Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Choosing Simplicity..... Homemade Liquid Dishwasher Soap

I just whipped up another batch of  dishwasher soap this week and it got me thinking about the fact that my second all time most  read post here on this blog is about the homemade liquid dishwasher soap I use.  Isn't it funny what posts become the most popular??  I never would have thought dishwasher soap!  LOL!

I started using homemade liquid dishwasher soap back in 2009 and I enjoy being both frugal and environmentally kind.  I had used a homemade powder dishwasher soap for a long time before that.  I prefer the liquid kind.  We have "hard" well water and I must use a rinse aid (either vinegar or purchased kind) and I have to hand wash our drinking glasses every now and them because no matter what kind of dishwasher soap I use (home made or purchased) a film develops.  This recipe is a keeper in my book, so thought I would post about it again (since it has been a while).

This batch that I made this week will last me about 4 months.  Note that I marked the jug with the date... I like to keep track of usage data... it is the nerd in me!   I run my dishwasher at least once a day and a few days a week it gets ran twice a day.  For a cost of $3 I would say that this is very cost effective!

Homemade Liquid Dishwasher Soap
(This makes 1 gallon. It costs me approximately $3 to make. I store it in 2 1/2 gallon jugs.)

Ingredients:
16 cups of water, divided
1 1/2 cups WASHING soda (this is NOT baking soda)
1 cup borax
1/2 cup Dr. Brenner's Pure Liquid Castile Soap (fragrance of your choice)

Directions:
1) Bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in washing soda, borax and liquid castile soap until dissolved.
2) Stir in remaining 8 cups water and allow to cool.
3) Pour cooled dishwasher soap into containers of your choice. It will "gell" up over next 24 hours.

To use:
give dishwasher soap a good shake to make sure everything is mixed well and to make it easy to pour out. I only put a small amount ( approx 1 rounded TBL) in the closed soap dispenser. Experiment with the amount you will need... I have found that it takes very little of this soap.  This batch will last a long time!

 I hope you like it... Let me know if you try it. I enjoy making as many of our cleaning products as possible... I especially like this homemade multipurpose cleaner.  My 7 year old son is the chief bathroom cleaner and he sprays down the sink with this cleaner every day.... love that I don't have to worry about my child cleaning with harsh and dangerous chemicals!  Safe and effective and of course money saving!  :)


****Update*****  This batch I made in January lasted me SIX whole months!!  I run the dishwasher at least once a day and several times a week twice.  I posted about how frugal and happy I am with this Homemade Liquid Dishwasher Soap here.   *****



Have a BLESSED day,
BE a BLESSING!
Heather

70 comments:

Carolyn Renee said...

I may just have to try this! I have given up hope on my dishwasher as I always seem to have to RE-was the darned dishes once they've gone through the cycle. I've bought cheap soap, expensive soap, but they always leave "ick" on the dishes. And when I heard you also had hard well water, like we do, I figured I'd give it a try. I'll let you know when / if I get around to it. Thanks for the recipe!

More than Survival said...

Carolyn, I hope it works for you! We do have a water softener that also helps get the dishes clean. I always use a rinse aid (usually just vinegar)..... Let me know if you do try it. You could always make a small batch to give it a try.

Kate said...

Oh dear. I got all exciting thinking I finally found a recipe for homemade dishwashing liquid for handwashing dishes. I do not own a dishwasher. I AM the dishwasher! Do you know of one?

Anonymous said...

Hi I was wondering where you buy the Dr Brenner's pure liquid castile soap? Am very excited to make and try this, I am already using homemade laundry soap and love it. Also love the idea of using white vinegar for rinse cycle, never thought of that Thank You...

More than Survival said...

I am able to find the liquid castile soap at our local Kroger, but I know that our local health food stores have it, too. I wonder if Amazon carries it??

Anonymous said...

Hi, I also found a recipe that includes citric acid or unsweetened lemonade Kool-aid, and some salt. What is your thinking of this. The recipe I got it from was a powder form. We have very hard water and powder form does not work for me it leaves a nasty white film on my dishes. Would these 2 ingredients help yours to or not a good idea.

More than Survival said...

In answer to the question about citric acid..... The powder form I used to make did use citric acid (in the form of lemonade mix). However, I have found that this liquid recipe works GREAT even without citric acid. I should experiment the next time I make a batch and include some.... it can't hurt, but don't know if it will make it better (I am totally satisfied with how the current version works with my water).

