Contact Me


Email *

Message *

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

DIY Dishwasher Tablets

Pinterest-Tested, Lori Approved

Make Your Own Dishwasher Detergent Tablets or Pellets

I am always looking for ways to save money, and I love a good project. I have seen recipes for homemade dishwasher detergent before, but a recipe for making your own dishwasher tablets or pellets, now that got my attention.

Not all Pinterest projects are pin-worthy. But, this one, my friends, definitely is. This lady is a genius, and here is my take on her wonderful tutorial:

What you need:

1 - 54-55 oz box of washing soda / detergent booster (3.89)
1 - 76 oz box of borax (4.49)
1 - 2 lb carton of epsom salts (.99)
1- bottle reconstituted lemon juice (32 oz for .99)
$10.36 for over 300 pellets

(Note, you do NOT need baking soda. I'm not sure why I included in the picture....maybe it was lonely.)

Step 1: In a 5-gallon bucket, mix all of the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon. 

Step 2: Scoop out 2 1/2 cups of the mixture and put into a large mixing bowl. (Keep the rest in the bucket with the lid on tight so kids and pets don't get into it. 

 Step 3: Add lemon juice 1 TB at a time into the dry mixture until it clumps and is sticky. 

Step 4: Scoop the mixture into the ice cub trays loosely to about the top. I got my trays from Wal-Mart.

(Note: you might want to fill them even less full so that when they are tamped down they are small enough to fit into your dishwasher compartment. Some of mine were a bit big and had to be chopped in two.)

Step 5: With gloves, tamp each down pretty tightly. 

Step 6: Let them drive overnight. In Budet101's tute, she said it takes days for hers to dry out. Mine took less than 24-hours, and it was winter. You know when they are ready when you flip them over and gently tap them and the tablets fall out. 

Step 7: You can now use them as you would Cascade or Finish's dishwasher tabs. I also use vinegar as a rinsing agent. Place extras in a storage container.

The results? It worked out great. I couldn't tell a difference from my normal detergent. Did it work for you?

------------------------------- UPDATE, 3-7-13 -----------------------------------

So it has been a few weeks and we are loving the results of the homemade dishwasher tablets. Sparkling, I tell you! We have learned a few things....

1. Size Does Matter
Check out your dishwasher's detergent compartment FIRST to see if the molds you have chosen (and the resulting tablets) will fit in. Some of my first batch were too big and had to be cut in half. 

2. There's More than One Way to Make a Tablet
So I enlisted my kids help to make another round of tablets. The 10-year-old was very capable. He asked if he could make Lego ones.... of course! They worked out okay, but the more intricate the mold, the harder it is to come out perfectly. Also, we found that the silicon molds we had worked so much easier than the ice trays. 

3. It's Not Exactly a Science
So, I realized that once you have the "big mix," it's not exactly a science when you mix in the lemon juice. Just grab a cup or two of the "big mix" and then add enough lemon juice to wet it and make it a sticky consistency. I like things that are not exact. 


  1. Replies
    1. Sorry I have tried to reply to you twice (on my phone) and it didn't work. You can find all the ingredients at Wal-Mart. Target should have them as well, and also most grocery stores. If you live somewhere that does not have these chain stores, carries these products as well.
      Best of luck!

  2. Super cool. Our dishwasher despite being brand new does a horrible job. I'll have to try these and see what they do. Oh and yep I blog stalked you. :)

    1. Thanks Sam! I am new to blogging, so not much to show just yet. We have enjoyed the results so far. The kids love helping, so that is bonus. Let me know how they work out for you. BTW, my parents' dishwasher is pretty bad too. What brand do you I can avoid it in the future :)

    2. It is a GE and part of their profile series. Our glasses especially just come out super filmy despite trying jet dry, vinegar, etc.

  3. Why is there a huge bag of baking soda shown but not listed as an ingredient? You only have washing soda listed in the recipe.

  4. You're right. It was a complete mistake. I'm not sure why I mistakenly included it in the picture. Chalk it up to lack of sleep, right?! See the note above the picture :o)

  5. Okay Lori, so where did you find the silicone molds you ended up liking best? And about how big are we aiming for? How much are we supposed to use per load? (I guess I never knew this anyway when measuring dishwasher detergent. I just always used "some".) Just guess based on the size of the dispenser, maybe?

    1. Krista, the first "molds" are ice trays from Walmart. I also used silicone molds from Demarle that Rebecca V sold me a while back and I love. I also used the Lego molds I bought for E's birthday. They are from Amazon :)

      We use them for lots of things -- crayon DIY, gummies, chocolate, etc. Good times. I loaned them out to a I need to get them back :)

  6. My tabs made my dishes have really bad water spots and some of my Tupperware came out still greasy. what did I do wrong?

  7. After using these tablets for a while now, we have realized that we get spots too. We have managed to get rid of the film/spots by adding a tsp of regular enzyme dishwashing detergent along with the tablet in the dishwasher. This affords to the chance to use the cheaper homemade version for the primary detergent, and add a tiny bit of the expensive store-bought kind.

    If your dishes are still greasy, you may not be using enough of the tablet. Maybe you need a second tablet. With these DIY recipes, it's a lot of trial and error, but I think it is worth the time to save some cash :)


Blogging tips