Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Cubes

dishwasher detergent cubes
How awesome?! I just added, yet another, homemade and really cheap household product to my existing recipe book and it really really works! I run my very cheap dishwasher a lot and I abuse it..  I hate rinsing dishes and this works better than finish or cascade that I’ve used for years!!

Dishwasher Detergent Recipe:

Combine the Washing Soda, Borax, Salt and Citric Acid – Mix up really really well… Add in water and mix. It will get fizzy and fluffy, Let rest for about 2 minutes for it to relax. PRESS (yes pack/press in firmly with your fingers) your detergent mixture into your easy push out ice cube tray then scrape off any extra to make them neat… I have tried regular ice cube trays and they didn’t not work well, (Click HERE for the cube trays that I recommend)

Place your filled trays in the fridge for about 1 hour to firm up (refrigeration helps them to dry out more quickly than sitting on your counter since the humidity is lower in your fridge). Once they are firm, pop them out of the trays and keep in a container with a lid. If there are any crumbs or leftover detergent that didn’t fit in your trays, just use in your dishwasher.

Dishwashing detergent cubes collage

Each cube will wash one load of dishes 🙂 This recipe yields enough detergent to fill 2 easy push out ice cube trays (30 cubes).

Dishwasher Rinse Aid Recipe

Use Distilled White Vinegar as you would any other rinse aid. If you would buy one bottle of jet dry or other rinse aid each month for $5 – one gallon vinegar is only $2 and would last you a whole year – saving you  $58/year!

And for anyone with concerns regarding Borax – I’ve researched it and I’m totally fine with using it for cleaning. I love Crunchy Betty’s Post on Borax (Click HERE to read it) 

Similar Posts


  1. Can you do this with just the borax and leave out the washing soda? I didn’t have enough soda for the recipe so I halved it but I’d like to make more without running to the store.

    1. I haven’t tried that variation so I can’t say for sure. If you try it, let me know how it works out for you!

  2. I just made these and had the same issue with them puffing up. I chilled them in the fridge for an hour and then was able to pish them down how they needed to be put they did not harden right away. Ended up putting them in the freezer to help get them hard. Still waiting for them to fully harden. Any ideas why they are not hardening?

  3. Did anyone else have problems with theirs puffing up? The moment I would stop packing one down into the ice cube tray, it would start puffing up like a loaf of homemade yeast bread in hyper-speed! I tried packing them back down, but they just puffed right back up. I finally decided to just go ahead and put them in the fridge overnight and hope that they “sink” overnight into the hard rocks they’re supposed to become, but I have my doubts as to whether this will happen. (In case you’re wondering, I did let them “relax” for 1-2 minutes as recommended…is it possible mine needed to relax for longer?)

    1. Hey Melissa – curious if they got hard?? I’ve never had or heard of the problem you described. 🙁

    2. I am having the exact same problem right now. So frustrating. Can you tell me if yours worked? I hate to waste the batch and the money I spent on it. I even ordered the trays just for this. Bummed out.

      1. Carrie & Melissa – I just made another batch of these (I have made them at least 25x) and they didn’t fizz up in any sort of problematic way. Are you following the recipe exactly? Did you PRESS the it into the mold?

  4. Thanks, just made them, looking forward to using them. Regarding the rinse aid – does it have to be distilled white vinegar? I have raw apple cider vinegar or raw red wine vinegar.

    1. It’s super cheap to use Distilled white vinegar… but I think any vinegar would work fine 🙂

  5. hey there. thanks so much for this info! i happen to find these ice cube trays at publix on clearance for 75 cents and i knew i had to try it. publix also carries washing soda which i already had on hand because i make my own laundry soap. so. i went to my local health food store and sure enough they had the citric acid. (who knew!) and set to make these when i got home.

    the next day they were rock hard and im very glad i had the push up trays! i tried it out in my dishwasher and they were awesome. they dissolved fully, and left no residue on the dishes. so happy! now that is going to save me a bunch because i had just bought some dish cubes and they were like 7 bucks a box. which i will never buy again!!

    question.. would it work to use this as a laundry soap block ? would the citric acid be ok to use in the washer? im thinking not but maybe if i used the epsom salt trick it would work? let me know if you can. thanks again for the great tips and tutorial here.

    1. Excellent find, Faye!!

      If your looking to make laundry detergent at home, check out my recipe!!

  6. If you don’t have the easy-push ice cube trays, you could always just form portions to dry with a tablespoon and plunk down on a baking sheet or parchment paper to dry. This works well for me – they fit in the dishwasher’s soap dispenser compartment, and I didn’t have to go out and buy any additional “equipment.” 🙂

    1. I think it would be difficult to get them out.. like I said I tried to get them out of regular ice cube trays and it was a disaster.. the push out ones worked perfectly!

  7. We have extremely hard water and even with citric acid we have a hazy white residue on all the dishes and they all feel “dusty” even if you cannot see the residue. We have gone back to our generic dishwasher cubes from the store. I want my dishes to look and feel clean.

    1. You can add additional citric acid.. and always.. always… make sure you are using distilled white vinegar as your rinse aid…

  8. Oh my goodness, thank you for sharing this! I’m going to try this soon!

  9. Thank you! This looks great. I am going to leave them on the counter to dry, though. We’re in Phoenix 😉 we put things in the fridge to keep them from drying out!

    1. We scrub our cast iron skillets with a metal scrubber, water only, no soap and never soak. Then rub the insides with oil and put them on the heat to dry and open up the pores so the oil soaks in and re-seasons the pan for the next use. We’ve done this for years and have no issues with rust and never have to re-season.

  10. The manufacturer for my utensils suggests not using lemon dishwasher soap, because it will cause them to get rust on them. Is it necessary to use citric acid?

    1. What are your utensils made of? Metals that rust typically aren’t the best for use with food 🙁

        1. When cleaning cast iron cook wear, you shouldn’t use soap nor put them in the dishwasher.. ever!

  11. What if we just let it dry as a powder and use scoops to fill the detergent compartment?

  12. Out of curiosity, exactly why do the regular ole ice cube trays not work too well? It’s all I have… 🙂

    1. They are nearly impossible to get out.. I broke my ice cube tray trying! And for most dishwashers they are too big for the detergent compartment.

      1. Ah, thanks for the heads up! I shall not attempt in said trays! Also answered another question I had: do the “cubes” go in the detergent compartment. 🙂

        Thank you!!

  13. I had read that vinegar could harm your dishwasher if used directly in the rinse aid tray. Have you had any issues or any alternative to recommend?

    1. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000SSN3L2/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B000SSN3L2&linkCode=as2&tag=haysheahom-20

    2. I use the same recipe only 1/4 C. epsom salt instead of citric acid and lemon juice instead of water. My dishes come out perfectly clean every time so I don’t want to switch. I use the old-fashioned ice cube trays and have never had a problem.

Comments are closed.