Since everyone's water is different some might find it beneficial to add citric acid. I would probably use pure citric acid (found in the home canning section) rather than lemonade mix.

Caity said...

I made this and thought it was a little too watered down. How can I make it so it is more of a gel? Do I just add less water or put more of the other stuff in? Any ideas? It just doesn't come out too slow when I pour it into the lid.

More than Survival said...

Caity.... I'm not sure why yours didn't gel up... Within 24 hours mine has always gelled. However, I'm sure you could reduce the amount of water. Your dish soap will still work even if it is a little to runny.... Sorry you have had difficulties!!! Did you use WASHING soda or BAKING soda?? That might be the issue??

Marti said...

I so love this recipe, I made this soap and added 1 packet of the unsweetened lemonade kool-aid. Thought it would add a citric smell, which it does. I have really put this soap to the test, put in dried on frosting bowls pasta sauce with no rinsing and anything that I would have scrubbed or rinsed with Cascade, and it all came out sparkling clean. So far I love love this soap and its so inexpensive. I also have started using this soap to clean my kitchen floor. I decided it could not hurt beings there are no harsh chemicals in it, and it works wonderful....Thank you so much!!

More than Survival said...

Marti.... I am so glad that this recipe has worked so well for you! LOVE making as much as possible without harsh chemicals and saving money!! Appreciate your feedback!
Heather

caity said...

I wonder if i just put one cup of the washing soda in. Ill try again and if its runny then reduce the water.

Marti said...

Ok am back, I loaded my dishwasher last night then ran it and this morning my dishes had that nasty white cloudy look and feel to it. Makes me sad because I thought it worked so well. Am thinking its my hard water but I don't know. Thanks Will probably go back to the Cascade for now.. :(

More than Survival said...

Marti, so sorry it doesn't work with your water! Hard water is sooooo frustrating!!! Do you use a rinse aid or vinegar?? I feel for you! As least you know you can use this homemade soap to clean other things... just fyi... it works really well to clean the inside of my fridge!! :)

Marti said...

I used a regular rinse aid then when that was gone so I started using off brand rinse aid, and that's when it started. So am going to try vinegar or go back to the regular brand rinse aid, and see what happens. Will keep you updated, am not ready to give up....

Marti said...

HI I am back, and I sucked out all the generic brand rinse aid with a straw, :) and added vinegar as my rinse aid and have not had the problem since. So it was the rinse aid and not the soap. :-) Will be making some more soap..

More than Survival said...

GREAT news, Marti!!!!! :) Got to love good old vinegar!!

Kristy said...

Can you use a different kind of soap for the castle soap? And can you add the vinegar to the soap mix?

Anonymous said...

Hi! I'm a new mommy and I've been trying out different money saving, And less harsh chemicals to be used around the house. I made this and it gelled up really well, however there's a thick white film on the dishes even after I've rinsed and used a vinegar rinse aid. Any suggestions??

Mama 2 Charlie n' Jack said...

Can't wait to try this....Made the one with Kool Aid and it was awful! I recently started a new "green" blog, www.yellowliving.blogspot.com and would love to write about your recipe and blog if you don't mind. (After I give it a whirl of course!)
Thanks again, SARAH

Jschmalle said...

What else can I use besides castile soap?

Anonymous said...

After an extremely long search, I was able to find the Castile soap in the cosmetics aisle at Target. They do have several scents available.

Anonymous said...

:( Mine only gelled about an inch down. did i not have my water hot enough or could i have done something else wrong. made sure i have the right ingredients and amounts. suggestions, please?

kristy said...

The water has to be really hot or it won't gel. Found that one out the hard way. I used irsh spring soap and things have been fine. I'm sure the castile soap would be better but I couldn't find it anywhere :(

Amy T. said...

I just tried this over the weekend. It definitely takes the full 24 hours to gel. I use white vinegar as my rinse agent, I still had a horrible haze on our glasses, presumably everything but we can't see it. Our water is not overly hard. I was so excited because this is the only recipe I found that is liquid and doesn't combine opposites in one recipe (Castile soap and vinegar). Any thoughts on how to break down the haze? I even added extra vinegar in my pre-wash compartment.

More than Survival said...

