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 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.

Homemade Liquid Dish Soap - That really works!

Homemade Liquid Dish Soap Recipe

-1 1/2 cup of hot water
-1/2 cup liquid 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)

Update: To really thicken the soap to be more like store-bought dish soap, add only 1 tablespoon of shredded bar soap (I use my homemade, old-fashioned lye soap and the grease cutting ability is incredible) to the recipe above. See my video tutorial and revised recipe for Homemade Liquid Dish Soap by clicking here.

1. Combine all ingredients into a large bowl and then pour in 1 1/2 cup of very hot water. Be sure to whisk/stir this mixture until all ingredients are thoroughly blended (and the bar soap is melted).
2. Allow mixture to cool completely on the counter. Stirring occasionally.
3. 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.

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:

  • Borax
  • Baking Soda
  • Super Washing Soda
  • White Vinegar
  • Castile Soap
  • Essential oils are not necessary but they can be fun to experiment with (I order mine from here. They’re generally less expensive)

You can find most of the items above in the laundry aisle of your local grocery store, a well appointed health food store, or online through Mountain Rose Herbs.

It doesn’t get more frugal than that!

Click here to learn more about making your own homemade cleaners!


  1. Jill@RealFoodForager.com says:

    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!


  2. 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: http://realfoodforager.com/2011/09/fat-tuesday-september-20-2011/

  3. Stacy @ A Delightful Home says:

    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.

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

    • I grate 2bars of castile soap with 4 quarts of boiling water and let it sit 24hrs on my counter stirring it every so often. Then i put it in my 1gallon pump jug add lavender and lemon essential oils! It works great and cuts through grease i just need to ad something to give it more suds!

  5. lovinghomemaking says:

    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! 🙂

  6. 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!

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

    • What are u allergic to? You can make your own castile soap and depending on what your allergic to you can leave that ingredient(s) out

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

    • I found that condiment pumps that some walmarts have work very well. Usually you can find them near the resturant size condiments.

  9. 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:)

  10. 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 ??

  11. 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?

    • Here is a dishwasher soap recipe that I recently started using and it works pretty well. You will still put white vinegar in the rinse cycle.

      2 cups Borax

      2 cups Washing Soda

      1 cup Lemi-Shine

      • Adela Sarabia says:

        What Lemi-shine?

        • LemiShine is a dishwasher detergent additive made of citric fruit oils (citric acid) to remove tough spots & film. Usually found by dish & dishwasher detergents in a 12oz container that is yellow with a green lid.

  12. Andrea @Frugally Sustainable says:

    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:)

  13. Jill@RealFoodForager.com says:

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


  14. lilsuburbanhomestead says:

    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!

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

  16. 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!

  17. Andrea @Frugally Sustainable says:

    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!

    • Hmm… making your own washing soda from cheaper baking soda is “much more frugal” from the standpoint of initial outlay, but then there’s that whole thing with running your oven at 400 degrees for two hours. LOL

      Nevertheless, I love your stuff, Andrea. I have immersed myself in your site/blog for a week now, investigating your recipes for cleaners and personal products, reading reader comments on each one to get additional ideas, and transferring all the info to a few Word documents I’ve created for green/organic/natural/frugal household stuff!

      I can’t wait to implement these things as soon as I get paid and can stock up on the basics. Thanks a bunch for all your experiments and hard work, Andrea! And thanks to your readers for all the extra ideas and “points to ponder.” You guys are The Bomb!

    • You can also put your baking soda in the microwave on high for 10 minutes. When it looks like ash it’s done!

  18. hobby baker says:

    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.

  19. 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.

  20. katie at brighton park says:

    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)…my husband not so much 😉 would love for you to stop by and meet us!

  21. Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable says:

    @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.

  22. 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!

  23. 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?

  24. Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable says:

    @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:)

    • Walmart sells some essential oils that are cheaper than health food stores and sometimes I have spotted them in the dollar stores. Hope this helps.

      • “Cheap” essential oils, especially those found at a dollar store are not essential oils. Scented oils (probably what you’re finding at Walmart and dollar stores) are not the same as essential oils. Be sure the bottle says “pure essential oil”. If someone thinks they’ve purchased essential oils and then uses them for other uses, it could cause serious problems.

  25. Anonymous says:

    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?

  26. Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable says:

    @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:)

    • Carol Lee says:

      Where can I find the Castile soap? I am unfamiliar with the product. I have made homemade laundry soap and love it….now trying to make the rest of my cleaners and products as well.

  27. Becky @ The Barefoot Seamstress says:

    Wow, this is amazing! I am loving your site…in fact I just subscribed by email so I won't miss a thing 🙂

  28. Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable says:

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

  29. butterfly429 says:

    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!! 🙂

  30. Julie Stewart says:

    Thanks so much for posting this, will be giving it a try soon. 🙂

    • I hope you enjoy it Julie! I just love it. It’s quite different that store bought but it works wonders. Enjoy!

      • Hi! Would fels naptha work in place of castille soap? I ask, as I make my own laundry soap and it is very close to your recipe for the dish soap. Love your idea!!

  31. How does the cost of this dish soap compare to what we can buy commercially? It sounds very nice!

  32. Melissa S says:

    I have a cleaning dishes question you may or may not know. I left a pot of chili on the stove with a nice (and of course new) stainless steel ladle in it. I left the house and it burnt up the chili and it stuck to the ladle. Luckily the house! Is there something that might get that stuck on burnt food off there? The pot was easy it just came right out. I hate to lose this ladle. I tried SOS pads and vinegar and baking soda. Maybe I didn’t leave it to soak long enough. Just wondered if you might have any tips. Thanks.

    • Make a paste with baking soda and apply it to the ladle. Let it sit over night and in the morning spray with vinegar and scrub. Rinse with water. I really hope that works.

    • Staonless steel wool. Works great on all of my brushed stainless steel! and again no chemical!!!

  33. Melissa S, did you try boiling the ladle? Does anyone know of stores that still carry the Ivory Flakes? I found them online but no luck in stores.

  34. Melissa,

    Let the ladle soak in hot soapy water with some vinegar in it. Leave it soaking until tomorrow and then try again.

    I remember my Mother washing my brothers mouth out with fels naptha fifty years ago 🙂

    Love this site! Great info 🙂

  35. Andrea, you mentioned Borax as one of your mainstay cleaners. Everything I’ve been reading lately says that Borax is in fact bad for us and the environment. Do you have suggestions for a replacement? I really want to try these recipes and others I’ve found, but so many contain Borax. Thanks for your time!

    • Hi Natalie! This is a great question!

      I have read concerns over Borax a couple of places, but I would love to read some good research articles on the topic. If you have some that you could send to me I would really be appreciative:) In my current research I have found that the natural occurring mineral Borax has been used for literally thousands of years throughout the world and used in the US since it was discovered in California in the late 1800’s. There have been no specific ill effects (other than skin sensitivities) linked to Borax, just a lot of warnings such as “Do not ingest” (similar to the warnings not to ingest Washing Soda or too much baking soda). In high quantities, I understand it is used as an insecticide and fungicide; but garlic can also be used in the garden as such? So I’m not sure where I stand on that quite yet.

      However, with that said, I have just been talking to a dear friend of mine who has historically battled repeat yeast infections. Through the recommendation of a naturopath she began taking a very, very, very small amount of Borax in a large amount of water (not sure of the ratio). Within a few weeks time she had experienced complete relief of her symptoms and has not had another bit of trouble. I am in no way suggesting this as a treatment for anyone!!! I am simply stating an alternate example of the benefits.

