Many people want natural cleaning products. They are concerned about the chemicals used in many cleansers, particularly dishwashing detergent. After all, you eat off of your dishes and cook with your pots and pans. It’s normal to be worried that residual detergent could cause harm. Luckily, there are homemade alternatives that may but your mind at ease. If you’re looking to make homemade dishwasher detergent without baking soda, here’s what you need to know.

How Much Does Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Cost?

Typically, homemade dishwasher detergent is much cheaper than commercial versions. While the exact cost varies depending on the recipe you use (impacting the ingredients you have to buy), most come out to just a few cents per load, typically around $0.05.

In comparison, if you get a 78-count container of dishwasher pods for $16, that comes out to about $0.21 per load. That means, by making your own dish detergent instead of using those tabs, you could be saving $0.16 per load.

Your exact savings will vary depending on the average cost of your typical detergent and ingredient prices in your area. However, that should give you a general idea of the money-saving potential of making your own dishwasher detergent.

Simple Powder Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Without Baking Soda

You can actually make your own powder homemade dishwasher detergent with just two ingredients. Washing soda is an excellent cleanser, and can power through dirty dishes like it’s nothing. By adding citric acid, you are adding antibacterial properties.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 cup washing soda
  • ¼ cup citric acid powder

All you need to do is take the two ingredients and stir them together. Then, place them in an airtight container, ensuring moisture doesn’t get it.

When it comes time to clean your dishes, add two tablespoons of the powder when you use it the first time. After you gauge the results, you can adjust the amount you use to achieve your ideal clean.

This recipe is also incredibly easy to scale up or down. Generally, the ratio for this homemade dishwasher detergent is four-parts washing soda to one-part citric acid.

Additionally, you can convert this recipe to work as a laundry detergent, too. Take a bar of Fels-Naptha and finely grate it. Then, stir it together with 1 cup of washing soda and ¼ of citric acid powder, and you’re done.

Scented Powder Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Without Baking Soda

If you want your homemade dishwasher detergent to have a fresh scent while also being a powerful cleanser, you can mix washing soda with select essential oils. You’ll get an effective and aromatic powder detergent.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 4 cups washing soda
  • 15 drops grapefruit essential oil
  • 5 drops lemon essential oil

Once you add the essential oils to the washing soda, make sure to stir thoroughly. That way, the oils are evenly dispersed.

After you’re done mixing, just store the detergent in an airtight container. Then, use one tablespoon the first time you try the detergent, adjusting the amount after that to achieve your ideal clean.

If you want a stronger scent, you can add more essential oil. Try up to 30 drops of grapefruit and up to 10 drops of lemon.

Homemade Dishwasher Tabs Without Baking Soda

If you prefer the simplicity of dishwasher tabs, you can make homemade versions that don’t contain baking soda. The ingredients list is a bit longer than the powdered versions. Still, the final result is a convenient tab that you can just toss into your dishwasher’s compartment without additional measuring.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 2 cups washing soda
  • 2 cups borax
  • ½ coarse salt
  • ½ cup distilled white vinegar
  • 15 drops lemon essential oil (optional)

You’ll also need a silicone ice cube tray or mold that can produce tablets that will fit in your dishwasher’s compartment. If you have previous experience with commercial dishwasher tabs, you can use those as a size reference when choosing a mold.

Take all of the dry ingredients and mix them together with a spoon. Then, add the lemon essential oil, stirring until thoroughly dispersed. Finally, slowly add the vinegar, stirring continuously as you do. The vinegar will cause some light bubbling, hence why you don’t want to pour it all in at once.

With the addition of the vinegar, the mixture will start to clump. After all of the vinegar has been added, use a spoon to transfer the mixture into the silicone ice cube tray or mold. Compact the powder into the spaces, ensuring it is hard-packed and that no air pockets are present.

Place the filled tray in a warm, dry spot. If you can, set them in a windowsill that gets sunlight, as this may help the drying process.

Once the tabs have dried for a minimum of 24 hours (possibly longer, especially if you live in a humid climate), you can pop the tabs out of the tray or mold. Store them in an airtight container.

When you use the tabs, simply place one in the compartment in your dishwasher. The machine will handle the rest.

Bonus: Homemade Dishwasher Rinsing Agent

If your dishwasher has a rinsing agent compartment, you can make a homemade version to use in your machine. There are two approaches that can work, each involving just a single ingredient.

First, you can try distilled white vinegar. Vinegar is a great deodorizer and works incredibly well as a rinse agent. It’s also ideal if you have hard water, helping you avoid unsightly spots on your dishes. Plus, it’s incredibly affordable, especially if you get large bottles of store brands.

Second, you can try lemon juice. The acids allow it to work well as a rinse agent, and it’s also reasonably cheap.

Even if you don’t have a rinse compartment, that doesn’t mean you can’t use these rinsing agents. Simply pour some in a small bowl. Then, place that bowl on your dishwasher’s top rack right-side up. During the cleaning process, the rinsing agent will get spilled out of the bowl, allowing it to help with cleansing your dishes.

Have you ever made homemade dishwasher detergent without baking soda? Did it meet your expectations, or did you decide to go back to store-bought? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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