How to Clean Your Dishes When You Run Out of Dishwasher Tablets

5 min read

Don’t you just hate it when you run out of dishwasher tablets!

It is just so annoying. Why didn’t someone put dishwashing tablets on the shopping list?

Of course there is the option that you can just wash your dishes by hand, but it’s a pretty crappy job when you have a perfectly good dishwasher just sitting there….. Never fear, I’ve been in the same situation – and seriously – I despise washing up… so here are my ‘desperado’ measures!

Here are a few nifty tricks you can do at home to get away with a few washes until you can get to the shops:

More reading:

1. Use Bicarbonate of Soda and Eucalyptus Oil

  • 1 tablespoon Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 3 – 4 drops Eucalyptus Oil

Add the bicarbonate of soda and the eucalyptus oil into the soap dispenser of your dishwasher. Wash on the hottest cycle you have!. Your dishwasher, kitchen and house will smell absolutely marvellous! (great if you are having people over or selling your home!). Only use this method for a maximum of four cycles though or your glasses will start to go cloudy. But it is a good stop-gap.

Read More: Where to Buy Wholesale Essential Oils

2. Use Soapnuts!

Soapnuts are so darn cheap to use (less than 5c per wash), are environmentally friendly and work really really well both in your washing machine, and your dishwasher! I freaking LOVE THEM!!!!!   But again, in the dishwasher, they aren’t good for glasses making them cloudy after a while.  But if you pour a cup of white vinegar in there every so often, you’ll be right!

  • 2 – 3 Soapnuts
  • 4 tablespoons vinegar

Soapnuts are a really good way to clean your dishwasher in the short term. Just pop two or three soapnuts into a calico bag and pop them into the cutlery rack. Pop the vinegar into the rinse aid section. They will last for two or three dishwasher cycles.

You can purchase Soapnuts here>

3.  Use Washing Up Liquid – But Be Careful!!!!

Washing up liquid is just brilliant stuff.  It will get oil stains out of driveways, stains out of clothing – and will also get you through if you run out of dishwasher tablets.  But if you filled up the soap dispenser with it, you will be in for a very ‘suddy’ surprise….  So add just a few (say three) drop of the liquid into the soap dispenser.  No more – or the kids will think your kitchen has turned into a bubble bath!

4.  You Can Make Your Own Dishwasher Tablets at Home

Yes, you can!  You only need three simple ingredients:

  • 1 cup Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 1/4 cup Citric Acid
  • 1 tbsp Dishwashing Liquid

Plus you will need an old ice cube tray (only use it for these) – and a sealed air-tight container to keep them in.

Add the Bicarbonate of Soda to a bowl, and add the Citric Acid.  Mix well.  Mix in the dishwashing liquid and mix it together carefully without creating suds (doing it by hand is always an option).  Then press the mixture evenly into the ice cube tray and allow the tablets to dry out. Usually overnight is a perfect amount of time to wait.  Then pop out your new dishwashing tablets and pop into the sealed container.

Use them just like you would use normal dishwashing tablets!


I never buy the rinse aid for my dishwasher… it seems like a great big waste of money.  And what’s in it anyway????

Rinse Aid Replacement

White vinegar is a terrific replacement for rinse aid. Just pour in as usual. Keeps your dishwasher lovely and clean too without a strong vinegar smell.

Remember dishwashers need cleaning every so often to maintain them in good working order. To find out how, Click Here!

Where to Buy Dishwasher Tablets CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP!!!!

I’ve only ever bought dishwasher tablets at the supermarket when I’ve been desperate… Have you seen how much they cost!  Up to 50c each – what a rip-off!!!! Nooooooo!  I’ll tell you where to buy it so cheap, you would think they are a knock-off!


I freaking love Ozsale.. I’m a tad addicted.  But they nearly always have Finish Tablets on sale…  So I tend to buy like six boxes which is how much I’d use in a year….

Your Local Cheap Shop

Yes, every town has about five cheap shops – doesn’t matter which.  And they nearly always stock dishwasher tablets!!!!!


Another deal site I adore!  Download the app and check out their deals on dishwasher tablets!

Do you know of other frugal ways to clean your dishes & dishwasher? Share it with us!

Jody Allen
About Author

Jody Allen

Jody Allen is the founder of Stay at Home Mum. Jody is a five-time published author with Penguin Random House and is the current Suzuki Queensland Amb...Read Moreassador. Read Less

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