      So I guess it’s time for me to do some serious research on this topic:) To answer your question…I do not have a replacement for borax. In most of the recipes (with exception to the laundry detergent) it is used in very small amounts, and so far I am okay with using it in my home. But I will search for more information on the topic. And as I mentioned…please send me any research articles you have:)

  36. I really do not like the smell of vinegar. Is it overwhelming? I’m just wondering before I try it.

  37. Going to try this too. The laundry soap recipes was great!

  38. i have borax i got it a year ago when i made laundry soap. then i read that borax is bad for you so i qiut making naturel products for cleaning since a lot of them use borax. is this true? if it is i defanitly wouldnt want to use it for something we eat and drink from.

    • also is the borax still good? do you know how long the self life is? thanks

      • Borax is sodium tetraborate and it is often confused with boric acid which is Trihydrooxidoboron. they are different compounds and have different effects. While you dont ant to consume a lot of borax it rinses off with water so normal dish rinsing would take care of that. and borax is a naturally occuring mineral so i dont believe it has an effective shelf life.

  39. Sue Murdock says:

    Hi I just made this and tried it out…I find it to be a little “greasy”?? Am I doing something wrong?

    • Mine came out greasy as well, and when I put it in the sink I had instant soap scum! Will try thinning it down a bit, I suspect it’s just too thick.

    • I had this problem as well, mine also separated in the soap jar, with clear liquid on the bottom and super heavy white suds-like foam at the top, so think it wont come out of the hole when i squeeze it…any suggestions? Should I reduce the amount of Castile bar soap shavings so it is less thick??

      • Christine says:

        Mine worked out great. Only had to add about 1/4 cup of water the next day to thin it a little. Make sure you stir until all the soap shavings have dissolved.

      • I made mine also and it was greasy with the separation too. Mine would not clean the dishes either, not sure if I did something wrong or not, all my soap was dissolved (used plain unscented lye soap that I made). I would really like to replace my dish soap, and will try again, but any feed back would be appreciated. I did by a bar of Dr. Bronners castile soap so maybe that was the issue. Thanks to anyone with help

  40. Stephanie Z. says:

    Hi, I love this idea can’t wait to make it. I do see that in the recipe you do not have any borax in it…but in the items list it is there…so is it used in the recipe or am I reading it wrong LOL!!!

    • Sorry for the confusion Stephanie! There’s no borax in this recipe, it’s just one of the 5 ingredients I use in all of my cleaning products.

  41. Julie Stewart says:

    Loving the laundry detergent! Used it today and am totally happy with the results. 🙂 So glad I found you! 🙂

    Looking forward to trying the dish detergent too, but need to locate some castile soap. will be making that soon too.

    Thanks again for all you do! You’re a wealth of information! 🙂


  42. Oh, you know what, I LOVE Dr. Bronner’s castille soap. I just might buy some tomorrow at Whole Foods. Is there a way to make this soap using Dr. Bronner’s castille bar soap? Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather 🙂

  43. I was searching for homemade dish soap on Pinterest and I’ ve found your blog!
    I am so happy I ‘ve found you!

    I’ve just switched from “already bought stuff” for dishwashing machine to homemade one (thanks to Homesteading Revival) and I LOVE IT!
    I will try your recipe now for handwashed dishes!!

    Thank you.

    Francesca from Italy

  44. Debora Cadene says:

    Hi, I just found your site and look forward to touring around. I’d like to make the dish soap, but was wondering if I could use the Castile bar soap, and how much of it would I use…or does it matter what soap you use?? Looking forward to hearing back..I can’t wait to make this.

  45. Debora Cadene says:

    Can this dish soap be made with Castile bar soap, or any bar soap? and how much would you use.

  46. You can buy essential oils, glycerin, etc at Hobby Lobby in the section with bath salt supplies!

  47. This recipe works great! My family has a bit of an issue with it not sudsing well, though. Is there anything I can add that will add suds?

    • I just made this recipe and had the same results – no suds at all. It seems to clean well and there were a few suds when I first filled up the sink, but then they all disappeared…any suggestions?

      • It’s not going to be super sudsy like store bought 🙁 And I’m learning that the suds factor has a lot to do with water quality. You get a much better suds if you have soft water. Hard water seems to kill it.

        • If water quality is an issue, I may use distilled water next time. I just made my first lot, washed some greasy dishes and it worked good, but in meantime my dishwashing liquid in the bottle turned solid, why is that?

  48. Although I’ve made my own vinegar cleaner and window/glass cleaner for years, I’m a little new to many of the recipes and ingredients used in making other homemade cleaning products.

    Where — that is, in what kind of store — can I buy castile soap that I don’t have to order? I hate to have to pay shipping charges when I don’t need to! Is castile soap expensive?

    Also, I noticed you said Ivory soap, which I know is readily available, could be used instead of castile. Could you elaborate on this? Is it as pure as castile? What about its cost-effectiveness? Would I just grate it and warm it in the amount of water called for in the recipe?

    And the tea tree and essential oils that were mentioned … I saw that one post recommended finding them at Hobby Lobby. Are they the little bottles of oils that you get in the pharmacy for candy making? If not, what would be the approximate cost for them?

    Lots of questions, I realize, but I appreciate your help!

    • Howdy Colleen! I don’t know if you still need the answers to these questions 5 months later, but I just came across your unanswered questions, so I’ll answer them. =)

      Castile soap (one popular brand is Dr. Bronner’s) is found in my grocery store in the natural/organic area, and also at GNC… the place that sells protein powders, vitamins, etc. It is an olive oil-based soap. The price will probably shock you a little, BUT… it’s used in many natural cleaner and personal product recipes in pretty small amounts, so it’s not like you’re shelling out tons of money and using it all up in a day. The bottle will last you a while. Even though it’s somewhat expensive, I believe you will still save money using castile soap to make your own stuff.

      As for Ivory soap, its slogan for decades was “99 44/100% Pure.” You really can’t get much more pure than that, so it’s a definite alternative if you don’t want to use the castile. (Though you’ll still need castile soap for other recipes you may want to try. LOL)

      Essential Oils… the candy making oils you mentioned aren’t essential oils. They’re extracts, and they’re just not what you need here. You need THERAPEUTIC GRADE Essential Oils. Ironically, in my smallish town, my grocery store and GNC also carry these in addition to the castile soap! LOL (Again, at my grocery store, it’s in the natural/organic section of the store with all the eco-friendly soaps, shampoos, etc. — actually about two shelves above the castile.)

      Make sure you get pure THERAPEUTIC grade essential oils, NOT POTPOURRI oil. Although you can use therapeutic grade oils to freshen your potpourri, you CANNOT use potpourri oils for recipes like this. Potpourri oils are just smelly — they have no other purpose than to smell nice. Essential Oils have multitudinous benefits beyond their smell, including being antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-fungal, etc.

      This may have been too late to help you, Colleen, but I hope it helps some future reader on down the line. =)

      • Colleen says:

        Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, Laurie. In the past five months I did find out a little bit about castile soap vs. Ivory soap (including a great recipe for making several quarts of liquid hand/shower soap out of one bar of soap!), but I still was totally in the dark about essential oils. Your explanation cleared this up for me. As I live in a rural area with no great shopping nearby, I’ll be checking out the GNC next time I head to our nearest big city.Thanks again!

        • Hey, you’re welcome, Colleen! I do want to mention that my GNC has a VERY limited selection of essential oils… maybe 6 or 8 of them — but at least they got me started when I was dying to mix up some stuff and didn’t know where to find EOs. LOL But they DO carry the most common ones called for in most of these sorts of recipes (rosemary, lavender, eucalyptus, tea tree, lemon). If you want to try others, you may have to order online if you can’t find them anywhere else.

          Also, would you mind sharing where you got the recipe for the gazillion quarts of shower soap? That’d be a cool thing to have. I was just thinking yesterday that I haven’t found a good homemade body wash recipe yet!

