I have made quite a few DIY cleaners in my life… everything from cleaning wipes to laundry soap to all-purpose spray, but there are two things I have hesitated to try: dish soap and dishwasher detergent. Truth… I love Dawn dish soap. It works! It gives me suds (which I know don’t necessarily equal clean, but they make me feel like things are getting clean), it cuts through grease, and it has worked so well in many of my DIY cleaning recipes; but I also like knowing what is actually in my cleaning products, and I don’t get that luxury with Dawn. So, today we’re going to try some DIY Dish Soap. Ready? I sure am!
Let’s talk about Sal Suds for just a second.
“Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds Liquid Cleaner is not a soap but instead is a concentrated hard-surface all-purpose cleaner. It is made with plant-based surfactants and natural fir needle and spruce essential oils (no cheap, harsh pine stump oil), without any synthetic dyes, fragrances or preservatives. Perfect for general household cleaning (dishes, floors, laundry, etc.), it cleans and rinses with exceptional power, yet it is mild and gentle on the skin. Sal Suds Liquid Cleaner is equally effective in hard or soft water, rinsing freely, hot or cold. It is 100% cruelty-free, as certified by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics, and it will biodegrade rapidly after doing its job.” -Quote found on Dr. Bonner’s shop page
The one thing about Sal Suds is it contains SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate). Admittedly, I have read a few negatives about the use of SLS in cleaning products (mainly that it can cause skin irritation), however, after reading through this article, I feel comfortable using it. Check out the FAQ section of this post for more on this subject.
One more thing to note: I have seen versions of DIY dish soap that use Castile Soap (I love Castile Soap… I use it every single day in my DIY Foaming Hand Soap), but Castile Soap is meant for personal hygiene, not for cleaning. Many report that using Castile Soap for cleaning purposes creates a lot of white, filmy residue… not what you want when you’re trying to clean your dishes.
What You Need to Make Homemade Dish Soap
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Ingredients Needed to Make Your Own Dish Soap
- Sal Suds
- Distilled Water- Tap water contains impurities that can lead to bacterial growth, so using distilled water is recommended
- Jojoba Oil
- *Essential Oil of your choosing (Optional)- I used both Grapefruit and Pine (because Sal Suds already has fir and spruce essential oils, so I thought Pine might enhance those a bit)- If you are not sure where to buy essential oils, check out this post.
*I link to essential oil brands I believe provide high quality oils and are transparent with their testing (in other words, the company publicly provides GC/MS results). I also try to link to the essential oil that will give you the “biggest bang for your buck” (often times buying a 30ml bottle of oil means greater savings per ml than purchasing a 10ml bottle). I provide more information on where to buy essential oils so you can choose a brand you feel is right for you.
Supplies Needed to Make Homemade Dish Soap
- 2 Cup Liquid Measuring Cup
- Dish Soap Dispenser- I used a glass bottle with a stopper because that’s what I had on hand 🙂
How to Make DIY Dish Soap
When doing dishes, add a splash of dish soap to warm running water. (Check out those suds!)
This DIY Dish Soap is not thick like the Dawn I’m used to, however, it smells amazing, has a high “suds factor” that lasted throughout the entire sink-full of dishes, and cleaned dishes like a champ. This DIY Dish Soap recipe is a definite winner!
*Helpful Hint: As you know, oil and water don’t mix, so if you notice your oil separating , simply give the bottle a gentle shake before adding it to your sink.
Looking for more ways to use Sal Suds?
Check out these recipes:
Common Questions About Homemade Dish Soap
Can I Substitute Castile Soap for Sal Suds?
In short… no. As mentioned above, Castile Soap is great for personal hygiene recipes, like foaming hand soap, but because it’s a soap made with oils (and not a cleaner) it will separate when adding vinegar to it (which this recipe uses). The end result will be a curdled mixture that will leave behind a sticky, white residue on your dishes. I don’t think that’s what you’re looking for 🙂
This Dish Soap Recipe is Very Liquidy. Can I Thicken It?
I, personally, don’t mind the liquid consistency of this dish soap recipe because it works; whether thick or thin. However, I understand we are used to having a thicker dish soap. I have heard that adding salt can help thicken the mixture, but I have never tried it myself. I’d love to hear how it goes if you give it a try.
Sal Suds Contains Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. Does that Cause Cancer?
I address this question in my Shower Cleaner recipe as well, but, in short, I researched whether Sodium Lauryl Sulfate causes cancer and found this article to be really helpful in addressing the safety of using SLS in cleaning products. The article states, “SLS is not listed as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC); U.S. National Toxicology Program; California Proposition 65 list of carcinogens; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and the European Union.” It goes on to discuss how SLS may have gotten misconstrued as a carcinogen. I will let you take a look and determine if you feel comfortable using it, however, I felt good about it after doing my research.
Do I Have to Add Essential Oils to DIY Dish Soap?
Nope. Adding essential oils to this homemade dish soap recipe is totally up to you. Essential oils can enhance the cleaning power of the dish soap and add a pleasant scent, but Sal Suds smells pretty good already, so you can certainly opt out of adding essential oils if you choose.
Also note that you can change out the essential oils I used for something different. Citrus oils are always great for fighting grease and giving a fresh scent, so exchange the grapefruit for lemon, orange, or tangerine. If you want to keep with the woodsy theme that Sal Suds already has, use cedarwood or copaiba instead of pine. Honestly, the possibilities are endless.
Homemade Dish Soap
- 1 Tablespoon Jojoba Oil
- 20 Drops Essential Oil I used 5 drops of Pine and 15 Drops of Grapefruit
- ¾ Cup Sal Suds
- 2 Tablespoons Vinegar
- ¾ Cup Distilled Water
- 2 Cup Liquid Measuring Cup
- Soap Dispenser for Storage
- Start by combining 1 Tablespoon Jojoba oil and 20 drops essential oil in a small glass (or ceramic) bowl. Stir.
- Pour the oil mixture into a 2 cup glass measuring cup and add ¾ cup of Sal Suds. Stir to combine.
- Add 2 Tablespoons of vinegar and ¾ cup of distilled water to the mixture and, once again, stir to combine.
- Pour the mixture into a soap dispenser. When ready to use, pour a small splash into the sink with warm water.