MYO Dishwasher Tabs – Quick & Cheap!

by Texas Homesteader
*contains affiliate link

I recently became extremely disenchanted with my crappy low-end dishwasher.  I mean, why must we wash our dishes THREE times? Once BEFORE putting the in the dishwasher, once during the dishwasher’s many cycles and then once again when you pull the still-dirty dishes from the dishwasher! It would be easier to hand-wash the dishes but it was the principle of the thing. We have a dishwasher, we fill it with name-brand detergent and it just doesn’t clean the dishes.

Then right before buckling and replacing the dishwasher we were told to try dishwasher tabs instead of powder. I had always shunned them because they are so exorbitantly expensive. But upon trying them I was convinced. Our dishes came out clean, but oh at what expense?

Not only were they pricey but these dish-washing tab products had individually wrapped tabs that are tucked into a plastic molded tray, then placed inside a foil-covered cardboard box and then the whole thing plastic wrapped again. There has to be a better way both financially & environmentally!  Hummm…  Wonder if I can make my own dishwasher tabs?  Um, YES!

4-INGREDIENT HOMEMADE DISHWASHER TABS - I hate the amount of trash that's included with commercial dishwasher tabs. Make it yourself and SAVE! #TexasHomesteader

Jump to Recipe


In searching around I found a recipe on CuckooForCouponDeals site. I figured I had nothing to lose, I have all of the necessary ingredients. So I gave it a try.

Simple Ingredients

First I mixed Borax, washing soda and Epsom salt in a bowl. Then I started adding the lemon juice. I began with about 8 tablespoons & added a tablespoon at a time after that to get a consistency like a smooth thick icing. For me it took about 10 tablespoons of lemon juice.

When the consistency was right I used a cookie scoop to measure out approximately tablespoon-sized scoops onto a repurposed plastic bag. I used the bottom of a drinking glass to flatten the prepared scoops just a bit so they  would fit in the dishwasher detergent compartment on my dishwasher.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  These disks looked and smelled like something edible! So please inform your family these are NOT lemon cookies. And be sure to keep them out of the reach of children.

4-INGREDIENT HOMEMADE DISHWASHER TABS - I hate the amount of trash that's included with commercial dishwasher tabs. Make it yourself and SAVE! #TexasHomesteader

When these tabs dried they were very hard, but they dissolved just fine during the dishwasher cycle.

They worked just as well for me as some of the more expensive name brands that I’d tried. So I’m pleased with the results, the lack of landfill trash – and the PRICE!

The * Finish Dishwasher Tabs still worked better at removing the white film on my glasses so I’m not through experimenting with this recipe. But in the meantime these homemade dishwasher tabs are quite a money saver. And I always have the ingredients to make them!

MYO Lemon Dishwasher Detergent Tabs




  • 1 Cup Borax
  • 1 Cup Washing Soda
  • 1/2 Cup Epsom salt
  • 10 Tablespoon Lemon Juice



  1. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Add 8-10 Tablespoons of lemon juice and mix thoroughly. (You want the consistency to be like a smooth thick icing.)
  3. When you achieve the desired consistency place tablespoon-sized drops on waxed paper and allow to dry thoroughly.

Recipe Notes

I used a cookie scoop to make the tabs. I flattened the prepared scoops just a bit so they would fit in the dishwasher detergent compartment on my dishwasher.


Want To See Our Natural Cleaning Posts?

See All Our Natural Cleaning Posts

C’mon by & sit a spell!  Come hang out at our Facebook Page. It’s like sitting in a front porch rocker with a glass of cold iced tea – lots of good folks sharing!  You can also follow along on Pinterest, Twitter or Instagram.

If you’d like to receive an email each time a new blog post goes live it’s EASY to
Subscribe to our blog!

* A word about our Affiliate Link – We are currently enrolled as an Amazon Affiliate.  Occasionally I will insert an affiliate link into one of my posts if I think it may be of interest to you.  I  receive nothing from the manufacturer, but I love Finish tabs & thought you might too. If you click on any of my affiliate links and buy something (almost anything, not just what was linked) I get a small referral percentage from Amazon.  But here’s the really important part – the price you pay for your items is UNCHANGED.

When you buy something through the affiliate link it’s a great way to support this blog without anything coming out of your pocket so please click often!

Spread the love

45 thoughts on “MYO Dishwasher Tabs – Quick & Cheap!

  1. Carol L

    I actually made a small batch of this to try. I didn’t have the lemon juice, so did without, making it a powder. Added some homemade Thieves oil, neat, 2 drops to it and was pleased with the cleaning result, but it didn’t seem to rinse off, so have reduced it to half a TBSP.
    I just recently had my new (cheap) inexpensive dishwasher installed, and it, too seemed to not clean well. Had some very old (8 years or so) liquid ‘green’ dishwashing detergent that I used until it was gone, not happy with its results also.
    I really think I will like this, but will add regular (not morton) salt and white vinegar
    (organic, as the other stuff is made with petroleum products, YUCK) for helping with film and rinsing. Also may keep it in powder form if I don’t decide to use the lemon.
    PS: What is the purpose of the lemon?