          • Colleen says:


            I’d be happy to share! The link is http://www.savvyhousekeeping.com/how-to-turn-a-bar-of-soap-into-liquid-hand-soap/. (I hope this link works). A few thoughts on the recipe, though. Depending on what bar soap you use — and the possibilities are nearly limitless — results will vary. I used Ivory 🙂 because I’d been given a bunch of it so it was free and some hotel soaps because my husband, a truck driver, brought them home and they were, um free! (that’s my favorite price!)

            I did have to buy a bottle of glycerin (which I found in the first-aid aisle at WalMart — about six or eight ounces for less than $4), but I’ve got plenty left for future batches of soap. I don’t know how it would have turned out without the glycerin.

            In any case, I when tried to finely chop one of the mini hotel soaps and used just a few cups of water (couldn’t believe it would dilute down to what the recipe says) in my spaghetti kettle, I saw that the soap really needs to be grated to dissolve properly in the warmed water. So I bought a grater from the dollar store, grated a bar of Ivory and stirred it in. It dissolved very quickly. So far so good. I set it off the heat to cool and see what happened and, to my amazement, it turned into something the consistency of finger jelly/Knox blocks! So, I added a few cups of water, warmed gently, and cooled again — still very firm. Even adding a total of 12 cups (more than the recipe’s suggested 10 cups, but remember, I had a mini hotel soap in there) resulted in something not really liquid-y.

            At the 12-cup mark, with the mixture warm, I stirred in one or two drops of blue food coloring and got a really pretty baby blue! Then, going back to the website, I saw that someone had tried to add cinnamon for a nice smell and tried that. Big mistake! My lovely soap was now an ugly, muddy brown — with no cinnamon smell! I think your beloved essential oils would have been a better idea! I tried to correct the color with a bunch more blue food coloring; now it’s brown, but not a muddy, ugly brown (and neither my dear husband nor my picky stepchildren have registered any complaints!)

            I let the 12-cups-of-water mixture cool and still had something that wasn’t pretty firm and not pump-able. Back to the instructions! Some people posted that they whirled it in their blender. Not wanting to taint my food blender with the taste of concentrated soap, I used my Kitchenaid mixer with whip attachment and processed about a quarter of the batch ata time. Now it was a little more pour-able, but still pretty thick. So I poured most of it into my several-quarts-big liquid soap storage jug. I poured the remainder into my bathroom liquid soap dispenser, added still more warm water (so that I wouldn’t overly dilute the big batch accidentally), put the lid on and shook vigorously.

            I should say that the resulting liquid soap mixture in my dispenser does have that “snot” consistency mentioned by several people in the instructional web site, but I find that if you just kind of scrap the pump opening across your hand as you pull your hand away from the opening, dangling strands of soap snot (sorry!) are eliminated. And no one in my family has complained.

            Even after adding all that water, the liquid is plenty soapy. Adding more water probably would have resulted in a more conventional consistency, but I wasn’t sure how much water I could continue to add and still have the desired soapiness — and I didn’t want to end up having to pitch the whole batch after a couple of days playing with this because I’d diluted it too much.

            Hope this helps. Happy soap making!

  49. How large a container will I need for this? I have some canning jars but I’m not sure if I have one large enough.

  50. Hi everyone,
    I made the dish soap today and once it cooled it turned very hard. I used a 1/2c of Dr. B’s castille bar soap (grated) instead of the liquid. That is the only thing I did differently. Has anyone else experienced this, or did I mess it up major somehow???

    • I used the Ivory bar (castille isn’t readily available where I live) and had the same results. Not sure what I did wrong yet, or how to fix it.

      • I have been testing the recipe using bar soap and so far I’ve discovered that you need to use way less bar soap and even then it really doesn’t work quite a well as the liquid castile. For the batch you have now Cassi, I’d dilute it a bit more with water to try and thin it. You can still use it. If you wash dishes by hand, you can scoop the soap out and add it to a sink full of water and use it that way too. Hope this helps! Let me know…

    • next time make sure you stir it after you make it several times. you also could have whisk it real good and it would have been alright. Mine was thick and I started stirring and that made a big difference. She says that in the video. good luck on the next batch

  51. Traci Zellner says:

    If a recipe calls for liquid soap, is it referring to Castille soap, plain hand soap or what? Confusion! I get my essential oils from Green Clean Chic or Puritan’s Pride (they have a lot of sales, buy 2 get 3 free).

  52. I made my own dish soap using Castile soap and found it quite nasty to wash dishes with. Was greasy, didn’t suds and left a film on the sink and counters. Definitely couldn’t wash pots with it. No grease cutting power at all. Was just plain yuck.
    Thanks! I will give this a try.

    • Hi Amanda! You can also try a rinse with water and white vinegar solution. I always keep baking soda by the sink to help with the grease and stuck on food.

  53. Amy @ Homestead Revival says:

    I’m so thrilled to see this recipe for dish soap. The brand I’m using just seems so expensive and yet I’ve not been happy with the cheap stuff I’ve tried. I can’t wait to make this! Thank You!

  54. Hi! I want to try this, and I was wondering if I could substitute baking soda for washing soda. I trust baking soda more, I guess, since I could eat it. If not, would it work well just to leave it out? Love your site,

    • Hi Miranda…I understand your concerns. Washing soda is eco friendly and biodegradable, but unfortunately baking soda would act a bit differently in this recipe. Washing soda works to provide a bit of “gel” to the soap. But hey…try it with the baking soda and see how it works! If you do try it, would you post back here and let us know how it works for you? I’m sure there are others who share your concern:)

      • Jane Barkley says:

        I absolutely share that concern about purchasing washing soda. It’s constituted almost entirely of sodium carbonate which can be severely toxic on a number of levels.
        Would love to see an alternative.

    • Miranda,
      I saw on another great site that if you have a hard time finding washing soda that you can make your own (I have not tried this but according to her, it works). She wrote, “Simply bake traditional baking soda on a baking sheet for 1 hour and 250 degrees (f). Make sure to use right away or store in an airtight container as prolonged air exposure will make it revert back to baking soda.” Hope this helps you out 🙂

  55. Just wanted you to know that I made this today and so far so good! I love it! Thanks! 🙂

  56. Thank you so much. I make everything homemade- all cleaning products, holistic healing and all. I have yet to make my own liquid dish soap. Thanks!

  57. Thank you for the recipe! I recently made the switch to homemade, chemical free cleaning in my home and could not be happier! Laundry detergent, all-purpose cleaner, tile scrub and more… all using the same few ingredients you’ve listed in the post. I didn’t know my home could smell so clean! I’ve been wondering about dishwashing liquid and finally came across this excellent recipe. Thank you again!

  58. Hi! I made this, but it is still pretty watery after about 5 hours. How long does it take to stiffen up? Does it ever become gel-like? Thanks so much!

  59. I made this yesterday and it is still very watery even after sitting out overnight. Will it thicken?

  60. Hi thanks for the recipe, i have tried it twice -im having a problem with the soap getting to hard after some time. any ideas? maybe add extra vinegar? -i followed the recipe as described above.

  61. Gemma Hanlon says:

    Hi Andrea – I made this dish soap but used Castille bar soap instead of Dr Bonner’s – totally misread the recipe. I now have a jar of very thick white pasty stuff. Are there any good uses for this? I will be trying the recipe again with the correct ingredients. Thank you 🙂

    • Use it as laundry soap at about 1/4-1/2 cup per load 🙂

      • Thank you. I’ve been using it to soak dish cloths and my son’s socks as a pre-soak. Perfect. I made the dish soap with the correct ingredients but am also finding it to be a little oily. A water rinse seems to make everything great in the end. I think it’s quite hard to adjust from the commercial products to home-made ones but it’s such fun!

