16 Thrifty Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Recipes

[New! Updated with recipes shared by readers] Have you run out of dishwashing detergent and you’re in a pinch to run a load until you can get to the store and buy some more? Or are you looking to whip up a few batches to save yourself a bit money? This is the page you’re looking for!

SprayI have a few DIY/homemade mixes you can try (for both powder and liquid versions), as well as some rinse agent suggestions to help get dishes sparkling clean.

I’ve also updated the page with plenty of tips, recipes and advice shared by readers.

This article is over 12 years old and still going strong with feedback from those who have tried these out, made some tweaks and did some troubleshooting…lots of good information here for you to browse through, have fun!

C. = cup; TBS = Tablespoon; tsp = teaspoon

Powder Versions


1 C. Washing Soda
1 C. Borax


1 C. Baking Soda
1 C. Borax

For the above two mixes:

  • Blend thoroughly and store in a plastic container, use approximately 2 TBS per load.
  • Use vinegar in the rinse compartment as an agent to help prevent residue.
  • Try adding 2-3 drops essential oil.


1/4 C. Washing Soda
1 TBS Liquid Dish Soap

Use the above for each load you run.


1 part baking soda
1 part borax
1 part water
1 drop lemon or orange essential oil per cup of detergent

  • Mix the ingredients thoroughly and store in a sealable jug.
  • Use 2 to 3 TBS per load.

Dealing With Residue

If you’re having a cloudy residue problem::

  • Try adding a few drops of liquid dishsoap to the detegent compartment when you add the powder (just 2 or 3 drops will do).
  • You could also try cutting back on the amount used (ie. if you’re using 2 TBS, try cutting it back to 1 – 1 1/2 TBS).
  • Make sure to use vinegar in the rinse cycle.

Updates & Troubleshooting Tips

Update #1: There are several comments from readers reporting both success and problems (namely complaining about cloudy residue issues). I don’t know why there’s a discrepancy, but it may have something to do with water temperature (not hot enough) or water quality (too hard, etc.). My dishwasher is still going strong with no problems, items are consistently clean with no trace left behind and it’s about 20 years old–good old Maytag!

Because these recipes are at least 20 years old (I’m going from memory here), the problem might be isolated to newer appliances? How much water is used rinsing/washing the items? I’m not sure. I would suggest you watch carefully when first trying them to see if they leave a powdery trace (there are tips below that might help with that).

Update #2: Lots of readers have offered their tried-and-true recipes and shared tips in the comments area, here are several that stand out:

MK Whittenburg advises that the etching/cloudiness problem is solved by adding citric acid, she recommends this recipe:

1 (55 oz) box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
1 (76 oz) box of 20 Mule Team Borax
1 (48 oz) boxes of coarse Kosher Salt
1 (2 oz) container of food-grade Citric Acid (or substitute with 10 to 15 envelopes of Unsweetened Lemon Kool-Aid)

  • Liv uses the Powdered Version #2 above (baking soda and borax) but added 2 packets of unsweetened lemon Kool-Aid and this did the trick to eliminate the slight film her first attempts gave.
  • TL shares this recipe: 1 TBS grated Zote soap, 1 TBS borax and 1 TBS washing soda.
  • Gina says she has good success with using just 1 to 2 TBS of Borax in the dispenser then white vinegar as a rinse agent.
  • Susan says she uses 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt and a wee pinch of dish soap (non-bleach) per load.
  • Sue says she just tosses in 1/2 C. of baking soda and 1/2 C. of vinegar, shuts the door, turns the machine on and this works fine for her.
  • Wendy uses 2 parts baking soda, 1 part castille soap and fills the rinse compartment with white distilled vinegar and no longer has a problem with film. The baking soda cuts the castille from becoming too bubbly/foaming.
  • Jacklen uses 1/2 C. washing soda, 1/2 C. borax, 1/4 C. Kosher salt, 1/4 C. citric acid…just 1 tablespoon a load will do the trick and make sure to fill the rinse aid reservoir with vinegar.
  • Gloria grates a bar of Zote soap and mixes it with water to melt, puts it in an old squeeze bottle and shakes each time she uses it. She also runs a load with 1/4 cup bleach at the bottom of the dishwasher.
  • Shelby claims great success with 2 to 3 drops of Sunlight (divided into each compartment) and 2 tablespoons of baking soda (one in each compartment). Vinegar for the rinse agent.
  • Megan shares her tried & true: 76 oz Borax, 55 oz Washing Soda, 1 1/3 C. TSP, 4 oz Citric Acid, 2 C. Vaseline IC moisturizing beads and 4 pounds Canning Salt. Use 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons per load.
  • Rick uses 1 C. each of washing soda and borax, 1/2 C. each of citric acid and SLS powder. Mix well and use 1 tablespoon in the main compartment and 1/2 tablespoon in the prewash compartment.

Reader tips for fighting film/residue:

  • Valerie found cutting the baking soda by 1/4 to 1/2 less solved the problem.
  • Lori said she solved the problem by mixing equal parts DIY mix with commercial detergent, not 100% homemade but still saves money.
  • Suz advises that adding a couple drops of regular handwashing dish soap to the dispenser should be added before putting in the homemade stuff does the trick, and use vinegar as a rinse agent.
  • Gina recommends adding salt to the batch to help with cloudiness, though no amount specified so play with this a bit to see how it works out for you (helps soften the hard water). Sarah recommends using Kosher or pickling salt.
  • Marty advises that by cutting the amount used by half may help (since the mix is too strong or concentrated if you’re getting a white film problem).
  • Kristina recommends that you run an empty load with a bowl full of vinegar on the bottom of the dishwasher every once in awhile to help clear things up and get better (non-cloudy) results. TL found good results by running a load with a 2 C. measuring cup filled to the top with white vinegar, placed on the upper rack.

Thanks so much to everyone for sharing, Tipnut readers are the best!

I feel it’s worthwhile experimenting and finding a solution that works best for you and your machine. Making your own detergent is inexpensive, effective and environmentally friendly (with no harsh chemicals required). They are effective stain removers, natural disinfectants and santitizers and it’s quite satisfying when you find one that works just right. Good luck and feel free to share your experiences below!

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What Readers Are Saying: 283 Comments
  1. Monica says:

    Good to know – I tried the first recipe months ago and all my dishes were cloudy so I gave up. I still have some though. So, it sounds like all I need to do is add a little liquid dish soap to it.

    • leslie says:

      I added oxiclean powder to the mix and mixed in some seventh generation powder (equal ratio) to my mix. for the pre-rinse, I add one small drop of liquid detergent (hand wash detergent). My dishes sparkle!

      • Megan Loftin says:

        The homemade dishwasher soap works great if you us 2 tbsp vinegar to the rinse aid. I have not bought rinse aid in a while. 🙂

        • Jan Ford says:


          I tried the Homemade Powder Dishwasher Detergent Version #2 with one (1) TABLESPOON EACH of BAKING SODA AND BORAX.

          I ran my Kitchenaid (less than a year old) dishwasher through just a regular cycle. When I opened the door, I saw a filmy residue inside the dishwasher and noticed a little residue on a glass coffee pot. It was very noticeable because it has a stainless interior.

          So, I then ran the d/washer through a Rinse Only cycle to remove the residue. Dishes were clean, but I don’t put dishes with any residue in my d/washer. lol

          My rinse dispenser has Jet Dry in it, so haven’t tried white vinegar yet. Looking forward to trying out vinegar.

          Will attempt this version again, but with 1 teaspoon each of Borax and baking soda.

          Have read to clean your dishwasher, that you can put 1.5 cups of vinegar and run it through a cycle.

          Re vinegar, my husband uses apple cider vinegar in water to lose weight, help with diabetes, etc. I use 1 part ACV to 3 parts water as a facial toner.

          Would be afraid to put salt in the dishwasher, as it might corrode the heating elements, etc.

          • Cassie says:

            When it says to add vinegar, are you guys talking about putting the vinegar in the spot where you would put JetDry ? I did that and a brown liquid started oozing out. It looked like it was rust. I immediately sucked the remainder out. That can’t be good for my dishwasher. Did I do it wrong?

          • beth says:

            the brown corrosion that cassie seen oozing out, is probably the vinegar doing its job.

          • mindy says:

            Yes, put the vinegar where you would put Jet Dry. I use borax and washing soda for my detergent.
            So I mix 1 cup borax, 1 cup washing soda and 2 packets lemonade koolaid. I then add 2 tablespoons of the mixture in the main cup. My main cup has a door that closes. I then wide-ranging 5 drops of dawn dish soap on my silverware so it mixes immediately with the water when I start the cycle. Next I add white vinegar in my rinse aid compartment. Mine has a screw top. The vinegar is important. If you skip it your dishes will feel greasy and look cloudy. If I remember right I also had gross stuff come out of my rinse compartment the first time. But that was it. I’m assuming the vinegar cleaned whatever it was out.

          • Talisha says:

            I have heard that putting vinegar in the spot where Jet dry goes will ruin your dishwasher. I don’t know if it’s an old wives tale or not but I don’t want to risk it. I was told to just splash some vinegar on the bottom of the dishwasher or put it in a cup on the top rack.

    • MK Whittenburg says:

      I just read somewhere that you need to add citric acid to the mixture to avoid getting the etching/cloudiness (recipe follows):

      Mix the following and use 1 rounded tablespoon per load:

      1 – 55 ounce box of Arm & Hammer® Super Washing Soda
      1 – 76 ounce box of 20 Mule Team® Borax
      1 – 48 ounce box of coarse Kosher Salt
      1 – 2 ounce container of food-grade Citric Acid — You can find this online or at your local brewery or specialty beer store. If you cannot find this you can substitute 10-15 lemon Kool-aid envelopes per batch **the small unsweetened ones**, if you use any other flavor you could easily color the inside of your dishwasher (you need 10-15 envelopes to equal the 1-2oz of straight citric acid.) If you do not use some form of citric acid… you will most likely have the cloudy residue left that most “green” cleaners leave.

      Hope this helps clear the air (or dishes) on the cloudiness issue!

      • Aubrey says:

        I used this recipe but it won’t work unless you get every bit of food, grime, or slime off the dishes first. Is there something else I can add to the mix to get the dishes actually clean? I’m trying to save money and not to smell bleach or chlorine while they are washing. The smell is great, but the money part…. seems as though I am wasting. Can you help?

      • Cherl says:

        This works great. The only thing I added to this recipe is Lemi shine, because we have hard water. No spots or cloudiness. Thank you!

      • NurseByTrade MotherByCalling says:

        Thanks for the info on the Kool-Aid. I had seen on another website to add citric acid and I wasn’t sure where I was supposed to find it. I am looking forward to trying this!

        • Tammy says:

          The citric acid can be found at health food stores. It’s rather expensive tho…about $5 for a very small bottle. I’m going to make this, but will use lemi shine instead of citric acid. I will also add salt to the mixture.

      • Christine says:

        I made some of this but after a day or two it started to get hard…and one week later it was so hard in the jar i have to use a knife to break it up to use…how do i stop this from happening?

        • Katrina says:

          I read on another site to put some white rice in a knee high pantyhose and put in to keep it from getting hard… haven’t tried it yet, planning to w next batch

        • Kim says:

          You’re getting moisture in your mix… not hard to do when working around the dishes. Just put some uncooked rice in a small cloth bag (I used an old toddler sock tied in a knot) and keep in the container – it will absorb moisture and keep your granules dry.

        • Kris says:

          Mine got hard too. If you don’t want to go the rice route, I ran mine through my Ninja to break it back up and then switched from a plastic container to a larger glass ball jar with a lid. I haven’t had any issues with it getting hard since.

    • Liv says:

      I have soft water and used the baking soda/borax mix. Also got a slight film even though I used vinegar in the rinse. I added 2 packages of Lemonade Mix without the sugar of course (Kool-aid)to the powdered mix and the glasses came out very clean and clear.

