Citrus Dishwasher Detergent Tabs DIY

Up until my move to a different apartment last month, I have lived my adult life without a dishwasher. My first two places didn’t have one, and my last apartment had a terrible one that wasn’t even worth using. Now at my new place I’m living the luxurious life of a dishwasher-user, and it is pretty fantastic. However, I suddenly required dishwasher detergent, and so I decided to make my own. These dishwasher detergent tabs are natural, healthy, and safe for the environment. Here is the recipe for homemade Citrus Dishwasher Detergent Tabs.

Homemade Citrus Dishwasher Detergent Tabs DIY - Borax Free

Citrus Dishwasher Detergent Tabs

1/4 c washing soda

1/4 c baking soda

1/4 c salt

1/8 c citric acid

15 drops lemon essential oil

10 drops orange essential oil

up to 1/4 c water


Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, adding the water slowly, until they form a paste. (It will fizz.)

Using a one tablespoon measuring spoon, portion into a silicone ice cub tray.

This should make 10 tabs.

Allow to air dry in a sunny spot until solid. (This took me about two weeks, but I think I did too much water.)

Pop out of the tray and store in an open container. They will continue to harden.


To use, put one tab into the dishwasher’s detergent tray.
You may want to use two if your dishes are particularly dirty.

Disclaimer: We rinse our dishes before loading them in the dishwasher. I find that these dishwasher detergent tabs are not strong enough for really stuck-on pots and pans. Though I had the same issue with store-bought natural dishwasher detergent as well, so I’m not sure what the magic solution is.


The washing soda and baking soda are multi-purpose cleaners and can cut through grease. The salt is added to combat hard water. Citric acid helps dissolve things like food particles on your dishes. The lemon and orange essential oils are both antibacterial and antifungal, plus they smell great!


What dishwasher detergent do you use?

Homemade Citrus Dishwasher Detergent Tabs DIY - Borax Free
Kreativ K

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8 Comment

  1. Reply
    August 5, 2016 at 11:43 am

    I didn’t know you could make dishwasher tabs. I like it that they are more environmentally friendly.

    1. Reply
      August 7, 2016 at 8:58 am

      Me too! And I was surprised how simple they were, plus I had all the ingredients already. 🙂

  2. Reply
    August 6, 2016 at 12:24 am

    I didn’t know this could be homemade either! What a fabulous idea! I didn’t have a dishwasher for the longest time, but it was just two of us then and now being four in the household, I really appreciate having one, it’s always in use! so having these environmentally friendly tabs is awesome!

    1. Reply
      August 7, 2016 at 8:59 am

      Oh yeah, with four people a dishwasher would definitely be handy! Yup, and they’re pretty simple to make. I’d love to hear what you think if you try them out yourself.

      1. Reply
        August 11, 2016 at 12:23 am

        Hi Grace, just letting you know, that I’ll be featuring your fabulous tabs at tomorrows Sweet Inspiration Linky! Congrats!!!

        1. Reply
          August 11, 2016 at 8:40 am

          Oh, wow! Thank you so much! 🙂 I’m looking forward to checking out the rest of the linky party too.

  3. Reply
    August 14, 2016 at 12:19 am

    It’s a really fab idea. I buy my dishwashter tabs and I’m happy with them, but I would like to try to make a batch of these, so see how they are.

    1. Reply
      August 14, 2016 at 9:13 am

      That’s great! It definitely costs less overall to make your own, so that’s a plus.

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