  62. Your recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups hot water plus all the other ingredients but in the area where it tells you how to combine everything, it says “combine all ingredients – mix well” and then it says to pour 1 1/2 cups very hot water & stir. Are you saying we need a total of 3 cups of hot water or just the 1 1/2 cups? Thanks.

  63. Don’t be afraid to use the dishwasher. There are really great homemade recipes out there. I, myself, use homemade detergent. I handwash what absolutely needs it or what cannot go into the dishwasher. I will definitely try this. I have liquid castile soap so I will use that. Thank you for this post.

  64. Could this be used as a hand soap, too? Or should gloves be worn while washing the dishes?

  65. Thank you so much for ALL your work in giving us these recipes. I used Ivory soap and found a couple of things I had to do. First I had to disolve the soap in the water without any of the other ingredients. I also increased the water to 4 cup for 2 recipies as the next morning my soap was almost hard. Hopefully I won’t have this problem again. If so I will try with even more water. I REALLY liked your homemade soft scrub!!!

  66. Hi there,
    I came across your recipe after looking for a good Castille soap/dish soap recipe! I was anxious to try but then a friend pointed me in the direction of another article talking about how you aren’t supposed to actually mix Castille and vinegar directly? It apparently negates the entire cleaning reaction and makes it a clumpy mess. Is this the case? Do you feel like your dishes are getting clean? On a side note – I have tried the powder dishwasher recipe floating around – washing soda, citric acid, borax, etc and even with a vinegar rinse in the cycle, my dishes are still cloudy and grimey. If anyone has suggestions, please let me know!

    • Hi Brandy! I do feel like my dishes are getting really clean. When we wash by hand we use this recipe in the water on one side of the sink, and baking soda on a sponge for tough on grease and food. Then on the other side of the sink we rinse with a vinegar and water rinse…works like a charm. As for the dishwasher recipe, I have the very same problem! That’s why I rarely use the thing and stick with handwashing 🙂

      • Thanks Andrea! Love your blog, btw. I’ll give this a shot! I’m excited to try it. I love Castille soap – and I think I’m about to switch to it as a face wash too!

  67. jeanette says:

    when making the dish soap recipe , i have HARD water and lime deposits do you have any suggestions on how to make my water soft and thicker soap so its more like the store bought. thank you

  68. Margaret says:

    Mine came out very watery. Did I do something wrong, or is this normal?

  69. Mike Corbeil says:

    Enhancing anti-bacterial properties of the soap:

    Dr Bronner’s concentrated liquid herbal-based soaps are soaps I found to be definitely of my liking when first learning about and trying several of the different ones the business makes or made. There were the lavendar, rose, castille, pepperment, and some others, though I don’t sufficiently remember what they were. I tried the four just named and preferred the lavendar one for bathing, or since I don’t bathe, showering, but the castille one was fine for this purpose, as well. The peppermint one was one to be wary of, for it’s a very strong soap that needs to be diluted more than the others do. I tried showering with the peppermint one and quickly learned, after my butt felt like it was on fire, that this soap needs to be additionally diluted if it’s to be used for body cleansing; like fire, it was. But using it without dilution can also be tough on less sensitive skin areas.

    From what I recall having read on the labels of some of those soaps, more than one provides antibacterial benefits and I think the pepperment one is one of them. And the label on that bottle also said that the peppermint soap is a sure way of crabs, if a person is unfortunate enough to contract this problem.

    So, since most of the Dr Bronner soaps can be used for different cleaning jobs and the peppermint one is, I think, surely antibacterial, this one would be another option for making dish soap antibacterial. How much would be required to truly make your recipe antibacterial enough for cleaning dishware and cookware, I don’t know. There’ld need to be enough, but too much and a person’s skin can then burn or feel like it’s burning, and can probably dry out, I guess.

    If lavendar and eucalyptus are sufficiently antibacterial though, then I would prefer to uses either of these. The Dr Bronner soaps other than peppermint don’t need to be diluted for bodily cleansing, so any amount of these herbal oils or soaps mixed in a home-made dish soap would be safe to work with.

    PS: I also tried the peppermint soap from Dr Bronner for washing laundry and this turned out to not be a great idea. It created a very itchy sort of result and the clothing needed to be rewashed with a milder soap. I don’t know the exact amount that was used, maybe the equivalent of 1 TBS, but whatever the amount that seemed (at first sight) to be surely okay, it was too much. The lavendar, castille and rose oil-based soaps could be safely used for this purpose, but the peppermint one is especially strong, powerful, so it must be very good for some important purposes; besides the one of getting rid of crabs. (I’ve never had that problem, but do make use of public toilets, so ….)

    Eucalyptus would be as non-problematic as lavendar, castille and rose, but am not sure if the latter two contain antibacterial properties, or how much. I’ve read that eucalyptus leaves, and I guess the same would be true for eucalyptus oil, can be used in place of Pharma. products like Vicks vapor…, a product people put in boiling water and then breathe in the steam to help combat problems of congestion. It sometimes also is used for making purely herbal cigarettes or an herbal blend substitute for pipe tobacco. Unlike tobacco, it lacks nicotene and tar, as well as having very pleasant flavour. American Spirit from an American Indian tribe in I think New Mexico makes tobacco products free of chemical additives, and one is certified organic, but they also make the Pow Wow blend, which is strictly made with many herbs containing neither tar nor nicotene; and it tastes great, but has to be smoked in a pipe. They might not use eucalyptus, since it’s not native to North America, but I’ve read that eucalyptus can be used to add a natural methol-like taste to “smokes”.

    This post has gone far enough off-topic. The main purpose is to mention peppermint or peppermint oil (or a Dr Bronner peppermint liquid soap) for making home-made dish soap antibacterial, and to get feedback about this. So this post will now end.

  70. Melissa says:

    This may have been asked already but there are a lot of posts here lol, what can I use instead of homemade lye soap? I haven’t gotten comfortable enough in my homemade cleaning supplies journey to deal with lye yet. TIA!

  71. I made this soap this weekend (my Mothers Day gift to myself…lol) and am so excited to start playing around with new scents. At the recommendation of some commenters I added 2 tbsp of vegetable glycerin. I think it probably made it a little too thick, so next time I’ll stick with just 1 tbsp. I simply blended it and then added a little more water and it’s a fine consistency all the same.

    Additionally, rather than use one 4oz bar, I used 1/2 a bar of Kirk’s Castile with 1/2 a bar of organic sandalwood (I wasn’t sure the sandalwood soap would work on its own). The mix is a bit foamy in nature..actually foamy snot is more accurate..(ew!) but it does work and smells divine! My entire family loves it, so thank you for sharing. 🙂

  72. I followed the revised recipe after watching the video tutorial, and I used very finely shredded Ivory soap for the bar soap. I think I followed the directions, including leaving it out and stirring for about 8 hours. I stirred at least every hour. However the next day, the soap had separated with white gel at the top, and clear (water?) at the bottom. I’ve been shaking the glass bottle it’s in to re-mix it and using it anyway. But do you have any hints for me? Also the family is weirded out because it does not create all the suds they’re used to. Is it supposed to be like that, or did I do something wrong? Thank you for your website, and for any replies! (I also made the Homemade All-Purpose Cleanser, which is working just great!!)

    • Hi Leslie, just added this post below for Andrea (and everyone!)

      Adding vinegar to Dr. Bonners Castile Soap – they cancel each other out! You can add vinegar to Dr. Bonners Sal Suds, just not to the soap. Dr. Bonners niece, Lisa, warns us about this on her website……(after she discovered so many people on the net are advising to mix the two!) Here’s the link if any one cares to check it out.


