Jun 29 2010

Make Your Own…….Liquid Dish Soap

If every household in the U.S. replaced just ONE 48 oz. bottle of petroleum-based liquid soap with a plant-derived product (i.e. homemade, 7th Generation, or Method), we could save 248,000 barrels of oil!

That’s enough to heat and cool 14,300 U.S. homes for an entire year!

I’ve thought about making my own cleaning products for a long time. I bought the book, read up and still nothing.

Why? Because I couldn’t visualize doing it. Now that I make my own products, the mystery is gone. I know it’s easy and I feel good doing it.

I made this video demonstration to take the mystic away for you, and hopefully inspire you to do the same.

I’ve tried a lot of recipes for dish soap, but this one is the best!


2 cups liquid castille soap (I like Dr. Bronner’s)
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
5 drops Essential oil (Lemon, Pine or Lavender work well)
1/2 cup white vinegar

Here are a few side notes that I put in all my home cleaning product posts…….

Why make your own home cleaning products?

1)  It’s good for your health. While you’re cleaning you come in contact with many different chemicals on your skin and through your mouth and nose.  It’s not just one exposure that is the concern, it’s the cumulative effect. Toxins build up in your body over time and are stored in our cells.

Store bought products contain safe amounts of each individual ingredient, but when mixed with many other cleaning supplies the combination may not be safe. If you make your own, you won’t be handling and inhaling toxic fumes while you clean.

2. It’s good for the environment – First, no more empty containers will be going into the recycling, or worse yet the trash. Second, no more harmful chemicals going down our drains and into the water supply.  Many municipal water filtration systems are not designed to remove those types of chemicals. Therefor, they end up back in our water supply. What comes around goes around – whatever we put down the drain will come back in one way or another.

A few things to keep in mind when working with homemade cleaning products…….

1)  Residue – The first few times you use home cleaning products (especially window cleaner) you may notice some residue. There are two reasons for this. First, there is build-up from your previous cleaner that becomes visible. Second, homemade cleaners require a little extra elbow grease. You will have to work that sponge or rag (hopefully not paper towel) a little more, but it’s worth it.

2) Essential Oils – Although they are natural, they can be quite potent, so make sure to wear gloves when working with Lavender and Tea Tree Oil.


  1. Posted March 17, 2011 at 9:27 am | Posted By: Thalia Bhandari

    I’m going to give this one a go. Thanks for sharing Elizabeth, its my first time here and I am enjoying my stay here. I have been looking for some easy recipes for cleaning products and walla I found them here. Great work, will keep you posted how things go with the products. Cheers and have a good day.

  2. Evone
    Posted May 24, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Posted By: Evone

    Soooo. Really Vegetable oil??? Why would you buy Dr. Bronners if you could just use vegetable oil is there more to Dr. Bronners oil that vegetable oil doesn’t have?? I just don’t want a bunch of greasy dishes lol.

  3. Elizabeth
    Posted May 24, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Posted By: Elizabeth

    I meant Castile Oil, not Veg oil!! 🙂

  4. lisa
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Posted By: lisa

    So excited! I used this today & am very very happy with the results. The true test was a frying pan we’d used to make sopapillas. It took two scrubbings, but it got the job done! Thank you!

  5. Cindy
    Posted July 11, 2011 at 9:47 pm | Posted By: Cindy

    I’ve been experimenting with making my own products at home. Recently I made my own liquid castile soap the two oils I used are olive oil and coconut oil, but when I tried to use your dish soap recipe and added the white vinegar to my castile soap it curdled like bad milk. Do you have any suggestions?

  6. Elizabeth
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 12:07 am | Posted By: Elizabeth

    Cindy, I love that you made your own castile soap! It can be so expensive – what are the ratios? Does it work as well as Bronner’s? Mine actually looks a little curdled as well, not too bad, but a little. I don’t know why. It looks funny, but works well. Did you try using it anyway? Wondering if it worked well or not.

  7. Jennifer
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 6:33 am | Posted By: Jennifer

    Ok I apparently just ruined 2 cups of veggie oil… Let me get the right ingredients and try again…

  8. Shelly
    Posted September 2, 2011 at 12:51 am | Posted By: Shelly

    Mine curdled too but when I shook it it disolved. I used the citrus Bronner’s hands and I absolutely love the scent of the soap I made. I didn’t use essential oils. I think it is awesome just how it is. Unless there is a purpose for the oils besides for scent. I Love how my hands feel after drying them from being in this soap!

  9. Linda
    Posted January 31, 2012 at 3:25 am | Posted By: Linda

    My little dogs eat raw meat.(maybe someday they will be vegetarians,… still researching that one ) Do you think your recipe is safe enough to clean their dishes and the utensils I use to make their food? With the addition of vinegar and essential oil rinse? I use a similiar dish soap recipe for myself, but when I clean their dishes I resort back to Dawn Dishsoap, as a precaution…. (thanks for the great recipes) …

  10. Elizabeth
    Posted February 1, 2012 at 1:47 am | Posted By: Elizabeth

    Hi Linda,
    Yes, it’s totally safe. Essential oils can be really strong, but this amount is safe. I often spray my veggies with vinegar when I’m cleaning them, and it’s safe as well.
    Also, I like Evolution dog food. I worry about worms from raw meat. Evolution is pricey, but there are good recipes out there.

  11. Posted February 5, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Posted By: Sue Reynolds

    In your YouTube You say distilled Oil. Is that the same as Dr. Bronner’s? I thought that it was a soap not oil. I’m a bit confused.

  12. Elizabeth
    Posted February 6, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Posted By: Elizabeth

    Hi Sue,
    Sorry about that, I know it’s confusing. For some reason I got in the habit of calling it castile oil because it’s made out of oils, but no it is Castile Soap.
    I do like Dr. Bronner’s the best.

  13. Posted February 22, 2012 at 1:38 am | Posted By: Sue Reynolds

    Thanks Elizabeth but did I hear you to say that it was no fragrant? Everywhere I look it’s at least peppermint. Can you clarify that with me too.

  14. Elizabeth
    Posted February 22, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Posted By: Elizabeth

    Hi Sue, You can buy it with no fragrance. You can order in on Amazon of they don’t have it at a store near you.

  15. Tracy A
    Posted March 26, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Posted By: Tracy A

    Hi Elizabeth. I tried making the recipe on the weekend and it left a greasy film on my dishes. I didn’t use Dr Bronners but I used an organic soap base; would that be a problem? Also if the castile soap and essential oils state for external use only are they still safe for cleaning dishes? Thanks for your time.

  16. Posted May 9, 2012 at 9:27 am | Posted By: Sue

    I have tried your dishsoap but it doesn’t seem to clean our dishes real well. there is a film on it. we do live in a rual area & on well water instead of city. Is there something else that I can add in to help with this?

    • Linda
      Posted July 8, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Posted By: Linda

      I’ve lived where the water is hard and I find that I have to increase the amount of lemon juice and put less water. At one time, I added only lemon juice and NO water. It worked fine for me.

  17. Posted April 16, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Posted By: Brenda

    I should have known better that it was castile soap and not oil! But I wasn’t thinking right. Any ideas what to do with 2 cups of oil, vinegar and water?

    Thank you

  18. Bob Niederman
    Posted April 25, 2014 at 11:25 pm | Posted By: Bob Niederman

    Hi Elizabeth,
    Why not just use Dr. Bronner’s soap straight? why bother with the other ingredients? What do they do for you?


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