Zero Waste Dishwasher Detergent

zero waste dishwasher detergent

I’ve been meaning to make some zero waste dishwasher detergent for a while now. Whenever my mom loaded up the dishwasher, I  always cringed at the detergent she used. It was full of questionable ingredients and costed a lot of money, not to mention packaged in plastic. Surely, there had to be a better way. I combed the internet for an efficient option that didn’t hurt the environment, our health, or our wallets. And then it hit me: DIY Dishwasher powder! This powder is so easy to make, it’s full proof. Plus, it’s an all natural dishwasher detergent that only consists of ingredients I trust and can source plastic free. 

I made some of this zero waste dishwasher detergent just yesterday and tested it out: Works like a charm! The dishes came out nice and clean. Oh, and my mom loves it too. She gave it the big thumbs up and said “hey, it saves me money.” She’s right – we literally had the ingredients for this DIY dishwasher detergent lying around our house. Why shell out money for a plastic packaged product full of nasty ingredients when you can make something just as effective for zero bucks? Something tells me I might catch her using the dishwasher more often because of this…

Want to make your own eco dishwasher powder? It’s so simple. No, literally, it’s almost stupid simple. It’ll take you only five minutes to whip up, if that long (took me about a minute). Plus, it doesn’t leave any residue on your dishes. Ready to give it a try? Here’s how to make some zero waste dishwasher detergent.

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Zero Waste Dishwasher Detergent

zero waste dishwasher detergent


zero waste dishwasher detergent


  1. Funnel all the ingredients into a jar, cover with a lid and shake well to combine. That’s literally it! It’s ridiculously easy to make.

Cleaning with zero waste dishwasher detergent

zero waste dishwasher detergent

It’s super simple to use this zero waste dishwasher detergent.

When you’re ready to use it, spoon 2 to 3 scoopfuls into your dishwasher. Close the compartment and do a load of dishes as normal. 

Just make sure to avoid getting any water in the container you store this zero waste dishwasher detergent in. If you do, it will activate the citric acid and get kind of messy.

If you like using a rinsing agent as well, place a small dish of white vinegar (1/8 to 1/4 cup) on the top rack of your dishwasher. I personally don’t feel it needs this extra step, but that’s up to you.

My dishes came out sparkly clean after using this! I was super satisfied with the job this powder detergent did.

Also, little fun fact, newer dishwashers save more water than washing dishes by hand. So, if you’re looking for another reason to give this DIY a try, you just found it. 

zero waste dishwasher detergent

Storage: Keep this in a dry, dark area. A cleaning caddy or cabinet works well. You can also keep it under the kitchen sink for easy access.

Personally, I’m currently storing it right under the kitchen sink. It’s located right next to my dishwasher, so it makes my life a lot easier. Everything’s in one place!

zero waste dishwasher detergent

Will you be giving this zero waste dishwasher detergent a shot? What’s your favorite zero waste way to clean dishes?

For more zero waste cleaning tips, be sure to check out my favorite all purpose cleaner, Orange Peel Vinegar or my zero waste toilet cleaner, Citrus Toilet Fizzies.

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By Ariana Storniolo (Palmieri)

Ariana Storniolo is the founder of Greenify-Me, a blog dedicated to zero waste and sustainability. Her work has also been featured on Going Zero Waste, Green Matters, Mother Earth Living and several other online publications.


  1. Oh I'm so glad you love it! 🙂 That makes me so happy. It definitely will save you money! Making your own products is definitely more satisfying. Thanks so much for commenting!

  2. Hi! I tried making this and am wondering if I'm doing something wrong. When I put the powder in the detergent compartment, it just got completely caked and the dishes did not get cleaned. Are you supposed to put this detergent elsewhere?

  3. I've made several different versions of diy dishwasher detergent. They all work great at first and then slowly work less and less well. My first version was similar to this one; it combined acids with bases. A better version was keeping the acid separate and adding it to the detergent compartment. The remaining ingredients got tied in the bottom of the dishwasher. Employing the two different types of cleaning power separately worked better. But it still only works as well as the cheapest store bought stuff. I've considered going back to store bought tabs, but haven't found any that aren't packaged in plastic or quite expensive. If found some in a cardboard box and was so excited, only to discover they were individually wrapped in plastic.

  4. I've loved using this detergent, but both times I've made it the end literally turns into solid rock. Is there something I'm doing wrong? As a powder, it works great, but when it turns, I just have to throw it away because no one in the house can break it up. Would really appreciate any tips!

  5. Just a heads up that the expression is “fool proof,” not “full proof.” And it’s “cost” not “costed.” I will duck now, lol. Great recipe though. Just what I needed.

  6. Are you talking about dropps? If so they do not wrap them individually in plastic. You actually stick it in like that and the "wrapper" disolves in water and the micro particles that r left is broken down naturally by micro organisms. It is 100% safe and non toxic

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  9. This article is really awesome and informative. Dishwasher is very useful appliance to clean the dirty and oily dishes within minutes. Sometime you will be notice dishwasher not work properly then you need professional company that can handle your dishwasher and back to working order. If you are searching a Dishwasher repair Dubai, Dishwasher repair Abu Dhabi. We are the best choice for you because we have many years of experienced all kinds of home appliances repairing and maintenance and installation.

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