  73. Sheri Powelson says:

    I made a quadruple batch of this tonight & used a lovely smelling cranberry bar soap for thickener. Can’t wait till it cools so I can try it! Thanks for giving us the tools to enable us to save money & give our families healthier alternatives!

  74. I made a batch of dish soap using ivory and its seemed great till i ran dish water and NO suds.. is this normal or did I somehow mess up?

    • We too have no suds!! It does seem to clean but the water seems to get dirtier, faster. So we are refilling the sink three – four times for what used to be one load of dishes… Is this right?? Thanks!!

  75. Okay, I’ve seen some great questions from lots of people and I’m excited to try it out, so my question is, your cute jar with the pump in it.. did you use a special tool to punch the hole? I want to use that for a lot of my products just wondering if you did something special?

  76. You can not mix vinegar and castile soap together. Do not make this recipe of soap. You will get a big white clumpy mess. Vinegar is an acid, castile soap is a base. They won’t clean anything if mixed.

  77. Hi Andrea,

    thank you so much for your great work. I love your recipes.
    Just to say though regarding adding vinegar to Dr. Bonners Castile Soap – they cancel each other out! You can add vinegar to Dr. Bonners Sal Suds, just not to the soap. Dr. Bonners niece, Lisa, warns us about this on her website……(after she discovered so many people on the net are advising to mix the two!) Here’s the link if any one cares to check it out. Again, thanks for everything Andrea. Best wishes, Cat.


  78. WARNING!!!!
    Tea tree oil is toxic if ingested. Even in trace quantities. If your kids develop vomiting or diarrhea after washing your dishes with this soap with added tto, discontinue use.

  79. Thanks for this recipe – I just made some up as hubby is doing the dishes and ran out of dishwashing liquid, and I’ve been trying to switch us over to homemade cleaners anyway. I used essential orange oil, since it’s what we had on hand – smells lovely!

  80. BTW, your blog would be a great fit for our “Frugal & Low Consumption Living” section of our Sustainable Living Linky Lists – http://sustainablesuburbia.net/sustainable-living-blogs/ – would love to see you there 🙂

  81. I made this soap and realize the stirring is very important. It worked even better when I whisked it, nice and creamy. Stir or whisk often through out the day.

  82. Happymama2249 says:

    I’m so excited to try this!! But I have a few questions… the liquid castile soap…would that be by like the washing soda and stuff at the store? Also, using the tea tree oil…is that for like anti bacterial effect or what? and I have sweet orange essential oil…is that what I would use to increase the grease cutting effect? How much do you think? 🙂

  83. melissa says:

    I am still very new at all this. I did buy 18 in 1 Hemp Lavendar Pure castile soap, I think I paid over $5.00. If the receipe calls for a half of cup, this will cost alot more than buying. Is this a concentrate? Or do this dishsoap I am making the concetrate? Thanks for all you receipes, they are very helpful.

  84. melissa says:

    Hi Andrea,
    I am new at all of this, which is fun! I am trying to make the dishsoap. I did purchase Dr Bronner’s Magic Soap 18-in-1 Hemp Lavendar pure castile soap for $7.00???? The receipe call for 1/2 cup which is half of the bottle. My question is, did I buy the wrong soap? Can I use less of this? What is the exact soap I need to buy. Thanks

  85. Melissa from the Blue House says:

    Great minds! 🙂 I just wrote a blog post about homemade dishwasher detergent yesterday! http://www.thebluehouseblog.com/2012/06/my-homemade-dishwasher-detergent.html?m=1

  86. Hi! Thanks for sharing what has worked well for you. I’m about to run out of the Dawn that we’ve used for a while and have been looking for simpler alternatives. I have read a post before, though, by Lisa Bronner (of Dr. Bronner’s family) that vinegar and castille soap shouldn’t be mixed. That they kind of cancel each other’s effectiveness out due to the first one being an acid and the second being a base. Here’s the article: http://lisa.drbronner.com/?p=292
    What do you think about that? Perhaps the washing soda makes up for any effectiveness that has been lost with the mixture of the other two?

    Thanks again.

  87. Hi, I just wanted to leave this as an FYI. Dr. Lisa Bronner recommends NOT directly mixing vinegar and Dr. Bronner’s soap together.


  88. Lindsay says:

    I just made this dish soap! How long should I wait for it to gel up? I made it about 7 hours ago and it’s still runny.


  89. Rebekah Stull says:

    I made this but didn’t add the grated soap and used orange essential oils. It smells amazing but it keeps separating. When I add it to the water there’s a scum that floats on top of the water and all my dishes have a grimy coating all over them. What could have gone wrong?

  90. amy sterken says:

    According to Dr. Bronner website, you should not mix castile soap Nd vinegar in same container. They cancel each other out. You have to do a separate vinegar rinse?

  91. I didn’t have luck with it…it left a film on my dishes…I love the all purpose cleaner and the laundry detergent…I ended up using it as a handsoap

  92. I just wanted to tell you that the only thing I would change about this recipe is……..NOTHING! This stuff is amazing! I have tried everything inclunind all of the natural dish soaps on the market and always hated doing dishes since it always left my hands a wreck. This is by far the best stuff I have ever used. I have been using it for 5 days now and I actually get excited when there are dishes to be washed. My dishes are squeaky clean, and best of all, my hands are so soft I can’t believe it (without lotion!). Thank you so much for having this recipe online. It has made a once dreaded chore a sheer delight. Made another 5x batch (since I will never go back) using Dr. Woods Peppermint Castile. Total cost for 80oz of dishsoap? Less than $7!!!!! I use to pay that for one small bottle of organic.

  93. I have tried this recipe and love it; my question is how long should one batch last you? I usually make two batches at a time, but it usually doesn’t last a whole week. Just wondering Andrea, how long does a batch last you? Thanks so much for the recipe….

  94. Don’t vinegar and soda cancel each other out? Why are they used together in this recipe? Thanks!

  95. I made this dish soap and it works great the only issue is the ones who a made it for. All my family members. Only Have one issue were are the suds. Do you know of a way to make it have lots of suds or a recipe that makes lots of suds. Any help would be great!


  96. Erica DeSimone says:

    I’m a relatively recent reader (I think maybe I started around May or June this year?) and I’ve been eliminating all of the “bad” chemicals since then. I made a bigger step by donating all unopened items from my stockpile (I used to be an extreme couponer!) and taking all opened items to the Hazardous Waste recycling center. That is, except for the opened bottle of dishsoap. I looked at the ingredients in some of the “natural” cleaners at the store but was unimpressed, so I wasn’t sure what to do.

    Then I thought to check here! I figured if anyone had a great natural dishwashing recipe it would be you, and I’m so happy I’m right! This is awesome and it works great!

  97. HomeINsteader says:

    Greetings, all! Some thoughts to share:

    1. Please don’t miss the posts showing that vinegar and castile soap should not be mixed;
    2. Most people use white vinegar (I use it for cleaning); white vinegar is probably made mostly from corn these days and most likely GMO corn, in case that interests you; you can internet search (try http://www.duckduckgo.com as they don’t track you and sell your info like “others” do);
    3. According to some studies, running dishes in a dishwasher actually SAVES both water and energy vs. hand-washing for the same dishes; again, you can duckduckgo it and read for yourself;
    4. I’m one of those unfortunates who can’t tolerate tea tree oil – it sets of an asthma response; my personal favorite is the Lemongrass essential oil from Mountain Rose – I think it gets everything a clean, citrus-like fragrance.

  98. What about making my own castile soap. Does anyone have a recipe for that?

  99. I have used this homemade liquid dish soap for a month now. My glassware comes out greasy and there is film olf grease on my hands and in the sink. What can I add to dissolve the grease?.

