Are you looking to save money on cleaning products and work toward a more natural lifestyle, eliminating chemicals and toxins from your everyday products? Do you love the challenge of making your own cleaners?
If so, you have to try our simple recipe for homemade dish soap. Not the kind that goes into a dishwasher, the kind you squirt into a sink full of water when you’re stuck with the chore of hand-washing the dishes. (I say yuck, Matt actually likes doing it that way.)
Even though we wrote a book on how to make all your own household cleaners, we continue to create new recipes and improve the old ones. This recipe (not featured in the book) is simple, natural, cheap to make, and cleans dishes to a sparkling shine.
Natural Liquid Dish Soap Recipe
- 1 ¾ cups boiling water
- 1 Tbsp borax
- 1 Tbsp grated bar soap (use homemade soap, castile bar soap, Ivory, or whichever natural bar you prefer)
- 15-20 drops essential oils, optional (find 100% pure essential oils here)
- Heat water to boiling.
- Combine borax and grated bar soap in a medium bowl. Pour hot water over the mixture. Whisk until the grated soap is completely melted.
- Allow mixture to cool on the countertop for 6-8 hours, stirring occasionally. Dish soap will gel upon standing.
- Transfer to a squirt bottle, and add essential oils (if using). Shake well to combine.
Now you’re ready to use your liquid dish soap just as you would use any commercial brand!
Enjoy this video tutorial with step-by-step instructions.
(If you cannot see the video click here to view it in your browser.)
Increase the cleaning power of your Soap
Antibacterial essential oils can be used in this dish soap recipe to naturally increase the cleaning power. Oils such as lemon, eucalyptus, sweet orange, geranium, or lavender have antibacterial properties. Using a citrus oil will also help with cutting grease. I personally prefer eucalyptus lemon dish soap, with about 10 drops of lemon and 6 drops of eucalyptus essential oil. The aromatherapy makes the chore of washing dishes a little more enjoyable.
Using your homemade dish soap
If you’re accustomed to using commercial dish soap that foams and bubbles, it will take some time to get used to homemade alternatives. Commercial dish soaps have added harmful chemical surfactants (like sodium lauryl sulfate) to create suds – more for the visual effect, not necessarily more cleaning power. Suds are actually not necessary to get things clean, but we’ve been conditioned to think that bubbles have to be present for cleaning. This is not so.
When you squirt your homemade dish soap into the sink, you’ll notice a little bubbling at first, but then the water will just look a little cloudy. This is normal. Your dishes will still come out clean. I always wash silverware first, then dishes and glasses, and save pots, pans, and really greasy dishes for last.
Note: If your homemade dish soap ever gels up too much in the bottle just give it a shake and it’ll be ready for use again. You can also dump it all in your blender and blend for about 10 seconds. This should prevent future gelling and/or separation.
There are all sorts of concerns about the toxicity of borax swirling around on the Internet. Many readers have expressed concern about the inclusion of borax in our dishwasher detergent recipe and laundry detergent recipe. We have done tons of research on it, and feel it is a safe, effective addition to homemade cleaners. You may be interested in reading this article on the subject, or this article, or doing more research to help make your own determination.
Happy dish washing! Let us know what you think of the recipe.