Choosing dish soap for me boils down to a question of economy versus ecology. According to The Naturally Clean Home, most commercial soaps are not soaps at all but harsh detergents “made from petroleum distillate, a toxic and nonrenewable resource.” Eek. The more environmentally friendly soaps, on the other hand, are often expensive. What’s an eco-conscious, design-minded individual on a budget to do? Make your own.
Turns out it’s easy and fun. Plus you can customize your concoction with the scent and container of your choice.
Photography by Justine Hand for Remodelista.
Ingredients and recipe adapted from Hello Natural.
- 1 1/4 cup distilled, filtered, or boiled water
- 2/3 cup unscented castile soap. Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Baby-Mild Castile Liquid Soap is $17.99 for 32 oz.
- 1 Tbsp. aloe gel (optional, for sensitive hands). Lily of the Desert Aloe Vera Gel is $9.14 for 32 oz. on Amazon.
- 1 1/2 tsp. washing soda for extra grease-fighting power. Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda is $9.89 for 55 oz. on Amazon.
- 1 tsp. vegetable glycerin. Now Solutions Vegetable Glycerine is $6.06 for 16 oz. on Amazon.
- 20 drops essential oil. I used pink grapefruit from Cambridge Naturals, my local store. Now also makes Grapefruit Oil; $7.08 for 1 oz. at Whole Health.
N.B.: Many dish soap recipes call for vinegar, but vinegar shouldn’t be combined with castile soap. Because soap is a base, it reacts against acids such as lemon or vinegar, effectively canceling out the benefits of both and leaving you with a lumpy mess. (Read more here.)
I could go on for a while about essential oils. (If you’re curious, Crunchy Betty provides a comprehensive tutorial.) But I’ll just stick to the basics. First, make sure you use pure essential oils, not aromatherapy oils, which have been diluted with a carrier oil. Second, a word of caution: Essential oils are highly concentrated and can irritate your skin if you use too much, so stick to the recipe. Finally, because they smell “yummy,” it’s recommended that you keep them out of reach of children.
Want more eco-cleaning solutions?
- Erin whips up her own Windex substitute in Shine Bright like a Diamond: Window-Cleaning Edition.
- Alexa shares her favorite 12 Natural Garment Washes and Detergents.
- And check out The Binchotan Boom: 10 Ways to Use Charcoal at Home.
N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on February 27, 2015.
Have a Question or Comment About This Post?Join the conversation