Skip to main content
Recipe for Homemade Dishwasher Powder

Recipe for Homemade Dishwasher Powder

This recipe is tried and tested and works perfectly

It takes a few minutes to make and literally only requires you to mix together 4 ingredients. 


1 cup Washing soda

1 cup Borax

½ cup pure Salt or Kosher Salt

½ cup Citric Acid


Simply mix together thoroughly. Keep in an airtight jar. Use one tablespoon per load. 

Where to buy

You can buy most of these ingredients from supermarkets or readily online from places like Biome.

If you are in a supermarket, the washing soda and borax will be near the laundry detergents while the rock salt and citric acid with the spices and baking foods.

Notes on clumping

The citric acid will make this detergent clump together which annoys some people. I have tried leaving it out, but dishes simply don't clean as well. 

You can reduce the clumping by putting a silica sachet in with the mixture or some rice in old stockings to absorb moisture.  

Or simply embrace the clumping. Use ice cube trays and leave the mixture set for a few days or simply use it and as it clumps, either stick it in your food processor and give it a pulse or get out your hammer and chisel and give it a couple of taps. Once it is broken up, it doesn't seem to re-clump. 

Some other notes that could be of value:

This is my tried and tested recipe. I have tried all kinds of things, but you pretty much need to make it per the instructions and you need all the components to cut the grime. It won't clump if you just put it into a larger container and let it sit there for a few weeks.

In terms of where to put it in the dishwasher, just toss it into the bottom of the machine or on the front door. (A plumber once told me about that trick.) It doesn't have to go into the little powder box hole thing.

You hear all kinds of things about non commercial powders killing your machine, but mine is old and is still chugging away. You definitely need the vinegar to rinse. It will still  leave a slight sense of a coating. If you want it gone completely, just buy some commercial rinseaid and water it down 1 : 5 with vinegar. That just takes the edge off it. 

Image: Shutterstock

Something incorrect here? Suggest an update below:
Science Notes

Washing Soda, or Na2C03 (sodium carbonate) is a natural substance, made from salt and limestone and like Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda) is also an excellent cleaning agent.

Borax occurs naturally in the environment, but it is toxic if ingested in concentrated amounts, and you should keep it out of the reach of children.  

Kosher salt or pure salt helps soften water. Make sure you get it rock form.

Citric acid is the thing that will ensure there is no scum on your plates (surfactant). 

Related Tip

Commercial dishwasher powder and cleaning solutions are often so popular because they are infused with artificial fruit or flowery smells.
 A little less Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Sulphate, Sodium Citrate, Water, Sodium Silicate, Sodium Carbonate Peroxide, Alcohols Ethoxylate, Sodium Polyacrylate, TAED, Fragrance / Parfum, Subtilisin, Amylase Enzyme (the chemcials in many commercial dishwashers) in the environment has to be a good thing!