As we explained in our first blog covering how and why to make your own dish detergent, most traditional commercial dish soaps and automatic dishwasher detergents are full of irritating chemical surfactants that are harsh on our skin’s microbiome and have the potential to be ecologically destructive, as well. But alternative “all-natural” options can be quite costly, and all too often are not as natural as the label may claim.
So what is the solution for a frugal homesteader when it comes to that ever-growing pile of dirty dishes? Well… We DIY, of course!
How to Use Castile Soap for Dishwashing
Using our new Lactosoapcillus Probiotic & Vegan Castile Soap as dish soap (and even automatic dishwasher detergent!) couldn’t be easier or more affordable. Castile soap is highly concentrated, so a little goes a very long long way. And because it is made with a base of organic oils and skin-loving probiotics, your hands will thank you, as well. You can even choose which of our three available scents you like best, or start with unscented castile soap and add your own essential oils for a customizable fragrance!
How to Make Handwashing Dish Soap
Begin by deciding how much dish soap you want to make, and choose your preferred container.
Approximate the size of your container to determine the amount of water and soap needed. This recipe equates to one part castile soap to ten parts water. This means for each cup of water, you will need about 1 ½ tablespoons of castile soap. For reference, a standard commercial hand soap pump dispenser usually holds 8-12 ounces (1-1 ½ cups) of liquid.
NOTE: We usually advise not to keep your castile soap in a container with a pressurized dispenser (like a standard pump dispenser) because of the likelihood of the castile soap hardening in the pump, which can become dangerous. However, our dish soap recipe is diluted enough to minimize this risk, making using a pump-style dispenser much safer. Additionally, if you choose to add baking soda to your dish soap, this will further prevent the Castile from hardening in the dispenser.
Measure out the appropriate amount of distilled or filtered water into a clean pot or pan. Then, heat water just until warm. Warming the water first will help the soap (and baking soda, if used) to incorporate more easily.
Optional Step 4:
If you would like your dish soap to have extra de-greasing power, add a ¼ – ⅓ cup of washing or baking soda (sodium carbonate) to your warm water now. Stir until it is dissolved.
Add 1 ½ tablespoons of liquid castile soap for every cup of water in your recipe. Remember to save these calculations for future batches!
Optional Step 6:
Add your choice of pure essential oils for fragrance.
NOTE: It is important to avoid “fragrance oils”, and instead only use pure essential oils for this recipe. Fragrance oils are usually not food-grade essential oils and are diluted with a carrier oil, which could contaminate your dish soap. On the other hand, pure essential oils are quite concentrated and can cause skin irritation when used in high concentrations. Be mindful of this when choosing how much essential oil to add to your dish soap recipe, and always err on the side of caution.
Allow to cool briefly, then transfer your new DIY Castile dish soap into your chosen container. When ready to use, simply squirt dish soap onto a sponge or brush and wash dishes as usual!
How to Make Dishwasher Detergent
Choose a clean container for dispensing that can hold at least two cups of liquid. We like to use this opportunity to upcycle old glass jars or plastic containers. Of course, you can choose whatever kind of container is most convenient for you. Put this container aside for now.
NOTE: For our automatic dishwasher soap, we again must recommend avoiding a pump-style dispenser, as this recipe is not as diluted as our handwashing dish soap recipe and contains no baking soda. Castile soap is highly concentrated and has a tendency to solidify quickly in a pump dispenser. When the solidified soap clogs the dispenser, the remaining liquid soap is likely to shoot out with great force in unexpected directions. This can lead to eye pain and potential injury. Instead of a pump dispenser, we recommend choosing a container with a flip-top or screw-on lid.
In a different clean container, like a large pot or mixing bowl, gently combine one cup of liquid castile soap with one cup of distilled or filtered water. You can also scale this recipe up as needed. Avoid over-mixing or things will get sudsy, fast! You can slowly stir the soap into room-temperature water, or begin by heating your water as shown in our “Handwashing Dish Soap Recipe”, above.
Add one tablespoon of lemon or lime juice to your soap and water mixture.
Optional Step 4:
Add a few drops of pure essential oils for fragrance, if desired. (See our note above about avoiding “fragrance oils”!)
Transfer your DIY automatic dishwasher soap into your dispensing container.
To use, put one tablespoon of soap mixture into the “dish detergent” compartment of your automatic dishwasher (the detergent compartment is usually the one with a door keeping it covered). Then add 1-1 ½ cups (or more) of distilled white vinegar to your machine’s rinse compartment (the rinse compartment is usually open with no door or cover).
NOTE: Castile soap can interact with the minerals in hard water causing buildup. If you have hard water and notice your dishes aren’t rinsing clean, use more vinegar in your rinse cycle.
And that’s it! Enjoy your clean dishes, soft and healthy hands, and a happy wallet. Plus, rest easy knowing you didn’t rinse more chemicals into our community waterways!
Where to Buy Liquid Castile Soap
Check out our brand new Liquid Castile Soap in the “Soap + Shampoo Bars” section of our Growing Organic Shop. This is the latest addition to our Lactosoapcillus line of all-natural probiotic and vegan soaps, and you can count on it to deliver all of the same skin-loving probiotic benefits that you have come to love. We are happy to offer four customer-favorite, all-natural scents of liquid castile soap, including “Frankincense, Tea Tree & Lavender” “Lavender”, “Patchouli”, and “Peppermint and Eucalyptus”, as well as an “Unscented” option.
If you have any questions, suggestions, or feedback, as always please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.