I’ve gotten a few emails from readers over the years asking if I have a recipe for homemade dish soap. I hadn’t really given it much thought until recently! Dawn dish soap is a common ingredient in many of my favorite homemade solutions, so I usually have a bottle or two stashed away somewhere. I haven’t had much of a need for a homemade dish soap, since Dawn is always on hand.
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But since I really do love making my own products whenever possible, I definitely wanted to give homemade dish soap a try. So I started doing some research, and hours later I was almost SORRY I had taken this on! Do you know how many different “recipes” there are out there for homemade dishwashing liquid? A LOT!!! :-)
I probably made it harder on myself than it had to be, because I was looking for a recipe that met a few very specific requirements:
- It had to be simple to make.
- It had to have only a few ingredients.
- It had to cut grease.
- It had to smell good, or at least not smell BAD! :-)
And finally, I didn’t want a recipe that makes a GALLON soap, because I just wanted one bottle. A lot of the homemade dish soap recipes you can find out there make enough soap to supply a small army. It’s challenging to find places to store that much soap, so I’d personally rather make less, more often. But that’s just me!
So after much searching and experimentation, here’s what I came up with. I think you’ll like it! (And if you’re the type of person that would prefer making more soap, less often, you could easily double or triple this recipe!)
Homemade Dish Soap
- 1/4 cup grated Fels-Naptha soap* (or a similar soap)
- 2 cups water
- 1-2 Tbsp white vinegar
- 1 Tbsp glycerin (optional)
- 5 drops lemon essential oil (optional)
*Note: You can grate your soap by hand with a box grater, but it’s pretty tough work! I prefer to make my blender do the hard work for me. ;-) I just chop the bar of soap into chunks, drop them into the blender, and pulse until the pieces are small enough.
Pour the water and grated soap into a saucepan, and place it on your stovetop over medium heat. Stir the mixture until all the soap has melted into the water. DO NOT let the mixture come to a boil. (Just turn down the heat if it seems like it’s starting to simmer/boil.)
Once the soap has all melted into the water, remove from heat. Allow the mixture to cool off for a few minutes.
Next, stir the vinegar and glycerin into the soap and water mixture. (The glycerin is optional, but it does help to thicken the mixture and make it feel less water-y.) You can also add a few drops of your favorite essential oil at this stage, if desired. I used about 5 drops of lemon essential oil, for the fresh scent and an extra boost of cleaning power!
Allow the mixture to rest in the pot until completely cooled, then pour it into your preferred soap dispenser.
Using Your Homemade Dish Soap
There are a couple of differences to note between this homemade dish soap and the store-bought stuff. The first difference is bubbles, or lack thereof. This soap will NOT get as sudsy as a store-bought dish soap, but that doesn’t mean it’s not working! After all, my favorite homemade laundry detergent doesn’t get very sudsy either, and it works just as well as a commercial laundry detergent.
The second difference is thickness, or lack thereof. This dish soap will likely be thinner than the store-bought dish soaps that you’re used to, but adding the glycerin should help combat this issue.
All that being said, I have used this dish soap to hand-wash several dishes, and it did a great job! It’s a little disconcerting to not see sudsy bubbles while you’re scrubbing, but the soap obviously did a great job at cutting through grease and getting everything clean.
If you’re looking for a homemade dish soap that gets the job done, I highly recommend giving this one a try!