Easy Homemade Liquid Dish Soap {Homemade Homemaking}

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This month’s homemade homemaking recipe is for an easy homemade liquid dish soap!

I’ll be the first to confess that in this season of life I mostly use my dishwasher. With a toddler and a preschooler, my dishes dirty fast, and neither of my girls are quite old enough to help me hand wash–yet. :)

But there are times I simply need liquid dish soap–whether it be for soaking a grimy pot or pan or for quickly washing a kitchen tool I may need to re-use within the same recipe.

And this homemade liquid soap recipe couldn’t be get any easier! I will admit that you may need to use slightly more than a conventional dish soap, and, although it does create suds, once you’ve soaked your dishes for a while, the suds will slowly disappear.

But it still gets your dishes clean–with NO toxins found in many conventional dish soaps (like  endocrine-disrupting phthalates, which can potentially lower sperm count or even contribute to liver cancer!).

Without further ado, here’s my recipe for an easy-peasy homemade liquid dish soap!


  • 1/2 cup liquid castile soap (unscented or whatever your favorite scent is…I like using tea tree for the added antibacterial properties.)
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 4 drops essential oil scent of choice (I use orange, as I make this into a citrus soap.)
  • 1 tsp. homemade all-purpose citrus cleaner (1tsp. of vinegar can be an alternate here–but I simply LOVE my homemade citrus cleaner, and I always have it on hand. It also makes for a nice addition to this citrus soap.)


Simply mix everything together and store it in an old liquid dish soap bottle! Use as you would store-bought liquid dish soap.

Do you make your own liquid dish soap? What is your favorite liquid dish soap recipe?

More Homemade Homemaking:

Want to learn how to make more than 30 homemade household cleaners? Check out: Simply Clean.




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    • says

      It’s a chemical-free soap made with essential oils, etc. I get mine at GNC or my local healthfood store. I *think* some Targets also may carry it. It may seem pricey, but it lasts a LONG time b/c of how concentrated it is.

    • says

      “Castile soap” by official definition is soap made with olive oil. Some people use other vegetable oils and call it “castile soap” but that isn’t quite accurate. Olive oil soap.

      It can be made at home (if you’re ok with using lye – the other component needed for making soap); or it can be purchased at various locations online or in stores.

      The type used above is already in liquid form (same as the bar soap, just lots of water 😉 ), with more water added during the recipe-making :)

      Essential oils can be added, but are not part of the “definition” 😉

  1. Jennifer says

    Hi, I’ve been researching making my own soap and was wondering if you’ve noticed any curdling if you use vinegar as that’s what a lot of people have mentioned having a problem with, with similar formulas?

      • Megan says

        I read on Dr. Bronner’s blog, that you’re not supposed to mix castile soap and vinegar because the vinegar is an acid and the castile soap is base. When they combine, they cancel each other out and the soap will “unsaponify” or “curdle”. I love the idea of using the citrus vinegar cleaner, but I’m wondering if you could substitute for vodka? Here’s the link if you’re interested: http://lisa.drbronner.com/?p=292.

        Love the recipe, though! I may do a little research about vodka and castile soap and give that a try! Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Dawn says

    I squeeze fresh lime and freeze in 1T spoon amounts in the freezer for off season use. My husband happen to grab the lime peels and tossed them in a pan boiling them with water and a splash of vinegar. We used that water to mix with the Castile soap. Gave the soap a nice citrus smell and I was able to get everything from the lime.

    • Jennifer says

      The point of this soap is the chemical free properties. Yes, you can get cheap soap but what are you putting on your dishes and what is soaking into your hands and what is going into our limited water supply.

    • Tracie says

      It is real simple when it comes to going all natural. 1. Most things will cost you some money in the beginning BUT the amount of product you end up with is ALWAYS going to be cheper than what you buy in the store plus you don’t to run to store if you run out as you can always have extra on hand that is made and/or make some fairly quickly. I make my own liquid laundry soap using the Duggar’s Family recipe and Purex Crystals the cost per load is .05 cents versus the cheap stuff which is .10 cents per load. Yes I had to invest some in the beginning but now I have enough ingredients to last me for a year just making the liquid laundry soap. Also you don’t have to use the Castille soap either Fel’s Naptha works and has the same results as the Castile soap which costs more. If you do research on DIY things you will find that the first few that you make yes it costs more but that is because you have to invest a little bit of money at the beginning to get cheaper costing results in the end. My Granddaughter has extremely sensitive sikn and has since birth and nothing I make homemade has ever caused her to break out in a rash like other products have done including sensitive wipes for babies. I make my own and she has no problems with the wipes I make at all. It is all about the added chemicals that are not needed that we focus on. Also if you worried about cost essential oil’s can also be optional in most recipes as it is in my liquid laundry soap. Just use the citrus cleaner in place of some of the water different recipes call for and walah you have a scented homemade product.

  3. Arif Khan says

    I tried this, however, I must be doing something wrong, as I can not get clean dishes, it seems to leave a greasy resdual on everything?

    So how do you get this to work properly ?

          • Tracie says

            Hi Arif
            When you add a scented/non-scented oil in the homemade dish soap recipe/any homemade recipe you can get the greasy residual feeling. Use a non-oil based scent then use it & see if that works for you. I only use the citrus recipe above and omit the oils all together. Hard water can cause for the oil not to get risnsed off as well. Hope this helps have any more ?’s let me know. Been making my own stuff for over 20yrs. now. Been sick so excuse all typo’s. Thank you :-)

          • Holly Evans says

            The reason that you are getting the greasy residue on your dishes is because of the vinegar that’s mixed with the castile soap. Mixing vinegar and castile soap together separates the oils. Here is more information on this here:
            Thought that would help anyone that was having this issue.

