How to make your own dishwasher tablets

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Homemade-dishwashing-tabletsFollow herbalist Donna Lee’s recipe for homemade citrus dishwasher tablets.

This project is not a quick 5-minute job, as your citrus vinegar tincture takes three weeks to make. But it’s super easy, and it does a thorough job at cleaning. Citrus peels contain a large amount of bioflavonoids and limonene which are strongly antibacterial.


White vinegar
Citrus peels
1 ½ cups washing soda (I use fine ground which is sold as soda ash)
½ cup borax
¼ cup citric acid
Lemon pure essential oil

1. Make the citrus vinegar. Place a good amount of left-over citrus peels in a large glass jar and fill with white vinegar. Leave in a warm room out of direct sunlight for 3 weeks. Strain into a clean jar.

2. To make the tablets, mix the washing soda, borax and citric acid together thoroughly.

3. Add a few drops of pure essential oil of lemon to some strained citrus vinegar in a spray bottle.

4. You need to work quite fast in order to prevent the mixture from fizzing too much. Spray the powder with the vinegar mix and, using a whisk, combine until the powder will hold together, somewhat like damp sand.

5. Again working quickly, press the damp powder into a small mould, like ice block cubes. Firm it down very well and leave them to dry in a warm position. Depending on the time of the year, it may take some days. Then place them in a sealed container and use in the dishwasher as a normal tablet without the nasties.


You could use any white vinegar tincture, but I find the citrus cleans well and smells good in the dishwasher. It is better to make these up in small batches because you have to move quite fast with the mixing to prevent too much fizzing.

Contact Donna:

Donna Lee has been a practising and teaching herbalist for more than 40 years. She owns Cottage Hill Herb Farm, runs workshops and classes, writes about herbs and gives lectures, has made several radio and TV appearances, and has an online shop for all things herbal. Visit Cottage Hill Herb Farm.

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