Revised & Improved Homemade Three Ingredient Liquid Dishwasher Detergent

Three Ingredient Liquid Dishwasher Detergent

Thrifty Thinking

Liquid Dishwasher Detergent @ DIY Time

It’s DIY Time , where I post something you can do yourself rather than buy, which is a money saver, and can be VERY REWARDING.  Some of these posts are crafts, sewing projects, homemade cleaners, homemade health aids, tutorials, and the like.

What I love about the on-line blog community is that we get to share ideas and learn from each other.  I am always on the lookout to improve what I am doing in the home to be more effective, efficient, and energy-saving.  How do you like my “e”lliteration alliteration?

Have you found the perfect dishwasher detergent?  I would definitely have times when my old commercial liquid dishwasher detergent didn’t take care of everything, but it mostly worked well.  In efforts to become more green and economical,  I have been using my three different homemade dishwasher detergent recipes for the last eight months.  I comfortably settled on using the # 3 liquid dishwasher detergent, with comparable results to my old commercial dishwasher detergent.  The one thing, that didn’t really bother me because I would just shake it up, was that the liquid clumped a bit.  I thought by shaking up the detergent, it would be good enough.

Well, I got a comment on my post for Three Different Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Recipes, Powder and Liquid that was intriguing, from a reader, Jessica, that I had to check out.  She pointed out on the Bronner website appeared this article, A Word of Caution About Vinegar and Castile Soap. The article talks about how vinegar and castile soap don’t work together because castile soap is a base, and vinegar is an acid.  It won’t hurt anyone to put them together, chemically speaking, but they don’t work together to clean well.   Go here to read more about it.  They do work well, one after the other though.  So for those of you who use vinegar as a rinse aid, it should be no problem as long as they don’t mix together.

All that to say, now I have been experimenting and reduced my Homemade Liquid Dishwasher Detergent to this recipe below.   I took out the vinegar and the Lemishine, since they counteract the effects of the liquid castile soap, reducing the homemade liquid dishwasher detergent to three easy ingredients, liquid castile soap, water and essential oil.  I have been so please with the results.  My dishes, especially my glasses, are nicer, cleaner, and clearer than before.

My Squeeky Clean Glassware

DIY Liquid Dishwasher Detergent @

So here is my more effective liquid dishwasher detergent recipe for you.

Revised Homemade Liquid Dishwasher Detergent and Rinse Aid


  • 2 cups vegetable-based castile soap (I got mine at Trader Joe's)
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 drops essential oil of your choice (I used Tea Tree Oil from Trader Joe's)
  • Vinegar


  1. Mix the first three ingredients in the bottle and shake well.
  2. Shake each time before using.
  3. Use 2 tablespoons per load.
  4. Put vinegar in the rinse aid compartment.
  5. Run the dishwasher as you normally would.

The Verdict: If you find this recipe isn’t working well for you, increase the amount of detergent you use by a tablespoon.  I can’t tell you how pleased I am with the results of this recipe.  I am one who doesn’t rinse my dishes before loading them in the dishwasher, but I do hand wash my bigger dishes over the dirty ones to remove some of the oils and food.

Do you need a powder detergent recipe?  Here are two powder recipes to consider…

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Have you made your own…

Babywipes Solution

Foaming Hand Soap @

3 Natural Deodorant Alternatives |

mop it up mondays feature


  1. Missy Rankin says

    Have you read the labels on Dr Bronner Soap? I read the baby mild one and put it back on the shelf… never to buy.

    • says

      Miss Rankin, Can you be more specific about Bronner label? I have not checked label yet, as I was going to the store to make recipes using this product. Thanks for your attentiveness at point of purchase.

      • says

        I’ll take it, Sonja.

        In short, Dr. Bronner’s philosophy is antithetical to Christianity. It is inclusive where Christ is exclusive. We admire his penchant for love but he is tolerant where we would not be. He was willing to abandon his family for sake of world peace…not something we’d encourage. He believed the world is a spaceship and we need to save it. Again, not all stuff we’d affirm.

        I realize this can get dicey for some, but I don’t have to advocate all of his philosophies to use his fantastic products. There is a chance that my purchasing a Dr. Bronner product is casting a vote for a manufacturer who espouses some things I’m not excited about, but then that’s the case in just about every circle of life (My coffee? Uber-liberal Starbucks. My pants? A sweatshop in Indonesia. My shaving cream? Tested on animals. AAH! Will it ever end?!?!?).

