The active ingredient in most commercial detergents is washing soda, a nontoxic cleaner that helps cut through grease. Add in a little Borax to help raise the water’s pH and create hydrogen peroxide. This in turn removes hardwater deposits and disinfects your dishes.

And last but not least, grapefruit and thyme essential oils are used for their antibacterial properties and to add a fresh, clean scent. Then just add water to create a liquid you can keep in a jar or store in an old squeeze bottle by the dishwasher.

Homemade Liquid Dishwasher Detergent with Essential Oils


Homemade Liquid Dishwasher Detergent

yield 3 cups


  • 1 cup salt
  • ½ cup Borax
  • ½ cup washing soda
  • 1 cup water
  • 10 drops grapefruit essential oil
  • 5 drops thyme essential oil


  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk to break up clumps as best you can. Transfer to a lidded jar or an old squeeze bottle. Use up to 2 tablespoons per load.
  2. If your detergent starts to clump, just add more water and give it a good stir. Or do like I do and simply use it as, clumps and all.

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