****Update***** For anyone who has a HAZE on dishes with this might have to forgo the vinegar rinse and use a quality rinse aid. Every water is different. What works for one will not for others. Even if you have to purchase quality rinse aid (I have never heard anything good about generic rinse aids) you will still be saving a bundle using this dishwasher soap. I have found that Sams club has the best price on rinse aid. Good luck!! *****

Marla Bernard said...

I was able to find my castle soap at Target down by the cleaning supplies . I had a lady tell me she found her castle soap down in cosmetics at the Target .. Also another place would be WholeFoods would carry this product . I always take a picture of the item I'm looking for so when I go into the store I find a working and it's easier to find when they know what the product looks like ...
Thanks so much for this recipe I'm a very busy mother and busy business owner so I love fast easy and CHEAP and also products that work
Saving the planet one step at a time :)

Anonymous said...

Borax isn't as safe as many think afterall...

http://www.mnn.com/your-home/at-home/blogs/avoid-borax-in-your-green-cleaning-products

Jessica said...

i am planning to try to make this soap. http://fimby.tougas.net/how-to-make-simple-soap-video-tutorial she uses it for dishes; just wet your dishcloth, run it over the soap and wash. I washed dishes like this in honduras as people use a similar soap. i'm sure you could also melt it down and diy liquid soap.

Fearless Farmgirl said...

I think that article written about it being bad is a crock. Sorry but it's pretty easy to see that it was poorly written with very little facts to back up their claims. I'm keeping my Borax and once more, I'm going to go buy another box of it. Can't believe everything you read. There's still no substitute for logic and common sense.

Michele said...

I'm going to try this! I made powdered soap, but It's leaving a film on my dishes. I use lemon juice in my extra dispenser, and it makes my dishes sparkling clear! Well, before I started using the powder anyway!

Michele said...

I'm going to try this! I made powdered soap, but It's leaving a film on my dishes. I use lemon juice in my extra dispenser, and it makes my dishes sparkling clear! Well, before I started using the powder anyway!

Sarah said...

Mine only gelled up a little bit. I shook it and it is all water. Is there anything that I can do now? It does have chunks of gel in it. I followed the recipe too. No problems with hard/soft water either. I also ran it a few times and a lot of the dishes do not look very clean. A little residue that I can just wipe off on some dishes and a few pieces of gunk on others - even though I can just wipe it off with my finger. Any suggestions? I really do not want to go back to buying dishwasher soap.

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of this, but I just can't get it to work. We have very hard water, so the powder left a nasty film on our dishes. I thought for sure that using the liquid would take care of that problem. I have used a good rinse aid, vinegar, and nothing at all, and I still have foggy glasses at the end of the cycle....grr. Any ideas? I really don't want to go back to cascade.....it's soooo expensive!

More than Survival said...

Anyone want to jump in with suggestions for those having a hard time?? I can only give my experience with MY water.... every water is different! I know it is frustrating!!

Anonymous said...

I also am having trouble getting it to gel, I follow the directions and added the correct amounts and its just like water with small amounts of gel floating around. Would boiling it again get it to gel?

Anonymous said...

If you were to add the citric acid to this liquid dishwasher detergent what would be the amount in the mix?

Anonymous said...

It needs air to gel. If you take the lid off your container for a few hours, it will gel. :)

Anonymous said...

BTW, I did the math on this. There are 256 tablespoons in a gallon. At $3 a batch that is .01172 cents per use!!!!

:) Gina

liteluvr said...

One thing that you might give a try to make the mix gel better:
Once you mix it all up bring it to a slow boil for 10 or 15 minutes. Extended slow use of low heat can break down the gelatin compounds and make a smoother, more consistent final product.
That's what I do with my homemade laundry soap and it makes a huge difference.

Citadel Kalahari said...

Such a good idea if only I had a dishwasher. :-) I'm going to hunt down a recipe for simple dishwashing soap though - you've inspired me. :-)

Anonymous said...

I copied an item I found on the internet that I think is very important since some comments are talking about mixing DrBonners Castile Soap and vinegar. This was written by Dr. Bonner's niece and she says "A word of caution about vinegar and Castile soap" Do not mix the castile soap with vinegar, lemon juice or any acid. "Here's why. In great part it's due to the fact that vinegar is an acid and the castile soap is a base. They will directly react with each other and cancel each other out. The vinegar takes the soap and reduces it back out to its original oils. So you end up with an oily, curdled, Whitish Mess. And this would be all over what you are trying to clean". So there is your whitish mess on your dishes answer. Hope this helps.

