Dishwasher Tablet Alternatives

Dishwasher Tablet Alternatives for When You’ve Run Out

Many of us have experienced that moment where we have a giant stack of dishes that we’ve just loaded into the dishwasher and we’re ready to press the start button on the cycle, only to have the sudden realisation that the dishwasher tablets have run out!

It’s so easy to forget to buy more during the hustle and bustle of our busy day, but not to fret, there are always a few alternatives to turn to if this ever happens to you.

Options to Use as Alternatives to Dishwasher Tablets

There are a handful of products that can be found in most households that will be useful when you need a quick replacement for your dishwasher tablets and you’re not able to pop out and buy more.

These options should still leave your dishes almost as sparkling and clean as they would be with your dishwasher tablets.

1. Bicarbonate of soda

bicarbonate of soda as Dishwasher Tablet Alternative

Bicarbonate of soda is a common household product that is incredibly reliable for many cleaning emergencies. If you’ve found yourself suddenly without dishwashing tablets, there are a few methods to make your own at home.

If the only product that you have is bicarbonate of soda, you can run this through your machine with a few drops of dish soap and the results should be almost as satisfactory as if you’d used your normal dishwashing tablet.

Simply fill the drawer that you’d normally use for the dishwashing tablet with bicarbonate of soda and then add a few drops of your favourite dish soap before setting the machine to your normal cycle.

2. Bicarbonate of soda with a few extra ingredients

If you want to take the process a few steps further, there are some additional ingredients to create even cleaner results!

All you will need for this process, in addition to the bicarbonate of soda, is sodium percarbonate (if you have it), vinegar, and an essential oil of your choice.

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and add a few drops of your favourite essential oil, which will ensure that the impromptu concoction has a lingering pleasant scent.

The next step is to add the vinegar to your dry ingredients, but you will need to be careful when doing this as it will create a reaction. Add the vinegar very slowly and keep an eye on how much of a reaction is taking place.

These ingredients all have their separate uses, but the final results will likely leave a white or cloudy residue on your dishes. To avoid this result, add half a cup of citric acid to the mixture.

The citric acid will eradicate the cloudiness but should not be used if you have metal or soft plastic items in your machine.

Now pour your mixture into your dishwasher where you would normally add your dishwasher tablet and set your cycle to go! Your dishes should emerge with a lovely sparkle.

3. Vinegar on its own

vinegar as Dishwasher Tablet Alternative

White vinegar is a trusty household product that will be useful for cleaning almost anything. If you don’t have any of the other products mentioned above, then give vinegar a try on its own!

When it comes to your dishes, vinegar is a fantastic way to cut through the grease on the plates, bowls, and cutlery that may be in your dishwasher.

The best way to add this to your dishwasher would be to fill a bowl with half a cup of vinegar and place it on the top rack, alongside your dirty dishes.

Then run your machine through your normal cycle and it will fill with hot water and will distribute the vinegar to all of your dishes throughout the cycle.

4. Washing powder

washing powder as Dishwasher Tablet Alternative

If you don’t have any of the ingredients mentioned above but do have your usual washing powder that you use when washing your clothes, then this could be a very final alternative.

It may be useful to give your dishes a good rinse before you put them in the dishwasher as it’s likely that the washing powder method will not give you the results that your usual dishwashing tablet would provide.

However, if you are in a sticky situation and find yourself with no other options, then this method is definitely worth a try!



If you find yourself unexpectedly without your usual dishwashing tablets, don’t despair! As this list has pointed out, there is always a backup option to ensure that your dishes emerge from your machine with a nice, clean shine.

It’s likely that these methods will not be as effective as an actual dishwashing tablet, but if you’re in a pickle and have no other options, these are absolutely worth attempting as it remains a better option than hand-washing your sink full of dishes.