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DIY: Lemonade Kool-Aid as Dishwasher Cleaner


While cruising up and down the aisles at the grocery store this weekend, I could not help but notice how inexpensive Kool-Aid drink mix is. Okay, I won’t even mince words here–the stuff is dirt cheap! Ten cents for a packet? It just blows my mind!

And because there is nothing we enjoy more than showing you how to get the most  bang for your buck, keep reading to find out how this nifty little packet can do more than just quench your thirst!

Sure, it is great for mixing up a cold batch of lemonade, but did you know that lemon Kool-Aid drink mix can also be used to clean your dishwasher? It sure can! Just imagine: no more rust or lime stains, no more yucky smells, and no more heavy scrubbing.



Here is what you will need:

  • One packet of lemon Kool-Aid drink mix.
  • Your favorite book or magazine.

Here is what you will do!

  • Begin by making sure your dishwasher is empty.
  • Pour one packet of lemon Kool-Aid (the only flavor that works) into the detergent cup.
  •  Run the empty dishwasher.
  • That is it! The citric acid in the mix wipes out stains–you don’t have to! Now, grab your book or magazine and take advantage of the extra time you have on your hands!

So don’t spend money on any more expensive or harsh cleansers. Instead, dig a dime up from the sofa cushions and grab a packet of lemon Kool-Aid!

43 thoughts on “DIY: Lemonade Kool-Aid as Dishwasher Cleaner”

  1. Anonymous

    Well this is one I can’t wait to try!!! Thanks KCL!

  2. Will this works for washer too?

  3. Rebekah Finn

    Kind of makes you wonder whether we should really be drinking this stuff, huh?

    1. Anonymous

       lol, and exactly why it’s not even allowed near the house.

    2. Anonymous

      I used to be the smiley face on the Kool-Aid Pitcher until I started drinking the stuff and it drove me insane! :(

    3. Well sure real lemonade is better than Kool-Aid, but it’s the citric acid in the lemon flavor that works…something that’s also in fresh-squeezed lemonade. 

  4. Anonymous

    I found a recipe that calls for 1cup borax, 1/2 cup baking soda and 1 envelope of koolaid lemonaid. I use this for back up in case i run out of dish washer detergent. I love it. I also used orange koolaid once because I was out of the lemonaid, worked just as good.

  5. Why not just skip all the extra stuff in it and buy citric acid powder in the canning aisle. Just put a teaspoon of it in the washer. You can also use a cup of vinegar. The reason that any of these can work is because acid dissolves calcium. The same idea as running vinegar through your coffee pot.

    1. wonder if that would work in a above ground swimming pool, with calcium problems

  6. Anonymous

    I don’t really care about cleaning the dishwasher, however, I loved the suggestion to ‘dig a dime up from the sofa cushions’!  I’m now 10-cents richer! :)

  7. Anonymous

    This does work! My dishwasher was pretty yucky and I had tried scrubbing it but had no luck. Three cycles of lemonade worked for me. It is sparkling new!  I also used the Great Value brand from walmart which was even cheaper

  8. Thank you for this tip!!

  9. Didn’t work will for us and it took awhile to get our dishes clean after it left a film all over the dishes. 

    1. Anonymous

      May I suggest trying Lemon Jell-o?; After all…”Everyone loves Jell-o”! :)

  10. Yes, I’d love to know if it works in the washing machine too!

    1. Anonymous

      I’m gonna try it the next time I clean my plastic shower curtain in the washing machine.  What’s the worst that can happen?  (Please don’t answer that!…lol)

      1.  hilarious!

  11. Can you use if for the clothes washer?

  12. Anonymous

    We’ve used Tang with amazing results, too. 

    1. Anonymous

      That’s how the astronauts wash their dishes in space.

  13. Anonymous

    My hairdresser daughter used to use it one her hair to blond it up.

