DIY Homemade Dishwasher & Dish Soap That Works: Natural Cleaning- 17 Days Series

How to Wash Dishes Naturally

The dishwasher soap recipe was easier than I thought it would be. I’ve used other commercial cleaners in my dishwasher and never been quite as happy with them as I was with one particular brand. That lead me to think I’d never be happy with a homemade dishwasher soap. Thankfully, I was wrong.

The main problem I presumed I’d encounter would be spotty dishes. Then, I read the ingredients on the back of most of the commercial rinse aids. Guess what the ingredients included: vinegar. Mmmm, hmmm. Look for yourself. So, I figured I’d skip the added chemicals and just use the real thing. The results: spotless dishes.

One thing I questioned when contemplating whether or not I’d make my own dishwasher detergent was, if the dishes are thoroughly rinsed before they come out then aren’t they chemical free? Short answer is no. Long answer is that even though the trace amounts that are left as residue are very minute, the true hazard lies in the fumes that are dispersed from the dishwasher while it is in operation. I had never considered that. Once I realized how much harm that would do, the decision was easy.

If you happen to wash dishes by hand or if you use dish soap for every day hand washing, I have a recipe for that too. This one works great as an everyday soap. If you have greasy dishes then it is best to use baking soda as a degreaser. Just sprinkle the baking soda on the dishes and wipe it off. The grease goes with it. Then, you can wash as usual.

Homemade Dishwasher Soap Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups of Borax
  • 1 cup of washing soda
  • 5 packs of True Lemon
  • 2 packs of True Orange
  • 1/2 cup of baking soda

Add all ingredients into a large bowl. Combine well with a whisk. Use a funnel and pour into a one quart jar or container. To use, add 1 tabelspoon to both soap containers.

Natural Dishwasher Rinsing Agent

  • Vinegar

Once the commercial rinse aid has run out, fill the rinse compartment with undiluted vinegar.

Homemade Dish Soap

  • 1 1/2 cups of warm water
  • 1/2 cup of castile soap
  • 2 tbsp. vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. washing soda
  • 27-30 drops of essential oils

Add all ingredients into measuring cup and mix well. Using a funnel, pour the mixture into a squirt container or foaming pump bottle. Use as normal.


  • baking soda

Sprinkle a light coat of baking soda over the greasy area. Wipe clean. For dishes: follow up with dish soap. For surfaces: Spray with DIY homemade natural all purpose cleaner spray and wipe to remove any residue.

Download Homemade Dishwasher Soap and Dish Soap Labels

For best results, print on mailing labels or Avery sticker paper. After adhering to bottle, use contact paper over the label to give it added protection.













Clean Modern Label – Dishwasher

Clean Modern Label – Dishwashing





Vintage Antique Label – Dishwasher

Vintage Antique Label – Dishwashing





Classic Natural Label – Dishwasher

Classic Natural Label – Dishwashing





Shabby Chic Label – Dishwasher

Shabby Chic Label – Dishwashing





Funky Fun Label – Dishwasher

Funky Fun Label – Dishwashing





Traditional Contemporary
– Dishwasher

Traditional Contemporary – Dishwashing






Simple Earthy – Dishwasher

Simple Earthy – Dishwashing


Other posts in this series: Homemade All Natural Cleaning Products

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  1. Hi to everyone! I’ve recently moved to another city and discovered that this recipe no longer works as well as it did at our other home which had a different water system. What I have found to help is heating distilled water then dissolving the Borax until it is well dissolved. However, I am currently writing a book based on the content in this series and working with a test group and some folks in a lab and we have found what we believe is a much better alternative. As soon as we have determined the specifics about the recipe we will be including in the book then I will post it here.

    Thanks so much!

    • Amy – I was wondering if you have reformulated the Dishwasher soap yet? I am thoroughly appreciating ALL of these natural cleaning remedies but have some concern about using the borax on my dishes.

    • Amy – We have very soft water. Are the problems you encountered after moving the result of harder water? Also, have you reformulated your dishwasher detergent yet? Thanks for your help!!!

  2. Hello- I made the dish soap today and noticed that the washing soda hardened and clumped up. There are several other individuals who commented about this problem with no response. Would you be able to let me know how you have avoided this problem? Thanks!

  3. Hi, I’ve loved many of yOur cleaning recipes. Having trouble with dishwasher cleaner, my dh wants me to just buy it again, but I’d like to try again . I followed the directions but glasses are super spotty and slightly gritty. Our dishwasher is not great, but have you experienced this? Thanks for sharing all of your hard work.

  4. Hi, I’ve loved many of yOur cleaning reci

  5. Heather says:

    Help! I just made the dish soap and all the washing soda clumped up, is that normal?

