Homemade Zero Waste toxic-free dishwasher detergent in only 1 minute

This is one of the super simple recipes that almost feels like cheating 🙈!

We had been using this homemade detergent for a year, and it works just as well as the pretty pricy store-bought dishwasher detergent we had before.

Now we hardly ever use it anymore. Not because the detergent doesn’t work, but because of minimalism! We gave away most of our kitchenware and plates so now we actually don’t have enough plates to fill the dishwasher with anymore 😂! We only kept 1 big plate, 4 side plates, 2 small rice bowls, and 2 blates (= something between a bowl and a plate)… It works surprisingly well because my husband does all the dishes right afterwards so they don’t pile up. Well, I do still use the dishwasher whenever I bake a lot though 😁.


1 part (dishwasher) salt
3 parts baking soda


Mix salt and baking soda and store in a big jar. Use 1 1/2 tbsp (~22.5 ml) per cycle. Do not fill your dishwasher with any additional salt!

If you do prefer to fill your dishwasher with additional salt, use only 1 tbsp of baking soda per cycle.


Depending on where you live you might be able to get baking soda and salt in bulk (e.g. at Whole Foods or in pharmacies). If this isn’t an option where you live, you can always buy regular salt and even dishwasher salt in cardboard boxes, whereas the packaging of baking soda seems to vary A LOT depending on the country you live in. I have heard that it is close to impossible to get plastik-free baking soda in the Phillipines, I know a Turkish brand that sells baking soda in jars, and in Germany it’s usually sold in small 50 g (1.8 oz) paper bags, or online in an oversized 25 kg (55 lbs) paper bag!

In fact, a reader had asked me on Facebook about how much baking soda I think would be a good amount to keep at home. She was thinking about ordering one of those massive 25 kg (55 lbs) bags and was wondering if it was too much (spoiler alert… YES!). Turned out she lives in the same city I live in, so I asked some people I knew and also in a local Facebook group and only two days later we had enough people to order the bag. And it’s ridiculously cheap too! Instead of paying ~10 EUR/ 11 USD per kilogram (0.28 USD/ oz) like we usually do when we buy baking soda in these small 50 g (1.8 oz) paper bags, it is only 0.91 EUR/ 1 USD per kilogram (0,03 USD/oz)!

So how much baking soda do you need?

Well, how much you will need depends on your very individual usage of course.
Just so you can estimate what you might need: In our household of two we had used 1 kg (2.2 lbs) in a year when we were still using our dishwasher every 2-3 days. Besides using baking soda as dishwasher detergent, we also used it to make our own dish soap, laundry detergent (we have been using chestnuts instead since last fall though), for cleaning purposes, as tooth powder, for homemade mouthwash, and of course for baking purposes as well 😉.

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Filed under #SimpleSwap, Housekeeping


  1. Ah, this is fantastic, thanks. Using dishwasher tablets had been annoying me lately – chemical smell in dishwasher, residue on some dishes, toddler wanting to play with them, expensive and packaging. All gone and dishes are sparkling, thanks for sharing.

  2. Marinette

    Hey! What brand of dishwashing salt and where do you get it?! i’m having a little trouble with it. haha

  3. Catherine

    Would dishwashing salt = washing soda? It would help to know the brand so I can look for similar products here in MN-USA where I live, Thanks for the blog, keep it up!

  4. I would love a follow-up on how this has been going for your dishes and dishwasher? I have tried 2 recipes for zero waste dishwasher detergent and both have left my dishwasher scummy, and the same goes for my dishes. One recipe was bea johnson’s recipe – sea salt, washing soda, and citric acid. Another was “gel” – castile soap, washing soda and water. Bea’s recipe is better, but it’s still not up to the standards of conventional dishwashing detergent I can buy at the store.

  5. I don’t have a dishwasher, so i wash by hand…and i’m really struggling with a recipe for dish soap… I use Aleppo grated with washing soda and water, but it is terrible when finds grease…i have also sprinkled soda, but doens’t improve much…Can you help me?? I don’t want to buy a bottle one full of nasty ingrediente….

    • Hey Catarian, our dish soap has the same ingredients and we just use soap directly on dirty dishes, which will cut the grease. Soda doesn’t help much. Also, we put the dish soap directly onto the dirty dishes and watch to not dilute it with water. Happy holidays! Shia

    • I use 25% acetic acid in the well that the dishwasher uses for ‘rinse’ cycle
      The baking soda could use a vinegar rinse to neutralize the strong alkalai and this should remove the film .

  6. Hello Shia,
    I’m really enjoying reading through your blog posts. I have a question about the baking soda – can I swap out baking soda directly for wasch soda? It’s the Frosch brand wasserfrei soda. I live in Germany like you used to, and am looking for solutions here. Baking soda is the Kaiser Natron stuff right? Thanks in advance for any advice!
    Cheers, Cat

    • Hey Cat,
      yes, you can, as I also point out in the German version of this article ;). Kaiser is the brand, not a type of baking soda, but yes, baking soda is “Natron”.
      Do check out the German version of my blog, my articles over there are localized to what you can find in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
      All the best,

  7. While I appreciate sharing your experiences about using baking soda as a dishwashing detergent, I have a big problem with one thing.

    Adding salt to your washing detergent won’t in any way replace the salt that you should be adding to the reservoir at the bottom of your dishwasher! The goal of that reservoir is to keep the brine, that your dishwasher uses to regenerate it’s built-in water softening system. Salt rich water from the reservoir doesn’t mix with dishwashing water. Telling people: “Do not fill your dishwasher with any additional salt!” is a bad advice. If people, who have dishwashers, that need be filled with dishwasher salt won’t do that, the effects of washing will worsen with time and eventually dishwasher’s built in water softener will break and need costly repair.

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  10. Hello there! Maybe I’m completely out of the loop, but is dishwashing salt the same as water softener salt? I’ve been looking online and I’m really confused, so any help is appreciated!

  11. Hi Shia,

    I’ve pretty much been systematically reading every post of yours starting from the most-recent, and there’s a lot of good tips and information. I have two questions about this post that I’m hoping you have the time to answer:

    1) I moved to a rural area a year ago and we needed to invest in a water softener for the entire house, so the water going to the dishwasher is already softened. Do we still need to add salt or do you think that just the baking soda is enough?

    2) Have you done research into the source of baking soda from a waste and environmental impact perspective? I have come across a couple blogs that discussed potential downsides to baking soda (e.g. mining), and wondered what your two cents were on that front.

    Thanks so much, keep up the great work!

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