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Homemade Dish Soap: Make Your Own Health-Friendly Cleaner

Updated on November 27, 2016
Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green has tried to reduce the chemical footprint on her property and shares tips and insights about safe and natural alternatives

Homemade Liquid Dish Soup

Nothing beats green, safe-for-you, environmentally-friendly dishsoap.

If you are trying to "go green," one of the first places you'll want to start in is the kitchen. Daily, we expose our skin to chemicals in dish soap. Is there reason for concern?

Dish soaps contain a veritable cocktail of questionable ingredients: chlorine, alkyl phenoxy ethanols, phosphates, DCM, DEA, sodium lauryl sulfate, to name a few . . . and to add to the chemical onslaught, they may contain synthetic fragrances to make them smell more appealing.

You wouldn't bath in chemicals you can barely pronounce, so why put your hands in them on a daily basis?

These chemicals do more than just cause skin irritation. A number of chemicals found in common household products are poisonous and carcinogenic. Do you really want these chemicals being absorbed through your skin? And unless you rinse, very, very well, chances are, chemical residues are left over on your skin, dishes and cutlery. If you are using commercially-produced dish soaps, there is really no getting away from the chemicals.

You can protect yourself and your loved ones by switching to safe cleaning products. It may help to start with products you use each day in your kitchen, then eliminate products used to clean your bathroom, then tackle the products you use to clean the rest of your house. When you finally achieve a chemical-free home, you'll have peace of mind, knowing you no longer come into contact with chemicals that can make you and other family members sick.

While we can't control the chemicals in the environment, certainly, we can take steps to reduce our exposure--and the first place to start is on the home front.

This Hub gives ideas as to how to make your own dishsoap, offering a couple of different ideas for you to try

Grated Ivory Soap

Homemade Liquid Dishsoap

Method 1

It's easy to make your own homemade dish soap and it takes just minutes. This first batch of dish soap can be used if you are reacting to your regular dish soap and encountering skin irritation or rashes. This makes a thick mixture and you may opt to further refine the recipe to change the consistency by adding additional water. I give this soap to get you started but please keep reading this Hub because there are more ideas in store.

I would suggest using this dish soap if you want to switch right away to a safer dishwashing mixture; however, while Ivory is a purer soap, because it comes in a bar, it likely has thickening ingredients to turn it into an actual bar. I've found that the mixture becomes viscous and continues to thicken. This homemade dish soap can be used, in a pinch, whenever you run out of dish soap or until you can make a thinner homemade dish soap using ingredients suitable for a thinner mixture (see below).

Homemade Dish Soap

  1. Grate a bar of ivory soup
  2. Add 1 tsp. of grated soap to empty plastic containers. Old shampoo bottles work well
  3. Fill each container with hot water and shake well.
  4. Allow to sit and continue to shake containers until soap dissolves.

This mixture will continue to thicken so it is important to dilute it well. It is now ready to use for washing dishes. Shake well.

This is a good start to cleaning your dishes with a safer, environmentally-friendly dishwashing liquid.

Rating *

My observations: The liquid kept thickening and while this can be used to clean dishes, I would suggest that you use this if you run short on some other type of safe dishwashing liquid. The agents that turn this into a bar turn your liquid mixture thick and stringy, so while ivory can be used, you may not find it to your liking

Sink Filled With Suds

  • If you don't want to bother grating your Ivory soap, simply hold a bar under the tap as you are running your hot water and your sink will fill with suds. These don't last long but while you are transitioning to safer dish washing liquid, this may prove helpful. Once you get used to using safer products, you soon unlearn your familiarity with dish washing liquid that bubbles to beat heck and covers your dishes with chemicals.
  • Another method, for those who are using baking soda (method 4) but who want some suds, is to sprinkle in baking soda and then do the trick mentioned above.

Keeping Grated Soap on Hand

Method 2

Alternatively, if you don't like how this thickens (and I didn't after trying it) you can simply place your grated soap in a container and sprinkle a little into your sink as you are running your hot water.

Rating **

My observations: by simply keeping grated soap on hand, you do not have to prepare a liquid soap that, as I mentioned above, became thick and stringy and hard to use.

Another Way to Make Homemade Dishwashing Soap

Method 3

For this formula, you will need castile soap. This can be purchased at whole foods stores or organic/green outlets or it may be ordered online.

This results in a mixture with a better consistency and may be preferred.

Homemade Dish Soap

  • 2 cups of liquid castile soap
  • 1/2 cup of warm water

Shake bottle to mix ingredients and shake again prior to use.

Storing a large amount of castile soup on hand means you will can easily make your own dishwashing liquid.

Rating *****

This was so easy and Dr. Bronner's has a good reputation. I like that this product can be used for a multitude of cleaning tasks. I would suggest that you stock up and buy enough so that you get free shipping, thus reducing costs.

Why I Prefer Baking Soda for Washing Dishes

  • My dishes are grease-free
  • They are becoming shiny
  • Who would have thought that simple baking soda would do a far better job of washing dishes than dish washing soap?
  • Baking soda is a known deodorizer so you are deodorizing your sink and drain, as well.

