Friday, May 16, 2014


Making your own household cleaning products isn't really such a big deal – but it may seem that way at first. The truth is that it’s actually easier than you may think. It’s all a matter of routines. That’s what I told myself when I began this adventure with homemade laundry detergent. And on my very first try, happily, it that turned out to be an excellent product - far superior and much cheaper than anything I could buy at the big box store.  .

After that, I felt that I could also make my own homemade liquid dish soap - something that I use a lot of  because I totally lack a dish wash machine. (And that's a condition that I've had most of my adult life, making me a more-than-experienced dishwasher by hand.) It turned out that all my early tries at making a homemade dish soap failed – for months. And all those trials were in contrast to my homemade laundry detergent that was a success from the very first.

The recipes for homemade dish soap – and there are many of them online - kept falling short of my needs. Most weren’t soap-like at all. Some were slippery and thin and others just didn’t suit me at all because they left a nasty oily scum on the dishes. After many tries, I finally came up with something that works for me.  The recipe that I’m following now leaves squeaky-clean dishes and glassware and rinses off without any residue. And I don’t hesitate to share with others.  It takes only a few minutes to make – in my case, that’s 5 minutes about twice a week. That's pretty good return for my time considering that I've lowered my dish soap bill to about 15% of what it was just a few months ago.

The best part of it is that this homemade dish soap is earth-friendly. We all know that most commercial dish soaps are loaded with toxins, and even some of the "green" cleaners contain harsh chemicals. Beyond that, the second ingredient in many popular store brands is sodium lauryl sulfate, something that is considered to be a health-hazard and a carcinogen. So, why continue using products that we know are bad for us and for the environment? And that, especially, when we come across a recipe for an eco-friendly liquid dish soap that is non-toxic and does a great job.

This dish soap is non-toxic, cheap and works! 

-1 and 1/2 cups of boiling hot water (with some lemon, orange and/or grapefruit peels thrown in, if you like a bit of pleasant odor).

- 3 heaping tablespoons of grated laundry soap

-1 teaspoons of super washing soda

- 1 teaspoons of borax

Using your homemade dish soap
I use a funnel to put all the dry ingredients in a glass 2-quart, recycled fruit juice bottle. Next, I dump in the almost boiling water - having removed the fruit peels - in the bottle and stir vigorously with a chopstick. Then, I add a quart of plain cool water and shake it all up.

So, as you  see, this recipe is super easy. You just make up the batch right in the bottle. It’s initially somewhat liquid but it thickens up after it cools. If it’s too thick later on, just shake it up,  add a little warm water, and give it a good shake. It'll do fine.

As to the dishwashing method, this may take a bit of a variation over what you usually do with commercial products. I transfer a quarter cup or so of the liquid to a plastic bowl and wash my dishes with the dish rag, separately – meaning that I don’t let the dishes soak together and rinse them, one-by-one. The soap suds up only the slightest bit on the rag and it's better not to add more water to the rag while washing a dish (or a few dishes at a time, depending on the amount of grease to be eliminated).

NOTES: The amount of thickeners needed - washing soda and borax - may vary some, depending on your water supply, so adjust accordingly. Although I wouldn’t want everyone to quote me on this, you may still have to throw in a couple of squirts of a commercial dish soap (the most natural one you can find) to be sure that you get great results. Sure, that’s an added expense but it may be the best way to go with very hard water - like I have.  I only have to buy one small bottle of commercial soap every three months. For me, it's well worth the extra few cents.

The homemade dish soap that I make doesn't hurt my hands. But, it may bother yours - washing soda and borax are fairly strong chemicals. So, be prepared to use gloves for dish washing if you notice any skin redness or itching.

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