DIY Dishwasher Detergent from

Start saving money with this super simple dishwasher detergent recipe!
Stop buying those dishwasher tablets and say goodbye to their ridiculous price!


A few months ago I was reorganizing my craft room and came across a few unopened bags of citric acid from my soap making days.They were still fresh bags and though I wasn’t interested in making soap at the time, I hopped on Pinterest  looking for other resourceful ways to use citric acid…

Low and behold – I came across a recipe for D.I.Y dishwasher detergent. Yassss! That was literally my next obstacle: finding a cheaper dishwashing detergent.

DIY Dishwasher Detergent from
You don’t have to buy the expensive tablets anymore!

The recipe is simple and only calls for 3 ingredients:
1. Baking Soda
2. Citric Acid or Lemi-Shine or Lemonade Flavored Kool-Aid
3. Dawn Blue Dish Soap

I did my trial and error run with my entire stock of citric acid and I was super impressed with the cleanliness of my dishes after this.

Note: Before I run the dishwasher, I do rinse all the dishes that need it in the sink first. I also usually keep a sink of hot soapy water to toss bottles and handwash-able items into throughout the day.

I also purposely left some dishes pretty dingy rather than rinsing them off like normal just to see the strength of this detergent – It works great!!

So I understand some readers are all, “Awesome! But where the eff do you find citric acid??”
– Online is your best deal next to possibly finding bigger packages of it in your soap-making section of the craft store you prefer…


Remember when I said you can also use Lemi-Shine or Lemonade Flavored Kool-Aid? These two products are much easier to find (both at wal-mart/target/grocers) and the reason for this ingredient is to battle the hard-water stains on your glassware. It’s possible that if you run water softener through your pipes that this ingredient might not be necessary in your detergent but I would imagine most people need it.
Try running it with and without to see what works better for your dishwasher.

DIY Dishwashing Detergent from
Before and After with this detergent recipe!

I have not ran this little dishwasher detergent experiment with the Kool-Aid personally, I do not know how it stands up to citric acid or to the lemi-shine (which I have used both).

Honestly, I recommend Lemi-Shine over citric acid – it’s much easier to obtain for me and my fiance can actually find it at the store when I need him to grab some.

For my homemade dishwasher detergent, I keep both the powders (equal parts, mixed) in an old candle jar and kept a lot of those baby formula scoops to use for things like this.

Every time I am ready to run the dishwasher- I sprinkle 2-3 scoops of detergent powder INSIDE the dishwasher (see picture).

DIY Dishwasher Detergent from!
Inside the actual dishwasher!

I then slide in the bottom rack and carefully use 1-3 drops of Dawn Blue Dish Soap in the detergent dispenser (where you normally put your tabs or liquid detergent).
*Be careful to use very little soap as you do not want to waste hours of your life cleaning up bubbles mommas!*

DIY Dishwasher Detergent from smartmomstuff!
Use very little soap!!!

Next time you are in the cleaners/detergent aisle at your favorite store, grab a bottle of Lemi-Shine and try it out! Both a big box of Baking Soda and a container of Lemi-Shine each cost just over $3.00.

Arm & Hammer Baking Soda as well as Dawn Blue Dish Soap are already two major cleaning products I use in my home. I will now be adding Lemi-Shine to this list as it’s safe, resourceful and actually works!

Natural Cleaning Products save money and are safer around small ones!
The Cleaners I Use at Home

COMMENTS: If anyone out there actually HAS used the Lemonade Flavored Kool-Aid as an alternative hard-water stain remover- Please comment below and share your experience with it!
I love to recommend money saving products and hacks!


DIY Dishwasher Detergent from
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How To: DIY Dishwasher Detergent Recipe
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Young mommy of two handsome boys! I thankfully get to spend my days at home with them while I learn new ways of resourcefulness, money saving, parenting hacks, and family friendly home-making.

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