Sustainable Dharma

Finding Dharma in a Sustainable Lifestyle

Homemade Cleaners: Liquid Dish Soap

I am slowly switching all of my cleaning products to homemade ones. Over all this seems to be saving lots of money too. Since we are running low on liquid dish soap, I decided it was a good time to start testing recipes.

So far I am pretty happy with this recipe and may not even try others. This is based on things I found on several other blogs, but I did change a few things.

Things Needed:

  • Soap Pot (an old pot you don’t care about)
  • Metal or wooden spoon
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 Tablespoons Borax
  • 2 Tablespoons grated soap


  • Heat 1 cups of water to a full rolling boil. Reduce the heat. You want the temp to be hot, but you do not want the soap to boil, because it makes a big mess.
  • Add the borax and grated soap, and stir with a metal or wooden spoon until the soap is melted. If the soap dose not melt it will be super gloppy.
  • Let the pan cool. You don’t want to add this super hot water to your bottle because it could melt (If reusing an old plastic one) or shatter (if using a glass one.)


  • I found that it gets pretty gloppy as it cools, and you do want it to thicken up. I poured the homemade soap into an old dish soap bottle I saved just for this. I did not bother to wash out the old one because that seemed like a waste of time, soap, and water. It seemed much more reasonable to just add the new soap to the minute bit stuck in the bottom. It was really hard to get all of the homemade soap out of the pan. So I ended up using my hands to scoop out what I could and “pour” into the bottle.
  • In the soapy pan add a cup of water and heat until all of the “gloppy” soap leftovers are dissolved completely. You don’t want it boiling or too hot. You want to be able to pour it straight into the bottle.
  • Put the lid on the bottle and shake everything up while it is still warm. Let it cool and it will thicken up.

I shook it up right before the picture because the color was weird from the residue soap.

As you see this does not make a whole lot. You can easily make more to fill up the bottles. By making a small batch it gives you a chance to test it. If you don’t like it, you are wasting less. If you do like it, it gives you a chance to practice and perfect your method.

Some Things I Have Learned:

  • If the soap seems too thin, you can add salt to thicken it up. This is a method big brand soaps use all the time to make a thick soap.
  • If it is too thick add some water.
  • Try not to make too big of batches. After a while it could separate, or get too thick. Over time it could become more of a hassle than a time saver. It sucks to have to make often so, adjust to see how much you really need in your house at one time. This is not something you have to hoard. (You can keep a stock pile of the things needed to make it.)
  • You can use any brand of bar soap to grate, but think about the things used in that soap. I avoid artificial colors and try to get unscented ones. Ivory is what I used for this test. I read that Olay is good for one that is easy on hands.
  • Add essential oils for added scent and added antibacterial (If you do, add it after it cools, right before you pour it in the bottle.)
  • If you put this in a pump bottle this works as a liquid hand soap too.

My feelings so far about this soap:

So Far This is a Win

I am going to give this a good test before giving a final verdict. The kids still get to use the store bought soap until I know how I feel about it.

Right after making it, I put a little in an old pump bottle to use for hand washing too. I suffer from OCD (chronic hand washing), so I am a little picky about my hand soaps. I can’t use anything that drys my hands out too much because they will crack and bleed. So far I am not too excited about this as a hand wash. I am also making bread today (which dries my hands out pretty bad too), so I can’t tell if the soap or the bread is messing up my hands. I will keep trying it. If I am still not happy I will try a moisturizing soap (like Olay) before I give up on the recipe.

I find the soap works better when used with hot water. I always use hot water when doing the dishes, but sometimes I don’t wait for the water to heat up to wash something quickly. I often use my big Pyrex measuring cup off and on all day while baking. Sometimes I need to do more than rise it out, and will tend to do a quick wash 3 times or so in a day. This was hard for me to do unless I let the water heat up first.

It is thick and seems to have a constancy that I don’t really expect. I can live with that, and that it does not get as sudsy. I read online that homemade soap make less bubbles because the store bought ones often add stuff to make it bubble. Personally, I feel as long as my dishes are clean I can live without bubbles.

Most of our really greasy pans are cast iron, so we don’t use soap on those. The grease I have cleaned so far seems to come up easy enough. We eat a lot of Indian food, and curry is pretty hard to clean sometimes. This worked against curry with no problems.



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