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Easy Homemade Dish Soap Recipe That Actually Works

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!

See how to make your own DIY dish wash like Dawn without castile soap or borax! The homemade foaming dish soap recipe is made with all natural ingredients, Dr Bronners Sal Suds, vinegar and Thieves essential oils. The bets simple non-toxic dish cleaner cuts through grease. The liquid detergent is also eco friendly and biodegradable, perfect for sustainable, zero waste green cleaning! Includes tips for kitchen dispenser and how to thicken. #dishsoap #greencleaning #natural | countryhillcottage

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!
See how to make your own DIY dish wash like Dawn without castile soap or borax! The homemade foaming dish soap recipe is made with all natural ingredients, Dr Bronners Sal Suds, vinegar and Thieves essential oils. The bets simple non-toxic dish cleaner cuts through grease. The liquid detergent is also eco friendly and biodegradable, perfect for sustainable, zero waste green cleaning! Includes tips for kitchen dispenser and how to thicken. #dishsoap #greencleaning #natural | countryhillcottage

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:

Soap dispenser

Of course, we need a soap dispenser to store and use our non-toxic household cleaner. I like following plastic-free options:

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!

Salt

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:

See how to make your own DIY dish wash like Dawn without castile soap or borax! The homemade foaming dish soap recipe is made with all natural ingredients, Dr Bronners Sal Suds, vinegar and Thieves essential oils. The bets simple non-toxic dish cleaner cuts through grease. The liquid detergent is also eco friendly and biodegradable, perfect for sustainable, zero waste green cleaning! Includes tips for kitchen dispenser and how to thicken. #dishsoap #greencleaning #natural | countryhillcottage

Xanthan gum

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:

See how to make your own DIY dish wash like Dawn without castile soap or borax! The homemade foaming dish soap recipe is made with all natural ingredients, Dr Bronners Sal Suds, vinegar and Thieves essential oils. The bets simple non-toxic dish cleaner cuts through grease. The liquid detergent is also eco friendly and biodegradable, perfect for sustainable, zero waste green cleaning! Includes tips for kitchen dispenser and how to thicken. #dishsoap #greencleaning #natural | countryhillcottage

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.

See how to make your own DIY dish wash like Dawn without castile soap or borax! The homemade foaming dish soap recipe is made with all natural ingredients, Dr Bronners Sal Suds, vinegar and Thieves essential oils. The bets simple non-toxic dish cleaner cuts through grease. The liquid detergent is also eco friendly and biodegradable, perfect for sustainable, zero waste green cleaning! Includes tips for kitchen dispenser and how to thicken. #dishsoap #greencleaning #natural | countryhillcottage

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

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.

No preservatives

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!

More natural cleaning products

This recipe works well in combination with my other non-toxic household products:

See how to make your own DIY dish wash like Dawn without castile soap or borax! The homemade foaming dish soap recipe is made with all natural ingredients, Dr Bronners Sal Suds, vinegar and Thieves essential oils. The bets simple non-toxic dish cleaner cuts through grease. The liquid detergent is also eco friendly and biodegradable, perfect for sustainable, zero waste green cleaning! Includes tips for kitchen dispenser and how to thicken. #dishsoap #greencleaning #natural | countryhillcottage

How To Make Homemade Dish Soap

Yield: 2 cups / 475 ml | 16 oz
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Difficulty: easy

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 dirty dishware sparkle. The liquid detergent is also eco-friendly, biodegradable and gentle on the skin, perfect for sustainable, zero-waste green cleaning!

Instructions

Dish Soap Recipe

  1. Fill the distilled water, vinegar, and Optiphen Plus into the soap dispenser.
  2. Close the bottle and shake to combine.
  3. Add the Sal Suds and essential oils.
  4. Gently shake the bottle to mix the ingredients.


How to thicken the dish soap (optional)

  1. Pour the glycerin or oil into a small mixing bowl.
  2. 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.
  3. After the xanthan gum has completely dissolved, stir into the soap mixture.

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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!

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Irena xx

Patricia

Monday 27th of May 2024

Is the optiphen a mandatory ingredient? Or can it be omitted? Thank you Patricia

Cyna | Country Hill Cottage

Wednesday 29th of May 2024

Hi Patricia! Yes, it is better to add Optiphen. The formula contains water and any water-based product requires preservation against microbial contamination to guarantee a safe product and to increase the shelf-life. You could omit the Optiphen, but you should use the dish soap within 2 to 3 weeks. I hope this answers your questions and happy making!

Sara

Friday 22nd of December 2023

I appreciate you writing about castile soap becoming soap scum, exceptionally so with hard water. That has been our experience since going healthy and using non-toxic bar soap to wash our hands and body....now our sinks and tubs are covered in scum that doesn't come off (except with a stainless steal scrub pad which are not to be used on those types of finishes due to scratching-potential!). Would Sals Suds take off the soap scum from Dr. Bonner's castile bar soap?! I need something to clean the stuff we use to clean ourselves with! :P

Irena | Country Hill Cottage

Friday 22nd of December 2023

Hi Sara! I love Sal Suds for cleaning (and here are few ways to use), but I find it isn't the most effective against soap scum on its own.

Soap is basic and soap scum is a mixture of soap and calcium/magnesium from the hard water. So an acidic cleaner is the best way to tackle it.

I use this DIY tube and tile cleaner (which has citric acid), but you have a few more options.

You can dissolve 1 cup citric acid in 3 cups hot water, pour it over the affected and let it sit for 20-30 minutes before rinsing it off.

You can also prepare a 1:1 solution of vinegar and water, spray it on and rinse if off after half an hour.

Once the soap scum is gone, you can further clean with Sal Suds.

I hope this helps you out!

Katie

Thursday 2nd of March 2023

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!

Irena | Country Hill Cottage

Friday 3rd of March 2023

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!

Mickaela

Monday 14th of March 2022

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?

Irena | Country Hill Cottage

Tuesday 15th of March 2022

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!

Laura

Wednesday 12th of January 2022

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.

Irena | Country Hill Cottage

Wednesday 12th of January 2022

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!

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