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Homemade Liquid Dish Soap Recipe

Affiliate Disclosure | in Healthy Home | by | with 246 Comments

 Homemade Liquid Dish Soap Recipe

Folks, There Is A Gladiator Of Homemade Dish Soaps . . .

And this is it. Round-after-round it knocked it’s opponents out cold: The watery formula’s, the ones that kept separating, the ones dried out my hands and looked like cottage cheese. 

Behold, the defeated.


Why Use Homemade Dish Soap At All?

Ahhh, good question! We all know that most commercial dish soaps are loaded with toxins, but even “green” cleaners often contain chemicals I’d rather not lather up with. For example, the second ingredient in a popular “healthy” store brand is sodium lauryl sulfate, which isoften contaminated with the carcinogen 1,4 dioxane and has been rated as a moderate health hazard by the Environmental Working Group (source).

There’s also another reason I love this recipe: It has a very low hassle factor. In other words, it doesn’t take much time and it’s easy.

An Important Note On Water Types

As you’ll see in the comments, some people love this recipe and some . . . well, not so much. My guess is that how well it works depends on the type of water you have – hardness, softness, pH, etc. Before you consider making a double  or triple batch, I suggest making  a small batch to see how it works in your area.

Homemade Liquid Dish Soap Recipe

Homemade Liquid Dish Soap Recipe

How To Make Homemade Liquid Dish Soap


  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 cup grated Dr. Bronner’s bar soap, tightly packed*
  • 1/4 cup liquid castile soap
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon – 1 tablespoon (plus up to 1 teaspoon additional) super washing soda (adjust for desired thickness)**
  • 1/2 teaspoon non-GMO glycerin
  • 15-40 drops essential oil (lime, lemon and orange are great for cutting grease. Lavender and juniper are also good choices)


Used dish soap squirt bottle or pump dispenser. I splurged and got this adorable mason jar pump on Amazon.

*Other soaps, such as my pure coconut oil soap for laundry, can be used. However, some need more washing soda to thicken and some need less. When I first made a batch of liquid soap with coconut oil soap it was very watery, so I reheated the mixture and incrementally increased the amount of washing soda until it reached the right consistency.

** Super washing soda creates a stronger gel reaction than homemade washing soda. Because the strength of homemade will vary depending on whether all the baking soda is truly converted to washing soda, I can’t recommend a specific amount to use. However, I use about 2 tablespoons in my homemade recipe.


1. Place water on the stove over medium/high heat. Add grated bar soap and stir until dissolved.

2. Once the bar soap is dissolved, remove from heat and pour mixture into a container. I pour mine directly into my pump dispenser because it has a wide mouth that allows me to stir the ingredients.

3. Add liquid castile soap, 2 1/4 teaspoons of the super washing soda and glycerin. Stir thoroughly.

4. Let soap set for 24 hours, stirring occasionally, then check the consistency. Keep in mind that it will thicken over time, so a little runny is okay! If you want it thicker warm it up and dissolve in 3/4 teaspoon washing soda, then let it set again. If needed repeat the process – adding 1/2 teaspoon each time – until desired thickness is reached. Important Note: This soap tends to thicken over time. If that happens, no problem! Just add a little warm/hot water and stir to mix. Also, shake from time to time to make sure the liquid is thoroughly distributed.

5. If the soap is clumpy, give it a whir in the blender or mix with an immersion blender.

Once this soap has reached the consistency you desire stir in essential oils.
Place in container with pump or flip top squeeze lid and use!


Update: The Unpaper Towel Tutorial Is Live HERE

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246 Responses to Homemade Liquid Dish Soap Recipe

  1. Kat says:

    Would this recipe work if I used 2x the liquid castile soap instead of bar soap?

    • Tracy says:

      I’m glad you asked cuz I was wondering the same thing. I keep the big bottle of Dr Bronner’s around but not any bars of soap. Someone please answer if you’ve made this recipe using all liquid Castile (and no bar soap)! Thanks!!

  2. Lotus says:

    Would honey or maple syrup work instead of vegetable glycerin? They help shampoos rinse clean and I have used them in homemade bubble solutions for the kids in place of glycerin. Also, would these effect the shelf life if used?