        Don’t use Dr. Bronner’s products if it violates your conscience; to be so would be sin. But personally I’m more interested in learning – and teaching others – how to refute those philosophies head on, in more direct ways than refusing to buy their products.

        I hope that helps.

        P. S. For what it’s worth, Sonja is working on developing her own liquid castile soap recipe – which she’ll post here – so you can make your own at home rather than buying Dr. Bronner’s. :)

        P.P. S. You can read more here if you’d like:

  2. says

    I have been wanting to try something different for my dishwasher. I use natural cleaning everything else – pretty much vinegar and baking soda and I make my own laundry soap and other cleaning products – but haven’t found something that would seemingly work for dishwashers.

    As far as the controversy of Dr. Bronners, I feel similar to Jonathan, there are so many companies that don’t support my very specific views on anything, but unless I am able to do everything myself from scratch (highly unlikely), I am going to have to make some compromises.

  3. says

    Thanks, Heather. It totally works for dishwashers. I can’t say I understand how (it’s Sonja’s deal).

    And on the compromise comment, I don’t even see it like that as much as battles in the war. Sometimes we make sacrifices (in the context of a battle) for sake of the bigger picture (in the context of a war). We may buy organic produce from a pagan farmer, which is as morally irresponsible as buying a Dr. Bronner product, but am I supposed to feel better about it if I don’t know what his views are? (That’s not what you’re saying; you’re just being practical.)

    Anyway, I don’t want to highjack this post. The detergent is awesome and it works well! The scent is pungent and clean-smelling. :)

    Thanks again for the comment!

  4. says

    Hi, I’m Anne from Life on the Funny Farm (, and I’m visiting from the barn hop.

    This looks very simple (and thrifty!), I will have have to give it a try. Thanks for sharing!

    Anyway, it’s nice to “meet” you! Hope you can pop by my blog sometime to say hi…

  5. Angie says

    I can only find castille soap in a bar. If I melt it in some water, do you think this would still work? Any ideas how much water to melt it in?

    • says

      Hi Angie, I am currently working on a liquid castile homemade. I bought three different brands of bars. No success yet, because the soap solidifies. So I will try a bigger water ratio to soap tomorrow. Also, I have a feeling that castile bars made from coconut oil will be less successful because it solidifies at room temperature.

      • Kelly says

        Thanks this was my question too. I use the bar soap to make my own laundry soap. Do you have a dish liquid recipe you like?! I have had terrible luck making this. I have bought the citric acid to make the powdered version for the dishwasher but have not been brave enough to try it yet.

  6. says

    I had made the dishwasher detergent recipe that you mentioned that mixed the Castile soap and vinegar but I also read that they were cancelling each other out. So what I have been doing lately is just to have vinegar in the rinse agent spot (as you suggested too) and then to make it very simply in one of my detergent spots I put a squirt of Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Soap (I love how that smell then goes throughout the kitchen!) and in the other I put a Tablespoon of baking soda. It is quite easy and I have found it to work pretty good.

  7. Diana says

    Hi Sonya

    Do you know if this dishwasher liquid is safe for use on utensils, etc, used for kombucha and kefir? I’m desperate to come up with something that allows me to put them in the dishwasher and know that regular dishwashing liquid slowly kills the SCOBY and grains when they come into contact with the cleaned utensils and jars, etc.

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed that you know the answer! Thanks :)

      • says

        Hi Diana, I wish I knew better about the SCOBY and grains, but I can’t say that I do. I do know that castile soap is vegetable based, usually made of olive oil, but other oils like coconut oil are frequently used in castile soaps. So if the vegetable oils are an issue, than this won’t work for you. I am sorry. I hope this helps. Thanks for visiting!

        • Diana says

          Hi Jonathan, thanks for your reply :) If I find out it’s okay to use I’ll try and remember to come back and repost so that others know. Thanks!

  8. says

    Visiting from the Barn Hop. I have got to try this! I’ve made some powders before and haven’t been happy with the results. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Amy says

    There is another Castile soap sold by Dr. Woods. I get it from vitacost. I haven’t seen anything questionable on it. Hope that helps:)

  10. Becky says

    Am I the only one who had issues with this recipe? I made it exactly as directed and my dishwasher was pouring suds out all over the kitchen?!?! Does anyone know why this would happen???

