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Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Tabs


Update, March 2018: When I first started making these, I used ice cube trays and filled them about halfway. While that worked okay, I’ve since found some awesome silicone molds that are much easier! They are the perfect size, and the finished tabs pop out easily. No more fighting with the ice cube tray! Using the below recipe, you’ll yield approximately 50 of the tabs in the silicone mold. Want the mold? Get it here.

Original Post: Wow! These were easy to make, and they work! Scrap those expensive dishwasher detergent tabs, and make your own!


  • 3/4 cups washing soda (find it by the laundry stain & odor removers)
  • 3/4 cups Borax (find it by the laundry stain & odor removers)
  • 1/2 cup coarse kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup citric acid (find it in the canning aisle)
  • 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 30 drops lemon essential oil

Make Them:

  1. Mix dry ingredients and essential oils in a large plastic bowl, using a wooden or silicone spoon. Do NOT use a metal bowl or a metal spoon.
  2. Slowly stir in vinegar in small amounts. If you add the vinegar too quickly, the citric acid will bubble like crazy, and you’ll never get it to settle down. Trust me–learned that the hard way!
  3. Press into molds. I found it was easiest to do this with my fingers. Pack down slightly; some expansion is normal.
  4. Allow to dry at room temperature. In a dry environment, they’ll be ready to pop out in 6-8 hours. In more humid environments, you may need to wait 24 or more hours.
  5. Pop out of molds and transfer to an airtight container to store. Store in a cool, dark place.
  6. Yield: approx. 50 tabs (in the mold referenced above)

Use Them:

  • Tabs don’t have to be placed in the detergent compartment. If your dishwasher has a special location for tabs, use that. Otherwise, you can just toss one on the bottom of the tub.
  • For rinse agent, I use distilled white vinegar with lemon essential oil–20 drops oil per quart of vinegar. Shake before filling compartment.
  • These tabs are also multi-purpose!
    • Drop one in your garbage disposal, run hot water, and let the disposal run for 30 seconds to a minute.
    • Toss one on the bottom of your dishwasher tub, and run an empty hot cycle with sanitize (if your dishwasher has that option) to clean your dishwasher tub and lines.
  • Have an extra-greasy load? Hard water? If you answered yes to either (or both!) of those things, add just a couple (no more than three) drops of regular dish soap to your dishwasher when you run a load.

Cost Comparison:

  • This recipe = 5 cents per load
  • Finish tabs at Walmart = 17 cents per load

Don’t want to make them yourself? Buy it now!


3 thoughts on “Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Tabs

  1. […] Provides a cleaning boost to laundry and dish soaps (I use it in my homemade laundry soap and dishwasher tabs) […]

  2. […] make these in a great silicone mold (see the picture below) that I also use to make my dishwasher detergent tabs. The nice thing about this mold vs. the steel molds used for bath bombs is that the release is […]

  3. […] also use it in many of my homemade cleaning products including dishwasher detergent tabs, laundry soap, and all-purpose […]

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