    • Bob says:

      Cloudy dishes or white film on dishes is caused by a lack of phosphate in the detergent. Because the feds required phosphate to be taken out of dishwashing detergent sold in the stores, you have the same problem with the commercial products.
      I have heard that some people buy food grade trisodium phosphate and add one scoop of it to 12-15 scoops of store-bought dishwashing detergent. The materials are put in a container and mixed until the TSP is dispersed evenly throughout the the detergent.
      Of course, I would never do that, nor would I advocate anybody else doing that. And I certainly would not advocate adding TSP to laundry detergent in the same ratio to laundry detergent — even though that would get clothing much cleaner.
      Forget adding vinegar as a rinse in dishwashing detergent. It’s an acid, and it will eventually corrode steel and rubber. There are probably other ways to prevent spots from forming without using the commercial rinse additive, but the only one I can think of right off is to buy a water softener for your home.

      • Shana says:

        Vinegar is actually a base … not an acid. If you burn yourself (with something like Lye, for example … vinegar will neutralize the burn) So I don’t think it will corrode anything. Google it, if you are unsure ;-}

        • kelli says:

          Check that again. It is an acid. 2.4, less than 7 is an acid higher is a base. But I still use it in my washer and dishwasher to nice results.

        • iesika says:

          Vinegar is an acid. Lye is a base. If you burn yourself with lye don’t put vinegar on it – rinse it with water and then go to the hospital.

          • Teresa says:

            If the lye is powdered you should neutralize it with vinegar, never,ever use water with powdered lye. if the lye is liquid use water to wash off then follow with a vinegar rinse. Please google it if in doubt, never just take someones word for it. Lye is dangerous and not something to fool around with. Soap makers have been using vinegar for a long time to neutralize the affects of lye.

    • Gina says:

      Actually, I had the problem with cloudy dishes so I added salt to my powder detergent mix. That solved the problem. It is not the dishwasher that is the problem, it is hard water and salt softens the water. 🙂

    • Leah says:

      This is insane. There’s no research about how much residue is left from any of the chemical detergents that are being used in these so-called recipes. Dishwasher detergent is green and it has been tested and approved for use for the dishwashers that contain dishes that hold our food. Unless I had evidence that these “recipes” are safe I would never try on the dishes that my family and I eat from.

      • Julie says:

        Try putting some grocery store brand auto dishwashing soap on a piece of aluminum foil. It will eat a hole right through it. I don’t want any residue of this sort on my eating utinsels…

      • mousiemomma says:

        About the same amount of residue that is left behind from commercial dishwasher detergent. I encourage you to look up the ingredients found in commercial dishwasher detergents and research them…it’s scary stuff, yet that is what has been deemed “safe” by the powers that be. And as far as dishwasher detergent being “green”…unless it specifically states that on the label, it’s not. Even some that are labeled as such are not as green as the company making them would like you to believe. As previously stated, I encourage you to research different dishwasher detergents and make an educated decision, based on your research, on what is best for you and your family.

    • kathleen says:

      My husband and I tried these and dishes were cloudy. Our new trick we read was to add 2pkts of lemonade to the mix. We are trying it in our next load.

      • michele says:

        I wanted to try this because my dishes have not been so great.. But this made them worse than EVER ! I have come to the conclusion that it is due to hard water. we are installing a water softener Today. So I will have to try it again and see if it gets better. Mine had the lemonade mixed in too.

    • Sharon says:

      Be careful adding any liquid dish soap! You can over suds the machine. It’s too much foam for a dishwasher. You could have suds spilling out of everywhere! Yes, I learned by experience!

  2. Tracy says:

    I am wondering about using Borax in the dishwasher. All the recipes for homemade all call for it, but to be safe, I called the company of Borax, and they told me NOT to use it in a dishwasher…..Has anyone had any problems from using it?
    I need something because the “organic” detergent that I am using now, leaves a black mold in my dishwasher, which makes me wonder how clean my dishes really are. There is also almost liek an etched film on my glasses, any ideas on what I can do??
    THANKS so much!!

    • Amanda says:

      I agree! Borax is toxic!! All the organic natural recipes call for it. I wont use it!

      • Health mom says:

        If Borax is consumed in food it is toxic. Some countries use it in food, but it is supposed to be banned for use in foods in the US. Check out Wikipedia.org, using Borax for cleaning and in the dishwasher is not toxic. Perhaps you are thinking of Boric acid.

        • Amy says:

          No Tracy is right you shouldn’t use this for cleaning your dishes. It is toxic, it a level 1! Borax-Mule Team Borax says on the box you can use it in your dish washer but you shouldn’t. 20 Mule Team is composed of sodium, boron, oxygen, and water. (The scientific name for borax is sodium tetraborate decahydrate. (thats on their website) look it up its not good!

          • Jil says:

            According to the brochure on the 20 Mule Team Borax website: Under Dishwasher, under kitchen, it says: “Boost the cleaning power of your dishwashing detergent by removing hard water minerals & residues from the wash water. Add 1/4 cup of 20 MULE TEAM® Borax in the bottom of the dishwasher to reduce spots and film from dishes and glasses.” There is also a segment about rinsing your Fine China in a solution of a 1/2 cup Borax in a sinkful of warm water and then a second thorough rinse in clear water. Like anything if improperly used then yes there may be contraindications. However, if used in the way it was made for ie: Borax as a cleaning agent, and rinsed away thoroughly then things should be fine. Any soap, even castile have side effects if not used correctly; anyone had diarrhea after the kids did the dishes and were heavy soap users and light on rinsing?? Lol… nothing life threatening, just some squeaky clean bowels for a few days.

          • Kelly says:

            Borax is sodium borate – which is a salt. Boric acid is the acid made with boron. It’s like comparing table salt (sodium chloride) to hydrochloric acid… Definitely not the same thing!!

          • Step says:

            Please refer to Jill’s reply. She is on the money with her information.

        • joy wisner says:

          boric acid can’t be too toxic since all eye drops use it as their base……

          • Holly says:

            That is like saying that lye is not toxic because it is used in soap. Chemical reactions change things. Think hydrogen and oxygen which are gasses but H2O is water, a liquid.

          • Tim says:

            That is why you shouldnt fill both compartments. You just put it in the bottom of the dishwasher. That you wash once and rinse twice

    • Bryan says:

      the etching on your glasses is because are using a dishwasher and are not using a detergent that prevents etching. Detergents will state on them that it is an anti etching formula. Not sure how to make it homemade but if you figure it out let me know.

    • Barb says:

      The BLACK in your dishwasher is caused from too much soap.
      Drains get black from soap..not poo-poo.
      I would suggest filling the soap dispencer with baking soda. Then 1/2 white vinegar in the bottom of the dishwasher. Then run through the cycles. Would even put more vinegar in the rinse thingy.
      Should clean things up.

      • Amanda says:

        Another thing that helps with dishwashers that tend to mold is to let your dishwasher door open and allow it to air dry. We do not use the hot dry cycle on our dishwasher to help save on electricity, and I’ve found I have to prop the door open over night or the dishwasher gets that infamous moldy smell. Cheers!

    • chris says:

      I have mould in my 5 year old kenmore but it has taken 5 years for me to start to notice it near the vent on the inside. I used a toothbrush to scrub it out. I read all of these comment with interest and want to try a recipe since I am always in saving mode.

    • Denise says:

      Tracy, you are WAY off the mark. Borax SHOULD NOT be consumed but it is completely safe for household products and use in dishwashers. Add lemishine to your mixture should work like a charm.

    • Christina says:

      If Borax is not safe, then why does it say on the box safe to use in dishwahers? Im confused.

    • Amanda says:

      Borax says right on the box to put in the dishwasher to make dishes sparkle. Why would they tell u not to???

    • joedeaf says:

      found america recipes for home made dishwasher
      1/4 cup of white vinager
      1/4 cup of water
      1/4 cup of liquid castile soap
      2 teaspoons of lemon
      all together put it in any plastic bottle

      two tablespoon for heavy soild pans or one tablespoon for mild dirty dishes

  3. TipNut says:

    Hi Tracy, I’ve used it with no problems, did they say why it shouldn’t be used in a dishwasher?

  4. jochalet says:

    I won’t use borax for dishes because I know that if you want to kill ants, just add enough corn syrup to make a syrup and put it out for the ants (keep away from humans and pets). The ants carry it back to their homes and everybody dies. Borax is poison and can be fatal to humans.

    • Michelle says:

      You’re thinking of Boric Acic, not borax. Different stuff altogether.

      • Lacey says:

        Borax IS Boric acid any government website will tell you so….Boric acid is an acute eye and respiratory tract irritant, which is quite toxic if ingested. In addition, it is unavailable in parts of Europe because of concerns that it caused birth defects and problems with the reproductive organs of children. It is recommended that pregnant women and children in particular do not have exposure to Borax.

        • Heather says:

          You are confusing Borax (boric acid) with Borax-Mule Team Borax, found in the laundry detergent aisle. It is different. With boric acid you cannot even inhale the dust and should only inject it into crevices to get rid of insect pest while wearing gloves and a mask. Mule Team Borax is like washing soda, used to brighten and whiten, similiar to baking soda but doesn’t leave a film. Perhaps labeling things with Mule Team Borax would clear up the confusion?

        • Susie says:

          From WikiAnswers: Is borax and boric acid the same?
          Earlier answer: Borax contains boric acid.

          My answer: That may be true, but they are not the same thing. Borax is a white powder used as a cleaning and in some places, a preserving agent. Boric acid is a white powder used as an insecticide, especially for cockroaches, and is about as toxic as regular table salt to people.

        • Kelcey says:

          If you are worried about the toxicity of Borax, use straight vinegar in the rinse aid dispenser. It will nutralize the acid.

          • Kate says:

            I’m sorry to disapoint you but you cannot nutralize on acid with another acid. Vinegar is an acid and there for you need to use a base such as baking soda to nutralize an acid.

          • Erin says:

            Actually, Borax isn’t properly an acid. Borax is NOT BORIC ACID, EITHER! Learn your chemistry, people. This is basic high school stuff. Borax does not become boric acid without sulfuric acid being added, so no, it is not toxic like boric acid. Again, easy chemistry. Borax is a salt. It’s highly ALKALINE, which is entirely OPPOSITE of an acid, i.e. VINEGAR. So while mistaken about the nature of borax, Kelcey is ENTIRELY CORRECT. An acid (like vinegar) DOES neutralize an alkaline substance, like borax. Think neutralizing the alkalinity of baking soda with vinegar, an acid.

      • Denise says:

        people you all need to research further. BORAX is safe for cleaners/dishes the cleaning agent Borax is not a poison.

    • Tonya says:

      If you stick to that theory, then instant grits (parboiled corn meal) and cream of wheat are poisonous too. If you either of these natural ingredients on ant hills the ants take it in to feed to the colony and their bellies explode. Perhaps humans should stop eating it because it’s poisonous.

      • Dawn says:

        That is true the borax in the laundry isle is dif also if you are feeling so strong against it then don’t use it simple as that…… As in all recipies food or cleaning you need to make acceptions for your family and situations….. If you don’t agree with eating sugar then you don’t feed it to your family, right? Well, do the same with this! Everyone is entitled to your opinion….. Although me myself do believe it is safe and i am actually trying it now…. Thank you for the person that posted this because along with home made laundry soap i am hoping to really cut some costs…..and also one last note to the sceptic out there , most soaps have lye in them but lye in and of itself is dangerous however you still use it to was yourself right?

        • Melissa says:

          Best ant killer is mule team borax mixed equally with regular sugar… they take it back and kill the nest however we are talking about dish cleaner and i assure you it is safer to use than the toxic crap that is in the commercial brands including rinse agents that DON’T RINSE OFF so you ngest them when you use the dishes however the detergent you make rinses off and the vinegar as a rinse agent is perfectly safe to ingest. And I have been maaking my own for quite a while and the lemonade packets make a big difference in the film left on dishes. but if you are so worried about chemicals try using a pure liquid castile sap and handwashing.