    • says

      Hi Becky, I am so sorry to hear this! Nothing like this has happened to me or anyone I know. No other person has told me this. How much soap do you put in the dishwasher each time? Have you tried to reduce the amount of the soap you use? Maybe just try a teaspoon of soap if you haven’t done so already.

      • Becky says

        I used 2T as it says above. I have only used the soap once but was planning to use only 1T next time to see what happens. We do have a very old dishwasher so I suppose that may be a factor. Thanks for your reply!

  11. says

    Thanks for posting this recipe ! We have been trying lots of different recipes and havent found anything we are really excited about. I just started the dishwasher and will update with results soon! We have been making our own liquid castille soap :). Sonja, the reason that your process for making liquid soap from bar soap is not working is because sodium hydroxide is used for making bar soap and potassium hydroxide is used for making liquid soap. I hope that helps you and saves you time from trying to figure it out. Let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks again for the post !

    • says

      Thank you, Nichole for the heads up about why the liquid castile soap isn’t ideal when made from the bar!! I will post that later. I would love to know how it works for you!!

      • Farrah says

        I omitted the essential oil because I didn’t have any on hand but followed the other instructions including vinegar as a rinse aid. I had a film on all of my plastic items (everything else was sparkly clean) Would the oil have prevented the film or is that sure to another cause? I do have hard well water.

        • says

          Hi Farrah, I don’t think the essential oil would be a major contributor to getting the film off. The essential oil gives a nice scent and has antimicrobial properties. You can try it if you get some.

          Also, you could try increasing the amount of dishwasher soap you use to 2 1/2 or 3 T. I would do it incrementally.

          The temperature of your water also affects how well your dishwasher works.

          Another thing I have read is that sometimes there is a build up of mineral deposits, especially with hard water, and the build up is hard to get off. You can soak those particular dishes in 100% vinegar for 30 minutes, and then wipe down

          I hope something in here helps! Thanks for visiting!

          • Kate says

            I am passionate about homemade everything from cosmetics to cleaners to homegrown food and making things ourselves. I say all this because I have tried just about EVERY homemade dishwasher soap from liquid to powder types. NOTHING works as well as commercial for me. Plastics have always gotten a film on them and my husband has to use Tupperware everyday for work and my daughter uses bottles. I had to get a scrub brush and SCRUB off the film because it would get so caked on. I am not saying this to discourage you because I would love to find an alternative to commercial. But mainly wanted to share that I have not found a single recipe that does not leave a film on plastics.

          • says

            Hi Kate, Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Unfortunately not everything will work for everyone. There are so many variables, condition of dishwasher, hardness of water, etc….Thank you for visiting!

  12. Julie says

    This has worked great on my dishes except that some of them end up with little white specks on the outside of them. Has this happened to anyone else? Any ideas for getting rid of that? I might try less soap next time. Thanks!

  13. Rachel says

    Hi everybody! Thanks for posting this because I love making my own soaps– because it is cheaper and I find they work better. I got peppermint scented castille soap- it doesnt fill the whole kitchen!! The vinegar isn’t rinsing well at all for me so I am going to try lemi-shine for hard water and hope i get a good result.

  14. annie says

    tried updated recipe but still have ugly film on glasses and i am assuming on everything else…tried more vineger in rinse compartment ….still bad film…HELP!!!

    • says

      Hi Annie, There are so many variables that contribute to how this recipe works, hard water, is your dishwasher actually clean, do your dishes already have some kind of residue or film, etc….This recipe works much better if the mineral deposit build up isn’t present on dishes. To get it off, soak your dishes in 1 part vinegar 1 part water solution. If this doesn’t work, use 100% vinegar. Then use the detergent as normal. Hopefully this helps, and thanks for visiting!

  15. D'ANN says

    About the vinegar in the rinse aid dispenser: another blogger (sorry, I don’t remember who it was) posted that she used vinegar in her rinse aid dispenser and ended up with requiring repairs. The repairman advised her that vinegar destroys the rubber gaskets/parts in the dispenser.

    The solution recommended by the repairman and implemented by this blogger was to put a cup FACING UP in the top rack of the dishwasher and put a little vinegar in it at the beginning of the wash cycle. She was happy with this solution.

    I’d rather not need a rinse aid! Baking soda is an excellent remedy for hard water, and it is recommended on the box that a rinse in water with baking soda will prevent spots on handwashed dishes/glassware. Seems to me that this would also be true of the dishwasher, so including baking soda in the formula would be an excellent idea.

