DIY (Borax-Free) Dishwasher Detergent Tabs

June 30, 2015·

I have been going back and forth trying different recipes for dishwasher detergent over the last few months. I made some of my own “liquid” dishwasher detergent, but it was SO SO SO SO SOOOO THICK and it was nearly impossible to pour every time we went to start a load of dishes. It was driving us a little nuts. 

I have been a bit leery to make dishwasher detergent tabs. I don’t know why, but I just thought they weren’t going to do the job. But, I got kind of desperate and so I looked up a few recipes and played around with some ingredients myself and gave these a try. I had all the ingredients on hand and they took about 5-10 minutes to make… so I figured I really had nothing to lose.

Once they were ready, I put them to the test and ran a load of dishes and I was SO EXCITED because HOLY COW – these tabs did the JOB! My dishes came out super sparkly and clean. I realize this is such a nerdy thing to be excited about, but I was REALLY happy with how they came out. And they’ve continued to do a GREAT job.

A bonus? THEY’RE INSANELY CHEAP. I did the math, and they are about $0.09-$0.15 cents a load! So, you are saving money, too!!

DIY (Borax-Free) Dishwasher Tabs with Essential Oils (1)

Here’s what the tabs look like when they’re finished:

DIY (Borax-Free) Dishwasher Tabs with Essential Oils (3)

Just to show you – they really clean SO well! Honestly better than anything I have ever bought at the store. No filmy residue and my glasses are sparkling clean!
DIY (Borax-Free) Dishwasher Tabs with Essential Oils (2)

DIY (Borax-Free) Dishwasher Detergent Tabs



  • In a large bowl, mix together all of the DRY ingredients. DO NOT PUT THE VINEGAR IN YET!!
  • Add in the castile soap and the lemon, orange, and Purification essential oils. Mix well.
  • Next, SLOWLY add in the vinegar a little bit at a time and mix well. It will start to fizz and it will start to clump… this is what’s supposed to happen, but you want to act fast. You may not need to use the whole 1/2 cup of vinegar, so go slowly and work a little at a time. I used the whole 1/2 cup. If it looks too dry, add in a little more vinegar a splash at a time.
  • Once it is mixed well, pack well into two ice cube trays (take your time doing this and make sure they are well compacted – they should feel “wet” but not solid yet.
  • Set ice cube trays out to dry for at least 24 hours in a sunny spot (I put mine in a window sill)
  • After 24 hours, remove the tabs and store in an air-tight container. I highly recommend ice cube trays that are flexible on the bottom… my trays were NOT and it was TOUGH to get the tabs out. I save ALL of the crumbs and crumbles so that I can use all of those at the end for a cycle.
  • When it’s time to wash your dishes, put your dishwasher tab in the detergent container and start your cycle! If you REALLY wanna boost your wash cycle, put a 1/2 cup of white vinegar on the top rack.

What about you? Will you give these a try? Have you ever made your own dishwasher detergent tabs? What other home products have you made yourself lately?

Check out my other DIY recipes:

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