Homemade Dishwasher Detergent with Orange and Lemon Oils

Did you know that many conventional dishwashing detergents contain some ingredients that are not safe for you and your family? According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and their “guide to healthy cleaning“, these detergents can include phosphates, preservatives, formaldehyde and more. Some of these products “may contain ingredients with potential for acute aquatic toxicity; chronic aquatic toxicity; nervous system effects.”

Yikes. Instead, consider making your own homemade dishwasher detergent. Not only will you save a ton of money, you can be positive that the ingredients are safe for you, your family and the environment without question. (And for a backup store-bought dishwasher detergent, opt for one of these.)

How to Make DIY Dishwasher Soap

In a medium bowl, add the washing soda and purified water. Washing soda is a chemical compound that is safe to use for removing dirt and grease. It can even treat hard water. More specifically, it is the salt of carbonic acid. Because washing soda is often made from the ashes of burned plants, you may see it named as soda ash.

Purified water is important to help avoid chemical contamination. Blend these ingredients.

Next, stir in the vinegar, citric acid and kosher salt for this homemade dishwasher detergent. White vinegar helps disinfect safely but also helps keep your dishes spot free. The vinegar contains acetic acid, which helps take the grease off while acting as a rinsing agent.

Citric acid helps add some shine to your dishes while removing the minerals that may be caused by hard water found in your area. Kosher salt is an amazing ingredient because it is a mild preservative and can get some of those tough to clean stains off of your dishes by acting as a gentle scouring agent.

It’s now time to add the essential oils and mix well. Wild orange oil is perfect because it fights off grease and bacteria while enhancing your kitchen with a delightful scent. Lemon essential oil is a powerhouse of freshness, and it’s a great in a homemade dishwasher detergent because it, too, is antibacterial and antifungal.

Pour into a glass bottle and store in the fridge.


  1. To use, give the bottle a good shake and then add your DIY dishwasher soap to the dispenser. About 1½–2 tablespoons of detergent per load should do the trick.
  2. I suggest storing your homemade dishwasher detergent in the refrigerator to prevent fermentation and mold since it is chemical and preservative-free.
  3. A quick rinse before loading the dishwasher can provide a boost to a good set up of clean dishes.


Though this homemade dishwasher detergent is safe, it’s best to keep it out of reach from children and pets. If you notice any irritation, please discontinue use. For best results, make sure to clean your dishwasher periodically. You can run the dishwasher using a cup or two of vinegar and baking soda to help provide a thorough cleansing.

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Source: draxe