          • marat says:

            Borax is extremely non-toxic. It IS a broad spectrum insect killer, a first choice for fleas in the house…but works across almost the entire insect world, from wasp nests to roaches. A zillion restaurants routinely wash down their kitchen floors using borax (or boric acid), which works to kill roaches that may be present. It has been used for well over a century for insect pests. Sprinkle it lightly and work it into carpets, along wood molding and within hours you will find dried up flea carcasses. It works by dessication of the exo-skeleton. Many other people use salt to achieve the same effect, but I prefer borax. use small amounts in my cat’s bed…fleas that are attracted and contact even small amounts die. Its an extraordinary substance that EVERY exterminator uses…yet not toxic in small amounts. P.S. Look up the stats–every year people die of “water intoxification.” You probably know people who are on a nutty water drinking regime, those who believe one has to drink gallons of water a day to “detoxify.” This is pure nonsense medically. Yet it persists. What happens is that huge amounts of water dilute the electrolytes of your brain and throw you into convulsions. Check it out. Best, Ph.D. guy…….

          • Vanessa says:

            The amount of boron needed to kill ants is far, far less than what would be needed to affect a human! So, the amount of boric acid in Borax is probably enough to kill an ant and still be safe for human use in household cleaning.

    • Renee says:

      While it may say on some government website the information you refer to ~ it simply is not the same thing. Understand that each person should do their own research and come to their own conclusion. However, have you also researched the ingredients used in other household products that ARE approved by the government? Or better yet, have you actually ever researched the ingredients that are in the food that you eat, that are also approved by the government? Pick up a can of vegetables, or some other random processed food and come back here after researching the ingredients and tell me what you find? Or even better… pick up a pack of bottled water, say the Walmart brand, tell me what is in that ~ water right? Nope, try magnesium sulfate, potassium bicarbonate and potassium chloride… think those things are safe? Anyway… not being rude at all, so please do not take it that way… I just think that some people take things at face value that should really be researched further :o)

      • Tore says:

        The chemicals magnesium sulfate, potassium bicarbonate and potassium chloride are not poisonous. Magnesium sulfate (epsom salts) will cause diarhea in large amounts, but in small amounts provide magnesium, a necessary human nutrient. Potassium bicarbonate and potassium chloride provide potassium, another necesary human nutrient.

        Chemicals that are in food or water that can be detrimental are aluminum (baking soda) and fluoride (toothpaste).

        • BAV says:

          Baking soda contains aluminum? I think not. Were you perchance thinking baking POWDER?

          Baking POWDER is baking soda mixed with an acid such as sodium ALUMINUM sulfate.

          Baking Soda – NO ALUMINUM
          Baking Powder – MAY CONTAIN ALUMINUM (check the label)

          Certain companies who sell baking soda have come up with a great marketing strategy – They now label their baking soda as “aluminum free”. Could it be that the want to clear up the misconception about baking soda containing aluminum?
          They aren’t out to educated you… they are out for the money in your pocket and will use your silly assumptions against you to get that money. They are stating that THEIR baking soda is aluminum free. They aren’t about to tell you the truth that ALL baking soda is aluminum free because then you would feel safe buying any brand. Good marketing strategy…lol

          I think I’ll start a company to sell baking soda and I’ll label it “Aluminum, Sewage, and Motor Oil FREE”. That should put me out ahead of the competition and make people scared to buy other brands because since they aren’t labeled “Aluminum, Sewage, and Motor Oil FREE” they may contain those things. I’m gonna be rich! 🙂

    • jamie says:

      you also have to realize that the ants ingestion will be ALOT greater than any ingestion you may have. they will be exposed to it directly where as you would have a tsp for a whole load of dishes that have been throughly rinced. how many times have you put things into your sink that you wouldnt dare ingest and then put our dishes in the same sink? i just think your reasoning is majorly flawed.

    • Candy says:

      Okay. Quick question. Who here is eating the dishwashing detergent that they buy at the store? I’m pretty sure that stuff is toxic also. This is the reason that our dishwashers have rinse cycles. Nobody is telling anyone to eat a heaping bowlful of borax. Lets get back to other things. Have a day.

    • carolyn says:

      Never thought of syrup for ants. Will try that this summer. However, for cockroaches, use borax with some flour mixed, and make a trail around the base walls. I did this in the basement. The bugs will get it on their legs, take it back to their nest, clean themselves, and die. The hatching bugs will then eat them and die also. Works great!!!!!!!!!!! I found that in a very old “Dear Heloise” book at a sale years ago.

      • Kathie says:

        When I moved to Arkansas from Minnesota, I had my first and, having moved back to MN, hopefully last, exposure to cockroaches. The first one I saw dive bombed me when my son turned on the ceiling fan! I’d never seen one before and these were the 1 – 2 inch sized ones. I was on medical leave from my job after being exposed to hazardous chemicals in the manufacturing plant where I worked, even though it was an office job. Needless to say, we couldn’t have an exterminator come in to spray! What to do??? A neighbor gave me a recipe for borax & flour balls (I can’t remember the agent used to stick the two dry ingredients together, though.) She told me to put some under our beds, sofas, chairs, etc. Our youngest child was 6 so we didn’t have to be concerned with a child finding them and eating them. (We did tell him we were making the balls and why, though.) We still had some roaches but my neighbor said that even people who have exterminators come in to spray still have some roaches, too. I beieve it diminished the number of those suckers, though, and would use that method again if — Heaven forbid — I’d ever have a roach problem again! As a Northerner, I thought people had to live in dirty houses and slum neighborhoods to have roaches in their homes. I learned that is NOT true from my experience in Arkansas. LOL

  5. Tipnut says:

    Here is some info on Borax, used in cleaning/detergents:


    Consuming Borox isn’t a good thing, however using a couple tablespoons of a mixture made from Borax and soap or soda that is well diluted in the dishwasher as a detergent and that is washed away in the hot rinse cycle is something different.

    Sometimes I’ll soak dishes in bleach or have bleach in the rinse water (when washing dishes by hand)–especially when camping. Bleach is a VERY bad thing to consume.

    ETA: But it is good info to note the hazard. If your dishwasher doesn’t flush enough water through and leaves detergents on the dishes, using Borax or any commercial dishwasher detergent is not a good idea.

    • couponaddict says:

      It is a department of health policy for restaurants, schools, daycares, hospitals etc. to run all dishes through at least one cycle of bleach water. How could a TBS. of Borax be any worse than that?

    • Pat says:

      The health department REQUIRES camps and other entities serving the public to use bleach in rinse water, rinsing in clean hot water afterward for any hand washed items, but we don’t drink it!

      I have tried using 1 tablespoon each of baking soda and borax (not boric acid, a different product) in my dishwasher and it works great! I would not put dishwashing liquid in my dishwasher at all. When my dishwasher detergent is gone I will use this exclusively. I also am using vinegar for the rinse agent and my dishwasher is fine.

    • Tina says:

      You take what you read on Wikipedia with a grain of salt. Not everything you find there is true.

  6. SHollander says:

    Is the Liquid Dish Detergent in recipe # 3 regular dishwashing soap? I tried the recipe, and when I mixed the washing soda with liquid soap (Ajax w/ bleach alternative) it created a very strong smell and the cup it was in started heating up. It seemed like it created some sort of chemical reaction. Is this what is supposed to happen?

    • Mom says:

      NEVER mix bleach with anything! Especially not toilet bowl cleaners or anything containing ammonia! You could create chlorine gas which is deadly! It destroys your lungs and can even kill you! Please be careful and read labels diligently!

      • Lauren says:

        It’s BLEACH ALTERNATIVE people. But it’s probably what caused the problem. Just use PLAIN dish liquid next time, no additives.

    • Lauren says:

      Yes, I would expect it was from the bleach alternative. Try one without any additives (like regular old blue Dawn).

  7. TipNut says:

    No SHollander that’s not what’s supposed to happen. Just use regular dish detergent liquid, nothing with bleach.

  8. Erin says:

    is there a certain type of vinegar to use? i’m assuming (and we all know what that means) that you would use white or distilled vinegar. Yes/NO?

  9. TipNut says:

    Hi Erin, I just use regular white vinegar. 🙂

  10. Mrs. Mordecai says:

    Yes, Borax is poisonous, but so is dishwasher soap. 🙂 In fact, I wouldn’t want to eat most cleaning products, including straight white vinegar.

  11. Arcinox says:

    Is there a recipe that does not use Borax or washing soda? I would rather use a pure castille soap instead.

    • susan says:

      Hi i use something that makes my dishes shine i put about 1 teaspoon of baking soda regular arm and hammer 1 teaspoon of salt you could use a bit more salt if wanted salt acts as a scrubber and a pinch of dish soap not the kind with bleach i use Palmolive comes out great.

      • Susie says:

        Susan – is there a danger of the salt scratching the glassware? Also, do you get a residue on your dishes? Do you use vinegar in the rinse dispenser?

    • Melissa says:

      for that you’d be better off handwashing with the liquid castile soap it works great on everything from baby bottles to nasty pots n pans

    • Erin says:

      Hi there! I’m assuming you’re already familiar enough with castile soap to know how it can “gunk up” when it starts to dry. I’d be wary of adding it to your dishwasher, as it might clog it up. And the castile soap I use for other cleaning purposes (including myself) isn’t really “low suds” like they claim, so I’m afraid it would create an awful mess in the dishwasher! Think overflowing soap suds all over the place! If you do figure out a way to use castile in the dishwasher, though, let us know! I’d be happy to have yet another use for my castile soap. 🙂

  12. Starr says:

    The poster above who mentioned that Borax is used as a pest repellent is confusing Borax with Boric Acid. Boric Acid is what kills pests like ants and roaches. Just wanted to clear that up.

    • Kathy says:

      Borax Will Kill Ants! Not just Boric Acid…It’s true, mix Borax with Sugar or corn syrup and they will take it back to their nest and kill everyone including the queen…safer around kids and pets than Boric Acid, but still a poison, keep it away from your children and pets

      • Denise says:

        Borax ~ the washing soda contains a peroxide and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) all durivied from nature and depending on it’s use is very harmful to humans and animals even though it is an all natural product. YES ants will die using Borax but the same result can be done using straight baking soda and icing sugar. It is the baking soda which they swallow then it expands in their stomaches and they explode.

        FYI: the only difference with washing soda and baking soda is the peroxide compound which is also found in OxyClean at a much higher concentration level. It is still considered a GREEN product b/c it isn’t harmful unless injested in large quantities and it is naturally derived, not chemically!

        • Shawn says:

          Washing soda and baking soda are two totally different things. Baking soda is edible. Washing soda is not edible.

          • Tia says:

            You can easily make washing powder by spreading baking powder on a baking sheet and baking it in the oven for a while.

  13. Noelia says:

    Hi…i wanted to know if these recipes can be used to clean the dishes by hand – no dishwasher at home – thanks!

  14. Beth says:

    To Noelia, if you mix Dr. Bronner’s castille soap with water 1-2tbsp to 8 oz water that will make a liquid soap that is organic. Use more Dr. Bronner’s if you need more, there are no rules to the recipe…

  15. Cathy says:

    I have tried the above recipe & I have had white film on my dishes ever since. I end up running my dhishes through a water only cycle (which costs more money) or I end up hand washing my entire load of dishes after they have already gone through the dishwasher. I don’t have hard water because I never had this problem until I started using the Borax & Washing Soda mix. I clean out my dishwasher once a month & I have used just White Vinegar. Does anyone have any other ideas?

    • naomi says:

      please someone help her cuz i am having the same problem.

      • Suz says:

        Try adding a couple of drops of regular ‘hand’ dishwashing liquid to the dispenser before you put in your homemade product, then wash as normal, also put white vinegar in your rinse cycle container… Should work like a dream…. Also the white vinegar will neutralize any chemical left behind, that your regular rinse cycle did not remove….

