I strive to make my home as chemical-free as possible. To this end I make a lot of my own home, health and beauty products. Here’s what I use to wash my dishes. Maybe there are better recipes out there, if you know one, please post it in the comments, or just tell me how rad this one is. Your pick.
note: I make a medium sized batch and store it in an old dish soap bottle so that I don’t have to make it too often. And your kids can help you make this and learn that you don’t have to buy everything from a store and mine are pretty excited about the idea of making their own soap.
3 cups hot water
2 Tablespoons Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
1 cup Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap -try the scent you like best, I use peppermint to lavender.
2 Tablespoons white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon tea tree oil
Mix the hot water and washing soda together first, otherwise you get a clumpy mess on your hands that will clog your dispenser and be no fun to use.
Then just add all the other ingredients. Mix and you’re done.
What this dish soap is: an easy natural soap that makes your dishes clean, smells nice, is easy to rinse and easy to make. And I love how it doesn’t strip all the moisture out of my hands like commercial soaps. You’ll say “oh yes, please” to these dish-pan hands.
What this dish soap is not: A crazy sudsy lather (the kind you are probably used to). It isn’t thick, it’s rather watery, this takes some getting used to, the washing soda is a thickener but still, it’s pretty much like water. Also, I don’t think it’s a *major* grease fighter. I don’t cook a lot of meat or greasy dishes, so I use this soap every day and it meets my needs. If I have tough stains I use a baking soda and hot water soak (together these will break down burned greasy food deposits in a way that will make you laugh with delight).
Best use policy: I store my soap in a pump dispense, looks pretty and is easy to use. If I am doing a lot of dishes, I put a couple of tablespoons of the liquid in a bowl and add hot water, then I use this to dip my sponge into. Because the soap doesn’t lather a lot and is very watery, if you rely on your deeply ingrained dish soap habits to determine how much to use, you will use up your soap so quickly you’ll likely end up discouraged and vow to buy soap from now on. But really, just give yourself a chance to get used to it. I had a moment of DIY fatigue and bought some natural-seeming soap and it was basically the same as my homemade soap but without the homemade pride and probably cost more, so then I did a reverse vow of planning to continue my own soap making and just make a larger quantity, which has been working great.
Make at home mom behind the scenes info: You probably feel like you don’t have time to do this, and you might not, but don’t let that stop you. While attempting to make this soap this a.m. the following events occurred.
I made the unhappy discovery that my soap stash was depleted, and that I had to make more. I had no choice. So I open the pantry door and…my 2 yr. old shouts that she wants to get dressed. I help her pick her outfit, walk back to the kitchen and wonder what I had been thinking a moment before. I start to do something else when I remember that I had been thinking about my dish soap. I start getting out the ingredients, I have half the stuff piled on my cluttered counter top (damn you cluttered counter top!) and meanwhile my 5 yr. old is hiding under a blanket eating goldfish and drinking milk while my 2 yr. old pours the rest of the bag of goldfish into one of those plastic applesauce cups and exclaims “Uh-oh!” because all the goldfish are now all over a wooden box and the floor.
I move a large stuffed bag aside to clean up the goldfish and the 2 yr. old starts jumping on the bag, I pick up the wooden box to sweep just as my 2 yr. old runs by me and right into the corner of the box. She starts screaming and I rush to get an icepack, my 5 yr. old, still under the blanket, demands to know what happened. I hug and kiss my 2 yr. old, she continues to scream, I have one of those mommy moments where I want to cry too, but I don’t, I just hold on…and then I get everyone pretty much contented and the mess cleaned up.
Oh ya, my soap. I contemplate asking my 5 yr. old to help, because I know he loves to, but decide against it –I get out the rest of the ingredients, and measure. And tell the kids to go play in their room with that thing so no one else gets hurt, and then I get pretty much everything mixed together. Something else happened that I can’t even remember now but at some point I had the mixture dispersed in about 3 different containers and I am not sure why anymore, but finally, it all got done.
The important thing is not to give up. It’s soap, it’s very forgiving, you can leave it half done on the counter and give some hugs and make up a distracting game for the kids and it’ll still be there waiting for you and not burnt or nasty, like dinner tends to do sometimes.