Natural Homemade Dishwashing: Dish Soap and Dishwasher Detergent Recipes

July 21st, 2009 - filed under: The Farm » Home


Some of my most popular posts are in relation to cleaning. Who’d of thunk it?! I mean, I know I love me some baking soda, but I didn’t realize the adoration was so widespread!

Next up in our continuing saga of do-it-yourself cleansers, a perfect pair of recipes to meet your dishwashing needs. And, if you already make your own laundry detergent, you should have all the ingredients on hand! First up:

Sayward’s Homemade Dish Soap

1 cup liquid Castile soap

3 tablespoons water

a few drops essential oil (if using unscented Castile soap)

Combine in a vessel of your choice (I use an old vinegar bottle with a metal spout), mix well, and use.

No really. That’s it. TOO EASY.


And for those with gizmos:

Sayward’s Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

1 part borax (see description of borax here)

1 part washing soda (see description of washing soda here)

distilled white vinegar

Combine the powders in a bowl and mix well, breaking apart any clumps. Transfer to an airtight container to store. Use 1 tbsp of mixture per load. Fill your machine’s rinse indicator with white vinegar, for that extra sparkle. Again, SO EASY.


I’ve been using both of these for a while now, and of course they’re working wonders. It’s just so satisfying, knowing that I can accomplish all my cleaning without bringing any strange or nefarious products into my home.



  • Allison

    We got 1 2oz bar of castille soap from Dr. Bronners in Lavender. We grated it in a bowl. Then we took 1 gallon of water and boiled it just until it started steaming and poured in the shredded soap. We stirred it with a hand mixer and then took it off the heat and covered it. For a few hours we would have to remix. (Probably remixed 3 times.) and then it took on a nice pearly thick formation and we put it into a one gallon bottle and voila. A gallon of natural handsoap for about $4.

  • Barbara

    Commenting here in case anyone finds this page through a search (or is doing what I’m doing – reading the Bonzai site from the beginning again :o) )

    This powder works for me – it’s the first home made dishwasher recipe that I’ve been successful with in my old dishwasher – so thank you for mistakenly adding Baking Soda, Happy Home!

    It doesn’t do the tea-stains in my mugs, but I’m okay with doing those by hand if it means I get to fill the dishwasher with everything else and have a home-made “friendly to water” powder to go in it.

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  • Aunty

    I live on a very small income. Food stamps and all that so I’ve been looking for cleaning products I can make with food items. I’ve been using salt for scouring poweder as well as baking soda. For some reason salt seems to multiply on my cabinet. I don’t use it for cooking. Baking soda, is SOOOO my go to grease cutter for my stove and cabinets. I used white vinegar instead of fabric softenerI only have a small bit of liquid castile soap. I recently unearthed an 8 pack of Ivory bar soap in the back of my under sink area. Now that I have a ratio to work with, I’m going to try a bar of that grated. Thank you.
    I’ve used the baking soda and vinegar drain cleaner with good success at home and church. they only place it didn’t work was in the church water fountain where someone dumped coffee grounds.
    At churcdh we need to follow health code for sanitizing dishes, and that means bleach, even though white vinegar works just as well. The health inspectors like the smell of bleach.

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  • Anonymous

    That’s too bad about the health inspectors. I doubt they’ll ever change.

  • Laurie Richard Wisecup

    I have soft water… how much of this would I use for a full dishwasher?

  • Sayward Rebhal

    I’m sorry, I haven’t tried it with soft water so I don’t really have any idea. I’d say just experiment. Luck!

  • Kathy J Ebert

    I find the same thing too, and thankfully have a dishwasher now with an extra rinse cycle. but I can confirm the vinegar in the rinse does help against water spots and cloudiness.

  • James
  • lgcamp

    Say, if you want to add lemon to your formula, try True Lemon (not Real Lemon, which is a liquid). True Lemon is a powder (crystals) and yeah, it works. So no need for citric acid.

  • lgcamp

    To get by the health inspectors just pour a bit of bleach down the drain after the dishwashing is over. Who’s gonna know? Of course you can’t lie about it, but if they smell it, they probably won’t ask. Saves the environment to back off the bleach anyway. Vinegar works fine for dishes.

  • lgcamp

    The only KoolAid to use in washing is unsweetened LEMONADE flavor. The lemon does a great job in the dishwasher and in the washing machine if you use enough of it.

  • lgcamp

    And if you can’t take it out, you’ll have to use a bit of table salt to thicken it back up again. Start with 1/2 a teaspoon.

  • lgcamp

    The one to use is unsweetened LEMONADE flavor. The others have too much color in them and will probably end up dying the inside of your dishwasher if you use them frequently. But LEMONADE flavor is good for leaving in your toilet bowl overnight too… bleaches it really clean.

  • lgcamp

    Just make sure it’s unsweetened LEMONADE flavor so you don’t stain the inside of your dishwasher.

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  • Nicole Sanders

    How did you know how much vinegar to use?

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