Natural Homemade Liquid Dishwasher Detergent

February 16th, 2010 - filed under: The Farm » Home


A few months back I posted a recipe for a powdered dishwasher detergent. I got a ton of positive feedback, and the recipe seemed to work great for most of my readers. However, there was a subset left unsatisfied – which is totally unacceptable to me!

I had requests for a liquid version, as some machines will only do well with liquid. As well, my readers with hard water were experiencing less-than-stellar results. I knew I had more work to do . . .

And here’s my answer! An all-natural, all green, liquid dishwasher detergent that *should* stand up to hard water. (I say ‘should’ because I haven’t tested it myself – I don’t have hard water. But I’ve corrected for the issue as best I understand the chemistry of it. You’ll have to let me know how it works!)

Sayward’s Homemade Liquid Detergent Recipe

1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup liquid castile soap
2 tablespoons pure lemon juice (not concentrate)
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon washing soda
**10-15 drops antibacterial essential oil, if using an unscented castile

extra white vinegar for the rinse cycle

In a small saucepan, combine water and vinegar over medium heat. Bring to just boiling and then reduce to low heat. Add each additional ingredient, one at a time, whisking as you go. Make sure everything is dissolved before removing from heat.

Allow to cool and then transfer to a storage container. When completely cooled the solution will separate into two layers, so shake it up real good before use.


I use 2-3 tablespoons per load. I also fill the machine’s rinse indicator with white vinegar – a very important step. Don’t skip this part! It will keep the dished ‘soap-scum-free’ and extra sparkly.

Enjoy, and happy green dishwashing!