Let's Skip the Soap and Just Use Good Old Baking Powder

Method 4

It just doesn't get any easier. I sprinkle baking soda over my dishes and run hot water into the sink!

Store your baking soda in a container near your sink. (Optional: add a couple of drops of scented oil to your soda so that it has a wonderful smell.)

Simply run your hot water and shake in baking soda in your water for sparkling dishes.

And no worries. You don't have to have bubbles and foam for clean dishes.

Rating *****

Wow! this is working far better than I had anticipated. I simply fill my sink with hot water, sprinkle baking soda on top of my dishes and then wash them. I notice that, while there are no suds, using baking soda to wash dishes cuts grease wonderfully well!

Additionally, I'm noticing that my dishes are shinier, far more than from before and I think the baking soda is removing built up deposits and who knows what chemicals from the previous chemical-based dish detergent. Another plus I've found, is that, if you are washing something that has staining, you can simply dip your cloth into the baking soda and remove the stain while you wash your dishes. I did this, this morning for tea-stained mugs, and it worked wonderfully well.

Additional Uses for Homemade Dish Soap for the Kitchen

  • Tap Cleaner--Squirt a dab of your homemade dish soap onto a rag and sprinkle on baking soda. Scrub kitchen taps. This mixture does a wonderful job of shining chrome.
  • Floor Cleaner--If using your liquid dish soap, this mixture can also be used to clean floors. Simply squeeze into a bucket of hot water and scrub floors with a brush or run mop over.
  • Hand Cleaner--Liquid soap can also be used to refill hand washing soap containers.
  • Wall cleaner--remove scuff marks by combining a dab of homemade dish soap with baking powder and scrubbing the affected area. Good for walls and doors.

Peace of Mind, Using a Safe Dishwashing Liquid

You are now set to wash your dishes with your own homemade dishwashing liquid, gratings, with an evironmentally safe product like Dr. Bronner's or with good old baking soda.

Simply stock up on bars of Ivory soap, buy in bulk a product such as Dr. Bronner's, or grab some cases of baking soda, then you are set to go.

Have You Switched to Environmentally-Friendly Dish Soap?

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    • Athlyn Green profile image

      Athlyn Green 3 years ago from West Kootenays

      Hi Rosie, thanks for stopping by and commenting. I would like to get castile soap, which is supposed to be good for using for dishsoap or clothes soap.

    • Rosie writes profile image

      Rosie writes 3 years ago from Virginia

      Nice hub. I may make some dish soap today. I have the castile soap which is great for laundry detergent too. Pinned.

    • ThompsonPen profile image

      Nicola Thompson 4 years ago from Bellingham, WA

      Great hub! I thought I'd let you know that I came across this by Googling "Make your own eco friendly dish soap" and your's was the top link! That would be pretty exciting for me, so I thought you'd like to know too :)

    • Athlyn Green profile image

      Athlyn Green 4 years ago from West Kootenays

      Please see the instructions, as outlined in this Hub. The directions are quite clear. Thanks for stopping by. This is not for bar soap, it is for liquid soap for washing dishes.

    • profile image

      Kameil honer 4 years ago

      This does not give you information on how to make homemade soap put something on here that give you all the facts on how to make soap......a lot of students in byhalia middle school is looking for the information on/about how to make soap

    • marymac47 profile image

      marymac47 6 years ago from Franklin. NC

      really interesting, useful Hub!! baking Soda and Vinegar are the best!!Thanks!!

    • Athlyn Green profile image

      Athlyn Green 6 years ago from West Kootenays

      Another method I'm trying is simply keeping a bar of Ivory by the sink & placing it in the water when I need soap for dishes. This works well, too.

    • divacratus profile image

      Kalpana Iyer 6 years ago from India

      This is great! Thinking of stocking some ivory soaps now. A really simple and useful hub.

    • Athlyn Green profile image

      Athlyn Green 6 years ago from West Kootenays

      I've also switched over to vinegar and baking soda for bathroom cleaning and these do a great job. See my article for tips on how to use these two common household cleaners for bathroom cleaning:

    • lindaadams37 profile image

      lindaadams37 6 years ago

      How often we underestimate the importance that should be given to the quality of the soap and such updates only remind us to rethink and make a proper decision while going out to the grocery next time or do something about it at home.

    • Athlyn Green profile image

      Athlyn Green 7 years ago from West Kootenays


      I had difficulties with my original dish soap because it thickened to a thick stringy mixture but I kept adding water and now I have a clear liquid dish soap. I find this is much gentler on my hands and it's wonderful knowing that I'm not placing my hands into chemicals.

    • rpalulis profile image

      rpalulis 7 years ago from NY

      Great Hub. Our skin is the largest organ of the body and is very permeable. This is an area that is so often overlooked. Thanks for such a great write.

    • Athlyn Green profile image

      Athlyn Green 7 years ago from West Kootenays

      Wow, does the grated soap ever thicken . You get lots of liquid soap from one bar.

    • itakins profile image

      itakins 7 years ago from Irl

      Brilliant idea

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