  100. Logan Adsit says:

    Hi. Thanks for the recipe! I just read on Dr. Bronner’s castile soap website that they don’t recommend combining vinegar and castile soap together because you’re moving away from actually getting something clean. It said you should just use castile soap THEN vinegar as a rinse. Thought you might want to know that. Also, I did try and make this recipe- have been using it for a few days. I didn’t use the bar of soap at the end because I didn’t have any of my homemade at the time I made it but I don’t really like the soap. It is thin and doesn’t seem to clean the dishes well- I feel like i’m just cleaning with water. I really want this to work though- do you fill a sink with water then add a few squirts to the soap? Or do you put this soap on the sponge and wash the dishes like that? How much soap do you use for a sink of dishes (on average?) Anything else that might help me like this soap more.. would adding the bar soap (to make it more like conventional store bought dish soap) make a huge difference?
    Thank you for taking the time to respond!

  101. i made this and left film on dishes is there something doing wrong ? does it work better with well water that with city water . does tempurature make difference worked really good with plates and bowls but everything else was greasy filmly. please help

  102. Hi
    Followed the directions carefully for the liquid dishwash soap – and it worked great fr a couple of days – then I began to notice that there was solid material in the bottom of the bottle – over the course of the next week – as I used it – it continued to solidify – no longer squirts out of the bottle – any suggestions?

  103. This was the first time I made this. It sounded wonderful! Mine looked very runny so I added an extra tablespoon of the washing soda to thicken it. Boy, did it ever thicken it! Too much! Now I’m adding water but it’s still jelling almost like my laundry detergent does. Does anyone have any recommendations for me? Thanks so much!!

  104. This worked! I love it and thank you for sharing.

    -½ cup liquid castile soap
    -1 tablespoon of white vinegar
    -1 tablespoon of Arm&Hammer’s Super Washing Soda (used to thicken the soap)
    Also a lot of people are getting BORIC ACID AND BORAX CONFUSED. Boric Acid is used as a pesticide NOT Borax. Borax as with most items you buy is not intended for human consumption as in eating on foods or straight from the box BUT rarely causes a problem in regards to using in cleaning recipes which use small amounts of it. Boric Acid is dangerous and can actually burn your skin or cause a chemical reaction when you touch, inhale, or eat it in any amount.

  106. i want to make this stat! But i am new to all of this and have a couple questions. In the recipe above it says liquid soap but then kater you refer to shredded bar soap. I have a bar of castile soap. Do i shred a half cup of that? Also the recipe says combine all the ingredients then add the hot water. So does that mean there is a total of three cupes of water? Water with the soaps then add more water or, mix the soaps and then add the water? I just want to be sure because its not going to save me any money if i do it all wrong 🙂

  107. Hi Andrea, finally gonna give this a try tonight! Making my shopping list as we speak. I was waiting til I ran out of the stuff I had already bought previously before I decided to make my own. My question for you is can baking soda be substituted for washing soda. I checked Target online and they didn’t have washing soda in stock. I didn’t want to make a trip to Walmart if I could help it!


  108. Hi 🙂

    I just make my first-ever batch of hot-process soap,, & it turned out wonderful!! When I washed out my pot I ended up cleaning all the dishes in the sink because the soap was so great! (& not dryinv on my skin! 🙂 )
    I’m wondering if you have suggestions for me to replace the liquid soap with my bar soap shavings. (i saw a commenter suggest 1/2 bar of soap- but I need weight/measurements)

    I might just start experimenting, since I have lots of shavings from shaping out my bars. (8oz!)

    My soap is just extra virgin olivd oil & coconut oil. I added a bit of lavender & tea tree for Hubby’s skin preferance- great for household cleaning tok! 😉

  109. I just made this (the recipe on PDF with the bar soap instead of liquid soap) a few days ago. It seems to be working good, but I do have a few questions…
    1 there’s almost no bubbles and I seem to have refill my sponge for every dish to get them really clean, is this normal?
    2 after the dishes dry, sometimes there’s white-ish residue.. Is this normal or did I do something wrong?
    I’m a perfectionist when it comes to cleaning, so I doubt it’s my dish washing skill…
    3 the texture of the soap is more clumpy than creamy.. And water separate and settle on the bottom of the bottle after a few days.. Is this also normal?
    Thank you so much for your help and the recipes

  110. After using this soap recipe for many months, I found I was getting build-up on my dish cloths. I shared the recipe with a friend and she immediately pointed out that acid+soap=separates the fat back out of the soap. We shouldn’t be adding vinegar to this! I stopped adding the vinegar and have noticed NO difference in the clarity/cleanliness of my dishes. By all means, add vinegar to your rinse water, but by adding the vinegar to the dishsoap itself, you are washing your dishes with oil/fat.

    I’m actually about to try another recipe without washing soda – just soap and water. Simplify, simplify, simplify! 🙂

  111. I made this for the first time yesterday and it came out very runny 🙁 I heated it in the microwave and added more washing soda to see if it would thicken but no luck so far. I did make my own washing soda by baking Baking soda at 400 degrees for an hour as another site suggested. I wonder if this was the problem…. I wasn’t able to find washing soda so I tried using my chemistry skills. Its been about a decade since Organic Chemistry so I am probably pretty rusty.

    I have also noted a lot of questions about dishwasher soap. I use Soap nuts 18X concentrate. About 6 drops in the soap dispenser (with the lid) and and 6 more in the extra soap dispenser ( the one without a lid – I have no idea why there are two). It works pretty well as long as nothing is caked on.

    I also use soap nuts for my laundry including cloth diapers and I love them!!!! I am even going to try and grow my own tree. I also use a dropper full of essential oils and hot water in the fabric dispenser and my laundry smells better than Downy and never gets a sour smell even if I let it sit ( AKA..forgot because I’m a multi tasking mom). I love the idea that the water is not contaminated with chemicals and a plus is that you use less water too. I put a large load on small for the rinse cycle and there is no residue in the clothes and it saves $$ on water because in So Cal water is stupid expensive.

  112. I made my own castile soap and saved even more money that way. I got my recipe from a you tube video by soaping101. Week 34 I think.

  113. I made this soap and it doesn’t sud up..what did I do wrong?

  114. I made the receipe and it wasn’t making suds. What did I do wrong?

  115. I have been using this recipe for a few weeks now, using grated Dr. Bronners citrus castile soap. A few things I learned: I have to add the washing soda and vinegar and mix so it reacts before adding soap and then hot water, or it won’t gel at all. I also added some orange oil for grease-cutting.

    It’s just ok. It does not cut grease like the commercial stuff, and I have to use LOTS of it, like a new squirt on the sponge after maybe 2 or 3 dishes. Not sure what else to try. I keep baking soda by the sink for tougher dishes, but some things were left with a greasy film over it, and I had to use the commercial stuff to get it clean.

    Am I doing something wrong? What else should I try?

  116. I made the soap and i added the one tablespoon of shredded soap it was still to watery. what else can i do

  117. I’m a bit hesitant to use the Super Washing Soda. Here’s what the US Dept of Health and Human Services says about it (edited a bit): “From MSDS:EMERGENCY OVERVIEW White granular powder, no odor . May be harmful if swallowed or inhaled. A severe eye irritant. A moderate skin irritant…..SKIN CONTACT: Various severities of irritation are possible upon prolonged, repeated or occluded contact.INGESTION: Slightly toxic. Ingestion may cause abdominal discomfort and irritation of the oral and alimentary mucosa. Ingestion may also present a potential aspiration hazard.
    Chronic Health Effects: From MSDS:Can cause eye injury upon prolonged contact. Prolonged, repeated or occluded skin contact with concentrated product can cause irritation.” Does anyone know of an alternative recipe w/o the Superwashing Soda?

