HOW TO: Make your own dishwasher detergent

I try to avoid plastic with everything I purchase and yet despite my best efforts plastic will sometimes still sneak its way into my life, even when I think I'm buying environmentally friendly and sustainable products. One sneaky way plastic pops up is when I think I'm doing the right thing by purchasing a sustainable dish wash or clothing wash, yet when I open the cardboard box the product is held in... well, as you probably already guessed - PLASTIC! I came across this brilliant recipe for a dishwasher detergent that you can make at home, completely plastic free. The first step involves turning baking soda into washing soda - it's actually very easy!

How to make washing soda

  • First, heat your oven to 200 °C.
  • Then sprinkle some baking soda on a shallow pan, and bake it for about half hour, until it changes composition.
  • You should also stir it up occasionally so it bakes evenly.

How do you know then baking soda has become washing soda? This part can be bit tricky. Sarah from Nature's Nurture explains it like this: "Baking soda is powdery, crystallized like salt, and clumps together. Washing soda is grainy, dull and opaque, and is separate grains."

So now you have your washing soda, why not try this recipe for home made dishwasher detergent. It will make between 30 to 50 loads worth of dish washing powder.

You will need:

  • 2 Cups of Washing soda
  • 1 Cup of Baking soda
  • 1 Cup of Citric acid
  • 1/2 Cup of salt
  • 1 Teaspoon of Liquid castile soap
  • 1/2 cup of White vinegar
  • 15 - 20 Drops of Essential oils (optional)
  • glass moulds/containers (to hold and shape)


  • Mix dry ingredients together then very carefully pour in vinegar, just a little at a time and expect some fizzing.
  • Mix in your sweet smelling oils and your castile soap.
  • Pour into glass moulds.
  • Leave in the sun to dry out for 24 hours.
  • Store in an air tight container.

Do you have any tips of you own to share? We'd love to hear from you! Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

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