  3. 8 DIY Cleaning Recipes to Clean Your Kitchen - Clean Mama says:

    […] Liquid Dish Soap – ever looked at the back of your dish soap at the unpronounceable ingredients? Not only does this liquid dish soap work fantastically, it’s safe and non-toxic. Can’t beat that! Via Mommypotamus […]

  4. Judy Downes says:

    I would like to make this soap, but I hate the smell of castile soap. In fact, when I started dating my husband, I had to ask him if he would change his soap. He was using a castile soap and I could smell it on him. Is there something else I could use?

  5. Shannon Schjolin says:

    Do I have to wait the full 24 hours before using? What’s the significance? I’m all out of soap so need to hurry up the process if I can. Thanks

    • Heather ~ Mommypotamus says:

      Hi Shannon, the reason I suggest waiting is that the soap thickens a lot. If you use it beforehand you may think it’s too thin and add more washing soda, which will cause it to thicken too much to use after it sets. Hope that helps!

  6. Cristina says:

    I’ve seen a similar recipe but the washing soda was used after the soap was dissolved. Is there any difference in order?
    Would like to know before trying it. Thanks!

  7. Katie says:

    I am really excited to make my own dish soap but I am concerned with it not killing things like ecoli. Are there certain ingredients that kill the nasties on the dishes, cutting boards etc?

  8. Randa says:

    So I couldn’t read through all the comments to see if there was an answer to my question. I just made this last night and it as very clumpy so I added water and mixed it got clumpier in a matter of 5 minutes, and then I add more water and blended it and this morning it’s very solid that it doesn’t move if you shake the blender. Is it the water? And if it does using distilled spring water make it better?

    • Heather says:

      It sounds like the minerals in your water over-reacted with the washing soda. Try using less washing soda next time. For this batch, just thin it out by adding more water :)

  9. Ashlie says:

    Thanks so much! I’m definitely going to try this recipe. How would you adapt it for thick, liquid hand soap? Also, I’ve seen recipes that use dish soap to make laundry detergent. I’m having a problem with oil stains on my clothes from picking up kiddos with homemade lotion on them (almond & coconut oil, etc). Thanks again!

  10. Emily says:

    Hi there! I just recently discovered your blog and am loving it. I scrolled through some of the comments, but there are just so many. I’m wondering if this not only keeps icky ingredients/toxins out of the house, but also saves money on store bought dish soaps? Thanks!

  11. terya says:

    I tried this recipe today, followed it exactly, no success. No bubbles at all, greasy film over every dish. Not sure why.

    • Edith Algiere says:

      I tried it and got the same result as Terya. What a disappointment. Gathering ingredients and planning to make this for weeks.

    • Sue says:

      Might be the type of bar soap you used. This, pretty much all, homemade soaps will not suds. Suds do not clean, they are only for visual effect. The suds from bought dish soap are from the very chemicals that are bad for the environment. The greasy feel, make sure you rinse with hot water, even add vinegar to rinse water. I use less washing soda and add 1 tablespoon of borax. Borax is all natural biodegradable and a great grease cutter.

  12. Veronika says:

    Hi Mommypotamus, I am very happy that I found recipe for washing liquid without borax!
    But I don’t have any Liquid castile soap. I am from Austria it is a bit to expensive order it from amazon for me…
    Can I instead use just bar soup or it is necessary use liquid one too?
    Thanks for your answer.

  13. Nicole says:

    Hi Mommypotamus,

    I just love your recipes, great work. Your blog is really helping me on my quest for chemical free. The last frontier is the dishes. I tried your dish liquid recipe last week, and although it works I found the mixture thickened substantially (almost solid). So, I added more 1 cup boiling water (as mentioned above), gave it a whirl with a stick blender then let it cool. Still very thick, so I added more boiling water and another whirl. I don’t think it is our water as we have filters and use rain water. Should I just keep adding water until it slightly liquid, or start again?


    • Heather says:

      Hi Nicole! Thanks for your question. Yes, I would keep adding water, and then next time I made a batch I’d use less washing soda :)

  14. Norma Ulmer says:

    Hi, I recently found out I am allergic to coconut oil. I have been looking for a soap that I could

    Hi, I recently found that I’m allergic to coconut oil, dissappointed because alot of diy home products are made using coconut oil, and difficult to find recipes that use a different oil. any suggestions on the best oil to replace it? Was pleased that I found a recipe for a Shea Butter face lotion!!!! It’s amazing!!!