        • Marty says:

          this film is caused by the detergent being to strong or too concentrated, the same thing happens if you use an over the counter soap with a whole house water softener system, dilute by half until the dishes come out clean

    • Shawna says:

      I would say to put some white vinegar in the dishwasher.
      NOT in the soap tray thing, but i’ve had to pour a good bit in the bottom of the dishwasher after it’s filled with water, and before it drains LOL

      you kinda have to stand there and wait.. wait… haha! like boiling water!
      but the heat activated with the vinegar will surely get the film off your dishes!

    • Sarah says:

      Adding Kosher or pickling salt (they’re courser than table) Is supposed to help prevent cloudiness and help clean.

      • Renee says:

        I have always wondered how this would work, I have a good friend who does it. Would it, over time, rust out your drains?

    • Jennifer M. says:

      Mine gets cloudy as well. With homemade and store bought. I use vinegar to rinse, but when thats not enough I add Lemi-shine powder….same thing as the coolaid lemonade packets except better!!! Get it at walmart in the dishwashing isle. Good price too.

    • eric says:

      2 parts borax, 2 parts washing soda, 1 part food grade citric acid(more for hard water), the citric acid will eliminate or greatly reduce the white film. citric acid can easily be found on amazon.com don’t forget the white vinagar in the rinse aid compartment

  16. gloria says:

    I use Zote Soap grated/melted and mixed with water..I put it in a old dish detergent bottle and shake each time I use it..I also put a 1/4 cup bleach in the bottom of my dishwasher.. Works good for me..

    • Annette Dane says:

      How much water do you mix with the Zote soap for the dishwasher detergent and can you use the mixture to hand wash dishes.

  17. julie says:

    I tried the borax/baking soda mix and was not impressed at all. I also use white vinegar for rinse agent but I don’t think it does a very good job. I decided to try putting about a 1/4 teaspoon dish soap in each cup with the borax/baking soda and it’s working better but I still get white film sometimes and my glasses are cloudy. At least it didn’t cost much to try it out. I’m going back to dish detergent.

  18. CrimsonToll says:

    What is the reason for the Borox? Why not just use soap??? I would think the soap and hot water would be enough to kill all the germs…

    • Melissa says:

      Borax is a non sudsing detergent… if you have ever seen anyone accidently put dawn dishsoap in a dishwasher you know why you can’t use regular soap. bubble flood doesn’t cover the mess you end up with just ask my lil bro!

      • Jengaret says:

        That is too funny my little brothers did the same thing. It took them forever to clean it up. lol

      • Lisa says:

        I did the same thing when I was about 12, and we were out of dishwasher detergent. Just used liquid dish soap in the dishwasher….oh, my. HUGE bubble mess! Lesson learned.

  19. BJ says:

    My family owns an appliance service business and I can tell you that putting anything that suds (soaps or liquid dish soaps) is NOT a good idea for your dishwasher. Dishwashers are not designed for a “sudsy” wash. Using sudsing soaps can cause your DW to leak or worse coat the washer parts with residue that will continue to sud in future wash cycles as well as leave residue on your dishes. Adding vinegar to your rinse cycle is great! *If you have used “soaps” in your DW I highly recommend that you cleanse your DW by running a cycle (no dishes) with a TBS of olive oil. This will counter any soap residue left in the DW. Make sure to add vinegar to the rinse cycle to ensure it is very clean. Hope this helps for those of you seeing residue. (A&H washing soda and Borax are not sudsing detergents, it’s the bar soaps and liquid DISH soap you should stay away from.)

  20. Lisa says:

    Will the homemade recipes get rid of the black mold?

    Also, will the homemade remedies get rid of the gritty residue that ends up in my glasses?

    • Carmen says:

      This may have been answered for you already. If so then ignore my post.
      The best Mold controller I’ve found is this recipe.
      If you already have mold/mildew problem allow the spray to rest on the surface areas for a few hours. Wipe with a soft cloth, then respray the areas and let dry without rinsing.

      1 1/4 cups vinegar
      3/4 cups water
      4 drops cinnamon essential oil
      6 drops patchouli essential oil
      2 tsp tea tree essential oil

      Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle. Spray surfaces well but do not rinse.

    • Cookie says:

      Hey Lisa,

      You can scrub the mold with vinegar and a toothbrush if you’re intolerant of bleach. Clean off the visible black mold. I’ve read that rubbing alcohol will kill it. Try scrubbing it with that if the vinegar doesn’t work for you. Unload the dishwasher promptly after use and allow the machine to dry empty.

  21. gloria says:

    Zote bar soap has hardly any soap bubbles, I think thats why I have No residue on my dishes..

  22. Kris says:

    Lisa, vinegar kills mold.

  23. Kris says:

    Has anyone tried both #1 & #2? Which one is better?

  24. danielle rice says:

    I also tried the first recipe. I loved it the first 4 or 5 times. Then this white coat of dust like film is now covering my dishes. I am using vinegar in the rinse. I also tried to lessen the amount used, but nothing has worked. I went back to using Cascade but the dishes still have a coating of the white stuff. Does anyone have any advice. If I am desperate. I would warn anyone of this before they try it. My water is not hard, as I NEVER had any residue before I used the homemade solution.

    • terri says:

      cascade complet will get the white stuff off

    • Kristina Graber says:

      I have found that when my salt gets low in my softener my dishes start looking cloudy with Cascade and other store brands. The only way I can get the residue off is to put a bowl in the bottom of the dishwasher filled with vinegar and run the load through as normal. The cloudiness disappears and the dishes sparkle once again. If this doesn’t work I would guess you have etching issues.

    • Iris says:

      There was a report on TV this week about people having problems with a cloudy film on their dishes. I was not able to hear the program but started searching the internet for the solution. I had never made my own dishwasher powder and have used Cascade for years. After buying a new box at Sams Wholesale a few weeks ago I have had film on my dishes everysince. I tried cleaning my dishwasher with CLR and then with vinigar and had no improvement with either. I was on the verge of getting a new dishwasher (mine is only 23 years old and have never had a problem with it until now) when I started reading the internet for a solution and found the articles about making your own dishwasher powder. The Citric Acid ingredient struck me because I do use lemon for a lot of things in cooking as well as cleaning. I did not have Citric Acid in the cabinet nor dis I have Kool-Aid. What I did have was Crystal Lite Lemonade with Strawberries. I opened the tube (the one used for adding to bottled water) and dumped it in the dishwasher along with my Cascade and my dishes came out sparkling clean. I am now in the process of making my own dishwasher powder.

  25. TipNut says:

    Danielle it sounds like a calcium/lime buildup in your dishwasher (that’s why the film is there regardless of what detergent you use). Try soaking the dishwasher in a few inches of vinegar and hot water overnight. Or do a search online for “calcium buildup dishwasher” for more ideas. Your sprayers might be clogged with calcium or food bits as well.

  26. TL says:

    I’ve experienced the same troubles with cloudy dishes (white residue) when using 50/50 Borax and washing soda mix (1 tbsp. each) even though I used vinegar in the rinse cycle. To get rid of the heavy white residue, I tried running the dishwasher once with Cascade, and that didn’t work. I then took a 2 cup measuring cup, filled it to the top with white vinegar, and placed it in the upper dishwasher rack. Then I ran my dishwasher on full cycle, and as the water splashed around, the measuring cup overflowed spraying a good combination of hot water and vinegar, and this cleaned off all the residue. I tried the 50/50 combination again 3 more times:
    once using 1-1/2 tbsp. of each thinking the recommended amount of 1 tbsp. each maybe wasn’t enough, a second time using 1/2 tbsp. of each thinking maybe I was using too much, and then once using the recommended 1 tbsp. each mixed with hot water to make a runny paste thinking it would work better if already moistened. I was left with a white residue each time, so now I am back using Cascade. I don’t buy the dishwasher soap build up theory because I recently cleaned my dishwasher with Dishwasher Magic, plus I’ve been using vinegar in the rinse cycle since the machine was installed. Years ago I tried the 1 drop regular dishwashing liquid in the machine and I had soap bubbles coming out around the entire door, so I do not recommend using dishwashing liquid in your machine.

    • Leah says:

      I also have been using the homemade DW detergent recipe #1 and have a horrible white residue that will not go away. I have also always used vinegar for the rinse cycle. I am however going to try adding some Zote soap and see if that makes any difference, only because I have a lot of this stuff left and hate to waste it, if I can make it work. If anyone has any other ideas, let me know!!! Thanks.

      • Gina says:

        Just use a couple of tbsp of Borax and white vinegar in the rinse. It works great & no residue. I’ve used it for a while now. I do have a water softener though. Maybe that makes a difference?

  27. TipNut says:

    For those having trouble with the white residue, can you tell me if it’s a newer model of dishwasher you have or older? I’m wondering if the answer to the varying results is due to how your dishwasher handles each load?

    • TL says:

      My dishwasher is at least 10 years old. Today I tried using the 50/50 borax and washing soda mix again, 1 tbsp. each, but also added 1 tbsp. grated Zote soap – this made a world of difference in the amount of white residue. There is only a trace amount, so next time I am going to increase the Zote soap to 2 tbps.

      • Gina says:

        Borax, Washing Soda & grated soap is what I use to clean my laundry. That may be overkill in the dishwasher and could be why you get the film. I only use Borax (1-2 tbsp/load of dishes) and then add white vinegar to the rinse solution reservoir. My dishes are crystal clear without even any spots from drying. If you have gotten a build up of white film that is hard to get off, just wash them in white vinegar for a while. Even that is enough to get your dishes clean and it clears off any residue. The borax just adds a bit of scrubing power to really dirty dishes. But straight vinegar works great to clean off residue. It is considered a natural disinfectant and just look what it will do for coffee stains! (I’m referring to running straight vinegar through your coffee maker for those of you who may not have heard of that one yet.)

        Best of luck!

    • Jen says:

      I have not used the homemade recipe yet. The white residue in my dishwasher is the reason I am even exploring homemade recipes. So, based on my experience, I would reason that it is the dishwasher causing the problem and not the detergent. Our dishwasher is 3 years old. I have hated it since day 1! It works nowhere near as well as our old one which was ancient! I think it has something to do with the lesser amount of water it uses to be “economical”. Yeah right! My personal opionion.

      Anyway, the detergents I currently use are causing a white residue to clog the jets and soap dispenser. It cakes up so much that the dispenser sticks and won’t open. We have tried adding vinegar to clean it. I have even scrubbed it with vinegar and other cleaners to no avail. The only thing that has worked is running a complete cycle with CLR. I don’t like it, but that is the only thing that has worked.

      So, now I’m looking for an alternative to commercial crudy detergent. My husband said he saw a report on tv that said detergent companies had to take out a key ingredient and that is why they aren’t working properly anymore.

      After reading the comments here and seeing that others are having the same problem even with the homemade detergent, I feel like the problem is with my dishwasher so I think I will try using vinegar alone for washing dishes and just see how that works.

  28. FriendlyFamersWife says:

    Ive tried the recipes too. Ive tried everything……a little less, a little more, vinegar to the rinse thing, adding a cup of vinegar at the beginning of the rinse cycle…..adding dish detergent…….adding vinegar to the recipe, adding orange juice or lemon juice to the recipe…….I mean everything. I get that dreadful white film on everything and the more you wash them the film gets cloudier and whiter. YUCK! My machine is fairly new….maybe two years old, I didnt have a problem before, and now Im at the point where the dishes arent always coming out clean. SO my washer works worse now! I LOVE the clothes detergent BUT this detergent stinks….doesnt work at all for me.

  29. TipNut says:

    Thanks for the feedback, there’s obviously a problem somewhere, so I updated the post above advising caution. I’m thinking the discrepancy between the results is the type of dishwasher used?

