The Best DIY Dish Soap (Removes Tough Grease)

June 10, 2011 at 9:14 pm 19 comments

We’ve tried many different recipes for dish soap, and they’re either too watery, too soapy or they leave too much of a residue. But, just like Goldilocks, we’ve finally found one that’s just right!


  • 2 cups water

  • 1/4 cup of non-scented Dr. Bronners Castile Soap

  • 1/4 cup grated castile soap

  • 30 Drops of Lavender essential oil (make sure to handle with care, these are quite potent!)

  • 2 teaspoons of Super Washing Soda (Arm and Hammer)

  • 1 teaspoon non-GMO vegetable glycerin


NOTE: Remember, the ingredients and materials used for this recipe can serve for many other DIY cleaner recipes! 😉

1. Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan.
2. Add the soap flakes and stir to dissolve.
3. Add the castile soap, washing soda, glycerin, and essential oil.
4. Stir well, making sure everything is dissolved.
5.Carefully pour into a bottle with a spout or pump.
6. It needs to set for about 24 hours.

Why make your own cleaning products?
1. It’s good for your health! Many cleaning product manufacturers, and yes even the green ones, use preservatives and ‘foaming’ agents such as SLS and SLES. Over a long period of use, these toxins can accumulate in your body and get stored in your cells.

2. It’s good for the environment. No more plastic jugs going into recycling or landfill. No more harmful chemicals going down our drains and into the water supply. Many municipal water filtration systems are not designed to remove all types of chemicals. This causes them to end up back in our own water supply! Whatever we put down the drain will come back in one way or another.

3. It’s cost effective! Making your own cleaners can save money in the long run specially if you make large batches.


Entry filed under: Home and Health, Natural Cleaning. Tags: , , , , .

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19 Comments Add your own

  • 1. smartklean  |  May 14, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    Hi Nikki,

    You’re right and we’ve have updated our recipe. This new recipe powerfully cuts through grease stains as well. Thank you for pointing that out!

  • 2. Gabrielle  |  November 15, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    I’m trying to get away from chemical cleaners as I am becoming increasingly sensitive to them, but am getting a bit overwhelmed. I just got a bottle of seventh generation and saw that it has SLS, and found your blog while searching for more information. Dr. Bronner’s site says not to mix vinegar with the soap, but what’s suggested there looks like it could get to be too much work. Are there any commercial dish soaps that are natural and work?

    • 3. smartklean  |  May 14, 2014 at 10:12 pm

      Hi Gabrielle,

      You may want to check health stores like Whole Foods and just make sure to read through all ingredients. Avoid SLS, fragrances and other and synthetic chemicals as much as possible. We’ve updated this recipe with the suggestions about the vinegar and soap. Thank you!

  • 4. Annmarie  |  October 15, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    We love to use Dr. Woods Castille soap. I use it as it to wash dishes, sometimes use a little baking soda. I haven’t seen any unscented in this line either. But they do sell a Tea Tree one, as well as other nice scents that are from essential oils. Could you lead me to any articles that you’ve written on making your own laundry soap?
    Thank you!

    • 5. Annmarie  |  October 15, 2013 at 5:26 pm

      Hi Annmarie!
      Tea Tree Oil should be fine and add to the powerful cleansing effect. We actually don’t make our own laundry soap, we use our own product, the SmartKlean Laundry Ball! 🙂 It lasts for 365 loads, so it’s much easier to use, no mixing and uses no chemicals. Many of our customers used to make their own laundry soap and have now switched to and love our product. Learn more about it here:

  • 6. rc  |  March 7, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    Wondering where you get unscented castille soap. The only unscented one I’ve found from dr. Bronners is the baby one. I also found liquid castille through a bulk seller but the ingredients differ a little. Any thoughts? The website is new directions aromatics.

    • 7. smartklean  |  March 7, 2013 at 8:09 pm

      Hi! Search on Amazon, there are many out there.

  • 8. S  |  March 6, 2013 at 12:13 am

    what if you have a cat? Essential oils are toxic and they do not like citrus. Any ideas? I have been looking for days.

    • 9. smartklean  |  March 6, 2013 at 12:29 am

      The smell is not left on the plates after you have washed and dried them. Is that what you mean? Essential oils are toxic when too much is used. You don’t have to use a citrus essential oil or any essential oil for that matter. The essential oils are added just for fragrance and a boost in disinfecting, although there’s not much to disinfect with food on plates.

  • 10. Sarah  |  August 25, 2012 at 3:35 pm


    Where does one find Dr. Bronner’s castile oil?


    • 11. smartklean  |  August 27, 2012 at 5:18 pm

      Hi Sarah,

      You can find Dr. Bronner’s soap products in Whole Foods, and some grocery stores. You can also order online through

  • 12. V Provost  |  August 15, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    Is there any way this recipe can be modified to work in a foaming dish soap bottle?

    • 13. smartklean  |  August 15, 2012 at 8:42 pm

      We haven’t tried it, but if you put it in a foaming bottle, it should come out as foam because of the dispenser. The recipe foams when you shake it too because of the vinegar mixed with soap. Try it and let us know how it worked!

  • 14. Mahasin Hazziez  |  December 21, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    How much do you use for a sinkful of dishes?

    • 15. smartklean  |  December 21, 2011 at 6:26 pm

      It really all depends on how dirty the dishes are. A few squirts every few plates usually do the job for us 🙂

  • 16. Christina  |  December 12, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Without preservatives, how long will one batch last?

    • 17. smartklean  |  December 13, 2011 at 8:31 pm

      In our home, this lasts about 2 months, however if you mean how long will it stay fresh, we’re not sure.

  • 18. Marj McClendon  |  July 6, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    I love the idea of no more plastic bottles going in to our landfills.

  • 19. Sarah  |  June 27, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    I’ve been looking for things like this, Thanks for the info.


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