Emergency dishwasher to save the day

If you just got home after a long day, had dinner, loaded your dishwasher and realised there is no more dishwashing detergent left, what would you do? Either wash them by hand or let them sit in there until you run to the store and get yourself some product. However, maybe you are too lazy or tired to do that. Or you really need a pot that is sitting in there dirty. We would like to show you how you can use simple products found in your house and make your own dishwashing detergent. But first, let’s see how dishwashers work and what are the benefits of using homemade, natural detergent. Why hurry to the shop or let your dishes get stinky in the dishwasher when you can provide yourself with an easy, natural, effective cleaning agent to use.

First of all, it is important to understand that dishwashers have three power points with which they manage to clean everything. Much like a laundry machine they use thermal energy (hot water), mechanical energy (force of the water spray) and chemical energy (detergents). As you can see these three combine perfectly. However, it is not the end of the world if you use a less strong detergent (such as a homemade one) since the other two energies will still work perfectly.

In fact, using a homemade dishwasher detergent has some great benefits:

  • It is inexpensive
  • You will know all the ingredients
  • No chlorine gas emissions
  • Effective against stains
  • Good water softening properties
  • Environmentally friendly

First, let’s talk about the alternatives you can use for your dishwasher. These are products that you can easily find in your kitchen and use as an emergency dishwashing detergent. Keep in mind that these products will not provide you with the level of cleanliness you are used to on a daily basis and are only meant to be used for emergency situations. Later in the article, Prime Cleaners Anerley will give you some recipes for homemade detergent that you can use regularly.

Baking Soda – you have probably noticed by now, baking soda could be your best friend when it comes to cleaning. Known for its gentle abrasive properties, sodium bicarbonate is a great cleaner and will neutralise any unpleasant odours. Fill your detergent cup with baking soda and run a cycle like usual.
Distilled White Vinegar – similar to baking soda, distilled vinegar can be used in countless cleaning recipes and methods. The acid will kill any greasy residue. Leave a bowl with ½ cup of vinegar on your top rack and start the cycle. The water force will distribute it everywhere.
Borax – a natural mineral element found in many commercial dishwashing detergents. Just fill the detergent cup with borax.
Washing Soda – sodium carbonate is an excellent cleaner and works really well with hard water. Fill your detergent cup with soda.
Lemon Juice – Just like vinegar, the acidic nature of lemon juice will cut through the residue of the dishes. Use ½ cup of strained lemon juice. Make sure there is no pulp that may get stuck and dry on your freshly washed dishes.

While those would work great for your dishwasher, there are some products you should never put in your dishwasher. Not unless you want a bubble tsunami to take over your whole kitchen. So, when looking for a product to use instead of commercial detergent, avoid: dishwashing liquid, body wash, shampoo, laundry detergent (in all forms), household all-purpose cleaner.

Here is how to make dishwasher detergents with simple ingredients

For powdered detergent:

  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • ½ cup powdered citric acid
  • ½ cup kosher salts

Mix all powder ingredients well and store the mixture in a sealed plastic or glass container.

For dishwashing tablets:

  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • ¾ cup lemon juice
  • Ice tray

Mix all ingredients very well. Make sure all of them are equally moist. Put a tablespoon of the mixture in each mould of your ice cube tray. Allow the cubes to dry completely and store in an airtight container.

All these ingredients have their special role in the cleaning process. Borax and soda are both natural disinfectants and mild abrasives. They will blast away any stuck-on food and germs. The salt is used to soften hard water so you might not need it if you already have soft water. The citric acid/vinegar/lemon juice, as we already mentioned, will attack grease.


  1. To boost the cleaning power of your homemade detergent, fill your rinse agent compartment with distilled white vinegar. This will help remove any residue that causes spotting.
  2. If your dishwasher is really packed, remove some of the smaller or not so dirty items in it. By doing this, you will allow your DIY detergent to perform much better.

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