  30. Tessa says:

    If it helps I use the washing soda and baking soda recipe with no problems at all and my dishes look fine to me. We bought this dishwasher used about 7 years ago and I can’t remember how old it was then but it wasn’t ancient. Also I have used this homemade mix for quite a few months now when I first found it on tipnut. Thank you for the recipe.

  31. Tessa says:

    I forgot to say to that I use vinegar in the rinse cup.

  32. extrashot says:

    I tried recipe #1, in a dishwasher that is 11 years old. Dishes came out just as clean as my normal detergent. I did put a bit of vinegar in the rinse cycle, just to be safe. I’ll watch for buildup, but so far I’m good!

  33. Marcia says:


    I’ve had the same problem with my dishes with the homemade recipes as well as the eco-friendly dishwasher soaps (both liquid and powder). I place vinegar in the cups during the rinse cycle and it works… at least 1 cup of vinegar in order to counteract the film…

    My dishwasher is about 10 yrs old or so…

  34. Elizabeth Golly says:

    Hi I don’t really have a comment but a question. are these for dishwashers or hand washing dishes? or does it even matter?

    • Gina says:

      You don’t want to use borax and/or washing soda on bare skin. It is caustic and will irritate your skin. On the back of the Borax box there is a suggestion to use a little borax when washing your fine china. It doesn’t say anything about repeated use on dishes used daily, but if you do use it to hand wash, you most definitely should use rubber gloves. I just use vinegar on my dishes now. That vinegar smell goes away when it dries and my dishes are really clean. If you need extra scrubbing power, try baking soda (may be causing some film if used regularly) or even just a little kosher salt (canning salt or table salt will do as well)

      Hope that helps!

  35. sue says:

    I recently ran out of dishwasher detergent and money to buy more detergent, and was forced to find a solution. I tried 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup vinegar. Pour in seperately and be ready to shut the door fast. *(remember making volcanoes for science projects) This works fine for me. My dishes came out cleaner than ever and there was no harmful fumes coming out of the vent. The fumes from brand name detergents takes my breath away. Is there any reason this simple mix would not work just fine?
    Also to the reply about not eating white vinegar, why couldnt you eat white vinegar? I pour it on cooked spinach, also use to make pickles. I have never been told not to ingest vinegar. My grandmother also would put a tsp of baking soda in warm water and drink for indegestion, and in a pinch it has worked for me. I didnt die, yet.

    • Christina says:

      I agree on the viniger and baking soda, sue. My husband still uses baking soda and water for indigestion. Ants can die from it prob due to the fact that they cant burp? Just like the mean thing I heard from my dad of the pigeions and alka selzters. They would explode due to the fact they couldnt burp. I use a fabulous homade laundry detergent and would never buy store bought again. dont need fabric softner or dryer sheet except on a few items. Jeans, towels and most colors no need. They smell fresh and are very clean. I have had only two items that need static control. I tried the dishwasher recipies and they hit and miss with residue. My dishwasher is a new one..Bosh. I can seee how the different types of water in different areas could indeed effect the results. Prob several things. But i appreciate anyone willinging to share their recipies nevertheless!!! Thank you.

      • Ashey says:

        You are correct about animals and most of them not having the ability to burp. One sure fire easy way to kill mice and rats is to set out a cup of your favorite sugary fizzy pop/soda. They will find it drink it and die because they can not burp upthe carbination. As for not ingesting vinager.. then the senior citizen center I worked for shouldn’t be setting it out when any greens were served for lunch.

  36. Valerie says:

    I had a powdery film too. What I did was adjust the amount of baking soda to 1/4 to a 1/2 less. Then I filled my rinse compartment w/White vinegar. No Problems since!

  37. Jolene says:

    At what point do at the vinegar to the rinse? When you start cycle or do you have to wait for rinse cycle to begin then put it in?

    Thank you

  38. Bearclaw says:

    I wonder if the water temperture differences could be why so many people are having different results.

  39. Ian says:

    Putting aluminum in the dishwasher can cause white residue on glasses. Make sure you arent placing any aluminum “silver”ware, pots, mugs, etc (stainless steel is usually fine)

  40. Spence says:

    I suspect the different results described are due to different amounts of calcium in the water (hard and soft water).

  41. Lori says:

    I use the powder mix, and it was leaving a residue on the dishes, so I started mixing it in equal parts with my old powder dish soap, and no more problems. Still, a lot cheaper than just using the regular bought stuff.

    As to Borax being dangerous to injest, so is any commercial dish soap.

    • Kim says:

      When you mixed the borax and baking soda to your old detergent, how much did you use? Someone posted they bought DG dishwasher powder and mixed it with borax and baking soda, but I can’t find the post. Can someone help me with this.

  42. Jane says:

    I’ve not tried these recipes yet but I did make a very small batch of the the laundry detergent and it’s great – no more Tide for me!…but I digress. I used to buy the store brand dishwasher detergent and had some of the white residue – besides it etched all my glasses so badly I had to throw them out – I was embarrassed to serve anyone out of them (yes – I did soak them in hot vinegar water, etc. etc. several times but no luck). I’ve gone back to Cascade Liquid which works really well but I did put vinegar in the rinse aid thingy – plain white vinegar. I’ll try one of the recipes soon, though because I like the idea of making my own. I’ll use the tips and suggestions here – don’t you just love this site??? I do!

  43. S. M. Fonseca says:

    The recipe for dish washing liquid sounds great for those who use a dishwasher, howevever I’m a person who has washed my own dishes by hand while raising my children and still today.

    Can you send me a recipe on how to make dish liquid for those who wash their dishes in a dish pan, the old fashion way?

    Still washing by hand in the Antelope Valley and it works for me!

  44. Jennifer says:

    I tried the powdered version of dishwashing detergent first. Dishes came out cloudy. BUT I did try the liquid version and added vinegar to the rinse cycel. Dishes are perfectly clean. No cloudiness. I only use 2tbsp instead of three. I used three the first time and had cloudy plastic bowls. I will definitely continue to use this recipe to SAVE some money!!!

  45. Wendy Ray says:

    There might be something to the thought about water temperature. In my experience using Borax in diaper pails for the past 20 years, I have noticed that if you try to dissolve Borax in cold water, you can end up with rock hard chunks that don’t dissolve when hot water is added and there tends to be more of a film that won’t rinse easily. If your water is too cold, the Borax may not be dissolving completely and some is hanging around until the rinse cycle. Try running hot water to your sink before you start the dishwasher so your pipes are warmed up, or turn your water heater up a bit. I love using homemade laundry detergent, but I do dissolve it in hot water first, then change the temperature and add the clothes. Works great – no grey residue on my whites and NO odors.
    Hope this helps.
    🙂 Wendy

    • otherwiseknownasmom says:

      This could easily explain why some people have sporadic successes mixed with failures using the same dishwasher/detergent combination. The success/failure of the detergent could be determined by whether or not you have hot water in the pipes when you turn on the dishwasher. It’s worth testing the theory.
      Great observation, Wendy Ray

  46. Susan says:

    I’ve heard that adding a small amount of citric acid to home dish washer recipes can help with the cloudiness but I haven’t tried it yet.

  47. Wendy says:

    For sparkling clean dishes, use 2 parts baking soda, 1 part castille soap, fill rinse compartment with white distilled vinegar. NO MORE FILM. The baking soda prevents the castille soap from becoming bubbly.

  48. new nom says:

    From what I’ve read on several sites, a lot of the discrepancy in cleaning using homemade powder seems to be due to the softness or hardness of your water.

    Citric acid (fruit fresh) helps with dissolving calcium and lime (that cloudy residue) in hard water areas. If you cannot find citric acid, you can use unsweetened lemonade powder. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) may also work.

    I’ve also seen salt in recipes, used to scrub the dishes further.

  49. Grace says:

    Borax – 20 Mule Team Borax is not toxic. It states on the box that you can use it for your dishes, your laundry, etc. Here is an insert from Wikipedia about BORAX. If you look at wikipedia Borax is used in your everyday from cosmetics to your detergent to enamels and yes insecticides. As an insecticide Borax kills pest because it screws up their digestive system.

    Borax, sodium tetraborate decahydrate, is not acutely toxic. [8] Its LD50 (median lethal dose) score is tested at 2.66 g/kg in rats. [9] This does not mean that it is safe, merely that a significant dose of the chemical is needed to cause severe symptoms or death. The median lethal dose for humans tends to differ for a given compound from that of rats. Simple exposure can cause respiratory and skin irritation. Ingestion may cause gastrointestinal distress including nausea, persistent vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Effects on the vascular system and brain include headaches and lethargy, but are less frequent. “In severe poisonings, a beefy red skin rash affecting palms, soles, buttocks and scrotum has been described. With severe poisoning, erythematous and exfoliative rash, unconsciousness, respiratory depression, and renal failure.” [10]

    A reassessment of boric acid/borax by the United States Environmental Protection Agency Office of Pesticide Programs found potential developmental toxicity (especially effects on the testes).[11] Boric acid solutions used as an eye wash or on abraded skin are known to be especially toxic to infants, especially after repeated use because of its slow elimination rate.[12]

  50. Denny says:

    I have not read all the articles but from what I did read, there seems to be missing the cause that makes dishwashing a problem. Getting them clean depends on attacking the residues on the surface. Washing Soda, otherwise known as sodium carbonate reacts with water to
    form sodium hydroxide and carbonic acid. The sodium hydroxide attacks the particles as
    well as the oils and greases. You need this chemical action if you are going to use washing
    soda and borax. Borax aids in cleaning by preventing the hardness from water to adhere to
    the surfaces. Calcium is the chief culprit and adheres to surfaces that shows up a a film.
    Borax is sodium deca borate which reacts with the calcium and prevents deposition unto
    surfaces. It acts like a water softener. If you have films on you glassware, they may be
    removed by soaking in a dilute solution of vinegar, otherwise known as acetic acid. I cannot say how strong to make the solution, but a little experimentation should solve that problem.

  51. CattyB says:

    I’ve used recipe #1 for almost a month now (dishes done every 2-3 days) and it’s worked great! I was totally amazed at the glorious sparkle on all of my dishes the first time I opened the dishwasher. I’ve NEVER has such good results with Cascade or any other commercial detergent.
    I use about 2tsp each of borax and washing soda and always use vinegar in the rinse dispenser and the dishes — glass, plastic, china, flatware — all come out sparkling – and very clean – every time. I can’t understand why some people are having a problem with residue – maybe that aluminum thing mentioned above???

  52. Vyrianna says:

    I am looking forward to trying these recipes to find out what works best for my family, but I have used borax before in our dishwasher. When we rented a place that had extremely hard water I used two tablespoons of borax along with my dish detergent and vinegar as a rinse agent, to get the dishes (particularly the glasses) to come out clean. It started that I was using Calgon Water Softener (the powder) in the dishwasher for get things clean because nothing else was working. But that stuff is expensive, I did have 20 Mule Borax on hand and when I ran out of the Calgon I tried that. It worked wonderfully and was about 1/3 the price or less when you take into account the different sizes.

    From my reading about using borax for cleaning & homemade beauty products you have to have HOT water to dissolve it. So if some people are having problems, I would have to agree that it water may not be getting hot enough.

  53. laura says:

    Hi. I have heard, and this may sound stupid, that the reason fleas and roaches die from borax is because it makes them burp. Which is; apparently, something ants, fleas, and roaches can’t do, so instead, they basically blow up. So I have heard. My mom told me this as a child and since moms are always right I am still assuming it is true. I do remember her sprinkling it on the carpet when we were younger to kill fleas, something I still do today. So I do not believe it is toxic. I haven’t done any other research. I’m playing the “my mother always did it” card. And she is about as “Green” as they get.

  54. laura says:

    And thank you so much for the tips! Can’t wait to try them!

  55. Jacklen Taylor says:

    None of those recipes have ever worked for me. What does is my homemade concoction 🙂

    1/2C washing soda
    1/2C borax
    1/4C kosher salt
    1/4C citric acid

    use 1TBS per load, and fill the rinse aid reservoir with vinegar.