  4. Tracie says

    Also with this recipe for dishwwashing soap you can add 1/2 tsp. glycerine to the recipe and it will ceate more suds if that is what you like as well. I have made my own bubble bath for my Granddaughter with her having extremely sensitive skin so what I did was use baby tear free, hypoallergenic, and dye free body wash and added 1 tsp glycerin to it and the glycerin it what helps create the bubbles.

  5. says

    Thank you for this! I’d love to find out about your homemade all-purpose citrus cleaner, but the link doesn’t seem to work and a search of your site didn’t turn anything up. Could you please share this recipe?

  6. Kendra says

    This is my very favorite cold process soap recipe. Maybe the slushy milk helps keep the milk from curdling?
    Cold Process Soap Making (using goat’s milk or water)
    12 oz. goat’s milk or water
    4.8 oz. lye crystals
    10.5 oz. coconut oil
    1 lb. 5 oz. olive oil (not extra virgin)
    2 tblsp. castor oil
    1-4 tblsp. essential oil (optional)
    Make the lye solution:
    -zero out the weight of your pitcher, then weigh the milk/water
    -freeze about 2/3 of the milk in chunks or until slushy (omit this step if using just water)
    -add the liquid 1/3 to your pitcher, place pitcher in sink and fill sink with enough cold water and ice to almost meet the level of the milk/water in the pitcher
    -SLOWLY add a bit of the lye to the milk/water. As it starts to dissolve it will start to heat up. Stir the solution gently. Wait. Wait. Wait until the solution cools back down a bit. You don’t want it to get more than 100 degrees. Add more lye, stir, wait.
    -repeat adding a bit more lye at a time, but never enough to cause the liquid to heat up considerably. As it heats up, add a bit of the slushy or frozen milk to help cool it down. (omit this if using just water)
    -When you’re done adding all of the lye, add the remaining slushy milk/water and stir until everything is melted and blended.
    *Always add the lye to the milk/water, not the other way around*
    Make the soap:
    -zero out the weight of your soap pot or glass pitcher
    -weigh the oils one by one, put the solids into the pot and liquids into the pitcher.
    -place your pot of solids on the stove over medium heat. Slowly melt while stirring gently. Monitor the temperature. Turn off the heat when the oils get to about 110 degrees. Keep stirring until of the solid oils are melted.
    -once melted, add the (room temperature) liquid oils to the pot. This will bring the overall temp down. You want the oils to be about 100 degrees when you add the lye solution.
    -SLOWLY add the lye solution to the soap pot. The oils will immediately start to turn cloudy. Using the stick blender as a spoon (not turning it on) blend the lye solution into the oils.
    -While stirring the lye/oil mixture with the stick blender, turn on the blender in short bursts. To start with, blend for 3-5 seconds and then stir some more. Keep blending in short bursts until the oils and lye are completely mixed. Once they are mixed well you are nearing trace.
    -to test for trace, dip a spatula or spoon into the mix and dribble a bit back into the pot. If it leaves a little “trace” behind, you’re there. Some people describe the trace as a little mound of soap that takes a second or two to disappear back into the mix. The soap doesn’t have to be really thick just yet, it just needs to be well mixed with no streaks of remaining oil.
    -once completely blended, but before it begins to get too thick, slowly add your fragrance or essential oils. Stop stick blending the mixture and just use the end of the blender like a spoon.
    -if your recipe call for additives like spices, flower petals, or moisturizing oils, now is the time to add them just as you did with the essential oils.
    -if you are using colorant, add that now.
    -pour the raw soap into your mold using a back and forth motion to make sure the soap spreads out evenly. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
    -pick the mold up and gently tap it on the counter to dislodge any air bubbles.
    -set the soap in a warm place to set up and begin curing.
    Curing the soap:
    -the soap will begin to get hot as the saponification process starts. Depending on the temp of the room, it often helps to lay a towel around or over the mold to help keep it warm, and keep the reaction going.
    -it will take about 24 hours for the soap to harden enough to take it out of the mold and slice it.
    -after you slice it into whatever size you want, set it aside to cure for about 4 weeks. (while the saponification process will have stopped in several days and the soap will technically be safe to use, it really needs to cure to be ready to use)

  7. Deb says

    I tried this once and it did very little. Maybe it’s because we have very HARD water and it’s rusty also. Maybe there’s something else I need to add? Anyway as for washing dishes with little ones it really isn’t a big deal, do them whent hey’re napping. I ahd 3 kids in less than 3-1/2 yrs/. and NEVER had a dishwasher. Did them after they were in bed for the evening and my hubby HARDLY ever did dishes. Thanks, maybe I’ll try again.

    • Jen says

      The reason it did very little is because the vinegar in the recipe neutralized the Castile soap. The Castile soap is an alkiline and the vinegar is an acid. Mix them together and they neutralize each other. You basically end up washing your dishes with plain water.

  8. Tracy says

    I’m making this today!! Question though…how much dish soap approx do you use when cleaning a sink full of dishes? (ex.1 tbsp, 1 tsp etc?)

    Thanks for the recipe and advice! :-)

      • Tracy says

        Thanks for the reply! I made the soap exactly and added some extra graded natural soap and it seems to work pretty good…I think. No suds though kinda throws me off and it’s not thick at all. Any advice on thickening it up?

        Thanks again!

  9. Amanda says

    Does this dish soap work well on getting grease out of clothes like blue Dawn? Also, I make a homemade oxiclean spray with blue Dawn and peroxide, would this be a good alternative? I use that spray on my carpet, couches, and clothing.

  10. says

    So interesting cleaning recipe! I already tried a home made limescale cleaner with baking soda and white vinegar and I am impressed by the results. I will definitely try this recipe too! Thank you for sharing it here!


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