Home made Dish Washing Detergent


At the request of one of our lovely MamaBakers, after making my own dish washer powder, I’ve been having a go at making dish washing detergent, the kind you use for hand washing dishes.

There are a lot of recipes out there and it took some trial and error to get it to the consistency and power than I needed. As you expect, we do lot of cooking around here and yes I burn a lot of things to pots and pans, and there is often a very greasy pile of dishes waiting for my partner to clean when he comes home. He’s pretty specific about his washing liquid, so I had to make it a good one.

Note: the only issue you might find with this recipe depends on the “hardness” of your water. If you tend to find it difficult to get good suds with even the priciest brand of commercial cleaner, then consider increasing the amount of washing soda by tablespoons until you get a cleaner that works for you.

All these ingredients can be bought in bulk quantities and it does indeed work out cheaper than buying the commercial stuff. It also gives you the opportunity to adjust the mixture to your needs. Washing soda is a water softener that increases the power of the soap versus the hardness of the water and also thickens the mixture.


¼ cup soap flakes (you can find the old fashioned Velvet brand in blocks at most supermarkets)

¼ cup liquid soap (also known as castile soap)

1-3 tablespoons washing soda

2 cups hot water

2 tablespoons glycerine (you can find this at the pharmacy)

10 drops of lemon essential oil


  1. Place an old pot on the stove on medium heat and add the water. Add the soap flakes and stir until dissolved
  2. Remove the mixture from the heat and add the other ingredients. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Pour into an old shampoo or washing liquid bottle, preferably a clear one.
  4. Allow the mixture to set for 24 hours. It will thicken over time.

If the mixture is too thick, add teaspoons of hot water and shake thoroughly to combine. If too thin, add a little more washing soda. Always give it a good shake before using and ingredients will settle over time.

once a week cooking


  1. Caroline Morris says:

    Yay! Thank you so much Emma for following up on this. I have been waiting eagerly to try out your recipe so will do so this week 🙂

  2. Caroline Morris says:

    Woo hoo! It works!!!! Thank you so much Emma. I am about to link this to a post on our local sustainability group FB page. Quite a few of us are doing Plastic Free July and this is another thing I can now make myself without buying more plastic packaging 🙂

    • Emma Chow says:

      Thanks Caroline. I was hoping to get it to you far earlier, but some batches were a little iffy so it needed more work. Lots of overly sudsy moments here, but we figured it out eventually!

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