A different kind of recipe – Homemade Dishwasher Pellets

I don’t know about you but I am finding that now that we are on this natural food kick, the whole concept of natural around our house has snowballed.  I want to reduce the number of toxic things in our house as much as possible!  So, I have been doing a lot of dabbling lately with natural, homemade recipes for cleaning products.

What initially inspired the desire to make dishwasher detergent specifically is the yucky film that was being left on our dishes no matter what I tried to do.  Seeing that film, made me a) want to wash the dishes again by hand, and b) wonder what was touching our food when I didn’t wash the film off.  I was concerned that the dishwashing detergent we were using was leaving something on our dishes that could be harmful and then put into our bodies via the food we eat!  Yuck!

So, I did many searches on various methods of making dishwasher detergent and came to the recipe below.  There are some people who are concerned about Borax being a natural ingredient. I did a bunch of research on it and found that for me, I am comfortable using it. One helpful article that gives information both ways is here.

It was very easy to make – taking less than 20 minutes.  It costs so little – far cheaper than buying dishwasher pellets.  I bought several of the ingredients in bulk and used very little.  My batch made 48 pellets.

We have used them a few times so far and I am definitely noticing that my dishes look great and am not seeing the film that previous was on our dishes.


Homemade Dishwasher Pellets

2 c. Borax (natural cleaner and disinfectant)
2 c. baking soda or washing soda (cuts grease, great all-purpose cleaner)
1/2 c. Epsom salts (reduces effects of hard water)
1/2 c. white vinegar (added cleaning power, binds ingredients together)
1/4 c. lemon juice (antibacterial properties, great smell! – lemon essential oil would be more powerful as an antibacterial but I didn’t have any on hand. If you do, use 15-20 drops.)

Stir ingredients together in a bowl.  The lemon juice and vinegar will make the soda bubble a bit but it will subside quickly.  Once well combined, press into ice-cube trays.

Allow to dry for a full 48 hours before popping out of the tray.  (If you pop them out too soon, you will have dishwasher detergent chunks instead of pellets… trust me.  I speak from experience!!!)  Store in an air-tight container.

To use, place one pellet in your dishwasher where you would normally put the detergent (or if they don’t fit, just simply toss in the bottom of the dishwasher.)  One little tip I have learned is that instead of using a rinse agent (i.e. Jet Dry), you can simply fill that compartment with white vinegar.  It works great and I have never had any residual vinegar-y smell on my dishes.


4 responses

  1. Heather, this looks great! I hate using all those harsh chemicals on the dishes we serve food on so this is a nice alternative.

  2. I’m making these today. Thx for sharing your research and recipe 🙂

  3. How did you know this wouldn’t “explode”, the first time you tried mixing it up?

    1. I didn’t know… I never thought it might!

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