Homemade Dishwasher Tabs with Essential Oils

Since I jumped into using essential oils, I’ve been slowly working towards replacing various household products with natural, DIY versions. So far they’ve been very cost efficient, smell great, are fun to make, and give me an excuse to keep ordering oils (don’t tell my husband). This week I put a recipe for homemade dishwasher tabs to the test. I was excited to try this recipe because I already had most of the ingredients from making DIY bath bombs (coming soon), and I can’t stand the fake lemony smell of my current dish soap. It also doesn’t work particularly well in my old (read:ancient) dishwasher. In comes this wonderful recipe with lemon and lavender essential oils!

This was my first time trying a recipe like this, and I’m not going to lie–I had some logistical issues with it. I’m hoping you all can learn from my trial and error. 🙂 I’ll explain more after I get into the recipe.

Homemade Dishwasher Tab Ingredients:

-1/2 cup borax
-1/2 cup washing soda
-1/2 cup baking soda
-1/2 cup citric acid
-1/2 cup kosher salt*
-15 drops lemon essential oil
-15 drops lavender essential oil
-1/4 cup (or less) water

Homemade Dishwasher Tabs with essential oils
Homemade Dishwasher Tab Ingredients

Dishwasher Tab Directions:

Mix together in a large bowl all the ingredients except water. Slowly stir in the water a little at a time, mixing well in between. DO NOT OVER WATER because the water will react with the citric acid. Add just enough so that the mixture becomes the consistency of damp sand. Add to an ice tray and let dry for AT LEAST 12 hours, preferably 24+ hours. Pop out of ice tray and store in an airtight container.

Homemade dishwasher tabs with essential oils
Mixing in water with dry ingredients

A few notes: I had to buy the borax and washing soda online. If you can get these in stores, I honestly have no idea where to look. I got this awesome “variety pack” on Amazon.  I also have to fess up to using regular table salt rather than “kosher salt”. I’m not really sure what difference this may have made for my recipe, but I can assure you that the dish soap I’ve been using is working great for my type of water and dishwasher 🙂

When I saw this recipe, I was nervous about getting the mixture-to-water ratio just right. To be honest I don’t really think that’s where my major problem occurred. I was slightly alarmed that after I packed the mixture into my ice trays, it continued to “grow” somewhat (this is likely due to some excess water continuing to react with the citric acid and baking soda). Next time I will be even more careful about not needing much water.

However, I used two different ice trays to pack my mixture in–a silicone one I bought online, and then our regular cheap plastic ice tray. The silicone one filled up so I needed another option. This is mostly where I went wrong. After they dried, the dish tabs came out GREAT from the silicone ice tray. The other ones were impossible to get out. I ended up having to chip away at the dried mixture for what seemed like forever to get them out. I was able to save most of the dried mixture in a separate jar to use once my actual “tabs” run out, but I was definitely bummed they didn’t come out in nicely measured square tabs. I would absolutely recommend a flexible silicon tray versus a hard plastic one.

Homemade dishwasher tabs with essential oils
My packed ice cub trays as I waited for the mixture to dry

Although I had some logistic difficulties with this recipe, I’m really pleased with how well it’s been working! Especially for my first try at a dishwasher powder. It doesn’t leave soap residue at the bottom of my dishwasher like my previous soap, smells great, and doesn’t leave a foggy residue on my glasses. What more could you want?! I hope you all give it a try and let me know how it works for you.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or medical professional, and cannot diagnose, cure, or prescribe. Consult your physician before using essential oils to treat an illness for yourself or others. The safety precautions suggested in these posts are guidelines only.

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Thieves Household Cleaner

Thieves Household Cleaner
Young Living’s Thieves Household Cleaner

I’ve been doing a fair amount of spring cleaning the past couple weekends, and I don’t know what I would have done without my Young Living oils and products through all this. I am so thankful I no longer have to rely on awful-smelling and toxic cleaning products, or worry about wearing gloves when I clean and keeping the window open! This is where Young Living’s Thieves Household Cleaner (THC) comes in.

I love this cleaner for several reasons–
1. It just plain works. It might take a while to get the right dilution for your specific cleaning project, but when you do, this will get the job done.
2. It smells amazing and leaves our house smelling amazing! No more leaving the windows open and choking while I scrub the bath tub!
3. It’s natural and non-toxic. I don’t worry about my dogs accidentally getting into it, inhaling too much of it myself or it coming into contact with my skin. When we have kids I will be so thankful to not worry about having to call poison control if they get into my Thieves spray.

THC is made from Young Living’s Thieves essential oil blend. Thieves blend contains Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus Radiata, and Rosemary essential oils, which together are said to kill bacteria and support a healthy immune system. It was formulated based on the legend of four 15th-century French thieves who used a blend of these oils to rob the gravely ill and deceased without becoming infected themselves. So cool, right?!

