Find out how to make the best DIY dish wash without castile soap and borax! The 5-minute homemade dish soap recipe is made with natural ingredients and essential oils. The non-toxic dish cleaner cuts through grease and makes dishware sparkle. The liquid detergent is also eco-friendly, biodegradable and gentle on the skin, perfect for sustainable, zero-waste green cleaning!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. Learn more
Easy homemade dish soap recipe
Can you make your own dish soap? Yes and I’ll show you how to! This homemade dish soap recipe will be your new sink-side favourite! Not only is this homemade cleaning product natural and biodegradable, but it packs some serious cleaning power.
The DIY dishwashing liquid and removes grease and stuck-on food like nobody’s business and leave your dishes squeaky clean and sparkling. And it takes only minutes to whip up a jar of eco-friendly and non-toxic household product!
Why you will love this DIY dish soap recipe
Are you looking for a DIY dish soap substitute and eco-friendly ways to wash your dishes? Then you will love this grease-cutting Sal Suds dish soap recipe!
- squeaky clean dishes – This homemade dishwashing soap packs some serious cleaning power and cuts through grease and stuck-on food easily.
- super sudsy – The recipe creates lots of foam, bubbles and suds!
- great smell – The product smells clean and fresh without artificial fragrances!
- works with hard and soft water
- quick and easy – Less than 5 minutes are needed to whip up your natural dish soap.
- non-toxic cleaning – My recipe is made with natural, biodegradable ingredients.
- save money – Making your own homemade natural cleaning products can help you safe money in the long run!
Ingredients for homemade dish soap without castile soap
This anti-grease dish soap recipe is made with just 3 materials + 2 optional ones:
- Sal Suds – Sal Suds is a powerful, biodegradable detergent and one of the best natural cleaning products. It cuts effectively through grease and stuck-on food. You can read more about Sal Suds in this post! Read on to learn more about the product!
- distilled water – Distilled water is needed to dilute the Sal Suds. You can also use boiled, filtered water. I don’t recommend regular tap water because it will affect the consistency and shorten the shelf life.
- preservative – Any DIY natural cleaning products containing water need a preservative to inhibit the growth of mould or bacteria. I chose Optiphen Plus, a natural broad-spectrum preservative, for this green cleaning recipe.
- distilled white vinegar (optional) – Vinegar increase the cleaning power and. Vinegar removes spotting from dishes and is great to deal with hard water.
- essential oils (optional) – Add up to 20 drops essential oils to scent the dish soap. I have included 3 blend ideas below.
Here are 2 more optional ingredients to thicken the natural dish soap:
- xanthan gum
- glycerin OR fractionated coconut oil (Jojoba oil or sweet almond oil are also options.)
Of course, we need a soap dispenser to store and use our non-toxic household cleaner. I like following plastic-free options:
- mason jar soap dispenser (that’s the one you see in the photos!)
- mason jar soap dispenser with stainless steel pump
- clear glass soap dispenser
- farmhouse soap dispenser
- amber bottle soap dispenser
How to make dish soap
How do you make natural dish soap? Making liquid dish soap from scratch is super quick, with just a few easy steps:
- Fill the distilled water, vinegar, and Optiphen Plus into the soap dispenser.
- Close the bottle and shake to combine.
- Add the Sal Suds and essential oils.
- Gently shake the bottle to mix the ingredients.
How to thicken homemade dish soap
On its own, the liquid dish soap is watery and doesn’t have the same thick consistency we are used to from store-bought products. But we can remedy this by thickening the dishwashing recipe.
Just note that this step is optional. My dish washer recipe works well as it’s written. Thickening doesn’t affect the cleansing power, but improves the dish soap texture.
One thing I learned when I shared my hand sanitizer gel recipe is that you guys really, really, really love when homemade products have a similar consistency to regular products. So here we go!
I found some recipes that suggest table salt or kosher salt as a thickener for dish soap. I tried the table salt version a few times. The dish soap was usually fine for a few days, but eventually the mixture curdled and became lumpy.
Since I don’t like inconsistent results, I looked for a better way for how to thicken homemade dish soap and came up with:
Xanthan gum creates a thick, gel-like texture, similar to regular dish soap. In fact, many liquid dishwashing formulas incorporate xanthan gum as a thickening agent.
Here is how to thicken liquid soap with xanthan gum:
- Pour the glycerin or oil into a small mixing bowl.
