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Have you ever read the label on your dish detergent?

Go ahead and search a few of those ingredients and see what comes up….

As you research ingredients and the effects they have on the human body, you’ll be wondering the same thing I was:

How are manufacturers allowed to put this stuff in their detergent?!

As more and more research comes forward, so many chemicals are being shown to cause things like cancer, respiratory illness, and even problematic behavior in children. Scary! 

But this non toxic dish detergent recipe will leave your dishes sparkly clean WITHOUT all the chemicals and toxins.

The best part?

It’s easy peasy!

Why Make Your Own Dishwasher Detergent?

You would be shocked to hear how many chemicals are in average detergents. Here are just a few of the harmful ingredients:

  • Coal tar dyes. These dyes can carry trace amounts of arsenic, lead, and cadmium. These all pose a health risk even with trace amounts.
  • Chlorine bleach. Chlorine bleach can be a health risk. If it is consumed it can cause various health problems. If you inhale the fumes, it can cause asthma and other breathing issues.
  • DEA, MEA, TEA. All of these chemicals can cause cancer as well as hormone disruption. MEA can also cause asthma in some people.
  • Formaldehyde. This is a chemical that has been well known as a cancer-causing agent. It can also induce allergies and asthma.
  • Glycol Ethers. This compound can cause anemia as well as irritation of eyes and nose. In laboratory testing, low exposure caused damage to sperm and testicles. Testing also showed problems with birth defects and…again…cancer.

Some try to say these ingredients aren’t an issue because you’re not consuming or coming in direct contact with them.

Unfortunately, I have seen my own dishwasher not rinse off the plates, cups, and silverware thoroughly. Plus, the residue left behind is not always visible. 

To protect my family from these toxins, I created an all natural detergent recipe that is free of any chemicals.

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Without Borax

This recipe is simple to use, and best of all you can make it to accommodate your needs! 

  • 2 cups of baking soda
  • 2 cups of washing soda
  • 3/4 cup of salt
  • 1 cup of citric acid
  • 1 cup of vinegar
  • 10 drops of essential oil (This is optional. Bonus points for using essential oils like lavender and lemon that have some antibacterial properties)


  • In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients.
  • Slowly add in the vinegar. Continue mixing.
  • Add in essential oils slowly.
  • Place mixture into small round plastic or silicone molds. An ice tray will work as well. Let the mixture sit for at least 24 hours.
  • Unmold and place one tablet inside your dishwasher. If it will not fit into the dispenser, place at the bottom of your appliance.


If you don’t have washing soda, you can make your own. Simply bake baking soda for an hour at 350 degrees. And wa-la! You have homemade washing soda. 

If you would rather have your recipe in powder form, just leave out the vinegar. Place a couple of tablespoons of vinegar in the bottom of your machine on each cycle if you choose to leave the vinegar out of your recipe.

Be sure to store your non-toxic dishwasher tablets or powder in a dry place. I prefer using glass storage containers. And I may or may not make them cute with little chalkboard labels 🙂 

What to Buy When You Don’t Want to DIY

I love homemade products for their ability to customize and control exactly what’s in them.

But sometimes I don’t have the time to invest in making my own non-toxic cleaning products. In that case, here are some of my favorite natural dishwasher detergents:      

Last update on 2020-09-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Frequently Asked Questions

Will this natural dishwasher recipe kill germs?

Yes, especially if you use antibacterial essential oils! My favorites that are citronella, grapefruit, and tea tree.  

Will it leave residue on my dishes?

No, this recipe will not leave any soapy film or residue.

Is this recipe 100% natural and non-toxic?

Yes! Some homemade detergents use borax, which is questionable, but this one is borax free!

Why does this recipe use salt?

Salt creates a scrubbing action, helping to clean your dishes better.

What can I use instead of dishwasher detergent?

Natural or not, if you just want an alternative to dish detergent in general, try this:

  • Load your dirty dishes as normal
  • Add 2 drops of dish soap to the detergent cup (no more than 2 drops unless you want a massive suds fest!)
  • Fill the cup just over half full with baking soda
  • Fill the remaining space with salt
  • Run the dishwasher!

Over to you, what’s your favorite way to wash dishes naturally? 

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