You can make your own homemade dishwasher detergent easily, with ingredients that are commonly found and without using borax. Homemade dishwasher detergents work every bit as well as commercial products, yet they don't contain harsh chemicals that have a negative environmental impact. Making your own detergent will save you money and give you the satisfaction of helping protect the environment as well.
Combine ¼ cup of distilled white vinegar, 1/4 cup of water, and 1/4 cup liquid castile soap in an empty dishwasher detergent bottle or a plastic container with a lid. You will find the castile soap in health food and specialty grocery stores, or in a drugstore.
Prick the skin of the lemon and put the lemon in the microwave for about 10 to 20 seconds. Roll the lemon under the palm of your hand on a tabletop or counter to release the juice. Cut a small opening in one end of the lemon, and squeeze one tablespoon of juice into the container.
Shake the mixture to combine it.
Pour one tablespoon of the detergent into your dishwasher's soap dispenser. If the dishes are extra dirty or you have a heavy load of pots and pans, you may need to use two tablespoons.