Homemade Dish Soap

For the past week I’ve been testing out my first homemade dish soap. The ingredients I used for mine are:

castile soap, part shaved bar soap and part liquid

washing soda

essential oils (I chose to mix lemon and tea tree)

One Pro that I’ve discovered is that this stuff does a great job of, for my pans, of getting off burnt food. I made fajitas the other day, which in my opinion pretty much require getting slightly “burned”, and the pan went to the sink with a nice layer of charred food on the bottom. Typically this takes a lot of elbow grease to get off, even with hot water and a good scrubbing cloth. But with this dish soap, I couldn’t believe how easy it was to practically just wipe away the charred food with little effort.

Another obvious Pro is that it’s non-toxic. I know what’s in it, and I trust what’s in it. Also, my hands don’t feel dry and gross after using it, and the smell is nice, too.

So, I have to admit it’s not all great, though. The first Con that I noticed immediately is that the soap washes away rather quickly. I do all of my dishes by hand because I don’t have a dish washer (which is arguably a good thing), and I use a microfiber cloth. With how sort of… water soluble, I guess you might say, this soap is, if you let your rag go under the running water while doing your dishes, the soap just rinses right off the rag. I felt like I kept having to re-load my rag with soap more often than I would with regular dish soap. Eventually I figured to make sure I get my dish nice and wet before touching it with my rag, then give it a good scrub, rinse, and repeat if necessary, but while rinsing I set my rag off to the side so water doesn’t run over it. The downside even to this, although it works in preserving soap, is that it just… takes more time. It probably only adds up to a couple extra minutes at the sink, but sometimes in the morning for example, those couple of minutes are really valuable.

The other Con is that I’m not sure how I feel about having oils in my dish soap. I don’t plan to add any oils to the next batch of soap I make. Call me paranoid, but I feel like something of the oils must remain on the dish somehow. It’s probably negligible, and probably even false, since you are washing it away with a pretty effective soap, but I still think I’ll at least avoid using it on my cookware for now. To be fair, I have absolutely no real evidence for this, it’s just a crazy idea I let get into my head! 🙂


It’s suggested that when you make this, you store it in a recycled dish soap bottle, or whatever else you like, but you probably should use something that is squeezable (so, probably not glass!). The trick, no matter what size bottle you use, is to make sure you do not fill it up to the top. Leave at least about a quarter of the bottle empty. This is because the soap thickens up into a gel like consistency as it sits. This is because of the washing soda. It can be a little difficult to squirt out once it thickens up, so you can always add a little bit of warm water, give it a shake, and you’re back in business.

But what I’ve actually been doing is using a plastic baggie! I don’t have a funnel so I was having trouble transferring the soap from the pan to the bottle. I decided to put it all in a plastic bag, cut a hole in the corner, and used that to squeeze it into the bottle. I had a lot left over that didn’t fit in the bottle, so I left it in the bag and found myself reaching for what’s in the bag for the past week. I just ran out today, so I guess now I’ll discover how well the warm water and shaking trick works for myself.

So, here’s the recipe:

1.25 c. boiling water

.25 c. tightly packed castile bar soap, grated

1 Tbsp. washing soda

.25 c. liquid castile soap

10-25 drops essential oils (optional)

Bring water to a boil. Add castile soap and stir until dissolved. – Stir in washing soda. Stir in liquid soap. – Let cool before stirring in essential oils. – Transfer to a container and use as you would regular soap.



I like this soap, but I’m not sure it’s my holy grail. Stay tuned.


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