Many years ago I was warned that using regular dish soap in the dishwasher would be disastrous, and somehow I turned that into a general fear of using anything except Official Dishwasher Detergent, bought in a store and consumer-certified to be The Right Thing To Use so I wouldn’t mess up my dishwasher for good.

Turns out I over-reacted a weence.

Turns out, in fact, that dishwasher detergent is one of the simplest recipes out there, and a Google search will give you tons of ideas.  After sifting through a few dozen sites, this is the recipe that I like best.  Because the detergent is cleaning my dishes (and I don’t know about you but I eat off my dishes) I prefer this ingredient list to others that use Borax and/or washing soda.  I’m going to leave those items for other jobs.

(Thanks to Recycle Your Day for the inspiration!)


1/4 cup liquid castile soap

1/4 cup water

1/8 cup salt (if you have hard water)

1/4 cup distilled vinegar

5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil (optional – try grapefruit if you have it!)

Combine all ingredients in a bottle with a liquor pourer, stopper or squeeze top.  Shake to mix, and store.  Use 1-2 Tbsp per load, depending on how many dishes and how dirty they are.

And…um, that’s it.  Did you think it would be more complicated?  Me too!  Since I didn’t want to lead you astray, I jimmy-rigged my own concoction in the hotel room dishwasher using my castile soap from the shower, salt from the grinder, and apple cider vinegar from the fridge.

Guess what?  It worked.  It worked beautifully.


Ditch your Jet-Dry and simply fill your rinse-aid dispenser with 1 Tbsp of fresh lemon juice (or vinegar if you’re in a hotel room and/or don’t have lemon juice).  Your glasses will sparkle and you’ll have saved yourself both money and that awful smell.

Did you try it?  What do you think?  How do you tweak it to work better for you?  I love hearing about how people come up with the best solution for them.