    We have an oooooold inefficient dishwasher that came with our apartment, and very hard water.
    This works beautifully with no film or residue!

    • TipNut says:

      Thanks for sharing that recipe Jacklen!

    • Gillie says:

      Thanks TipNut and Jacklen! I’ve been using Jacklen’s formula for a couple of weeks and am happy so far. We have very hard water here and I find I have to rinse the dishes before putting them in. It also helps to have vinegar in the rinse aid compartment or add some along the way.

      • Lee says:

        I also used Jacklen’s recipe and with great results! I used 1 tablespoon in the closed compartment and one tablespoon in the open compartment and put vinegar in the rinse cycle. The dishes are crystal clear and very clean. I do not prewash before putting them in the dishwasher, just scrape them, and my dishwasher is about 10 years old. I wish tipnut.com would post this recipe on the top of the page for other readers. For the citric acid, I used 10 envelopes of lemonade flavoring (like koolade), unsweetened, from the dollar store (10 cents per pack)and it equaled 1/4 cup. You can only use the lemonade flavored, though. Thanks for the recipe…it is a success.

    • Janis says:

      Do you have to fill the rinse reservoir with vinegar for each load or once it is filled, does it last a few loads?

  56. Morissa says:

    My dishwasher door was replaced ,due to a recall, and the handyman who came out and fixed it, said to put the dishwashing detergent into the compartment and do not close the lid, so when the door shuts the soap will go all over dishes inside. He said that the dishsoap compartment only opens at the very end of the wash cycle. So I thought maybe that is why the individuals making there own soap had residue on their dishes?

    It’s worth a try.

  57. bbrowneyes says:

    I use recipe number 2 with 1 TBS works great and we love saving the money.

  58. Health mom says:

    Thank you for sharing, I am washing a load now.

  59. Bev says:

    I have been making my own dishwashing liquid (for handwashing dishes and general cleaning) for the past six months with great success. I make it up in a large clean plastic container and it lasts ages (and costs only a few pennies to make). Here’s the recipe:-

    Take one bar of scented soap (or plain if you prefer), grate to a powder on your kitchen grater and add 4 – 8 cups of boiling water slowly. If you have it, add a Tbsp of liquid Glycerine. Beat, blend or stir (careful, this may be FOAMY!) until well mixed. The top thick creamy foam can be skimmed and put in a jar, for use as shaving cream, the liquid can be bottled (note: the solution is rather goopy and should be shaken/stirred before each use) and used for hand soap, general cleaning, dishwashing liquid etc. You’ll notice there’s not a lot of bubbles but you’ll get clean and shiny dishes for a fraction of the cost.

  60. NCmammaof2 says:

    I tried the liquid reciepe and added vinegar to my jet dry compartment and it turned out great!!! WOW…got off dried on mac-n-cheese sauce off of my rubbermaid and all!!! I’ll never buy dishwashing detergent again:) And I only had to use 2TBS and I measured it out to be sure of how much I would need and it was just enough! This is going to save a lot of $$

  61. Jamie says:

    I would like to try one of these recipes, as I use homemade for laundry and LOVE it. Am wondering if I can substitute lemon juice for lemon essential oil in the liquid recipe?!?!


  62. lizz says:

    i tried the borax and arm and hammer recipe WITH the vinegar and i had white filmy stuff all over my dishes.

  63. Patrice C says:

    When I got a new dishwasher I thought it would be interesting to actually read the how to load since I had been loading a dishwasher for over 25 years and it did say to use less detergent if you had a water softener. To much detergent could eat the etching off the glassware, That is usually what causes the cloudiness. Hope this is helpful.

  64. Leolalee says:

    Most dishwasher soap, homemade or otherwise, will etch glasses if used in too high a concentrate. If the glasses are truly etched, nothing will clear them up, it is in the glass. If you are getting residue from your detergent, that should wash off. Only use enough detergent to clean the dishes, more in NOT better.

  65. Bonita K Wilson says:

    Hi,I have an old dishwasher that still works great.Probably 20 yrs old.We have very hard water as a lot of you do.I learned a long time ago from the back of the box I use for water softner for my clothes,which is “WHITE KING water softner”,it has a hint on the back of the box,on using 1 Tablespoon pr dishload in the bottom of the dishwasher, I also just put in 1 level scoop of dishwashing powder in the bottom at the start,is all I put in for all the cycles.My dishes are clean,it’s cheap,and it works.The scoop I use is from one of those drink mixes,it holds 2 Tablespoons.I never use the baskets to fill.That would take 1/2 cup or more of detergent.All I know is this works,and doesn’t use much soap.Doesn’t leave a film.Also my friends & neighbors do it too.It’s found in the laundry isle by the washing soda.I have a cottage cheese container with a TB spoon in it,with a lid on it sitting on the dishwasher.And I have another container with a lid and the scoop of the detergent in it.All I have to do is pop the lids,toss the white king,and DW detergent in the bottom of the washer, and start the wash.Really easy.Hope that helps,A box of cascade lasts 6 mo for me. Bonita

  66. Mario says:

    I read about borax and it is not so safety see Wikipedia.

    • Rachel says:

      wikipedeia is the worst source to cite. Anyone can on there and write anything they want.
      that being said, as you would have found out by reading the other comments on this site, borax (mule-team borax found in the laundry aisle) is no more dangerous than any other cleaning agent. no, you shouldn’t eat it, but it’s perfectly safe to use in the dishwasher as it’s all rinsed away anyway.

      • Kat says:

        THANK you! Finally someone said what I’ve been thinking! Wikipedia is NOT fact! It’s basically a huge rumor mill. All info should be taken with a grain of salt.

  67. Joanne says:

    I made homemade dishwasher detergent because I had the ingredients on hand because of making laundry detergent (and the kids drink koolaid)
    1 cup each borax and washing soda and 2 envelopes unsweetened lemonade. I have been using for 2 weeks or so and I am soooooooooo happy with it. I do have soft well water and my water temp is pretty hot. So far no water spots or build-up in the dishwasher and I am NOT pre-rinsing. It has taken off pnut butter on knives and mac-n-cheese on plates. I use a rounded teaspoon in each cup and vinegar in my rinse aid compartment. I do at least 1 load a day. So I figure I am saving a good $10/ month on dishes and about $25/month on laundry.Thank everyone for all the input. Mine worked great since the first time.(a 7 yr old bottom-of-the-line Magic Chef)

  68. Ruth says:

    I agree with Joanne. I have been using the following recipe for a long time, have never had any problems. I put 1 plastic spoonful in each compartment and fill the rinse compartment with vinegar about once every two weeks.

    1 cup Borax
    1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
    1 package unsweetened lemonade (10 for a dollar drink mix)
    Also I put vinegar in the rinse aid compartment

  69. Nelly says:

    As far as the cloudiness, you may be using too much. I used to get cloudy dishes when using Seventh Generation, and then realized I don’t need to fill both dispensers. This cured the cloudy dishes.

  70. Janis says:

    I was just curious how often you have to fill the reservoir for the rinse load with vinegar. I used the mix of borax, washing soda, and kosher salt, and added vinegar to the reservoir for rinsing and my dishes are sparkling clean, but I just wondered if you have to do the vinegar every time or if it lasts for a few loads.


  71. Cassie says:

    If you have a problem, use vinegar to rinse. My dishes come out sparkly 99% of the time and in the soap dispenser I put 1T salt 1T baking soda and a few drops of soap and then use vinegar in the other dispenser.

  72. Robbie says:

    isn’t salt corrosive? I don’t know if that would be to hard on the dishwasher. Also, I added some Somat Salt to the load and it made a huge difference. No residue.

  73. Julie says:

    After reading (however not so thoroughly) the commentary on Borax and the concern about health and using it on your dishes, I kept thinking to myself that regular dish washer soap probably has much worse chemicals. I can’t imagine that the borax is any worse and it is a natural resource. If your dishwasher is truly rinsing the dishes, should a person really be concerned?

  74. Rochelle says:

    I agree about the borax. When I decided to make my own, I had looked closely at the bottle and it stated “harmful if swallowed” to which I replied “this is poison!” At least the borax is natural.

  75. Kirin says:

    Personally, I think the freak out over the Borax is mostly because people don’t realize what exactly is in that box of Cascade or even Generic dishwasher detergent. Dishwasher detergent is so Non-green and non-eco friendly, it should be banned in itself.

    Borax is a simple mineral compound. Yes, toxic, in huge amounts. Milk is toxic too, even water, if you have too much. We are not ingesting the borax, any dishwasher should easily rinse away the borax without problem.

    Most getting film might be using baking soda instead of washing soda, which are entirely different animals.

  76. Cheryl says:

    The problem with residue may be due to a new dishwasher. The new dishwashers are made to only rinse well with a “rinse-aid”. I just got a new dishwasher and fun that out the hard way. The repair guy recommended I get new soap. Maybe we need a recipe for rinse-aid!

  77. Shelby says:

    Hi, I have been experimenting with these recipes and so far the best combination, cheapest and everything comes out squeeky clean is:

    2-3 drops of Sunlight Soap divided into each soap compartment
    2 tablespoons of Baking Soda one in each compartment

    Vinegar where the rinse agent goes.

    I think that some may be experiencing residue because once you go cheap and cheerful you don’t purchase rinse aids anymore. Vinegar replaces this and now the dishes are not sparkling but squeeky clean.

    I also throw about a 1/8 cup of vinegar over the dishes in the pre wash cycle if the load is particularly dirty, like pots and my dishwasher is not that old, maybe within the last 10 years.

  78. Amber says:

    I tried recipe #3 (1/4 cup Washing Soda and 1 TBS Liquid Dish Detergent) and I ended up with suds all over my kitchen floor. Are you really supposed to use that much for each load?

  79. Jamie says:

    I just tried to print the recipe and wound up with 32 pages including all the comments. Way to save the planet. How many cents would it cost you to offer a “print this recipe” button?

    • TipNut says:

      Hi Jamie, I’ve tried Microsoft IE, Safari and Firefox to print this and I only get the article when printing–2 pages total (without comments). I have no idea why you are getting something different. What browser are you using?

      I’m assuming you are clicking the “Print This Post” link under the article or are you doing something else?

      • nanny says:

        Does your computer have a cancel print option? You could always highlight the recipe and choose print selection. Or copy and paste to a doc before printing. Or better yet just copy to a word doc and save to your computer.
        Sorry to be sarcastic but we do have to think for ourselves here!

        • otherwiseknownasmom says:

          If you’re technologically impaired (as I am) it is sometimes difficult to execute things as intelligently as our technologically enhanced counterparts.

          Give her a break. Jamie might not be a techno whiz, just a common girl trying to save a dime.

          • fixitmom says:

            When you go to print – select “print preview” – determine which page the info is on that you want to print & then change your print page from “all” to page “x” of page “x” – this should work for you
            Also, if you use a Macintosh or have Windows with Adobe Acrobat installed, you can print the page to a PDF and save it to your hard drive (eliminating the paper trail) which will allow you to view at your leisure 🙂

  80. Tina says:

    I just made recipe #1 with the vinegar in the rinse aid and not one single problem. NO cloudiness! I did get rid of all clumps. I mixed the two washing soda and Borax very well. Couldn’t be happier. My dishes are very clean. I have heard that adding a little bleach a tablespoon or so to each wash would fix the problem if your are experiencing cloudiness. May be worth a try if you are having problems. I’m loving my homemade detergent!

  81. Neeka says:

    I find all of the comments about Borax being toxic interesting, isn’t all dish soap and laundry soap toxic? I wouldn’t drink Dawn or Tide, but I use it on my clothes and dishes, so why wouldn’t you use Borax? Am I missing something?

  82. Neeka says:

    Okay I guess I should have finished reading the comments since others have pointed this out already lol.

  83. Caps Fan says:

    For cleaning a dishwasher, whatever happened to using Tang for that?