  118. FYI, here are Dr. Bronner’s recommendations on using castille soap and vinegar. They say don’t mix them or they cancel each other out. http://www.lisabronner.com/a-word-of-caution-about-vinegar-and-castile-soap/

  119. Can I just say Thank You for this recipe and many others you have on this site. I am new to homesteading and removing chemicals and other garbage from my house and this website helps so much. I used to “Google” certain things I was looking for, but now I come here first because I always seem to end up here anyway!

  120. I’ve been getting a greasy residue every time I use this recipe. I thought at first it was just whatever I was washing, but now it’s really bad. Help! I love going chemical-free, but I don’t want my dishes to be greasy!

  121. I made one almost like this. The middle is thick while all around it is just water. It definitely did not mix together. Could you possibly tell me what I did wrong? I have to use more soap every single dish I wash or it doesn’t do anything. Thank you.

  122. Gabesgrammie says:

    I have a couple of questions and a few suggestions regarding this recipe.
    I just made this recipe, and thought a few comments might help others: first, I added the shaved bar soap, as suggested, as well as the addition of a few drops of essential orange oil.

    First: the ingredients list begins with 1 1/2 C. hot water. In the directions, you say to put ALL ingredients in a large bowl, then add 1 1/2 C. hot water. Is this an ADDITIONAL 1 1/2 cup hot water, or the original from the ingredients?

    My discovery: don’t just dump ingredients in the bowl, especially in the order given: you will have a great concoction of soapy stuff with globs of washing soda at the bottom. You need to add it last and be prepared to stir immediately! Once it is wet, it won’t distribute at all. Stirring, even trying to ‘pop’ the clumps with the back of a spoon, doesn’t work. I’m hoping that by letting it sit overnight, I may be able to shake them into blending into the mix.

    Be careful! this stuff is slick!!! I use almost no plastic, but glass containers and the glass especially gets slick. No broken glass, but it really is slick once you put it in your water.

    I also noticed that it was sudsy in the bottle, but once in the water with dirty dishes, became a greasy feeling murky substance. I won’t know if it leaves a film until my dishes dry. (yes, I used it a few seconds ago, but wanted to write this while my mental notes were fresh!)
    I will say that the bar soap I used was a goat milk based soap, which may explain the milky color.

    Ladies, please use caution when using bar soap for this. If you are interested in health and few chemicals, DON’T use the soap you get from the store! It is full of chemicals, and most are extremely toxic! Fels Naptha, while great for getting rid of poison oak oils, is made with napthalene, the moth ball smelling stuff and is very toxic!

    Castile soap, in bar form is ivory. I don’t know if they put other stuff in it, but it is a commercial product, so it is likely. I buy online form several sources, and usually a goat mils soap. Most also have a castile soap version (the only difference is castile soap is olive oil based, goat milk, is milk based, with added other oils) True castile soap has ONLY olive oil as its oil component.

    Washing soda is perfectly safe. You just don’t want to leave it on your clothing when washing with it, make sure it is rinsed out, and you shouldn’t breath the dust, but that goes for most things, anyway. Don’t be afraid to use washing soda properly.

    As others have commented, it doesn’t suds like regular dish soap, but were you aware that it takes chemicals in ‘normal’ products to make those suds? Sudsing does not indicate good cleaning, it is just what manufacturers have put in to make people think their products are working, because that is what customers like to see: lots of suds and think it means it is working.
    We have been programmed to believe that suds mean clean, when it does not necessarily mean it is.
    and those suds leave residue on clothing and dishes, as well. Try it: on your next load of laundry, don’t use any soap: Watch it, and you’ll see plenty of suds come out while agitating. that is the residue of your normal soap which rubs against your body and your kids bodies after they are dry. Yuk!
    I use an organic, chemical free based laundry soap, use VERY little of it, and always add white vinegar to the rinse to get out any leftover soap, and as a fabric softener, which I don’t use, especially dryer sheets.
    I believe leaving out the vinegar in this recipe, and instead adding it to the rinse is a better idea.
    Anyway, thanks for letting me share here.

  123. Hello,
    In the “update” section of the recipe, you wrote to add the tablespoon of grated soap to the recipe. However, when I watched your video, you only used the grated soap and not the liquid soap. So, is it one or the other…or both?
    I just made some this morning with the liquid Castile soap. As the above comment, I followed the order of the recipe instead of how you did it in the video and my washing soda did not dissolve well. Perhaps changing the steps would allow the recipe to be more user friendly.
    Thanks! Please respond with the liquid versus grated soap answer when you have a chance.

  124. Hi! I am not sure if you are aware, but castile soap and vinegar should not be mixed. They basically cancel out each other and can cause different problems of it’s own. I suggest using the recipe without the vinegar and using the vinegar as a rinse aid instead. Here is a post about castile soap and vinegar: http://www.liverenewed.com/2012/10/days-green-clean-common-green-cleaning-mistake.html. I hope this helps!

  125. Gabesgrammie says:

    Hi! I thought I’d update my success story with this recipe: First, the washing soda DID finally blend in with the wet ingredients.
    And as for the recipe being un-sudsy, not so much! I guess it was because I filled my sink with hot water and the dirty dishes, THEN realized I had no dish soap, and by the time I got the ingredients together, mixed it up and put it in, the dishes had soaked and let go all the greassy stuff, and the water was almost cold. I used this on the NEXT sink full, and voila!!! nice suds, but not too much! It IS still extremely slick, though, so be extra careful when handling glassware. Oh, BTW: I have well water, which is supposed to be hard. I think it is, but this soap worked great!
    I didn’t notice any film on the dishes after drying, so I would say that this was a complete success story!

  126. Lisa Birdsong says:

    Today was the first time I’ve ever made any homemade type detergent. I used the exact measurements and ingredients and after stirring occasionally during the day I had a huge blob of slightly mushy detergent. I added more hot water and I now have 8 cups of detergent that still doesn’t flow well out of the bottle, I actually had to the the squirt top off and put the soap in the sink that way. HOWEVER…..my dishes were so clean, I had suds that lasted through all the dishes and my hands were not dried out at all.

    Ay suggestions on what happened?

  127. Kellyann Kio says:

    I made dish soap before in a few different ways. However, I kept running into problems. Therefore, I almost thought I would never get to have homemade dish soap. Then one day I was really brainstorming about it and God said, “Why do you need to grate the soap and add anything?” It was an Epiphany. I took the natural coconut bar soap which is like a $1.??; put it in a dish, got my wet sponge,lathered it up and did some dishes. Wow! They were squeaky clean and it did everything I needed it to do. 1. Not have ingredients in the soap that I can’t pronounce and some article tells me it’s dangerous to the health of humans 2. Wash dishes squeaky clean. 3. not cost an arm and a leg. Now all I have left to perfect this experience is make my own coconut soap and I’m all homemade. The soap I buy is Kirk’s bar soap which is at walmart, and some grocery stores. However, it’s not at every Walmart. Although, I have found it at some grocery stores and other stores it’s simply either going to the store and seeing if they have it, cold calling the store and asking if they have it, researching their website ; where there is a will there is a way! I had to share!

  128. Kellyann Kio says:

    Okay this is strange apparently sometimes I feel this oily feeling on the dishes and my hands whenever I clean with “Kirk’s castile soap,” however at time I feel squeakiness. Therefore, I’m going to experiment with different bars of soap. I am still holding true to the simple bar of soap for dishes:)

    • Re:
      “sometimes I feel this oily feeling on the dishes and my hands whenever I clean with “Kirk’s castile soap,” however at time I feel squeakiness.”
      I experience this too. It is confusing. I keep a bowl of water with AC vinegar in it and dunk in those that feel greasy, then rinse and put in drainer.
      :”simple bar of soap for dishes”
      What a GREAT idea!