Courtney Sexton said...

Hi! Excited to try this soap. I have compared a few recipes online and most of them include some kind of essential oil, as an antibacterial agent. Do you think that would benefit this recipe too? Thanks!

johndaddy said...

Like this beautiful soap..
liquid Castile soap with hot water in a bucket (fill almost to the top). ... Floors: You can mop almost any type of floor with a solution of ¼ cup liquid Castile soap and 2 gallons warm water.
Buy Liquid Castile Soap

Anonymous said...

Made this last week. Love it! For those with gelling issues. I had to stir mine often throughout the 24 hours for it to finally gel. The more oxygen you get mixed in the faster it gels. I use about a tablespoon in my closed section and have to add abit to my prewash section otherwise everything gets caked on like cheese and stuff. Also not overloading the dishwasher helps alot. My husband is bad for cramming everything he can into it, if he does half my dishes don't come clean. It's not the soaps fault though. Will continue to use this until it stops working for me. We found Castile soap in our grocery store in the all natural isle.

Anonymous said...

I made this at the beginning of summer and it didn't work well for me. While the dishes were free of gunk, there was quite a bit of film left on the, I suspect from a combination of the castile soap and hard water. (By the way, if you want to know if you have hard water, fill a glass from the tap and add a few drops of Dr. Bronner's Liquid Castile. If it clouds up, you have hard water!.)

After much research and a few trial and errors, and a couple of "near successes" with powdered dishwasher detergent recipes, I decided to dip into my, barely used, batch of this recipe, and tweak it a bit.

I have found that a tablespoon of this homemade recipe and a 1/2 teaspoon of Original Blue Dawn Dishwashing liquid in the main was compartment, about a teaspoon of this in the prewash with 3 drops of Dawn gets everything clean and sparkly! There are a very few spots on some of the glasses and silverware, but I got that with Cascade too. Especially if I used too much. I also, use white vinegar in the rinse aid dispenser along with 1/4 of a cup in a half pint Mason jar on the top rack. I'm going to experiment with premixing the Dawn into the recipe and I am pretty sure it will work just as well! :-)

It is SUPER IMPORTANT to note, that YOU SHOULD NOT USE ANYMORE THAN THE STATED AMOUNT OF DAWN!! If you do, you will have a sudsy mess all over your floor!! (I learned that lesson as a kid when I decided to "help" by doing the dishes. Haha!)

Even though the Dawn adds a little to the cost, it's not nearly as expensive as store bought detergent, and contains far fewer chemicals!

I hope this helps some of you with hard water to be able to use this recipe!

Brad Simonsen said...

Can you use 7th generation dishsoap instead of dr bronners castile soap? Dr bronners is kind of expensive. From what I understand castile soap is just soap made from plant oil instead of animal fat right? 7th generation is made from plant oils.

Vicki said...

Is there anything I can use instead of castile soap as I can't find any.

Bren said...

I made this a few weeks ago and was originally disappointed, like some others here my dishes came out with a powdery film all over them. Then I saw the suggestion up above about adding 1/2 tsp Dawn and 1/4 cup vinegar in the top rack. (I only used 1/4 tsp Dawn though out of fear of a sudsy overflow lol). Well, that made all the difference, my dishes are now all clean and sparkly! I will be going back to using this dishwasher soap. :)

On a side note, this also works well as a laundry detergent! 1/4 cup is all you need to get your clothes clean and fresh-smelling.

Anonymous said...

Does this still apply if the vinegar/lemon juice (I am trying a combo as suggested by a different blog) is in the rinse aid compartment, separate from the castile soap concotion..? Would love to know this before I try and wash everything and have to do it all over again and waste soap in the meantime!

Anonymous said...

I dont know if you have found the Dr. Brenners Pure Liquid Castile soap or not but I noticed that here in south of Atlanta that it is only available at Target I spotted it online.. different scents.

Cassie said...

Thank you for posting this!! I was a "finish" gel pak junkie and I don't like powdered versions of dishwasher soap so this was perfect! I add 1/2c bleach to the finished product and then jar it up. Been making this since this past summer & love it! Thank you again and prayers to your son!

Mike W said...

Is the Castile Soap important? or will any liquid, non-sudsing soap do? Like many have remarked, it's very expensive & hard to find - clearly the most costly of the ingredients. If we're trying to save money as well as the Earth, how about a low cost alternative to the Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap?