    Just my thoughts…

    • says

      Hi D’ann, Thanks so much for sharing! I am interested in the baking soda information, especially. Not sure how to employ the baking soda as a rinse aid in the dishwasher, since vinegar and baking soda don’t like each other too much:). I don’t want to cause a mini explosion, but it’s something to look into. Thanks for visiting!

  16. SteveR says

    So, the recipe for making liquid soap is….liquid soap? Really? What’s the point of this “DIY” recipe?

    • says

      Hi Steve, The point is to have an alternative for commercial products full of toxic chemicals. The more natural the better for us and our world. Thanks for visiting!

    • says

      I have only used tea tree oil because my liquid castile soap is peppermint scented. I would love to use lavender, but I haven’t yet. I bet you can use other essential oils.

  17. TomL says

    we also had the problem with suds overflowing the diswasher. We have a water softener, and i syspect that has something to do with it. We are working with reducing the amount, but haven’t found the right amount yet.

  18. Deah says

    I’m having a problem with film on my clear plastics – measuring cups, Copco cups. Oddly enough, just on the outside. I’m still using Jet-Dry in my rinse cycle – because my dispenser hasn’t emptied yet.

    Anyone else having this issue?

    • says

      Hi Deah, Plastics can be tricky to clean, and there are many variables to what will work with your dishes including the type of water you have, how clean your actual dishwasher is, and how well your dishwasher works. I did read that sometimes mineral deposits build up(especially with hard water). You can try soaking those plastics in 100% vinegar for 30 minutes. This link may help. Thanks for visiting!

  19. says

    Hi! Just saw that you were the link before mine on Between Naps on the Porch (and Susan suggested that we visit the links before and after our own – so I am doing that!!).

    I don’t think I ever thought about making my own dishwasher detergent – mainly because when I was a kid and we got our first dishwasher, my mom was in the hospital for about a month and so my dad was “doing all the chores.” With me and my brothers to help. We had run out of dishwasher soap, so my dad told me just to put in some Ivory liquid and that that would be OK. Well – don’t you know what a mess that was and I had to clean it all up – so I guess I have a fear of putting anything else but the real thing the dishwasher. But – I have to give yours a try!

    Thanks…come visit my blog as well.


  20. J.T. says

    Like a couple of others, I had a problem with a film as well, but not just on plastics, on EVERYTHING. I wound up having to wipe down every single item to get it off. Plus, it just wasn’t cleaning well. I tried the vinegar rinse, w/o the vinegar rinse, LemonShine rinse aid, filled both compartments full of soap, even used less water in the mixture and nothing worked. I was even starting to wonder if something was wrong with my dishwasher because everything was so bad. I finally bought some 7th Generation Detergent and used with LemonShine and my dishes are wonderful again. I’m so glad that it has worked for so many people, but I was very disappointed. Would be interested if anyone else has any other ideas to try.

    • says

      Hi J.T. Thank you for your comment. I wish the same recipe could work for us all, but the variables are strong. Water type and your dishwasher play a huge factor. I am glad you found something that can work for you, and thank you for sharing!

  21. KT says

    Did anyone have issues with this recipe leaving a white powdery substance all over their dishes? I tried this with vinegar as a rinse aid and had the same result 3 times, and the powder doesn’t just wash off, it has to be scrubbed :( Any suggestions or thoughts on why this happened?

  22. Sarah says

    I love this recipe for detergent! We have hard water and I too was having issues with residue left on my dishes. I had vinegar in the rinse aid but it still wasn’t enough. So I tried the trick of placing a cup of vinegar upright on the top rack during the rinse cycle and this solved the residue problem!

  23. leslie says

    Hey there, I just made and tried the liquid dish detergent and my dishes came out with a white film…what did I do wrong or what can I do to fix it? I doubled the batch and I don’t want to waste it.

    • says

      Hi Leslie. You should be able to use vinegar to get the white film off. It might not be anything you’ve done, but actually your water type. Is it hard or soft? That makes a difference. I am sorry to hear!

  24. Jennifer says

    My skin is sensitive to components in a lot of essential oils. Can I just not add them? I know they help make things smell good, but do they serve any other purpose? I’m sensitive to citrus oils and tea tree, you know, all the stuff that smells clean! Thanks for any advice!

    • says

      Hi Jennifer. The oil isn’t “essential” to the recipe. Tea Tree can help kill the germs, but the dishes still get cleaned without it. Hope this helps!

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