- Add the xanthan gum and mix until well incorporated (no lumps visible). Dissolving the xanthan gum in glycerin/oil is important to ensure it will be dispersed in the soap mixture.
- After the xanthan gum has completely dissolved, stir into the soap mixture.
1 tsp xanthan gum is enough for 16 oz / 475 ml liquid dish soap. If you prefer a thicker consistency, increase the amount to 2 tsp.
Essential oil for DIY dish soap
Wondering how to make dish soap with essential oils? I love essential oil cleaning recipes! Essential oils can be used to fragrance your homemade dish soap and provide additional antimicrobial properties. But adding them is optional.
Sal Suds contains fir needle and spruce essential oil and has a nice, woodsy scent. You can try the following blends, which blend with the smell of Sal Suds:
- fresh mint: 12 drops peppermint + 8 drops lime
- lemon & lavender: 12 drops lemon + 8 drops lavender
- kitchen comfort: 10 drops cinnamon bark + 5 drops lemon + 5 drops sweet orange
How to make homemade dish soap like Dawn
I have a simple trick to make your product more like DIY Dawn dish soap: Add a few drops blue food colour (or any other colour) to the recipe. It doesn’t affect the cleaning power, and it’s fun to change the colour for different essential oil fragrance blends.
How to use homemade dish soap
Wash your dish with homemade dish soap following this easy process:
- Fill the skin half full with warm water.
- Add 1 to 2 pumps dish soap close to the water stream. This my trick for how to make homemade dish soap sudsy.
- Add the dishes and let soak for a few minutes.
- Then scrub and wash the dishes.
- Rinse with clear water and dry.
To clean pots and pans, apply the dish soap directly on a kitchen sponge and scrub the pot or pan. Rinse with water.
Does Sal Suds dish soap produce suds?
Yes, my dish soap recipe creates lots and lots of suds! It helps to stir the dishwater to create foam and bubbles.
Why some DIY dish soap recipes don’t work
Before finishing this post, I want to talk about why some of the dish wash recipes you find online don’t work.
To permanently ditch store-bought cleansers, you need homemade natural cleaning products that actually work and do their job well. You may have tried other green cleaning recipes in the past and be disappointed by the results. You may be tempted to think making DIY cleaners just don’t work.
But don’t give up just yet! I believe it’s important to understand why something doesn’t work to create a product that does work.
Castile soap is a wonderful product for skin and body care, but not so much for homemade cleaning products. The reason why I prefer Sal Suds over castile soap is that soaps and detergents behave differently in water.
Soaps need a warm water wash after application or they leave a greasy film. This effect will be even more noticeable with hard water: Hard water turns the soap into scum, and your dishes will never feel clean, no matter how much you scrub!
Detergents are free-rinsing, which means they don’t leave a residue, and perform well in any level of water hardness and temperature.
Castile soap and vinegar
Some green cleaning recipes suggest to mix castile soap with vinegar, not realising that castile soap and vinegar are 2 ingredients that should never be combined. Vinegar is acidic, but soap is alkaline, so they cancel each other out.
When mixed together, vinegar creates unsaponified soap, meaning the castile soap curdles and degrades into oil and water – any cleaning power will be gone!
Sal Suds is acidic (remember it’s not soap) and therefore can be combined with vinegar.
A worrying number of recipes for homemade cleaning products contain no preservative. But why would you add a preservative to natural cleaning products anyway? As previously mentioned, anything that contains water can potentially spoil, mould, or grow bacteria.
Now, if you live in a busy household with lots of dishes to wash, you may omit the preservative. But you should use the natural dish soap within 1 week. The recipe makes 16 oz, which lasts me 2 to 3 weeks, so I always add a preservative.
Although vinegar is a natural preservative, the concentration in this recipe is too low to be effective.
Eco-friendly cleaning tools
Need some sustainable cleaning supplies with your dish soap? Check out these awesome products!
- cleaning caddy
- wooden cleaning brush set
- bamboo cleaning set
- dish brush with 9-in handle
- mini balm brush
More natural cleaning products
This recipe works well in combination with my other non-toxic household products:
Over to you!
Thanks so much for visiting Country Hill Cottage – we’re so happy you’re here! Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!
If you enjoyed this post, please share it using the social media buttons you see next to the post.
For more crafts, beauty DIYs and recipe, follow us on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook.
