Make Your Own Dishwasher Detergent Tabs

dishwasher tabs


It’s been a long time since I have addressed the subject of Homemade Dishwasher Detergent. I guess I felt like I’d said all there was to say on the subject. I have posted about my original Homemade Dishwasher Detergent, and my Revised Homemade Dishwasher Detergent, and my Homemade Dishwasher Soap (Not Detergent).

But yesterday I got a comment from a reader named Heather on Facebook who had made my Homemade Dishwasher Detergent and while she loved the way it worked, her user experience was less than ideal.

This is how she (hilariously!) described it….

Jillee!!! Simply awesome! My dishes were DIRTY and CAKED with food. This homemade detergent is fantastic! Everything looks gorgeous! One thing… The mixture in my container is already semi-solid. I had to knife it “psycho” style to be able to get my tablespoon filled. Still works great, but I was surprised by how easily it bonded!
Thank you! Thank you for the work you do!!!!

You are SO welcome Heather! :-) And I owe you a Thank You right back because your comment inspired me to try something new that I’m pretty jazzed about! Homemade Dishwasher Tablets!

It occurred to me as I read your description of having to hack away at your homemade detergent with a knife “psycho style” to get it out of its container…then surely it should lend itself to being formed into a solid state without too much difficulty! I was ready to take a “stab” at it! ;-)

I started with my Homemade Dishwasher Detergent recipe and made a couple of adjustments.


dishwasher tabs


Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Tabs



  • 2 cups Washing soda or Baking soda (cuts grease, great all-purpose cleaner)
  • 2 cups Borax (natural cleaner and disinfectant)
  • 1/2 cup Kosher salt or Epsom salt (reduces the effects of hard water)
  • 1/2 cup vinegar (added cleaning power, liquid to help bind the ingredients)
  • 15-20 drops of Lemon essential oil (added cleaning power, antibacterial properties, smells great!)


Mix all the ingredients together with a spoon. (The addition of the vinegar will cause a little fizzing, but not much.)


dishwasher tabs

Once all the ingredients are well combined you will notice it actually will start clumping all by itself.


dishwasher tabs

Transfer the mixture into two ice cube trays and press down until each ice cube compartment is hard packed with detergent. If you packed them all down really well, you should use all of the mixture in those two trays.


dishwasher tabs

Now the hardest part for me….waiting. These babies need to DRY good and hard before you use them. Put them in a dry, sunny spot (preferably one you won’t see so you won’t be tempted to touch them before they’re good and dry) and let them sit for at least 24 hours.


dishwasher tabs 13

When they are good and hard and DRY, unmold them from the trays and store in a container with a tight-fitting lid.


dishwasher tabs

To Use:

Add 1 tablet to your dishwasher detergent compartment along with 3 drops of dishwashing liquid. (This is optional…I just think it gives my homemade stuff a little extra cleaning/grease-cutting kick.) Do not use more than three drops. The dishwasher will overflow if you use too much dish soap! (It doesn’t have to be Dawn…that’s just what I had.)

Then splash 1/2 to 1 cup of white vinegar into the bottom of the dishwasher (or put it in a cup on the top rack of the machine) and start the machine. NOTE: IF YOU HAVE HARD WATER (like I do) A VINEGAR RINSE AGENT IS CRUCIAL TO AVOID CLOUDY GLASSES AND DISHES.


Since I have been using a variation of this recipe for a long time, I wasn’t really worried that it wouldn’t work, but here is a picture of my dishes after using one of the tablets yesterday.

dishwasher tabs

 It doesn’t get much better than that!



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  1. Terri S says

    i’m not sure whether the coarse salt i have in the kitchen is kosher or sea salt (i poured it from the original box into a jar)–does it matter?

  2. says

    Can’t you put the dishwashing liquid with the ingredients in stead of the vinegar? It’s one step less when you are starting the dishwasher …

  3. MOLyn says

    Why do you need the three drops of dishwashing liquid? It seems like that would be adding chemicals and dyes to a basically natural product. Just curious!

  4. Marcia says

    Your recipe sounds like it would work great. I have one question though. Does the vinegar do enough to get through hard water deposits? What would happen if you added citric acid to the batch? Would that help or be too much?

  5. Marybeth says

    I have tried this before and was dismayed to find it took the designs off glasses and plates. :-( You might want to try it on a plate or glass you don’t care too much about before putting it in to your usual routine.

  6. Tammi says

    Thanks Jillee! I just love all your “inventions.” I’m going to try this out this weekend. :-)

  7. Michelle says

    I figured it out and if you substitute 1/2 cup of Dawn for the vinegar then for 2 ice trays that make 32 tablets, it would be 3/4 teaspon of Dawn for each. That is much more than the three drops of Dawn recommended. I would think that 1/4 teaspoon for each tablet is what you would want to use, so I would use 8 teaspoons and water to equal the 1/2 of vinegar. I like the idea of using Dawn/water instead because from what I have read vinegar and baking/washing soda neutralize each other.

  8. says

    Love this! Can I put the drops of dishwashing liquid on top of the tablets in the trays when I set them out to dry? Or will this prevent them from setting up properly? Love your ideas and posts and can’t wait to try this:)

  9. Dee says

    I am definitely doing this! One question: where do you get your essential oils?? I can never seem to find them – unless I’m not looking in the right places. Thanks!


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