So fast forward to 2017, I use my Thieves HC for all kinds of things around the house. The cleaner is concentrated so it needs to be diluted with water depending on your cleaning needs. I have a 16oz spray bottle (similar to these), so I typically add one capful of THC and fill the rest up with water. This ends up being a ratio of one capful per 2 cups water. For heavy cleaning I add another capful. For light cleaning like windows, you would want a higher water to cleaner ratio! Young Living recommends these ratios:

  • All-purpose cleaner: Combine 1 capful Thieves Household Cleaner and 2–3 cups water.
  • Degreaser: Combine 1 capful Thieves Household Cleaner and 2 cups water. For heavy cleaning, use half or quarter the amount of water. If necessary, use a cloth to apply Thieves Household Cleaner undiluted. After cleaning, wipe the area with a cloth dampened with water.
  • Glass and mirror cleaner: Combine 1 capful Thieves Household Cleaner, 5 drops Citrus Fresh™ essential oil blend, 1 teaspoon white vinegar, and 3 cups water. (Source)

THC is so versatile, I’ve also used it in my dishwasher, washing machine, and spray mop. I’ve made a cleaning paste with THC, baking soda, and vinegar. I love this infographic from Young Living that provides a great summary of several uses for Thieves Cleaner! *If you’re struggling to read the text, click on the image*

Thieves Household Cleaner

What if I don’t have Thieves Household Cleaner yet?

You can absolutely make your own version! Add 30-35 drops of Thieves essential oil to a 16oz spray bottle with 1/2 cup white vinegar and 1.5 cups water. Super simple, and it makes a wonderful multipurpose cleaner! Add 10 drops of lemon for added degreasing power (just be sure to use glass spray bottle).

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or medical professional, and cannot diagnose, cure, or prescribe. Consult your physician before using essential oils to treat an illness for yourself or others. The safety precautions suggested in these posts are guidelines only. 

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Foaming Hand Soap with Essential Oils

Alright so hopefully by now I’m getting into the swing of this 🙂 I have a recipe for you for scented DIY foaming hand soap! I’m posting this now mostly because the last batch I made was just about empty. This recipe is super moisturizing and nourishing, smells amazing, and contains all natural ingredients that you can pronounce! It is also SUPER cost efficient and will save you tons compared to store-bought smelly soaps. The one catch is the bottle needs to be shaken well EVERY time you use it because the oils can separate.

Oily Livin Foaming Hand Soap With Essential Oils

I also try not to use any citrus oils in my soap because my dispenser is made of plastic! I believe the soap is diluted enough that adding citrus oils isn’t a big deal (a few drops to several ounces of water and soap), but I try to be safe anyway. The oil I chose to use, Christmas Spirit, does contain some orange oil so I’ll let you know how my dispenser holds up. I’ll also add that I’ve made this recipe several times and typically just kind of wing it, so I made an effort to be a little more precise so I could share my recipe with ya’ll. Alright so here we go:


  • 2 Tablespoons Liquid Castile Soap (I used Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Baby so that I can add my own scent)
  • 1 teaspoon sweet almond oil (or another liquid carrier oil)
  • a few drops of vitamin E oil
  • 10-15 drops of essential oil(s) of your choice
  • Foaming hand soap dispenser

Directions For Making Foaming Hand Soap:

I started by rinsing out my soap dispenser (hence it is still wet in the photos). I had also previously written a reminder on the bottle to shake it before using. I started by adding the Castile soap with a tablespoon to my soap dispenser. I used 2+ tablespoons because I like mine to be super soapy; you may find you don’t need that much though!

foaming hand soap

Then measure out and add the carrier oil. I used sweet almond oil purchased from Amazon. I choose this one as opposed to olive or jojoba oil because it has a lighter color and doesn’t add a yellowy color to the soap.

Oily Livin Foaming Hand Soap With Essential Oils Step 2

Add a drops of vitamin E oil, and then add your essential oils. I used 12 drops of Christmas Spirit, which is a great blend that Young Living makes and is very festive! You could use a combination of two scents with a total of 10-15 drops; some suggestions are Peppermint, Thieves, Lavender, Stress Away, or Cedarwood. If you want to add citrus oils, lime, orange or lemon would smell great!

The last step is adding water! I would recommend using distilled or boiled water if you can, but to be honest I just add from the tap. I try to do this very slowly to prevent the soap from foaming too much or spilling over the top. Here is my finished product!

Oily Livin Foaming Hand Soap With Essential Oils Step 3

Do you make your own foaming soap? I’d love to hear what you think of this recipe and what some of your favorite scents are!

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or medical professional, and cannot diagnose, cure, or prescribe. Consult your physician before using essential oils to treat an illness for yourself or others. The safety precautions suggested in these posts are guidelines only. 

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