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5 Soap Alternatives For Your Dishwasher To Use Instead Of Dishwasher Detergent


An empty dishwasher detergent container is the last thing a person would want to see after a long hectic day. Now, one can always get them out and hand wash dishes or run to the supermarket to buy some detergent, but is it really necessary? Well, thanks to the human mind, we are never out of easy solutions for our problems or, in cases like these, alternatives. The article below discusses some common household products that can make a good alternative to your dishwasher detergent when you are out of other options. However, it is important to note that the substitute might not be as effective and powerful as the store-bought detergent, though it will undoubtedly provide you with some clean dishes.  

Distilled White Vinegar 

Distilled white vinegar, or just vinegar in general, is acidic in nature, precisely what makes it a handy solution to get rid of grease on the dishes since it cuts right through it. All you must do is fill the detergent cup with almost half a cup of vinegar and place it in the topmost rack. The dishwasher and hot water force will take care of the rest by distributing it across your dishes. 

Baking Soda 

If you prefer homemade or natural alternatives for chores around the house, you must already have a stack of baking soda boxes. Its gentle abrasive qualities make it both a good cleaner and odor controller. Well, here it is again, ready to get your dishes clean and nice. Just fill that detergent cup up with baking soda and run the cycle. 


Borax is a natural mineral element that already finds wide usage in detergents and other cleaning products, including the dishwasher detergent you just ran out of. This very fact is enough to speak for the effective cleansing action of Borax as an alternative. Just take some borax powder, fill that detergent cup up and run it. 

Lemon Juice Or Citrus Drink Powder 

Lemon and other citrusy items are acidic in nature, much like vinegar, and therefore working on the same principles, cut right through the residue and grease on the dishes. You may use lemon juice here or switch it for powdered lemonade mixture (or any citrus drink powder). 

If you are using a powder, you just need to fill up the cup and run a cycle as you usually would. However, in case you are using lemon, make sure to strain the fresh lemon juice or bottled one to remove any pulp, as the dried lemon pulp on dishes is not something you’d want to end up with. As for the amount, you must use lemon juice in the same proportion as vinegar, that is, half a cup. 

Washing Soda 

Washing soda is yet another great cleaner, not to mention how it works well in hard water. Fill the cup with washing soda, run a regular cycle, and you’re ready with clean dishes to serve yet another fantastic recipe. 

Products Not To Use In An Automatic Dishwasher Machine 

Just as there are items that you can use instead of dishwasher detergents, there are also certain products that one must avoid using as alternatives to it, no matter how perfect they may seem, such as regular dish soap. Let us have a look at some others.

  • Liquid, powdered, or even the single-dose laundry detergent
  • Dishwashing soap or liquid dish soap
  • Body washes and shampoo
  • All-purpose household cleaners
  • Hand soaps

DIY Dishwasher Detergent Recipe 

Though you can use the products mentioned above separately in place of dishwasher detergent, their effectiveness is yet not a match in serving you with clean dishes just as you like them. Well, with the following DIY recipe, you can make your own more effective and powerful dishwasher detergent right away. 

All you need is a few household products and a little time to mix and store them for the recipe.  

Ingredients – 

  • Borax (1 cup)
  • Washing soda (1 cup)
  • Citric acid (1/2 cup powdered)
  • Kosher salt (1/2 cup)
  • One plastic storage container

Recipe – Combine and mix all powdered components well in an airtight plastic storage container and seal it well. Use a small amount or one cup of this homemade dishwasher mixture per cycle for clean and nice dishes.


To run out of dishwashing detergent might not be very pleasant. However, the feeling of knowing that you have a handy solution to it without panicking sure hits different. What’s more, homemade solutions to dishwasher detergent are both cost-effective and safer, making all your efforts worthwhile. Who knows, the results may impress you to the extent that you might even replace the store-bought detergent with the homemade one permanently