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Homemade Lemi Shine Alternative

Did you know that you can save yourself quite a bit of money just by making your own copycat/knockoff version of the Lemi Shine dish detergent booster found in stores? This homemade Lemi Shine Alternative recipe will have you cleaning those dishes on the cheap in no time. Plus, the Copycat version works just as well as the real thing, but can be much easier on your budget if you choose to DIY it.

DIY Homemade Lemi Shine Detergent Booster.
DIY Homemade Lemi Shine Detergent Booster


Many years back, my dad and I were talking about how people were using straight citric acid in their dishwashers and how it works similarly, but not quite as well as, Lemi Shine Dish Detergent Booster to get those dingy dishes looking sparkling clean again.

My dad mentioned that there had to be a bit more to it, to be a copycat of Lemishine, because Lemishine also conditions as it cleans.

I remember thinking “I wonder if it’s Lemon essential oil”.

Well life got busy and I didn’t really think much about it after that until the next time I needed to buy Lemi shine.

The stuff is amazing and I highly recommend you try the real product first to see if you like it enough to make your own.

The only downside that I have found to using the name-brand is that it is pretty expensive if you want to use it regularly.

So, I decided to see if I could finally figure out how to make it myself to save some money. Because frankly, I’d use it way more often if it didn’t set me back so much.

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What is Lemi Shine made of?

Last time I bought it I looked at the ingredients to see if I could  figure out what else is in it beyond the citric acid (that conditioning quality that dad had talked about) and I was delighted to see that I was right…it was with an essential oil.

In fact, the ingredients say something to the effect that it’s made with fruit acids and citrus oils…

HELLO, that’s exactly what citric acid and lemon essential oil are.

DIY Make homemade lemi shine dish detergent booster at home with this simple recipe.

How to make it (photo tutorial)

Now I just had to figure out similar ratio’s of each and how to combine the two without the oil clumping.

To save the most money, I bought my ingredients in bulk. After shopping around for them, I got my Citric Acid here, and my Lemon Essential Oil here on Amazon.

*Prices fluctuate, so make sure to shop around.*

I played around with a few different ideas on mixing it, and decided that the food processor gave the best results.

If you don’t have one, a blender or even a bowl with a whisk will work too, just not quite as well as it clumps a bit more.

Next I share a couple of photo’s of the process, and then I added a printable “recipe card” further down.

It seriously smelled so good I had to refrain myself from licking it…  I do love all things Lemon!

I wanted the amount I used to fill a pint jar which is why I made this much.

I just used my canning funnel and scooped it into a regular mouth pint jar when I was done.

Then did that cool trick and added a parmesan cheese lid to make it easily pour-able for everyday use.

Don’t have a parmesan cheese lid handy? You can also get similar lids that fit on mason jars here.

It works just the same as the real stuff, but at a fraction of the cost because I not only made it myself, but because I bought in bulk.

I just add it to the main detergent container in the dishwasher and then whatever detergent in the pre-wash side.

If you decide to make it too, you can always adjust the oil to acid ratio to your liking, I just made my best guess (comparing the powder to the real stuff) and it came out pretty darn close.

Printable Instructions found here

CopyCat "Lemi Shine" Detergent Booster Recipe

Yield: One Pint
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 7 minutes
Difficulty: Beginner
Estimated Cost: Varies

*This recipe is for a detergent additive in a dishwasher. NOT to be consumed!*


  • 2 Cups Citric Acid
  • 2 Teaspoons Lemon Essential Oil


  • Food Processor
  • Pint Jar
  • Plastic pour lid for pint jar


How to make Lemi Shine Detergent Booster Alternative:

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, add the citric acid and the lemon essential oil.
  2. Then add the lid and process for about two minutes. (You can use a bowl and whisk if you do not have a food processor, it will just be a little clumpy).
  3. Let the powder settle before you open it, unless you want a painful whiff! Then add to a pint sized jar with a lid.

How to use "Lemi Shine" Detergent Booster:

Add it to the main detergent container in your dishwasher and then use your regular detergent in the pre-wash side. Wash as normal, though I usually choose a heavy/pots and pans setting.


Please be careful not to use this with painted, enameled, or non-stick dishes because that is the warning on the real product…which makes sense, it is very abrasive and would definitely clean things off a little better than you would want.

So, my advice is to only use it for plain glass, metals with no “non-stick” stuff on them, and any plastics that are looking dingy…like the kids cups and plates that always get looking gnarly.

The recipe amounts were specifically made to mix up a large batch to fill a pint mason jar. Using the same ratio's, you could easily make a larger or smaller batch if needed.

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As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

I have been using and sharing this recipe for many years now, and have been pretty pleased with the savings that come from buying all the ingredients in bulk and making it myself.

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*Reposts: Please note that this idea/post was originally posted to this website on 04/07/2015, but it was in great need of a refresh so it now is more user friendly/shareable and an easier printable project recipe card.

What is in Lemi Shine?
lemi shine alternative. Make it at home yourself.
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