    I don’t use Boraxo for my dishes, but have used on clothing. It gives an extra boost the lighter colors need.

    One time, I needed to wash my van; having no other soap, I grabbed the Boraxo. My van came out with a fabulous sparkle. At the gas station, a man asked me what I used to get my vehicle looking so great. He was very surprised to learn it was inexpensive Boraxo and not some expensive product from an auto supply store.

  84. Veronica says:

    White vinegar will help to cut the cloudiness – use it as the rinse aid.

  85. Sandy says:

    I have 5 year old Maytag.Recently my dishes have some sandy white residue on them ( particularly glasses in upper tray).I tried: liquid soap, vinegar wash,- still no luck. Any advice is more than welcome!

  86. Les says:

    You can also buy Arm & Hammer Baking Soda at your local “feed” store in 50lb bulk bags. Here in Utah it’s $8.99 a bag.

  87. Charles says:

    Has anyone figured out the cost per oz or cup or 1/2 gallon or gallon of this dishwasher detergent and the laundry detergent? I want to compare to the name brands and private labels. Have any of you done that? Thank you.

    • Megan says:

      see my contribution at the end…it is anywhere from .08 to .11 cents a load … have added some extra ingredients…works great.

  88. Debbie says:

    I read through all comments and I am so sorry but I did have to giggle over the whole ‘toxic/poison’ thing…I believe many people are doing all the can to have less toxins in their home…The deal is that I have to take a medication to stay alive that had it’s beginnings as Rat Poison….so, please give me a break….no one is telling anyone to eat the stuff…and it is rinsed off anyway…I lived in England for 4 years and many people there didn’t even rinse their dishes! They seem pretty healthy…Also…I agree with those who have said if you have a problem…the answer is simple…Don’t use it.

  89. Annette says:

    Have been using the borax/bi-carb/citric acid mix with white vinegar in the rinse aid part for months….what’s a few cloudy bits on a couple of glasses…
    Just thought I’d share this recipe with you for liquid hand soap…grate one cake of soap add 3.25 lts boiling water, stir until soap disolved. Wallah! 3.25 ltrs of hand soap for the price of a cake of soap.

  90. Janie says:

    How does 3.25ltrs compare to quarts, cups? Is it like the liter bottles of soda?

  91. valleycat1 says:

    Janie: 1 liter is slightly more than 1 quart, or 34 ounces. One quart = 4 cups = 32 ounces. A one liter bottle of soda would be slightly more than 1 quart (assuming it’s really a liter).

  92. Megan says:

    This is the combination I have come up with that seems to really work. My husband (an engineer) suggested I add a Calgon product, found Vaseline Intensive Care Moisturizing Beads cheaper at Walmart.

    Borax 76 ounces best place to buy is Ace Hardware
    Washing Soda 55 ounces best place to buy is Ace Hardware
    TSP 1 1/3 cup bought the large size at Home Depot, but
    may be cheaper elsewhere
    Citric Acid 4 ounces bought a 5 pound container through Amazon
    as it seems to be the cheapest way to
    Vaseline IC moisturizing beads 2 cups bought at Walmart
    Canning Salt 4 pounds bought at Walmart

    this combination will last a long time at 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons per load. I used the 2 tablespoons the first time, now I will cut back to 1 1/2 to see if I still get the same results, which will make this even cheaper yet.

    .11 per load versus the .09 or .10 a load for something that doesn’t work. it may be cheaper if I use less than 2 tablespoons, but haven’t tried that yet.

    • Adrienne @ Whole New Mom says:

      So basically you are putting the phosphates in that the government took out! I didn’t remember what TSP was :-). What do the beads do? That is really odd. Doesn’t sound too natural to me…..What do you think about that?

  93. Riki says:

    I know, I was perplexed as well as to why people are worried about toxic chemicals on their dishes yet have KoolAid in their pantry. ?

  94. momma says:

    Im confused My hubby says wikipedia isn’t REAL that any one they want can write any BS they want on it and yet every one is using it as a reference.. and that i should NEVER trust it..this is just a thought slightly off topic. and a LOT of things are “deadly” I use sweet and low in my coffee and theres chemicals in the air you breath from the cars you drive..so I dont know what to think. hank you for posting these. My stores do not sell washign powders or borax..however. Seems Ill stick to family dollar brand dishwasher soap $3 for a large bottle. After all saving money is my BIG issue..

    • Sally says:

      I’ve recently attended a science conference by a PHD university lecturer and he said there has recently been a double-blind (good quality) study done in US (I think) and Europe which clearly showed that Wikipedia is MORE accurate and reliable and MORE up-to-date than Encyclopedia Brittanica. He strongly recommended using wikipedia for research and learning because of its very high standard of info. Anything wrong that is put up is jumped on by other professionals in the field and is quickly corrected. This instant checking and correcting makes it an amazing free product. Hope this helps.

      • Veterkins says:

        RE: Wikipedia – during my college comp class it was the one reference site we weren’t allowed to use. Although it is generally accurate – here is wiki’s own definition of its site:
        is a free, web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia project supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Its 20 million articles (over 3.78 million in English) have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world. Almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the site,[3] and it has about 90,000 regularly active contributors.

  95. momma says:

    the store brand stuff I use is less than 5 cent a load… isnt organic (but we are poor so organic isnt an option) Family Dollar. forgot to add that.

  96. nicole says:

    Isn’t borax toxic?? Even if there’s no visible residue it sounds risky to me.

  97. Megan says:

    I’m not worried about organic, just wanted clean dishes and have consistently gotten them using my recipe above and only use 1 1/2 Tablespoons…my glasses have never been so clean. a friend who has extra hard water still had cloudy dishes so suggested she add more calgon type product to soften the water up.

    As far as toxic, well all that rinse water removes the soap as I have never tasted any by product when I have used my dishes, silverware, glassware after running them through the dishwasher.

    have been looking at several stores for the old type product with the phosphates but have only found them to be phosphate free so am sticking with my homemade soap.

  98. Autumn says:

    to prevent dishwasher, dishes and glasses getting the dreaded white film I always put a tiny bowl (1/4 c size) filled with white vinegar on the top rack along with the other items. It works, even though we have the worst possible hard water.

  99. Corli says:

    Use Borax Substitute (Sodium Sesquicarbonate) if you are worried about Borax being toxic. In the UK you can buy it as Dri-Pak Aqua Softna Limescale Preventer.

  100. Amy says:

    I haven’t tried either of these, but I do have one question to those getting cloudy dishes. Are you using BAKING soda or WASHING soda? There is a big difference in the two. IMO, you should be using the WASHING soda, not the baking soda.

    I’m about to mix up my own laundry detergent using the Duggar’s recipe, and it stresses on making sure you use WASHING soda and not baking soda. Might be worth checking out.

  101. bek yip says:

    hi I wanted to say thankyou for all the discussion on dishwasher powder. I’ve switched all my cleaning and beauty products to homemade. I’ve not had any problems with recipes off the internet for anything except the dishwasher one ( it was so reassuring to know i wasn’t the only one) i live in a soft water area of the uk the mixture of borax, bicarb, salt and citric acid is perfect i am so happy to not have to buy any dishwasher tablets any more.

  102. Karen says:

    I have a septic tank. Will any of this mixture kill the good bacteria in the tank? Thanks for any info

  103. Sandy says:

    I use this recipe: 1 part washing soda, 1 part borax, 1 part pickling salt (least expensive per #). Vinegar in the rinse. This has worked well for years and I have well water with a lot of iron. Without the salt it didn’t work. I use about a tsp per load.

  104. Becky says:

    ok I have baking soda vinigar liquid dawn and arm and hammer laundry soap liquid I have no dishwasher liquid or powder I need to wash dishes what can I use out of them can u help

  105. Dawn says:

    O.k. I tried the liquid dish soap recipe this afternon. I opened up the mason jar to use it on tonight’s supper dishes, and I have a white detergent rock in my jar. I can’t find what I have done wrong. Any ideas? I can’t even chip it out with a knife 🙁

  106. Gerri says:

    I made the 1st recipe for my dishwasher the other day and used it that day! And it worked great! The next day I opened the container and it appeared to be fine. But today I opened it and it was HARD! Please let me know what I can do to keep it from hardening. I heated it a little in the microwave and it melted a little but not much. Has this happened to anyone else? If so what did you do to fix it? HELP!

  107. Gerri says:

    Actually it wasn’t the fist recipe, it was the liquid dishwasher recipe! Thanks

  108. Anne says:

    I’ve found that any time I have problems with clouding on dishes, just adding 1/2 cup to 1 cup of vinegar in the bottom of the dishwasher really helps.

  109. Sara says:

    I don’t understand why anyone is fussing over using Borax in the dishwasher because it is “toxic.” Isn’t regular dishwasher detergent JUST as “toxic?” Call me crazy, but I wouldn’t eat either!

  110. Rick says:

    One cup each of washing soda and borax.

    One-half cup each of citric acid and SLS powder.

    Mix well together and use 1TBL in main soap compartment and 1/2TBL in prewash compartment.

  111. Kathy says:

    I have used this recipe for years:

    2 c 20 mule team
    2 cups baking soda
    1/8 Tbls table salt I have used kosher salt, but table works, too.

    Haven’t died yet, not even sick! If you run the rinse cycle(s), any “poison” will be rinsed away. However, I would recommend you don’t “lick” the dishes at any point as even commercially bought cleaners may leave a residue as well! And, one nice side line, my homemade cleaner works great. We have a whole house water softner because we have a well. Therefore, don’t know about the cloudy stuff. Try it, you may like the results.

  112. Veterkins says:

    I have a Fisher-Paykel Dish drawer (which is manufactured in Australia). I was having issues with food residue in the washer. They told me to use about 1/2 c. to 1 c. of Tang in my washer to thoroughly clean the interior. They also told me the repairman who told me I had to completely rinse my dishes BEFORE putting them in the dishwasher was an idiot. LOVE THOSE AUSTRALIANS~

    I would say this was equivalent to using lemonade powder – so I’m going to use it in my mix since it was manufacturer recommended, LOL. I just finished the last of my Cascade and will now be using self concocted dish detergent!~

  113. annette says:

    would liquid lemon juice work?

  114. MrsDiGiacomo says:

    I’ve been wanting to make this for while and finally got all the ingredients to make it. I tried the liquid soap first and after only one night in the bottle it crystallized so hard that even my husband cannot shake it loose! Is this supposed to happen? Any suggestion on how to keep this from happening.
    I did just notice that I accidentally used washing soda instead of baking soda in the liquid detergent. Could this be the problem?

  115. Jane says:

    For about the past year my dishwasher seems to have started with the white residue on my silverware and a film on plastic containers. First of all, I never, ever put aluminum in the dishwasher nor do I put in my pots and pans – they take up too much room and rarely come clean. I have a water softner and we have great, soft water. Why the film?? The detergent no longer contains phosphates. I have done research and found that the reformulated Cascade and other detergents just don’t work well. I still have some Cascade liquid left and some Cascade “action packs with Dawn”. I have been adding about 3/4 tsp. of TSP to the dishwasher and that has almost totally fixed the problem. I am going to make the formula mentioned above by Megan. I will forgo the calgon and the salt because both will soften the water and I already have soft water which should bring the cost down. Yes, I know TSP (phosphates) have been banned by the government and Big Brother because it’s bad for the environment but fertilizer runoff is even worse and I don’t see them banning fertilizer yet. I’m tired of all the tree huggers trying to regulate my life. No, I don’t feel guilty about using TSP. It’s still for sale so it’s not banned entirely – just in commercial cleaning products. No, I don’t think Borax is toxic – no worse than all the chemicals you feed your kids in all that boxed crap you give them because you are too lazy to cook real food for them. Sorry – I’m an old grandmother and I’m feeling particularly crabby tonight – I apologize. Back on topic. I spoke to a person who sells appliances and they said to use a product called “affresh” to clean the dishwasher. It’s ingredients are Citric Acid and Sodium Bisulfate. I think it’s similar to the Tang thing – she explained that over time the sprayer arms get clogged/coated on the inside with residue and it starts to clog the sprayers so this will clean it out. She said to use a double dose (it comes in tablets) one goes in the bottom of the dishwasher and one goes in the dispenser door. I imagine running about a quart of vinegar or a container of Tang might do the same thing. I figure Tang is about the same price as the Affresh which was about $8. and should do about 4 cleanings. Let you know what happens.

