Monday, September 19, 2011

Homemade Liquid Dish Soap - That really works!

In our home, dishes are washed mostly by hand. We do have a dishwasher and yes, I use it on rare occasion. Nonetheless, hand washing dishes for us is an intentional practice. It forces us to slow down and work together. Not to mention, I hate using the electricity required to run the dishwasher. And the chemicals in the detergent just plain freak me out.

Anyway, our eldest daughter is now of the age that we trust her ability to carefully wash the dirty dishes. She and I have been working on perfecting a dish soap recipe; one that she has ownership of and is proud to use.

This dish soap recipe is unlike any other homemade dish soap recipes we’ve tried in the past. You’re going to get a bit of suds and it has real grease cutting abilities. Today I am so happy to share it with you. FYI I always have baking soda ready at the sink to tackle any super tough grease or stuck-on bits of food.

Super Useful Dish Soap (SUDS) Recipe

-1 ½ cup of hot water
-½ cup castile soap (I usually use Dr. Bronner’s baby mild liquid soap, but feel free to use any scent just be sure to adjust/omit essential oils accordingly. You may want to use a variety that is already scented for a more frugal option.)
-1 tablespoon of white vinegar
-1 tablespoon of Arm&Hammer’s Super Washing Soda (used to thicken the soap)
-1/8 teaspoon of tea tree oil (optional)

Directions: Whisk all ingredients together until thoroughly blended. Store in any dish soap dispensing bottle and use as you would the commercial brands. Note: You may choose to naturally increase the anti-bacterial qualities of the soap by adding 1/4 tsp. of lavender or eucalyptus essential oils.

I want you to know that the switch to making your own household cleaning products may seem overwhelming at first, but once you establish a routine it will become second nature. From the following items, 100% of my basic cleaning needs are met:

1. Borax
2. Baking Soda
3. Super Washing Soda
4. White Vinegar
5. Castile Soap
6. Essential oils are not necessary but they can be fun to experiment with (I order mine from here. They're generally less expensive)

Note: You can find most of the items above in the laundry aisle of your local grocery store.

It doesn't get more frugal than that!

Leave a comment and share your experience with this recipe or one of your own!

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At September 20, 2011 at 3:08 AM , Anonymous said...

This post is so informative. I would love for you to come
share it at FAT TUESDAY. I hope you will
put FAT TUESDAY on your list of carnivals to visit
and link to each week!

At September 20, 2011 at 7:17 AM , Anonymous Andrea said...

Hello Jill! Thank you so much for your invitation! I really love FAT TUESDAY:) And I am really excited to join the carnival each week.

You can see my post and many, many more at:

At September 22, 2011 at 2:49 PM , Anonymous Stacy @ A Delightful Home said...

Woo hoo! I can't wait to try this.

I've made dish soap before, but never with any true success. Can't wait to give this one a whirl.

Thanks for linking up to the very first Your Green Resource link-up. We appreciate it.

At September 22, 2011 at 4:02 PM , Anonymous Andrea said...

Thank you for hosting Stacy! And I hope you love the dish soap:)

At September 22, 2011 at 8:00 PM , OpenID lovinghomemaking said...

Thanks for this post! I made dish soap a few weeks ago for the first time and have not loved using it. I'm looking forward to trying this! :)

At September 22, 2011 at 8:03 PM , Anonymous Cindy said...

This is darn close to what I make. Works awesome! I use pure orange oil or lemon oil in mine...cuts grease like crazy and smells amazing!

At September 22, 2011 at 8:51 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What can you use instead of Castile Soap because of allergies?

At September 22, 2011 at 10:05 PM , Anonymous Ann said...

How did you make, or where did you buy, the lid with the soap pump for your mason jar?

At September 22, 2011 at 11:32 PM , Anonymous Andrea said...

Anonymous, you can substitute grated Ivory bar soap for the castile. The water and grated soap will then need to be heated in order for the soap to melt. Cool. And proceed with recipe.

Ann, I found this picture online:) But have since made this with a pump that I had from another used container. Cut a small hole in the lid and secured it with a hot glue gun. Works great:)

At September 23, 2011 at 1:12 AM , Anonymous Evonna said...

Definitely want to try this recipe.. and thanks for the info about how you made the soap pump! Clever!

Also... Cindy.. where do you get pure orange/lemon oil ??

At September 23, 2011 at 7:23 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you have a formula for Dishwasher Soap? I tried one and it REALLY did not work. It was equal parts borax and super soap and vinegar in the rinse dry area.

The dishes were dirty and the washers suds were so much that it really didn't spray well. Tried using less, and adding vinegar to the wash cycle... nothing worked. Just dirty dishes.

Any ideas?

At September 23, 2011 at 7:36 AM , Anonymous Andrea @Frugally Sustainable said...

Evonna, you can purchase orange and lemon oil from Mountain Rose Herbs or check your local health food store. I believe she may be refering to essential oils. At least that's what I do:)

Anonymous, to be honest I use the dishwasher maybe once or twice a week. We are really trying to limit our use of it. I have not discovered a formula for the dishwasher. But I will definately research it:)

At September 23, 2011 at 9:40 AM , Anonymous said...

Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. Hope to see you next week! Be sure to visit on Sunday for
Sunday Snippets – your post from Fat Tuesday may be featured there!

At September 24, 2011 at 6:10 AM , OpenID lilsuburbanhomestead said...

I am definitely going to try this one as this is a topic we have struggled with being able to clean and get away from chemicals I think this is one every household faces. Thanks for sharing!

At September 25, 2011 at 12:08 PM , Anonymous Jill said...

This post was featured at Sunday Snippets! Thanks for sharing at Fat Tuesday! And thanks for your kind words!

At September 26, 2011 at 4:46 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would baking soda work the same as washing soda? I have baking soda, but not washing soda already. What is the difference between the two? Thanks for sharing this!

At September 26, 2011 at 6:29 AM , Anonymous Andrea @Frugally Sustainable said...

Another excellent question Anonymous! Baking soda and washing soda are not the same. They work very differently and they are different minerals. You will not get the same effect if you use baking soda instead of washing soda.

Washing soda is sodium carbonate (also known as washing soda or soda ash), and the compound Na2CO3.Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, and the compound NaHCO3.

But here's the good news: You'll need to preheat the oven to 400F. And simply spread out your baking soda thin on a pyrex baking dish. Now put it in the oven for 2 hours. Then you will have the compound Na2CO3!!! Heating the baking soda drives off the carbon dioxide and water and leaves sodium carbonate!!!

Since baking soda is way cheaper than washing soda. This is a much more frugal option:)

I hope this helps!

At September 26, 2011 at 4:12 PM , Blogger hobby baker said...

Thanks for this recipe - I'm totally sold on nontoxic homemade cleaners. I had been using baking soda to boost the laundry for a while and vinegar for fabric softener. (Very chemically sensitive kids.) I got that Clean House Clean Planet book and it has paid for itself in three recipes. I made up a soft scrub tub cleaner - dish liquid, baking soda water, vinegar. I used pepperment castile soap liquid and my 7 year old came in the bathroom while I was scrubbing the toilet and tub and said, "Mmmm, something smells really yummy; can I help?" I was so happy to be able to say yes and hand her the sponge for the tub without having to worry about gloves, fumes or chemical residue. Just about the only thing I haven't been able to find is a good homemade dishwasher detergent. But I am very happy with the Biokleen powder so I'll use the other recipes happily.

At September 28, 2011 at 8:19 PM , Blogger Sandy B said...

I'll be trying this soon. I already have castile soap on hand and I've been planning to buy washing soda plus borax to try a recipe I have for dishwasher soap. It's equal parts of these two plus baking soda. I don't know how it works, but perhaps the baking soda is what Anonymous was missing. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

At October 2, 2011 at 3:01 PM , Anonymous katie at brighton park said...

Great post; i have been wanting a "recipe" to make my own and here it is. So happy to have found your blog. we are a homeschooling/homesteading family who recently started a journey to lvie more fugally/inspired minimalist (me) husband not so much ;-) would love for you to stop by and meet us!

At October 2, 2011 at 10:15 PM , Anonymous Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable said...

@Katie I'm so happy you stopped in! And again, thank you for you comment on fb too:) Sounds like a great journey you are on. I'm heading over to you now! You are welcome anytime here:) I value your input.

At October 20, 2011 at 2:30 PM , Blogger Marsaili said...

I've got all the supplies to make laundry detergent, now I want to make this as well, and the others! thanks so much for the recipes and I really love your site!

At October 24, 2011 at 8:40 AM , Anonymous Sherry said...

The article says: "6. Essential oils are not necessary but they can be fun to experiment with (I order mine from here. They're generally less expensive)", but there isn't a link attached. Do tell! Where do you order yours from?

At October 24, 2011 at 9:24 AM , Anonymous Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable said...

@Sherry I usually purchase from a small local health food store that has really good prices. But I also like to order from Mountain Rose Herbs:)

At October 26, 2011 at 6:08 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ijust made a batch of this soap and I really like it. Is it okay to use more than 1/8 tsp of tea tree oil? I bought a bottle of Dr. Bronner's castille soap with tea tree oil already in it. The fragrance is a bit strong, but I can live with it. Is it safe?

At October 26, 2011 at 6:14 PM , Anonymous Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable said...

@Anonymous Absolutely safe! Very, very smart move buying Castile soap with tea tree oil already in it! Tea tree oil is an excellent antiseptic. I'm glad you like the recipe:)

At October 30, 2011 at 9:47 PM , Blogger Becky @ The Barefoot Seamstress said...

Wow, this is amazing! I am loving your fact I just subscribed by email so I won't miss a thing :)

At October 30, 2011 at 9:51 PM , Anonymous Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable said...

@Becky Thank you for your encouraging words:) I'm heading your way:)

At December 17, 2011 at 8:54 AM , Blogger butterfly429 said...

I LOVE this site and have started making all my own cleaning products and couldn't be happier (my husband is thrilled with the savings!). Thanks!! :)


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