The perfect homemade dishwashing liquid has eluded me. Disgusted that even the priciest “natural” and “eco-friendly” dish soaps contain sodium lauryl sulfate (and the ones that don’t contain SLS are even pricier!), I recently went on a quest to find a recipe for a homemade hand dishwashing soap of some kind. After all, I don’t use commercial cleaners for anything else anymore, not even laundry! Why was I sticking to a seven dollar bottle of dishwashing liquid?

My first attempt was to just use the chemical-free bar soap I discovered a few months ago at Whole Foods. It’s a great degreaser, but leaves residue on the bottom of my stainless steel sink. I also found that soap residue was building up in drinking glasses.


So I turned to the Internet. I found several mommy bloggers who had posted homemade dishwashing liquid recipes, but several contained Borax. That wouldn’t be such a big deal, except that on our rural homestead I will be using dishwater to water plants. The chemical makeup of Borax is such that it can compromise a plant’s health if it is continually subjected to that cleanser.

I continued searching, and finally found a Borax-free alternative that looked promising. It contained either liquid castile soap or grated bar soap, washing soda, vinegar, and water.

I used bar soap instead of liquid castile, and so again I ended up with residue both in my plastic basin and in my sink. Actually, the residue in my sink was mostly grease build-up, which I wasn’t used to as even the natural dishwashing liquids are strong enough to cut grease.

More discouraging, whenever I had a dish that had a lot of animal fat on it (from chicken, beef, or butter) I had to use extra washing soda, baking soda or Citra-Solv® to get the grease out.

This supposedly economical soap was starting to add to my household budget more than I wanted.

I almost gave up. I almost put “dishwashing liquid” on my next Whole Foods grocery list. But then I looked at the bar soap sitting near the faucet. And I thought, “Why not?”

I gave it another go. This time, I used less soap for the not-very-greasy items. Guess what? It works great, without any residue build-up! I still have to scrub my sink out with baking soda about once a week to get the grease out, but even doing that the cost of dishwashing soap has gone down considerably in our house.

How do I manage to not put too much soap on the dishes? Simple. I don’t fill up a sink or basin full of water and put the soap in. I get the dish just wet enough, then rub my hand in the soap, then rub my hand over the dish.

Yup. I know. I’m weird. No sponge, no dishrag. But that saves me another expense, and the frustration of watching sponges get full of mildew. This method also saves a lot of water!

I now use the plastic basin as my antibacterial water. If I wash something and think it needs a little extra cleaning, I swish it around the basin, which I fill every day about a quarter full with water and add a drop or two of either lemon or tea tree essential oil. (Those two oils, especially used together, will kill as many germs as any conventional dishwashing liquid with none of the toxins. They will also keep germ build-up on the bar soap.)

So there you have it: my new dishwashing routine! I can guarantee you that it uses only a fraction of the water as a dishwasher, and gets dishes just as clean.
Stay healthy, happy, and clean,

Cleaning Hard-Water Deposits

September 5, 2013 Green home

In the last post I talked about the best way to green-clean a shower. But what if you’re like me and don’t have a water softener (because it is full of chemicals, that’s why!), and the water is particularly hard in your area (can’t wait until we start showering with rain water!), and you have […]

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The Easiest Way EVER To Clean A Shower!

September 3, 2013 Green home

Looking for a way to green clean your shower? It can be difficult, especially if you have let it go to the point where you have that black mildew stuff growing on the calk in the corners. And if the tap water in your area is particularly hard, and you don’t use a water softener […]

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An Iron Supplement That Doesn’t Constipate!

August 29, 2013 Nutrition

The health benefits of iron cannot be denied. This mineral is critical for oxygen distribution in the body via the red blood cells, a healthy immune system, and energy. Iron deficiency can lead to fatigue, depression, hair loss and brittle nails, headaches and dizziness, an inability to concentrate, and a tendency toward infections. It is […]

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My Breakfast Smoothie: Fast, Delicious And Healthy!

August 28, 2013 Healthy recipes

Smoothie recipes are easy to come by, and easy to invent. You can eat them any time of day. They make for a fast breakfast, and are a convenient, very portable lunch. Invent your own smoothie! Creating your own smoothie recipe is easy after you’ve done it two or three times. You don’t have to […]

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Safe Sunning, Healthy Body

August 24, 2013 Nutrition

It’s worse than the belief that cheese is bad for you. It’s increasing your risk of developing cancer, causing higher rates of depression among the general population, and having a deleterious effect on your immune system. It’s the idea that spending time in the sun is dangerous. We’ve been told a billion times that the […]

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Our Final Decision About Our Sustainable House (I Think, Hope And Pray!)

August 17, 2013 Green home

When Jerry and I decided we would both rather live in a rural area, my big idea was to buy some raw land so we could build a sustainable house on it. Why? I was tired of all the expenses of living in a modern, conventional house! Conventional houses: Have central heating and air (and […]

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Is Coffee Good Or Bad?

August 10, 2013 Physical health

Is coffee good or bad? I am going to base this post on two things: one, personal – and therefore admittedly biased – observations; two, “just the facts, ma’am.” Among the health-conscious, coffee – really, the caffeine in coffee – is a controversial subject. Some say there’s nothing wrong with it, in moderation; others say […]

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Is Cheese Good Or Bad?

August 3, 2013 Nutrition

Is cheese good or bad? (Perhaps a bit more relevant question than whether eating cinnamon toast will cure your arthritis.) Will regular consumption of cheese give you a heart attack? I think the first place to look to answer that question is certain native European people who have consumed cheese for millenia, such as the […]

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Why Homeschool? My First Five Reasons.

July 26, 2013 Homeschooling

Why homeschool? What are some reasons that people choose to homeschool? As a former school teacher, I can easily think of a couple dozen. Not everyone chooses to homeschool for the same reasons, of course, and some people will homeschool for reasons I have not thought of. You might think that I have created this […]

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