  116. Kat says:

    From reading alllll of the comments, I’m wondering if the salt/salt-like baking soda is etching the glass. Also, it makes sense that if Borax forms little hard balls in cold water, these “balls” would etch the glass too. I’m gonna try the recipe with washing soda and run the hot water before starting the dishwasher. Keeping my fingers crossed!

  117. Janice says:

    Running water hot in the sink before starting the dishwasher does make a big difference. The soap dissolves much better. Tang has been great for cleaning. Every couple of months run hot water into empty pdishwasher, open and sprinkle 1/2 jar of Tang into water, close door, let run thru cycle. Tang is citric acid basically! As mentioned, do not fill the cups with soap, just about 1/2 TBS or less is all that is needed. With very hard water, the Tang and hot water ideas seem to help. I try to put all glassware on the top to prevent etching. One other hint…the foamy soap dispensers can be refilled. I buy the $1.00 hand or dish soap and use 1/3 soap to 2/3 water. Works great! Thanks for all of the ideas!

    • carolyn says:

      You need to be careful about how often you reuse the containers without washing and letting them dry. They have found that they breed bacteria by being reused.

  118. Sandy says:

    I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one who made the Liquid Recipe and wound up with a hard rock in my jar!! I’m wondering now if I should have used HOT water in the recipe?? The rock is slowly dissolving in my jar but so far I haven’t been able to use any of it!

  119. Carol says:

    To Shana. Vinegar is an acid. Lye is a base. Lye is strong and can cause a burn, but vinegar will nutralize it.

  120. Lu says:

    As a professional house cleaner, who owns a stainless steel dishwasher and HATES it. I’ve always used unsweetened Lemonaid Kool Aid in mine. Cheap (generic works) and it does the job. Removes all the residue and grime off the SS. When it starts to build up, I put one pkg in each side of the soap dispensers and run a regular wash cycle as if I was doing a load of dishes. I’ve passed this trick on to all of my clients and they love the idea as well.
    I’m not one to like the smell of vinegar lingering thru my house. Salt will also scratch glass, I use a combo of ice cubes and salt to clean the glass carafes to coffee pots. Leaves them like brand new.

  121. MAUREEN says:




  122. margaret says:

    I’ve noticed with regular dishwasher powders, it smells like there is bleach in it. Would there be anything wrong with adding bleach to homemade powders?

  123. Valerie says:

    This all sounds like a mess. I prefer to just handwash my dishes. I started washing dishes with my grandma when I was a litle girl and was so happy I got to do it. Then, at home, we had a dishwasher and I HATED loading that thing. I had to rinse them off very well before they could be put into the dishwasher. I thought, “might as well wash them by hand.” Then, I lived with someone who uses the homemade dishwashing soap and the glasses were cloudy at times and the dishes didn’t always come out clean. So, washing by hand, for me, is the best way to go. I hope you all find what works for you. 🙂

  124. Richard Fries says:

    What everyone is playing with is basic chemistry and the unknown “water”. With everyone spread across the country and possibly world the water and what is in it will play a big factor. A lot of additions and subtractions of these chemicals will change water PH, can dissolve the minerals in the water or may actually combine with minerals to drop them out as a powder or residue. Unless everyone uses distilled water in their dishwasher, no one recipe will fit anyone. There will be people on town water or well water. This is where the commercial chemist have researched and come up with a combination of chemicals that will work mostly across the major water factors. In reading through some of these, I haven’t seen any one toss in a bit of “water softening agent”. This chemical generally helps dissolve most chemicals and soaps into the water and my create a more consistent home made recipe. Those with a little chemistry learning from school may have their water tested and find what major minerals they need to contend with. Richard Friese, Mundelein, IL

  125. Kim says:

    My recipe: 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup washing soda, 1/2 cup citric acid, 1/2 cup salt. Use 1 tablespoon per load, with white vinegar as rince aid. Works great, no borax.

    • Renée says:

      This is exactly the recipe I use. I infuse the vinegar first with orange peels. I also have a water softener. I have been using this for 9 months and my dishes come out great!

  126. Vkke says:

    Vinegar is used as a rinse aid because it cuts through any left over soap.


    Vinegar and Bleach will have a severe and toxic chemical reaction if used at same time.

    If you use bleach, DO NOT USE VINEGAR !!!

  127. Laurie says:

    When I was still using Cascade and having no problems with residue on my dishes, I had a plumber fix a problem in my shower, and he told me my water was too hot. I turned it down, and after a dishwasher load or two I began to get the white residue. I thought it was the dishwasher and CLR’ed it. No help at all. I had the same problem with my homemade recipe. I turned the water temp back up a bit, and now I don’t have a problem. I have very hard water so I’m using the recipe with washing soda, borax, citric acid and kosher salt, and I add about 1/2 cup of vinegar when I start the load. Everything sparkles even better than it did with Cascade, and I’m a whole-hearted convert to homemade dishwasher detergent! My dishwasher is probably 20 yrs old – installed when the house was built – and as long as my water is hot enough it cleans like a new one.

  128. EEEEMommy says:

    I have read through so many of these comments. I made up a batch of #1 with an added koolaid packet and added salt. I’ve used the vinegar. We have hard water, but the salt was just refilled on our water softener. I’ve run the washer on extra hot, sanitary.
    We still have cloudiness. I’m not sure about whether it’s worth it to spend the money on the citric acid.

    I’ve also read the debate about Borax. I use it to make laundry detergent, and that hasn’t bothered me. What bothers me is that this cloudiness on our dishes is Borax, and because it’s not being rinsed off, we’re ingesting it. So, for all the people who say it won’t hurt, it WILL if it’s not being removed properly, which it isn’t…at least by my dishwasher.

  129. Heidi LeSueur says:

    When I ran out of dishwasher detergent, I decided to make my own. Since I already make my own laundry detergent, I had borax and washing soda on hand. I used the recipe that called for equal parts of borax and washing soda, plus a little salt. I added a few drops of dish soap to each load to help get rid of grease. I used vinegar in the rinse. I noticed right away, that my dishwasher and dishes didn’t have that yucky smell anymore, but I was unimpressed with the cleanliness of the dishes. The silverware did not come very clean, and they were covered with a chalky residue. I tried the detergent for a couple weeks to give it a chance, but eventually went back to using the Finish Gel pacs. It was nice to have clean silverware again. I will say though, that if you are in a pinch and need something, you could probably get by with just putting some borax in the machine. It’s better than washing a large load by hand. Borax is also effective at getting rid of that yucky odor your dishwasher may get.

  130. momofthree says:

    The Borax might not kill you but the radon in your water might!

  131. Cheryl says:

    I found that TSP (tri sodium phosphate), 1/4 tsp, will help with film and left over food particles. You can get it at Home Depot, Lowes etc, or from Amazon. I also use vinegar in rinse.

  132. Nanette says:

    After making my own laundry det. And softener, both great successes and saving megabucks, I’m excited to try dishwasher detergent. I already use 1/2 water 1/2 vinegar in my rinse dispenser. After 3-4 loads my dishwasher sparkles and dishes very clean…squeaky clean. Having decent water and all components to make dishwasher soap, will give it a try. Cannot believe how much money i have saved on laundry products alone using homemade. I do many loads due to pet blankets and such. So far, all my homeade stuff has worked very well, if not better, than specialized cleaners. My favorite, a spray bottle with 3-4 pumps of regular dawn det. Mixed with water. Cleans everything, including windows and carpet spots. How economical can u get?

  133. Teri says:

    I had read somewhere that you can use hydrogen peroxide in homemade dishwasher detergent. Has anyone tried that? If so, what was your recipe?

  134. Jo Jo says:

    Hello everyone,
    In my research I found the use for kosher salt is for softening hard water. You can use epsom salt instead. I don’t much about kosher salt, but no doubt regular table salt will leave serious residue. If you don’t have hard water you don’t have to use salt, but I would say Epsom salt would be better..imo

  135. Victoria says:

    Well……powder #3….I tried the washing soda and a TBL spoon of liquid dish soap……may I recommend reading ALL the instructions FIRST. 🙂 otherwise you may use a TBLsp of store bought liquid dish soap …and spend some time washing the kitchen floor with ALL THOSE BUBBLES! Hahaha

  136. Jen says:

    I had an idea and wanted to know what everyone thinks of it. Let me first say that my washer has Pot Scrubber, which basically offers an extra wash at the beginning, then will drain and start the Regular Load and Light Load – although that just related to how long that wash will last.
    Based on various recipes I’ve read, I was thinking of starting the washer at Pot Scrubber, using simply Borax and Baking Soda; then, when it’s almost done washing (since I’ve read that the film is b/c the detergent hasn’t gotten completely off), turn it back and add some white vinegar; what do you think?

  137. Ashley says:

    Omigosh Help!
    I LOVE this site! I have made powdered and liquid, but couldnt remember my fav liquid # ao I wne t with the biggest…
    So I made recipe #1 with Ivory. I followed the directions to a T, but had a little lack of patience and had a few dime sized chunks of soap. I continued to cook on low, adding the w.soda and borax. I got my 40lb empty cat littler container wih lid and handle ( someone elses GREAT idea!!) and stirred the dickens pit of the mixture. I added the extra 2gallons of water and have a 2 in thick layer of glop! I have no idea how to fi this. After about 2 hours on the stove it disnt incorporate at all! Lots of heat and stiring involved.
    I added one more gallon so I have a total of 3 gallons in my soap!

  138. Ruth says:

    I have found the best recipe is one part borax, one part washing soda, and one part citric acid. You can use lemishine if you can’t find citric acid, but it doesn’t seem to work as well. I use vinegar for the rise and the pot scrubber option.

  139. Debra Mathews says:

    I was completely happy using vinegar in my rinse aid dispenser until I read in my manual that it eventually caused streaks in the aluminum tubs of dishwashers. I immediately bought a bottle of Cascade Rinse Aid and now have spots on my dishes! Is this a scare tactic used to promote commercially made rinse aids? What are the odds of me developing streaks inside my new dishwasher?

  140. sue says:

    Hi. I like the recipes and discussion.

    One thing that has not been mentioned is that borax often has arsenic in it, enough to be concerned about. Look it up. Type in “borax arsenic” in your search engine.


  141. sue says:

    I just read online that 20 Mule Team borax mine in California is one of the most environmentally friendly mines, and that their borax doesn’t have the arsenic. I can’t confirm that fact, though. I just read it. You can research it, though.


  142. JMan says:

    I have watched a friend SAVE money on these homemade remedies. The glasses have a film on them, the plates don’t look clean, the silverware have spots, AND you could definitely go on Lawrence Welk and bubble up the place with the suds. Now, we are supposed to EAT from these utensils? Really?

  143. Zeenie says:

    I read somewhere else when using bar soap to microwave it and it crumbles. Much better than grating.
    Gave it a try and whoopeeee. In my 1000w microwave did 2 minutes, worked pretty good, small centre bit was hard to crumble so next time will 2 1/2 minute it. Centre still crumbled ok in the mortar and pestle, outside crumbled beautifully in my hand. Dosen’t effect the soap at all!

  144. Angelgirl says:

    I made up some detergent using 1 cup washing soda, 1 cup borax and 1/2 cup kosher salt then added 2 packets of lemonade Koolaide to the mix. I used 1 TBSP last night and vinegar for the rinse aid. Now my dishes have a residue on them. They look clean but you can feel the residue on them. What should I do?

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