    • Melissa says:

      I also made this today and the washing soda clumped up. Also, when I go to use it to wash dishes, it doesn’t foam up at all in the dish pan. Is that normal?

  6. Sarah Bruneski says:

    Hey Amy, LOVE your site, the window cleaner and all purpose spray are better than anything I’ve used before! I do have to ask though, is it normal for the washing soda to clump? Someone else asked but I didn’t see the answer. Thanks for this amazing resource!

  7. Hey Amy!
    Couple things. What is washing soda and where can I find it? Second, do you have a recipe for laundry soap? Thank you so much:)

  8. I made the dish soap today and my washing soda gelled into solid chunks. Is this a problem? Also, do you have to use essential oils, and if so, why? :0)

  9. Anabelle says:

    First of all, THANK YOU SO MUCH for this website! 🙂 I’ve tried the liquid dish soap and it worked better than a previous recipe that I had. The other day I tried the oven cleaner that I found on your site on FB, and I was so happy with the result. I really did NOT want to use the self-cleaning option or those oven cleaner sprays from the stores!!

    Would I be able to substitue the True Lime for the True Lemon? Amazon is selling it with the 3 packs (orange, lime, and lemon) so I wanted to make sure it was interchangeable.

    Again, THANK YOU for all of your articles!!! 🙂 I haven’t read everything in your website, but when I have more time, I will do that.

    I will also be trying ALL of your natural cleaners!! 🙂

  10. BTW, Started using the all-purpose cleaner, too, and it’s fantastic!!!

  11. Hi, Amy! I love this recipe, so I tried it this weekend. The second time my dishes came out filmy and I had to rewash. Any thought on why or suggestions? I REALLY want to keep using this for economy and the natural cleaning aspect! Thank you so much for this series! Love it!

  12. Amy, should it he liquid castille or flakes or bar? Any recommended brands? THis is fantastic, thanks!

  13. RastaRican says:

    Thank you, Amy.
    I enjoyed learning new ways to use “old” things.

  14. Love your ideas, as always! Can I substitute orange and lemon essential oils for the True Orange and True Lemon in the dishwasher detergent recipe? Glad to know you like Young Living, as I sell it! If you sign up you can get a personal shopper discount, so the oils cost a bit less. Also, True Orange and True Lemon can be found at WalMart in the powdered drink section 🙂 I just like using the oils alot! Do you have a laundry detergent recipe?

  15. Great recipes Amy! Thanks for sharing. I’ve been using Lavender oil. I found a generic and it was strong but I like the smell of lavender but would like to try others. Thanks again!

    • Essential oils are amazing, Kathleen. Just make sure you use pure oils. Some of the best I’ve found are Young Living and you can also get some for a bit less at Whole Foods. Just make sure it is the therapeutic grade.

  16. Amy,
    Thank you so much for posting these recipes. I am truly anxious to try them. I have tried a couple of your other cleaning recipes and LOVE them. I was just thinking the other day, I sure wish there was a homemade dishwasher recipe out there.

    Thanks Again!!!

    • Thank you so much, Staci. I’m glad you like them. I spent a good amount of time working and reworking them until they worked up to my expectations. I love how clean and natural my home is now.

  17. I have one question. Is it okay to combine essential oil to the mix? Because I use essential oil mostly for therapy.

  18. Also, I love the labels!! I can’t wait to print them out for my containers!!

  19. I’m anxious to try this recipe. It sounds great!! Where can I find the True Lemon and True Orange? Is there anything I can do for really hard water? I have to clean my dishwasher with CLR every couple of months. I want to get rid of the chemicals! Thanks so much for this series on Natural Cleaning. I love it!!

    • True products are available online. I haven’t even looked in the stores. I have them on Amazon’s auto ship plan. For hard water you want to add a bit more baking soda. Just adjust the recipe by adding more baking soda until you reach the result you want. Baking soda is great for hard water.

  20. I’ve been making my own dishwasher detergent and appreciate learning from your recipe (still trying to perfect it for my dishwasher and hard water combination). One tip I read somewhere is to add a drop or two of blue food coloring to the vinegar you’re going to use as a rinse agent so that you can see when it is getting low!

  21. Jennifer Jasper says:

    Thanks for posting! I’ve been looking for a dishwasher detergent recipe and this one sounds good!! I just started making my own laundry detergent and I love it! My clothes smell clean, not like detergent!

    • Jennifer, I know exactly what you mean! No one knows what they are missing until they remove the artificial smell from their clothes. Natural is so much better. I do like to add essential oils to my clothes so that they smell natural but it is not harsh like the detergent smell.

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