
Yes, you can use any type of salt (table salt, sea salt, or kosher salt). I prefer kosher because it is coarse.
Thank you for the quick reply. I made up a batch and after letting it sit over night, it’s still runny. Is it supposed to firm up (like a gel)?
It’s not firm like jello, but definitely thicker than water. It should still work fine if runny.
Will be trying it out tonight….thank you again!
I have been using this recipe for a couple months or so and it worked ok at first, but now I am noticing that it does not get my dishes clean, my dishwasher is dirty after washing dishes, and my dishes have a yucky film on them. I have hard water, but we have a water softener. Do you have any ideas why it might not be working? Thanks!
Sherry, this detergent is phosphate free… which is great for your health and the environment… but might take a little extra work. Phosphates help strip food and grease from dishes. Without phosphates you have to rinse dishes before they put them in the dishwasher, use a vinegar rinse, or regularly clean your dishwasher. All US detergents are now phosphate free.. but some manufacturer’s get around this by adding them to the rinse aid.
Thanks for the info!
I would suggest run a cycle without dishes and only water and vinegar
through to clean the inside of dishwasher and it’s lines out. If this is not doing the trick, run run cycle with borox or bleach (no dishes in the dishwasher).
I used to use vinegar to clean out the inside of my machine, but I now live in an area with extremely hard water so I use this green cleaning method. I do not use borax or bleach in my home. Thanks for commenting. -Bren
Hi, I had the exact same problem with a film being left on my glassware.
I solved it by running my dishwasher empty on a short wash with 1/2 cup of CLR (calcium, lime and rust remover) then turned up the dial on my rinse aid dispenser to the next level. I only used 1/2 the amount of the lemon dishwasher liquid and everything came out sparkling.
Hope this helps.
Great tips, Beverly! Thanks!
Wanted to try this, but have concerns about the acidity possibly eating the rubber seal around my detergent compartment.
I have not had any problems. You should check your manufacturer’s guide and do whatever makes you feel comfortable.
i have just made this – did a posting but the internet broke just as i clicked – i live out in the boonies so have unreliable internet here – so again i will say – thank you this recipe is awesome – so much better than the original and you are right there is hardly any debris in the sieve at straining time – i dont store mine in the fridge it seems to stay safe under the bench – your orange vinegar cleaner well i also stick a cinnamon stick in mine while its maturing away – another great cleaner – i did have a safe dishwash liquid for the sink but i cant find it – had a massive tidy up and am now worried i have binned it but if i do find it do i put it here for amanda??? keep up the good work i love natural cleaners – wish i could convince my sister to use them after all she is the one with the cancer issues that keep coming back – once again a million thanks from new zealand
Thanks Liz! I am so happy the hear that you like the recipe. The cinnamon-orange combo sounds great! Yes, please share your dish washing liquid recipe if you find it!
Do you have a recipe for just regular dish soap? I don’t have a dish washer so I still have to wash my dishes the “old school” way 🙂
I recently made a liquid dish soap recipe!
Just letting you know some of those brands even contain some harsh chemicals. One dishsoap I found to be on the green side completely but it’s a bit expensive is “dish it” which I used to buy the unsented from Whole Foods. Now I order my Greek “Papoutsanis” pure green olive oil soap, I grate the bar with a cheese grater I add distilled water and melt on stove slowly. When it melts completely I take off the stove and set aside on stove, if not allergic to glycerin you could add a tsp or 2. I used too but not anymore. A few batches I made people have asked me if they could add essential oils. You can if you like to and you are not allergic to any of them. I cover with plastic wrap after my “stainless steel” pot has cooled off and let it sit for at least for 24-48 hours before I remix it and just add it to my glass soap pumps. Hope that helps Amanda. I have been doing my dishes for over a year or two now using this natural soap. You can do same with Castile bars but Castile bars leave a residue. Olive oil soap helps also with skin eczema, psoriasis, allergies and acne. My family and I love using it on everything. I order big batches from Greece and make for my family and friends. You can also order on line. A good place and not so expensive is at the Greekinternetmarket. Sorry for my long message. Thank you again for your wonderful recipe. Good night!