  2. Pingback: The Lady Prefers 2 Save | Welcome to the Merry Monday Link Party #44

  3. Pingback: Merry Monday Linky Party #44 - Intelligent Domestications

  4. Pingback: Merry Monday Link Party #44 - Craving some Creativity

  5. Pingback: Merry Monday Link Party #44 - My Pinterventures

  6. Terri Presser

    I have been thinking about this for a while so thank you for sharing your recipe. I now just need to find where to get Borax here. Thanks for linking up at Good Morning Mondays and for sharing your experiences with us. Blessings

  7. Mindie

    My hubby is all about the dishwasher. Me, personally, I hate that thing LOL I would much rather do them by hand as we dirty them, then to have a pile waiting to be loaded. I know, I am weird maybe . Thank you for being part of the (mis)Adventures Monday Blog Hop!

  8. Free

    I love using my homemade dishwasher tabs. As for your glasses having white residue you might want to try adding some citric acid to your mix and adding vinegar to the rinse aid. This may help.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Give it a try Michelle. As I mentioned my main driving force behind making these in the first place was to push back against the shocking amount of waste packaging in the commercial dishwasher-tab options, but I’ve been pretty pleased with them. ~TxH~

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I’m sure the cost comparison depends on what brand you buy Suzi, whether you use coupons, etc. I’m virtually certain it’s cheaper than the brand I was buying, but my biggest drive is eliminating the individually-wrapped tablets which were then in a box that was also plastic wrapped. I HATED all the wasted packaging! ~TxH~

  9. Terry

    I have been making my own as well, the rinse agent being the minus. I have been adding jet dry to that cup on the door and my homemade tabs do a better job than anything I have ever purchased. Thanks for this improved recipe!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Terry, the vinegar in the rinse-aid cup on the door has helped with the white film, but I still use the Finish tabs as well from time to time for a power-wash when the dishes are really grungy. My much less expensive and more environmentally friendly homemade version certainly performs as well as some of the other name brands but I haven’t been able to match the Finish yet. Hummm…. ~TxH~

  10. Linda

    This is amazing! I am making this up this afternoon. I agree with you. This sounds like it will work. Thanks for linking to What’d You Do This Weekend. Have a good one!

    Linda @ Tumbleweed Contessa

  11. Angie

    This wonderful post is being featured on “Tuesdays with a Twist” blog hop today! If you get a chance please stop by and grab a featured button – thanks.

  12. Monica

    This is awesome! I use those expensive pouches in my dishwasher. I love them because they work so well, I hadn’t even though to look into an alternative. Once I run out I’ll have to give these a try!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Do give it a try Monica, being on a septic system out here I love that it’s gentler on the system and it’s so inexpensive! And you’ve gotta love a product you can provide for yourself instead of buying. ~TxH~

  13. Kellie

    I’ve read several recipes that mention adding citric acid to your dishwasher tabs to help prevent the white film. i haven’t tried it yet but have read several reviews that said it helped. We also use vinegar as our rinse agent. I love finding MYO products!!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I’ve read that as well Kellie, although I know when you’re making cheese and the instructions tell you to add citric acid you can add lemon juice instead – I thought they were close to the same thing. I assumed with all the lemon juice in the tabs that it would suffice, but I’m certainly willing to throw some citric acid in & see what happens. That dang white film makes my glasses look dirty even when they’re clean! Thanks for the hint – I’ll let ya know how it comes out. ~TxH~

  14. RobinP

    Our water is EXTREMELY hard. It was ruining everything that went into the dishwasher. You could literally flake the stuff off. Can’t imagine what it was doing to our insides… We had to install a high quality water purifier/softener but it has worked wonders but we may still get a little buildup on occasion. I’m anxious to try your recipe.

    1. Carol L

      Hi. I have heard that if you add some regular SALT to your dishwasher recipe, it will help with the hard water issue. (salt is what they add to water conditioners/softeners for your water supply). I have a well, and it is somewhat hard, so I plan to add regular salt to this recipe. Citric acid used to be made from lemons, but is made from black mold now:
      Just wanted you to know…

      1. Texas Homesteader Post author

        Another possible viewpoint on the salt: We have an aerobic septic system out here, so after the water is treated it’s pumped to spray heads and dispersed onto our pasture grass to further percolate through the soil layers. As a result, I don’t like to add salt since too much salt accumulated on the ground could cause problems with over salination of our soil. Thankfully our water’s soft anyway. ~TxH~

  15. Shelle @ PreparednessMama

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I’ve literally tried every dishwasher recipe online and nothing has worked for us. My husband has threatened to go purchase a big bottle at Costco… The addition of epsom salts is a new ingredient that I think just might work for my next batch!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Ya know, it’s worth a try. Without the phosphates I’m still battling the light whitish film on my drinking glasses even with this homemade formula, but the last load I added vinegar in the rinse cycle & it seemed to help some so I’ll keep experimenting! ~TxH~

  16. Tamara Hampton

    Thanks! I had given up on my dishwasher but we just figured out that all of our appliances have filters on them and the filters had gotten clogged. (we have a holding tank and we ran it almost dry pulling alot of sediment one time!) I will try this because I hate the price of the tabs or the little bubble things!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I compare the results to a name-brand dishwashing detergent that starts with a “C” – mine worked as well as theirs. I’m glad phosphates have been removed from detergents as they are not good for the environment but dang I hate the cloudy glasses that results from it! My dishwashing detergent didn’t do anything to help take away the cloudiness but I’m experimenting with adding vinegar in the rinse cycle, etc. We’ll see – I’d sure love to go 100% with homemade dishwashing detergent! ~TxH~

      1. Tamara Painter

        I use a similar DIY recipe (powdered). Use LemiShine rinse aid (its natural–citric acid) and your cloudy glasses will be gone!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

* Please enter the Biggest Number

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.