I am so excited to find a recipe without castillete soap. I just find that any recipe I’ve used with it leaves residue. Before I take the plunge and make this recipe, I’m wondering if you still use it and love it or if you have since updated the recipe! Thanks!
Hi Katie! I take it you live in an area with hard water. The ions in the water bind with the castile soap, which creates the white residue. You won’t be having this issue with my recipe.
Yes, I still make this dish soap all the the time because it takes only minutes to make and does such a good job at cleaning dishes. I use the formula as written and play with the scent depending on the essential oils I have on hand.
You can adjust the consistency to your liking. Without xanthan gum, the dish soap has a runny consistency. 1/2 tsp xanthan gum gives you a nice liquid texture, and 1 tsp xanthan gum creates a thicker, concentrated consistency.
Please let me know how it works for you and happy making!
Hi! Just curious if this is a normal ratio of sals suds to everything else? When looking at sals suds dilution charts, they have much less per oz. than we see here. Almost closer to 1/4 cup than 3/4 cup. Is there a reason there’s so much here?
Hi Mickaela! The amount of Sal Suds depends on the cleaning product you want to create. Different cleaning products require different ratios. For example, an all purpose-spray or window wash needs a lot less than dish soap.
However, dish soap is a concentrated product that is meant to be diluted in water. Just one to two pumps are enough for one washing. I found that 3/4 cup gives you the perfect amount of cleansing power. If you were to go lower than that, the dish soap may not do its job well.
I hope this answers your question and please let me know in case there’s anything else you’d like to know!
Is there another alternative to Sal Suds?
I am not overly concerned with the chemical makeup of dish soap, although it’s nice to exclude. Rather I am more concerned with a lower plastic footprint…having to purchase a plastic bottle of Sal Suds then defeats the purpose. I would just simply continue purchasing warehouse-size bottles of commercial dish soap.
Hi Laura! I complete understand your concerns. Sadly for this dish soap recipe, I can’t think of an alternative to Sal Suds. We are currently working on a recipe for dish soap tabs that are entirely made from scratch and use ingredients that are shipped in paper bags and carton boxes. These tabs are dissolved in water in a glass bottle in water. I’m not sure when this post will go live, but I’m happy to email you when it does.
We also have this DIY dishwasher detergent. When I don’t have enough dishwasher to run the dishwasher, I simply place them in the skink, sprinkle the detergent on top and add warm water. Then I let the dishes soak for 30 minutes and give them a quick scrub down.
I hope this helps!
I combined the coconut oil and xanthan gum until it was Dissolved, but as soon as I put it in with the vinegar and distilled water it turned back to chunks. Is this normal? Should I restart?
Hi Faith! I’m so glad you’re reaching out. You didn’t do anything wrong. Xanthan gum + coconut oil sometime behaves this way, but there’s any easy fix: Fill the soap into a tall jar and mix with an immersion blender until the xanthan gum is fully incorporated into the soap and you see a thickening action. Start with short bursts so the liquid doesn’t spill all over. I hope this helps and happy making!
Thanks for this recipe. can it be filled in a plastic dispenser bottle or will that disrupt the texture?
Hi Nez! A plastic dispenser bottle is fine. The texture is pretty stable. Hope this helps and happy making!
We will have to try this! The blue version really does look fun! Do you find this recipe is money-saving?
Thanks a lot! Store-bought eco-friendly dish soap can be expensive, so I do think that this recipe is money-saving.
If you purchase all these items on Amazon, it totals $5.15 for a 16/oz bottle of dish soap!
That’s still more affordable than natural dish soaps from Mrs. Meyer’s, Puracy, or Better Life, which all cost 5.99.
Thanks for the great recipe! I’ve made it with castile soap in a pinch and didn’t care for it. I have hard water and got zero lather. I know lather isn’t necessary, but I really prefer it for my dish soap.
Thank you, Cari! My goal for this recipe was to create a dish soap that closely resembles store-bought products but with fewer and better ingredients. I’ve been using this soap for a couple of weeks now and never looked back.
Thank you for sharing your recipe. The photos are beautful. I made dish soap before and never liked it and after reading this I now understand why. We have hard water and the recipe I used was made with acstile soap. Please share more recipes like this!
Thank you, Cathy! I’m happy you find the recipe helpful. I love castile soap but dish soap is one application where a detergent is the better option.