Thanks for the tip, Eleni. I’ll have to check out Papoutsanis soap, it sounds great. I agree, you have to be very careful with green cleaners… some at not as natural as they would like you to believe. I check everything on the EWG Healthy Cleaning or Skin Deep guide for body care products or the Think Dirty app for smart phones. These can give you a good indication about the safety of products in stores.
How much water do you use with the whole bar of soap? I’m very interested in making this.
Sorry it took me this long to reply about how much water do I use. Had a resent death in the family and also my younger daughter had surgery. I use about 1-2 cups of boiled distilled water per soap bar and if I see that it needs more I grate a bit more soap. I always wait 24-48 hours which I leave my soap mixture in a glass bowl covered with plastic wrap and let it sit to set before I see how thick it is and if I like the consistancy of the soap. Some people prefer it very thick and some very thin. I guess it depends how you like it. If you like to make it more watery you can also put in a foamy soap pump and use it as foam. Hope that helps. And sorry again for the so late response.
Hi, why can’t we use your lemon gel as dish washing liquid for normal dish washing with hands ? ( just add water to gel to liquify ) … awaiting eagerly to know your reply …
There is nothing wrong with trying the mixture for hand washing, however most people prefer some soap suds or bubbles when hand washing. This recipe does not have any foaming agents for the sink. You can check out this DIY which will make bubbles: hand washing dish detergent recipe.
Thank you will try …One more question , can I substitute kosher with rock salt ?
I have never used rock salt in the recipe since rock salt is not sold for food use, it’s an unprocessed form of mined salt. Since it is unprocessed it can contain minerals and other impurities that give it a grayish color.
THanks for your quick reply… lastly not bothering u much … what can be a natural substitute for rinse aid and salt used in dishwasher ?
Hi Here from Omaha Nebraska!
I just would like to say that I just made your recipe and I am hoping that it turns out well which I am sure it will as long as I don’t get pulp stuck in my dishwasher. For some reason I had about half of cup of lemon pulp and grits come out in the strainer.
I have been making my own liquid dishwasher soap/body soap/hand soap/face soap and now something that I could finally use my nice expensive dishwasher without all those harsh chemicals. I knew I couldn’t try the olive oil soap in the dishwasher cause it would leave residue but doing dishes by hand after I make it my dishes come out sparking clean however both my self and my 2daughters keep asking me when would I make your recipe. Well finally I did!I can’t wait to try it tomorrow.
Again this is Eleni from Nebraska. Just wanted to say thank you so much for sharing your recipe!!! Wish more people would use more natural house cleaners, and other products. So much chemicals in everything. Bye for now????
You’re sweet to comment, Eleni. I love experimenting with natural cleaners to eliminate as many chemicals as possible. I’m glad you feel the same way.
Can u just squeeze out the lemon juice so u don’t have the pulp and rind
Patty, the rind and white pith of the lemon are rich in pectin, a natural thickening agent. The high pectin level is why the mixture forms a gel. Do not leave out the rind and pith!
Eleni, hope the recipe works well for you! I live in NE too, when we first moved I had to do a green cleaning tuneup on my dishwasher to get it working well with all the minerals/hard water. I wouldn’t worry about the pulp, it can just be a difference in blenders. It’s good you got it strained out. Good luck!
