Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Is A Real Thing, We Tried It

The Ultimate Hack For When You're Out Of Dishwasher Soap

You know the feeling: You've got a loaded dishwasher brimming with crusty plates and sauce-splattered spoons. They've been there for a few days, in fact, compounding their grime and taunting your nostrils with their semi-mildewy scent. The buildup has become unbearable. It's time to wash the dishes... However, there's one small problem: you're completely out of dishwasher detergent.

HuffPost Home recently encountered this very issue -- and while we could just hand wash them, we found another solutions, using just a few meager ingredients in our kitchen cupboard:


A quick search for "homemade dishwasher soap" turns up all kinds of recipes, from simple ones involving just regular dish soap and baking soda (which apparently helps soften hard water) to more souped-up concoctions with borax, washing soda and citric acid.

We used the simplest possible recipe, to model the typical lineup of ingredients we already have in our kitchens. This DIY dishwasher recipe uses just dish soap, baking soda and salt -- and it WORKED.

Here's what to do next time you're in a dishwasher pickle:

Place dirty dishes in dishwasher as usual (grime, goo and all).


Add about three drops of regular dish soap to your dishwasher's detergent cup.


Fill the cup 2/3 of the way with baking soda.


Add salt until the cup is nearly full.


Run your dishwasher as normal.


Yay! No catastrophic, sudsy overflow!


...and your dishes turn out nice and sparkly.


Making your own dishwasher soap is also cheaper than buying buckets and boxes of powdered dishwasher detergent -- this recipe, for example, claims to cost one cent per load, as opposed to 13 cents with store-bought detergent -- and as long as you have these three ingredients around, you'll never have to worry about running out of dishwasher soap again.

Before You Go

Give Every Cabinet Door A Dual Purpose
Julie Blanner
Stick a few adhesive hooks to the inside of each one to hang measuring cups, oven mitts or stand-mixer attachments, like Coordinately Yours blogger Julie Blanner did. You could also add a few adhesive plastic folders—the same kind you'd find at an office-supply store—to hold Tupperware lids, or attach a file organizer to keep cutting boards upright and orderly.
Turn the Side of Your Fridge into a Command Center
Charlotte Smith, who runs the lifestyle blog Ciburbanity, created an organizational hub to make getting ready each morning easier. Four sturdy wood pockets organize bills, magazines and other mail, while a dry-erase board lets everyone see upcoming meetings at a glance. A plastic brochure caddy is just the right size for storing grocery-list notepads, and a mason jar attached to the wall means you're never rummaging through a junk drawer for a pen.
Take Out the Trash (Bags)
Samantha Pregenzer of Simply Organized
A cardboard box of garbage bags can easily take up half of the under-sink cabinet space. Free up some room by mounting a paper-towel holder to the inside of one cabinet, then use it to hang a roll of trash bags.
Rethink Even Your Most Awkward Spaces
It seems like a magician's trick: Take a six-inch gap between the fridge and the wall, and with a little DIY know-how, double your pantry space. Mallory Nikolaus and Savannah Kokaliares show you how to do exactly that with their step-by-step guide to creating a pull-out shelving unit. It's just the right size for storing canned vegetables, soups, jars of peanut butter and spices.
Make Cleanup a Little Easier
Julie Blanner
Blanner recommends taking half an hour to sort your supplies into labeled bins: everyday cleaners, dishwashing goods, specialty cleaners and miscellaneous. You can easily pull out the bin you need for the task at hand -- saving time -- and keep tabs on what you actually have, avoiding that whole three-half-empty-bottles-of-Windex thing (and thus saving you money).
Claim New Counter Space
Dexas International, Ltd.
No matter the size of your kitchen, you can always use an extra prep area. This cutting board fits right on top of the sink and includes a collapsible colander, so you can chop and rinse vegetables all in one place.
...And Clear Off Even More
Kate Sable of Etch Design Lab
Skip the traditional large-knife block and hang a magnetic strip on the wall to store your knives. (If you have tiled walls, consider a compact butcher's block that attaches to the bottom of your upper cabinets.)