DIY Dish Detergent Tabs

DIY Dish Detergent Tabs

I am finally going to share with you my number one, all time favorite cleaning hack and DIY: Dish Detergent Tabs! This DIY has saved us the most money every month compared to my DIY Swiffer Duster and my “all natural” surface cleaner (although it is super cheap, I just wasn’t convinced that it was actually cleaning anything).


DIY Dish Detergent Tabs


2017 began our journey into using, buying, and living on less. Part of it is an environmental issue for me. The other half is just not spending money. As a life long spender (see proof here) I always thought that I would have to work really hard to be able to afford everything I wanted, no, I needed. Once I got over the “need” to have everything that came with lifestyle creep, we realized that life is so much cheaper than everyone is letting on. Thus, the tide of DIYs washed over us and we rid ourselves of the unwanted in our home.

This is a simple DIY for dishwasher tabs but it’s a wee bit messy. If you have kids or pesky cats that get on counters (speaking from experience) you’ll want to either cover it up with a towel overnight or put it somewhere that they can’t reach.

This is a three ingredient recipe for these tabs. Don’t skimp and buy the super off brand cheap stuff. We tried using dish soap that I got at Dollar Tree. It was this giant bottle and I thought it was a super great deal… until we realized it was basically just soapy water. Up&Up from Target is the best if you are going to use a store brand.

To mold them it takes an ice cube tray or a silicon mold. I’m pretty thrifty so I just use ice cube trays with bit of parchment or wax paper sticking out so it is easy to remove. Silicon molds would be MUCH easier, but I am trying to keep my costs for cleaning as low as possible so I don’t think I’ll ever purchase them.

I found this recipe several years ago from deep within Pinterest and printed off just the text. I’ve tried to go back to the exact site I found, but alas I cannot find it. So if you are reading this and came up with this recipe, Thank you! You’ve saved me lots of money. 🙂 There are lots of recipes out there for similar dish detergent tabs – we’ve tried the powder stuff too – and this is the one that has worked the best!

I’ve broken the cost down per ingredient. Each one (minus the dish soap because so little is used) is can be used to make a little over two batches. With our old school ice cube trays, we make about 52 tabs each time.

2 C Baking Soda ($0.99 per box)
1/2 C Citric Acid ($5.81 per container)
2 TBSP Dish Soap (we use Dawn – $0.99 per bottle)
Ice cube trays or similar molds
Mason jars or other air-tight containers
Optional: lemon essential oil and parchment paper

Mix together the baking soda and citric acid using your hand.
Add in the dish soap. Again, mix by hand. You can totally use a spoon but to get it really mixed, it is better by hand.
Once the mixture looks like wet sand, scoop into your molds. If you are using old school ice cube trays, first cut strips of parchment paper to line the mold so you have a little “tag” to pull on to get them out.
You’ll fill each mold to the top and then press down with your fingers in each one.
Wait ten minutes and press down on them again.
If using, put one drop of lemon essential oil on each cube. This just makes them smell fresher.
Store in a dry spot (away from children and sneaky cats) overnight to dry. The minimum time should be four hours to dry.
Once hard and dry, you should be able to pop them out of the molds.
Store in an air-tight container (such as a mason jar). Use one tab per load of dishes.



These work well in new dishwasher as well as our old one from the early 2000s. We do still use rise-aid as it helps our dishwasher be more effective but is not at all necessary.


3 thoughts on “DIY Dish Detergent Tabs”

  1. This is brilliant—it never would have occurred to me! My kids would love to help me make these, might have to pull this out on a rainy day. Thanks for sharing!

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