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Homemade Lemon & Lavender Liquid Dish Soap

Updated: Jun 27, 2022

When the year 2019 first began, I made it my New Year’s Resolution to start making my own home products in an effort to be less wasteful. But, what I didn’t realize was, that in an effort to be less wasteful, I was also (by happy accident of course) cutting out household products that contained a lot of toxic junk. So as I looked further into my “less wasteful” New Year’s Resolution journey, I reconfigured my goal to be both less wasteful, but also more conscious of the ingredients used in the products I bought.

In April, I had used the very last of my store bought dish detergent & it was now time to convert it into the homemade version. I made my first batch of (successful) homemade liquid dish soap & crossed my fingers that it was going to work as well as the store bought. And I am happy to say that I was extremely pleased with the results! During the process, I felt a bit like a mad scientist in my kitchen, because when I was experimenting with different recipes, I may have created a volcano of vinegar, washing soda, & lemon juice that exploded all over the kitchen!

As I realized when I first started researching all natural home products, there is certainly no shortage of recipes online, especially when it comes to making instruction your own liquid dish soap. While there are many recipes out there, I have found that this combination of items has worked just fine for me to tackle dirty loads of dishes, but also is chemical free, doesn’t irritate my skin, & is less wasteful than traditional dish soap. The best part of it is that there is only 4 ingredients & no complicated steps!

The 4 Ingredients You'll Need & Why They Work

  1. Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap – Castile soap is one of my go-to’s for most of my natural cleaning products. For this product, I like to buy in bulk to cut down on cost & waste. I love the versatility of the soap & its’ cleaning power is fantastic! The soap itself is completely biodegradable & the company is working on a zero waste initiative, currently. For right now, the company is not fully “zero waste” because they are still using plastic packaging, but they are making sure it is 100% post-consumer recycled plastic with recycled paper labels (you can read more about their zero waste initiative here).

  2. Washing Soda – Washing soda is like baking soda’s cousin that’s a little rough around the edges. We all know baking soda can be using in baking obviously, but this is not true for washing soda. Washing soda is extremely alkaline & is excellent at removing grease & grime. It is also quite grainy which will add a little scouring power to your liquid soap. Just be careful when using this product because it tends to leave white residue on counter tops if not thoroughly rinsed/wiped off. I purchased this package on Amazon because I was under the impression it was going to come in a paper bag, but don’t be fooled, the inside is completely lined with plastic. I linked the traditional old Arm & Hammer boxed super washing soda at the beginning of this list item!

  3. Distilled Water – I had a very hard time finding a zero waste distilled water company & still so far have not been successful. But, if you go to your local grocery store, you can find gallon jugs of distilled water to use for this recipe. The reason why distilled water is important for this recipe is because distilled water is technically “pure.” It’s free trace minerals & other outliers that could potentially affect your batch of liquid soap. If you use tap water, sometimes what’s known as soap “scum” can potentially form!

  4. Essential Oils – For this recipe, I love to use lemon & lavender! Lemon essential oil is a powerful cleaning agent & also smells fantastic! Lavender is often used as a relaxing smell, but it also has some strong anti-septic properties to it. So, by using this duo, it serves the dual purpose of smelling heavenly, but also packing some serious cleaning power! Luckily, most essential oils are packaging in dark glass bottles to protect the properties of the oils, so it is easy to dispose of at my local recycling center.

How to Make Your Own Dish Soap Using these 4 Ingredients

  • 1 cup Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Castile Soap

  • 2 Tbsp Washing Soda

  • 1/2 cup distilled water

  • 25 drops of lavender essential oil

  • 20 drops of lemon essential oil

  • glass pump bottle

  1. Dissolve 2 Tbsp of washing soda into 1/2 cup of hot distilled water (you can heat the water in your microwave or on the stove) & stir until washing soda is dissolved

  2. Add 1 cup of unscented castile soap into your washing soda & water mixture. Stir to combine (if it gets a little clumpy I put mine in my blender & pulse it until the clumps dissolve)

  3. Add your essential oils to your soap & stir (if your soap is a little too thick for your pump bottle, you can add a little more distilled water to thin it out)

Reasons Why I Love My Homemade Dish Soap

  • It’s a powerful cleaner, but not harsh on your skin (my hands used to get super itchy after using Dawn dish detergent, but I haven’t had that problem since switching to this!)

  • There are no artificial ingredients such as artificial dyes, fragrances, or preservatives

  • It cuts through grease & rinses well

  • Smells great!

  • It gets my dishes & silverware clean

  • It’s pretty cheap to make & lasts a long time!

I still plan on experimenting more with this dish soap recipe, both when it comes to buying zero waste products to use in the recipe as well as trying different items. When I make my next batch, I plan on trying out Dr. Bronner’s Sals Suds & I might alter the recipe with baking soda instead of washing soda (stay tuned for an updated post when I make my next batch!) If you’re interested in my zero waste wooden dish scrubber, you can purchase your own here!

If you’ve tried out this recipe, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Was it effective for you? Was there anything you decided to substitute/leave out? What scent combinations have you come up with!? Please feel free to chat with me in the comments below!

Until next time…