Anonymous said...

I have seen the Dr Brenners at Sprouts. Its pricey, but they do carry it!

Jenny said...

Thank you for the recipe - I made this for the first time last night (and used it for the first time today) and it turned out great! :)
I made a half-batch just in case there were any issues. I cooked mine in a large stock pot and allowed to boil for 15+ mins at the lowest temp that I could maintain a boil, stirring every few minutes with a whisk. I let it cool completely in the pan, transferred it to a gallon jug & let set overnight with the cap off.
When I checked it in the morning, it had gelled and looked the same color as the blog pics. I capped it, then shook it vigorously. After shaking, the detergent increased in volume and became opaque white.
I used it right afterwards (it was the consistency and color of store-bought) and it cleaned well, smelled great (Eucalyptus Castile) and left no filmy residue.

Thank you for the recipe and for the tips from other commenters :)

Amber said...

I have seen those recipes too. But I am very hesitant about putting kool-aid in something I am going to clean with. I dont know maybe that is just me

Unknown said...

I just tried this soap w/ vinegar in the prewash open compartment. Glasses came out squeaky clean w/ no residue. Everything is clean, I had some stuff caked on just to be sure stuff got clean with the borax/vinegar issue. My soap does not gel up either. I will try more air and heat in future, maybe that will work.

Gina said...

I made a batch of this last week and it's GREAT! Love it. Very economical, easy to make, seems like it is easily a 6 month supply even with running the dishwasher 1-2 times/day. I also made a batch for a friend and a relative as gifts. I opted for the almond-scented castile soap. I would imagine grapefruit would be great too. Thanks for sharing this recipe!!

The Bacon Family said...

In searching for a dishwasher detergent recipe, I found your blog post. I haven't tried it yet, but I saw that your son is battling ALL. My 4-yr-old son was diagnosed with ALL on Sept 23, 2010. He didn't require a transplant and is still on chemo but is near the end of the treatments. I just wanted to say "God bless!. I hope he's doing great.

Anonymous said...

Isn't this the same recipe as the laundry detergent basically? Just asking because that would make this doubly cost effective!

Anonymous said...

Is the Dr. Brenner's only for the scent? If it is I already have several bottles of essential oils.

Tammy said...

So looking forward to make and use this my daughter in law and I have made the laundry soap and love it we will never buy again. but I'm having a hard time finding the castile soap. Were can get it at. Help

Rebecca said...

I used this exact recipe but added half cup citric acid (Meijer sells a 7.5 oz container for under 4 or 5 dollars). I let it come back to a boil then let it sit. I then put it in 4 large glass ball jars to gel. 12 hours later there is a film on top of all of them about half an inch thick. I "played" with one to see what the liquid was like in the bottom but it was more like slimy water than gel. Will it continue to gel up? I also used lemon essential oil in it. HELP!

Rebecca said...

I used this exact recipe but added half cup citric acid (Meijer sells a 7.5 oz container for under 4 or 5 dollars). I let it come back to a boil then let it sit. I then put it in 4 large glass ball jars to gel. 12 hours later there is a film on top of all of them about half an inch thick. I "played" with one to see what the liquid was like in the bottom but it was more like slimy water than gel. Will it continue to gel up? I also used lemon essential oil in it. HELP!

Anonymous said...

Try using lemishine. It helps with all hard water problems.

Anonymous said...

The fractionated liquid is due to mixing the citric acid in with the soap. Using citric acid in whatever form (vinegar, diluted solution etc) in your rinse compartment instead will solve the problem. Soap that is basic (i.e. involes either sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide to create saponification) and acid work well as a 1-2 punch. Soap first, acid as a rinse. Please note, soap as I've just defined is *different* from liquid detergents like Dawn. Dawn CAN be combined with vinegar because the chemistry is totally different.

If you want your detergent to have a lemon scent, essential oil in with the soap should work fine but NO acids.

Anonymous said...

For problems getting it to gel, be sure to use boiling water first to dissolve the borax, then use COLD water for the last 8 cups! The cold causes the gel to happen overnight. Then I use a stick blender to mix well and of course, give a good shake before using. I have soft water but will get the film if I forget the vinegar rinse!

Garaledi said...

Hi, I just tried ur recipe and it turned out that my dishes were having a layer of film on them and they seemed to be a little rough to the touch is there something that iam doing is wrong???

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