Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Cubes

dishwasherdetergentcubesfinishedlouisescountryclosetUPDATE: AFTER USING THIS RECIPE FOR ALMOST ONE MONTH I have to report that it has proved to be ineffective. RATS!!! It could be my old machine. I will see if I can coerce my daughter into trying it in her brand spanking new high end dishwasher to see if that is the problem. OR instead of using bottled lemon juice for this recipe use fresh lemons. I have noticed, in using bottled lemon juice in other applications it is not as effective as freshly squeezed lemons.

We all know there is no comparison between made from scratch recipes and prepackaged meals but what about made from scratch cleaning products? How do they stand up to commercially produced cleansers?

I ‘shared’ this recipe on Facebook a few weeks ago. The number of ingredients is manageable and it looks easy. Looks like this is environmentally friendly which is a plus.

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Cubes by Louise of Louises-Country-Closet


I had been pretty unhappy with the way my glasses, especially, were looking since the phosphates had been eliminated from dishwasher detergents here in California. They never quite got clean AND looked rather milky-white. So I looked forward to trying Louise’s recipe.

I found this recipe (lets call it Louise’s Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Cubes or LHDDC) to be SUPERIOR to what I had been using. Glasses sparkled like the ones you see in commercials. By the way, I also poured vinegar into the rinse aid compartment which was recommended in the comments on Louise’s site.

So: superior cleaning but what about the cost???

I am using the prices found on Amazon.com for these products since I was unable to find Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda in any of my local stores. You will be able to find Twenty Mule Team Borax in the laundry detergent aisle in the supermarket.  You can probably find Epsom salts for less in the pharmacy section of Target or Wal-Mart or any drug store. I used a single bottle of lemon juice I found in the produce section of a local market.

  • Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda 55 oz.         $10.25                    .19/oz.                  
  • Twenty Mule Team Borax 76 oz                                    $10.19                     .14/oz.
  • Epsom salts 48 oz                                                                    $11.00                    .23/oz
  • Lemon juice 4fl oz                                                                     $     .99                    .25/oz
  • Total initial pretax, preshipping cost                                   $32.43

Caveat: I have Amazon Prime so I don’t pay shipping. But I do pay sales tax.

The recipe calls for:

  • 1cup soda 260 g/9.2 oz                                        $1.75
  • 1 cup borax 136 g/4.8 oz                                      $  .67
  • ¼ c Epsom salt 35 g/1.2 oz                                 $  .28
  • 4 fl oz lemon juice  4 fl oz.                                   $  .25

Ingredient cost to make 17 cubes/loads  $2.95 or 18¢ per load

Time to throw it all together

Feel that labor should be included? This recipe takes 10 min. max to make. Say your time for this type activity is $20.00/hour.

  • That’s $2.00 labor

LHDDC  $4.95/17cubes  or 29¢ per load   vs.   Cascade Action Pacs  $10.97/box or 23¢ per load



  • Superior cleaning action
  • Environmentally friendly
  • EASY to whip together & use.
  • Cube lasts from pre-wash to wash ( a plus if your detergent container lid doesn’t open automatically)


  • Ingredients are not easily located at your neighborhood market
  • More expensive per load than Cascade if you count your time.

I found LHDDC to be like most made from scratch AND good for you recipes: Better for you and the environment; more expensive than prepackaged if you count your time, less expensive if you don’t; ingredients harder to find.

I will continue to use this recipe – love those sparkling glasses!

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