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Norma,
      If you’re not allergic to nuts, I’d try a nut oil like walnut oil. Its more expensive than coconut oil, but unlike olive oil, will not go rancid. I use it to make a DIY wood polish with beeswax and it always lasts (unrefrigerated) for many months. Good luck!

  15. Corinna says:

    I made my own soap bar with 50 % coconut oil and 50 % olive oil. How exactly can I make liquid dish soap with it? Do I just melt it and add water? Do I have to buy the super washing soda?

    • Deppi says:

      I coarsely chop a bar of soap, add hot water and leave for a few hours to dissolve. It’s better to put in a jar because it separates slightly so I shake a little before use. 1oz soap for 1 cup water.

  16. Tanya See says:

    I never would have thought to make homemade liquid dish soap! It’s a great idea and I love the Mason jar pump! Definitely getting the supplies to make this today!

  17. Lindsey says:

    Hi! Thank you for your blog! What do I do if there are no suds? Thanks!

  18. Julie says:

    Where did you get the pump for the mason jar?

  19. Carra says:

    Can I use this or some form of it in a dishwasher?

  20. Sarah says:

    I’m curious what the purpose of glycerin is in this recipe. I saw another recipe that used all the same ingredients but left the glycerin. Is it necessary? Can’t wait to try this out!

  21. Carrie Veschak says:

    Thank you for the easy to follow instructions! I am new to making my own products so I appreciated how thorough each step is laid out. That being said, I think I did something wrong and I was hoping you may have a suggestion for me on how to fix my soap. My soap became VERY thick about 12 hours in, almost to become a solid so I added some more water and stirred it up. The water seemed to thin the soap out a bit but within the hour it would thicken right back up so I would add more water and the same thing would happen. I added yet more water until I have added at least a cup of water and each time the consistency of the soap would become foamy and expanded so much that I had to change containers. It is a bit thinner but it is still thick. I decided to try to use it and the soap leaves no bubbles when I had to spoon it out into my sink. Do you have any suggestion on what I did wrong? What should the consistency end up to be like? Any suggestions would greatly by appreciated!! Thank you!!

  22. Wesley says:

    Hello, could you give me an idea of what the Dr Bronner’s bar soap is as well as the Castile soap – I’ve never heard of either in South Africa and need to find an alternative. Many thanks

  23. Alexis Steele says:

    This idea sounds amazing! I thought that it is impossible to make dish soap at home. Thank you for the recipe, I will try it!

  24. Lisa says:

    Hi mommypotamus!

    Love this recipe but wonder if there’s something that can be done about the spots it sometimes leaves?


  25. mary says:

    Love this recipe, tried it today mine was very thick, I just added water, I like so much I will never buy store dish soap again.

  26. Ben says:

    So I’ve tried making this recipe at least 15 times now. I really hated how much plastic I was wasting buying commercial dish soap. However, I can’t for the life of me get the solution not to coagulate. If I put it in a blender, it becomes foamy, not a thick liquid. I burn through an 8oz dispenser in a matter of days. The glycerin adds a bad film on my sink after it dries. I meticulously measure the volume of each ingredient. I’ve vetted it enough to say that it doesn’t work for me.

    I’ve found that the standard palmolive dish soap goes about 10x as far. And it doesn’t leave spots on my sink and dishes. I guess I’ll keep on the hunt for a decent replacement to palmolive, but so far I haven’t found it.

  27. Deppi says:

    Is the glycerin necessary?

  28. tom s says:

    lots of the same challenges: spots; clumping+; a feel to dishes, sink, that isn’t quite right (so i have to dry immediately).
    less washing soda seems to be a solution (no pun intended). does anyone know how that interacts – doesn’t interact with hard vs soft H2O? also, since i too have a large batch made, what might chemically “combat” the effect of washing soda? besides more H2O.
    also, could it be clogging my kitchen drain when it’s like this?

  29. 42 Homemade Cleaner Recipes To Keep Your Home Naturally Clean says:

    […] Liquid Dish Soap – Mommypotamus […]

  30. Lisa says:

    I made the liquid dish soap as directed. It got really solid so I added more distilled warm water and waited. Still solid. Shaking it up breaks it up a bit, but large cloudy/white lumps. Shook it up. Now tiny rice-like lumps. Should I heat, cool, and then blend? Why do we need to add bar soap AND liquid castile soap since they are both castile soap? Why not just the liquid?

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