Hi Bren! What a small world neighbor. Thank you so much for all your tips and your wonderful recipes!! I’m going to check more of your recipes. It takes time to go completely green but I’m so glad I started 4years ago. I wish I could of had started before when my little sister was still alive. I remember laughing with her and thinking it was to expensive and it was so silly to go all green but now I am glad I am doing that. Very sad I can’t share that experience with her! ???? She was very healthy with the food part. These days everything is made from chemicals. We are even made with part chemicals I’ve heard. Lol. Btw I checked out your recipe about the natural furniture polish but is it ok to make it without the essential oils? I have allergies and sensitivities plus last time I used it mixed in one of my green cleaners it removed the labeling from refrigerator fruit drawer. Completely ruined my new fridge in few other areas also. Essential oils can be very strong and sometimes very dangerous since they are so strong. I do love the idea of using the olive oil and not coconut oil better though. I had made natural homemade deotorant with coconut oil and also eyeliner however I developed an allergy to it and now sadly I can’t use coconut oil anymore. Thanks again for sharing your wonderful recipes with all of us. ????
Btw Bren do you have any recipes of how to get a bad smell out of washing machines? My he Samsung washing front loader machine after a year of use barely use is getting this weird odor smell. I did add vinegar a couple times to clean it but then the glass door seem to look more cloudy. I haven’t found a completely natural detergent for our clothes so I use one that says its Ecco frendly from Costco for now. I’m thinking to possible make my own but I have heard that soaps with to much acidic or oils can ruin the washer machines or the dishwashers?! Idk… But I feel and think anything is better than all those harsh chemicals and bleach soaps etc. any suggestions or tips. Any help is appreciated. Thank you
I do, Eleni. I follow the steps in this post about cleaning smelly towels. Unfortunately front loaders are notorious for harboring weird smells. Most manufacturers recommend leaving the door open when not is use so the rubber seal dries completely. I make my own detergent and use it in my high efficiency top loader and have had no issues. Good luck!
I’d try adding some tea tree oil to the wash cycle, and my father in law keeps a towel by his that he wipes out that plastic (bowl like) area where the door seals. He also leaves it cracked when not in use. Good luck!
Be careful with tea tree oil and dishes…. it should not be consumed internally so it must be completely washed from all dishes. You should be fine using it in the washing machine, mix it with a little vinegar to dilute. Good luck!
Where did you get the jar from?
I store my detergent in 2-quart jars from Ikea, World Market & TJ Maxx. I love the look of wire bail jars and their affordable prices. If you don’t live near these stores you can search online for clamp, glass swing-top, or wire bail jars.
hi! for some reason I cannot access the free labels unless I pay a monthly fee, do you know what might be happening?
Briana, there is no fee. Just enter your email address and you will gain access to the free printable library.
Looking for the dishwashing soap label.
The link it at the bottom under “Notes for Homemade Dishwasher Detergent”. You can also click here to access the free printable library. Enter your email and download the label.
Can you substitute Apple cider vinegar for the white vinegar? Just found you blog! So awesome, can’t wait to read more of your posts!
Thanks Hayley! So glad you found me too! Yes, apple cider vinegar should work though it may alter the scent a bit.
Can you substitute grapefruit for lemons?
Good question, Corey! I have never used grapefruit in the recipe but they do contain pectin and citric acid so they should work. Let me know if you try!
Maybe I missed this part, but do you just keep it in a jar until you use it or do you make some pods using ice cube trays? Does it also need to be refrigerated until you use it? I’m really looking forward to making my detergent using your recipe.
Judy, I keep it in a jar in the fridge. The original author stores her detergent at room temperature. I store mine in the refrigerator as it is made from all-natural ingredients that will ferment and does not contain any harsh preservatives. Storing it in the fridge will also prolong the shelf life.
I love this idea! I am curious how long the shelf life is when stored in the fridge?
Thanks for commenting, Meinda. I’ve had a batch in my fridge for 3 weeks and it is still going strong! It looks and smells fresh.
I made a batch and I was disappointed dishes didn’t look that clean even after I wash them before putting on the dishwasher what did I do wrong? I followed the recipe
I’m sorry it didn’t work for you, Flora. Are you using the vinegar rinse (place a small cup with 1/2 cup of vinegar on the top rack or add during the rinse cycle). You could also try a rinse aid (I love Honest Company’s Rinse Aid ) or try green cleaning your dishwasher. Hope this helps!