    1.  If you ever die your hair red the red kool-aid once a week or so helps keep it red longer   

      1. Anonymous

        Thanks. I am so old school that the only color I use is my natural color, but my granddaughter just went through every color of Splash (or was it called Splat?) and is currently bright red. I’ll let her know.

  14. Anonymous

    I would love to know how someone came up with this idea! If my husband saw me dumping kool aid in the dishwasher he’d think it had finally happened.  I finally lost my mind!!!  Great tip but dishwashing soap would probably last longer in my house then kool aid would with my little monsters!!!

  15. Sarah Boyce

    I heard on Rachel Ray that any instant citric type juice mix will work.  Then, I had to have my fridge repaired and the repairman told me that Tang actually works best.

    As for washers, I have a front load and again, the repairman for that years ago told me (and said it is in the maintenance video I never watched) to use 2 tablespoons powder dishwasher detergent in the tub of the washer, then hottest settings possible.  I did it for a while but couldn’t tell it did anything.

  16. Could this work to freshen a garbage disposal as well?

    1. When I peel an orange I toss in all the peelings (one at a time) while the disposal is on and it freshens it up beautifully! Limes and lemons work well too! Another trick is to throw in a cup or so of ice every month (if you use yours as often as us) while the disposal is running–that keeps the blades sharp and certainly will break away any built up gunk..

  17. I can’t wait to try it.

  18. I stopped buying dishwasher soap a few months ago. I bought a large box of Borax instead. I mix one cup of the Borax and one cup of baking soda together in an old cool whip container. From that mixture, I use two tablespoons in the detergent compartment. In the open compartment, I splash some white vinegar. That’s it! The dishes and the inside of the dishwasher come out VERY clean!!

    1. Anonymous

      Can you tell me what you think this costs?  I’d like to know if it’s cheaper than buyer detergent with q’s?  I just spent $1.24 at Walgreens for 20 loads.  What do you think?  I make my own laundry detergent so this is something I may definitely be interested in!

      1. dwggnr – The large box of Borax is 4.99 – I had some baking soda in the cupboard, not sure what a box runs, but lets just say 1.00 (I know it’s cheaper though!), plus white vinegar isn’t much either. Since I started doing this in February, I’ve only gone through 2 cups of the Borax and 2 cups of the baking soda (still have enough from the last time I mixed for a couple more loads). I run my dishwasher on average about 3x a week. So all together, I probably used about 2.50 worth of product with the white vinegar and ran the dishwasher approx. 40 times since I started. That works out to be about .06 per load. That’s about the same as what you spent at Walgreens. Paying anything more than that and it would be cheaper with the borax. Not only do I love that it’s cheaper than most of the dishwasher detergents, I just really like how clean my dishes and dishwasher are! NO spots on the glasses either :)

      2. Anonymous

        Thank you Terri for responding! I think I’m going to make some just to try it. I like that I already have everything on hand (I use borax in my laundry soap so I stock up on it) and that I am already saving money without having to watch the sales. Thank you so much!

  19. Terri Weston

    Does it freshen the washer with a fresh lemony smell?

  20. This works great and much cheaper then the dishwasher cleaners out there.

  21. Anonymous

    wonder if it works in the clothes washer….


  23. but wouldn’t it make everything sticky, sugar?

    1. S Wallenbrock

      Kool aid doesn’t have sugar, you have to add it to the mix. We substitute Splenda instead.

  24. Thanks for the info I hope this really works :)

  25. I just bought 8 canisters of Country Time Lemonade this week for $.25 a piece at Dillons(Kroger).  Do you think it would work? 

    1. Anonymous

      I believe that Country Time is pre-mixed, meaning you don’t have to add anything but water. If that’s the case, it WON’T work because of the sugar/sweetener.

      1. Too bad. Thanks!

  26. i have done this for years. and the best way to clean your washing machine is to use a scoop of Tang on a hot water wash cycle it works wonders and smells good 

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