DIY Dishwashing Detergent for Hard Water

As I’ve talked about previously, we moved to a small town late last year. And the move has required some adjustments, from learning to slow down and enjoy small town life, to learning how to deal with hard water.

If you’ve never lived in a place with hard water, you may be scratching your head wondering how a certain water type is something that needs to be figured out. Well, let me tell you, the excess minerals in the water here (which is what hard water is), effects the way my laundry turns out, it has wreaked havoc on my naturally curly hair, it can cause dry, itchy skin, and it can make the dishwasher not clean as well as it should.

If you recall, I made my own laundry soap last year shortly after moving here and the DIY powdered laundry soap is still working very well for us, and it’s pretty cost effective. The dishwasher has been a struggle since moving in. I’ve had issues with spots on my glassware, clear plastic containers look cloudy and dull, and a portion of almost every load ends up not getting clean…and don’t get me started on the hard water build up that collects inside the dishwasher!

I did some digging online and found several recipes for DIY dishwasher detergent. After reading more about the ingredients, I combined elements from several recipes into one of my own that works well with hard water. It’s made with only a few ingredients, and although I’ve had great success with the homemade laundry soap, I was skeptical of the dishwasher detergents since I was kind of winging it on this one. Since it was something I was making up, and in the interest in conserving supplies, I only made a half a batch.

However I’m pleased to report that the DIY dishwasher detergent has been a major upgrade for me! It actually works much better than the commercially made pods I was purchasing. My dishes come out clean and the silver and glassware end up sparkling instead of dull, cloudy, or spotted.


1 cup of washing soda

1 cup of baking soda

1/2 cup of powdered citric acid

1/2 cup of kosher salt


Mix all ingredients together and place in an air tight container. Because of the salt content, if moisture gets into the container, the detergent will clump, making it harder for it to dissolve in your dishwasher. I’ve found that using 1 tablespoon per load works best. In my research I found some recipes called for anywhere between 1-2 tablespoons, but for my machine, I’ve found about half the detergent doesn’t dissolve when I’ve tried to use 2 tablespoons.

Note: the pictures of the detergent above are of this recipe cut in half, so don’t be surprised if you make it and it yields a larger volume 🙂

If you try it, I’d love to hear about your experience, so leave a comment and share.