  129. I am curious how well this works since castile soap is a base and vinegar an acid. Basically Vinegar will rinse away any residue after washing but will un-saponify the soap when mixed together basically rendering it useless. Once the soap has been un-saponified it will leave you feeling a greasy mess of liquid.

  130. Okay, so I am pregnant and smells have really compounded my “morning sickness.” I have been in and out of the hospital from the beginning if that gives you a good base for how sick I have been.

    What is one of my big triggers, SOAP! I have found a homemade laundry soap that I love. And after mopping and washing my dishes this morning, all the while having the garbage can near by so I could relieve myself as I was doing so, I thought: THAT’S IT! I need to find something else. The cleaner I was using is marketed as really awesome all natural, safe if a child drinks etc., stuff. I can’t stand it.

    Did some reading, came across this. Only had to buy one of the ingredients ( Dr. B soap). When I got home, I realized I bought the almond by mistake. EKKK! Slowly, I opened it. smelled it. Nothing. No gag. No instant vomiting. I sniffed a little deeper. NOTHING! I Quickly made the soap, using ivory as suggest, and it has been the first time I haven’t struggled through dishes! Really! Right before I started making it, I threw away the cleaner I used this morning and just touching the bottles and smelling it made me sick. Half hour later, I was back at the cleaning with the HOMEMADE recipe above and I MADE IT! Garbage can left alone! THANK YOU SO MUCH! I plan on changing basically everything in my house. It’s economical and maybe will help save myself from constant garbage can love making. THANKS AGAIN.

    Also, my hands feel nice and soft and I don’t have to worry about keeping them away from my face for fear I’ll catch a waif of something unpleasant.

  131. Hi I would love to use pure essential oils, does Wal-Mart sell them? don’t buy off websites ….any suggestions would be great!!!


  132. i have a question about your directions….im a little confused about how much water total to use…..
    you say combine all ingredients (i assume this means ALL including the water) and then you say to pour in 1.5 c hot water. so is the total water 3 c.? or just 1.5c?

  133. Hi,

    I have read almost all of the above posts and am amazed at how many people have used this recipe and had no problems. I noticed a few people are having the same problem that I am having. Greasy feeling dishes. Especially the plastic dishes. Spots on the silverware etc. I have tried the recipe without the vinegar. I have even used straight Castile soap nothing added. End result is greasy feeling dishes and a greasy ring in my sink. I have also tried using a vinegar water rinse. Helps sometimes but not all the time. I am really trying to go all natural with my cleaning products but this one is frustrating me. I see that most of the comments above that have had problems have not had replies so I am not confident that I will get one either. If anyone does have any suggestions I would greatly appreciate it.

  134. Gathering all the ingredients this weekend – I am so excited to make this! Goodbye nasty Ajax soap which makes my hands dry out. Thanks for the recipe!

  135. can I use lime instead of lemon, their on sale 10 for a $. also where do I get castile soap from and is it cost effective or should I use bar soap shavings. I’m too sick to work but apparently not sick enough for SS, even though I’ve worked for the last 41 years. Enough sniveling… Thank you for the receipt.

  136. I bought the Sal-Suds from Dr Bronner and substituted it. It was very drying to my skin. I also eliminated the vinegar because on the Dr Bronner’s website says you should not mix Dr Bronners and vinegar.
    The solution separates. So I decided to see what would happen if I used it in my toilet and boy does it!
    It also works in the shower and get rid of mystery mold.

  137. Thank you. I just wanted to know where to ship it since I know now to keep producing it

  138. I am reposting this in hopes that someone will reply:

    I have read almost all of the above posts and am amazed at how many people have used this recipe and had no problems. I noticed a few people are having the same problem that I am having. Greasy feeling dishes. Especially the plastic dishes. Spots on the silverware etc. I have tried the recipe without the vinegar. I have even used straight Castile soap nothing added. End result is greasy feeling dishes and a greasy ring in my sink. I have also tried using a vinegar water rinse. Helps sometimes but not all the time. I am really trying to go all natural with my cleaning products but this one is frustrating me. I see that most of the comments above that have had problems have not had replies so I am not confident that I will get one either. If anyone does have any suggestions I would greatly appreciate it. I have gone back to using Melaleuca which I love however would love to be making my own.

  139. I am anxious to try this as I am getting tired of the watered down brands. Three brands I usually use have certainly been cheapened with having yo use so much. I do like suds and wondering if there is another ingredient I could use so there will be suds?

    Thank you for all your work with Frugally Sustainable!

  140. Stephanie Prielipp says:

    Help! I made this exactly as directed using Dr. B’s Citrus Castile Soap. I poured it into a glass container and now it is a big congealed clump. I’ve shaken it, added more hot water and shook some more and the next day it has congealed up again. What am I doing wrong? Anyone else had this problem?

    • well i havent gotten my answer to my greasy problem…..BUT i will help you with yours….i also had that happen with mine & in the next batch i made i didnt put vinegar in it. A friend of mine told me that you cant mix vinegar with castile soap…and it hasnt clumped up yet & its almost gone! If you wanted to add more germ fighting because you took the vinegar out, you could add tea tree essential oil & grapefruit essential oils….thats just what i did. 🙂 hope that all helps.

      • Funny. No one will answer my GREASY issue either. Stephanie I had the same problem with my first batch. None of the things I tried helped with the clumping. The next batch I made I used less washing soda. That did seem to help some. Mine still separated though. And I have not been able to solve the greasy issue. I do not use vinegar in my recipe. The best that I have been able to figure out is that we have extremely hard water and that is what is causing my product to break down and leave the greasy residue.

        • I had the same problem it has to do with the castile soap.
          Try a different soap or Dr Bronners makes a product called Sal-Suds and you can use this instead of the castile soap and at the same time use the vinegar.
          The reason your soap may not be thickening has to do with the washing soda.
          Are you using hot water? Are you using boiling water, I believe you have to use the boiling water to get the washing soda to thicken then just leave it on the counter.
          Try just using the castile to see if that is leaving a greasy residue without the other stuff.
          Then add one item at a time to see which one is giving you the greasy residue.

          • Thank you Karen. Next batch I will try a different soap. I had tried the castille by itself and had the same greasy results.

  141. Hello,
    This is great, I love reading the threads – for cleaning I personally have been only using water of various pH levels and oxidation reduction potential (either strong alkaline-in combination with essential oils for scent or strong acidic water that kills bugs in 30s) from an ionising machine I have at home but the washing up liquid (ecover) and tap water is something that I’m still using for the dishes and I’d like to replace that completely to leave minimum impact on the environment. I’m planning to use highly alkaline water (11.5) to mix with the ingredients. Excited to try this! Thank you for sharing the information!

  142. Does homemade dish soap kill germs as well as store bought dish soap? I’ve been wanting to make my own dish soap for a couple years now but we eat a lot of chicken and I want to make sure my cutting board, knife, and counter will be clean afterwards. Don’t want any lingering germs to make my family sick!

  143. Carolina says:

    Hello Andrea!

    I would suggest for you to make it as a product and sell it on amazon too for us – the busy mothers! I would definitely buy it!

    Thank you!

  144. Sheltermama says:

    This one is no different from a dozen others I’ve read and tried, most of which predated this one. It does not degrease the dishes and is not enough of a savings for homeless women to profit from the information.

    • I hear you and agree. I have tried so many recipes and there all the same. Last night I conceded defeat and when and bought dish soap at the store. I see the original post is a few years old – has anyone come up with any new ingredients to cut the grease? I’ve tried tea tree and various citrus eos

  145. Ellie Watson says:

    That recipe is great! I tried it and I want assure the other readers that it really works! Thank you for sharing!

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