Can I be totally honest for a second? I have bought my fair share of natural dish soaps over the years, and I like them and I like knowing that I’m using a greener alternative.
But here’s the thing…I really love that certain blue dish soap because it’s amazing at getting my dishes clean and fighting the grease. So I always have a bottle of both kinds under the kitchen sink. I pull out the blue one for a really greasy job, but I really don’t like to.
I never thought that I could make my own that would tackle the grease like a store-bought one. Well, that’s changed! I think I’ve finally found the solution, and I’m saying goodbye to the blue dish soap and grease residue forever.
When making homemade dish soap, which is incredibly easy, you get to be in control of what goes into it, which is fun! No toxic chemicals or artificial colors.
There are tons of recipes online using the same basic set of ingredients—castile soap (liquid + grated bar), washing soda (really strong baking soda), glycerin and essential oils. Others contain citric acid or vinegar, and some use borax.
I did my research and read hundreds of comments from people who had made and either loved/hated their homemade dish soap. Then I tested until I found one that worked—so get ready to say goodbye to grease and the residue!
Homemade Lavender Dish Soap
I’ve been using castile soap for just about everything lately, so it made sense for me to start with that and see how it went. The common complaint about homemade dish soap is that it doesn’t get the dishes totally clean—there’s a residue left behind. And I found that to be true.
Super washing soda
I came across a recipe that looked very promising and well-tested. I made a few minor tweaks, and it was the best one yet. It did not have any acidic ingredients, which would un-saponify the castile soap.
Instead it uses super washing soda, one of my favorite things to use for natural cleaners. Total grease-fighting action!
We are the biggest fans of lavender at our house, so that’s the scent I chose. You could certainly use another variety of castile soap and different essential oils: citrus, herb (peppermint), floral, tea tree, etc.
Soap flakes or grated natural soap give the dish soap a sudsing agent and a bit of body. I used soap flakes, but grated castile soap or other natural vegetable soaps will work as well.
It might change how the dish soap sets up and how thick or thin it is. That’s where you have to play around a little bit (remember, that’s the fun part!).
I wanted a soap that was more the viscosity of liquid hand soap. So for a thinner one, add more water or use a little less washing soda.
Besides a little time on the stove to melt the soap flakes and dissolve the washing soda, it’s basically one of those recipes that you mix up and use. It does need to cool and set up for a few hours (or even 24 hours), but I have used mine almost immediately after it cools and it’s been fine.
It does go from clear to opaque when it sets up. The picture above is when the liquid is still fairly hot.
Have you tried homemade dish soaps? Did they work?
DIY Lavender Dish Soap FAQ
Does homemade dish soap leave a film on dishes?
This recipe left my dishes squeaky clean, but this may depend on the hardness of your water, too. If you notice a film on dishes, on you can use a vinegar rinse. Just add a few teaspoons of white vinegar in soapy water to rinse dishes.
What can I do if my DIY dish soap turns out too thick or too thin?
If the soap is too thick, add a little more water. Different factors can affect the thickness of the soap, like the water you use (is it filtered or tap?), the brand of soap flakes or grated soap, etc.
If you want a thicker soap, pour the soap back into the pan and warm it back up. Add a little more washing soda.
What other essential oils can I use to scent this dish soap instead of lavender?
If you don’t have any lavender essential oil, you can substitute for some lemon or citrus, something herbal like peppermint, a floral oil or even tea tree. I love that this recipe is so customizable because I like to switch up the scent profile when I make a new batch, depending on my mood and the season.
Grease-Fighting Lavender Dish Soap
- Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan.
- Add the soap flakes and stir to dissolve.
- Add the castile soap, washing soda, glycerin and essential oil.
- Stir well, making sure everything is dissolved.
- Carefully pour into a bottle with a spout or pump.
- Allow to set for about 24 hours.