How to Make Dishwasher Powder (That Doubles as Scouring Powder)

October 19, 2015
(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you'll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)

By Daisy Luther

Yesterday I ran out of dishwasher soap. And by out, I mean completely. Nary a tab in sight, either storebought or homemade. There sat my dirty dishes, anxiously awaiting a hot cycle through the dishwasher while I searched through the area where I usually keep my extra supplies.

Since I’m in the midst of the first month of the Once-a-Month Shopping Challenge, running to the store was not an option. Homemade tabs have to sit overnight to harden. Then I remembered a relic from long, long ago.

Dishwashing powder.

Remember that? Back in the olden days of, oh, say, 5 years ago, we scooped the powder into the little compartment on the door of the dishwasher, closed it, and it magically opened during the cycle and washed our dishes. Then it became too much work to do that, and we all got the convenience bug and started buying the tabs that dissolve.

Why make dishwashing powder?

Well, first of all, because I ran out. But there are more reasons, lots of them.

First of all, you can pick what goes into it. Not so with the things you buy from the store. With all of the spot free, gunk-dissolving bells and whistles, I can only imagine the chemical poop-storm in the brand name versions.

The storebought stuff is insanely expensive. For less than a dollar, I made enough less toxic dishwashing powder to last a month at the rate of a load per day. To purchase the ready-made higher quality stuff, you’re looking at $17 for a two-month supply.

Making dishwashing powder is about 12,589 times easier than making dishwashing tablets, and since making dishwashing tablets isn’t that hard, that means it’s unimaginably easy.

This doubles as scouring powder

And there’s something even better about homemade dishwashing powder.

It’s dual purpose. Remember Comet and those other scrubbing powders?

This is the most awesome scouring powder cleaner I’ve ever used. It works just as well as the major chemical-ly cleaners, and way better than plain baking soda.

If you happen to have an old-fashioned porcelain sink, you know that a good scrubbing is necessary to keep it looking white after the daily wear and tear. This stuff works brilliantly.

How to make it


You probably have everything you need kicking around your house already.

Dishwasher powder ingredients

  • 1 cup of Borax (buy it in quantity HERE)
  • 1 cup  of washing soda (This is much cheaper locally for me, but if you can’t find it, you can buy it HERE)
  • 1 cup of baking soda
  • ½ cup of salt
  • 2 packets unsweetened lemonade: Don’t skip this ingredient. The citric acid will help get things cleaner while reducing spots, and cheapo lemonade packets are an inexpensive, simple way to acquire it. My grocery store had these 10 for $1.
  • Lemon essential oil: I use lemon essential oil in this because a) it smells like clean sunshine and b) it has disinfectant properties. My favorite one is from Spark Essential Oils. (Use DAISY as the coupon code to save 10%!)


This is so ridiculously easy these hardly deserve to be called “directions.”

Dishwasher powder in a bowl

  1. Put all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Stir with a fork.
  3. Add about 30 drops of lemon essential oil. Stir it again.
  4. Store it in an air-tight container.

Use 1 tablespoon for a regular load of dishes, two for an extra dirty load.

homemade dishwasher soap

Daisy Luther

About the Author

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, voluntaryism, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper. She is widely republished across alternative media and she curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, Daisy is the best-selling author of 4 books and lives in the mountains of Virginia with her two daughters and an ever-growing menagerie. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter.

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