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There are only a handful of natural ingredients in this homemade dish soap including vinegar and citrus essential oils. Both are wonderful at cutting grease.

homemade dish soap
Image source: Pixabay

Tropical citrus homemade dish soap

Updated: July 13, 2019

Of all the recipes I have attempted to date, this homemade dish soap has been the most challenging. I made numerous attempts trying to get it right. I finally came up with a simple recipe that made the cut. This DIY dish soap is thick and it cuts grease.


I used citrus essential oils in this homemade dish soap. Citrus oils help to cut grease and they smell so fresh and clean! However, I used minimal essential oils so this homemade dish soap wouldn’t be too oily/greasy.

Update: Initially, I tried lemon juice in this homemade dish soap. Lemon juice is wonderful for cutting grease. However, after about a week, the lemon juice was rancid…yuck! Hence, I had to substitute vinegar, which is also great at cutting grease, as is washing soda.

What about suds?

This homemade dish soap will make suds but they won’t last long. This is typical of natural homemade dish soap. No matter, your dishes will be clean nonetheless.

The ingredients that make suds in store-bought brands, such as Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLS), are toxic. Although suds help to clean dishes, they are unnecessary, and toxic ingredients are certainly unwanted.

Hard water

This homemade dish soap will work better for some than others. The reason for this is due to water hardness, softness and pH. You may want to make half a batch and try it first. Also, you may have to change the water a couple of times for a large load of dishes or for very greasy dishes.

A couple more things

*You can easily make your own washing soda if you like. It is very simple and all you need is baking soda. If you would like to make your own, you can learn how here.

*If you are not up for making your own homemade dish soap, I really like this kind.

Homemade Dish Soap
  • ½ c soap flakes*
  • 2 c water
  • ½ tbsp washing soda
  • 1/4 c vinegar
  • 8-15 drops each of lemon, lime, grapefruit & orange essential oils
  1. Boil water on medium heat.
  2. Once boiling, slowly add soap flakes and stir with a whisk.
  3. Add washing soda slowly and stir with whisk.
  4. Remove mixture from heat.
  5. Pour in vinegar.
  6. Add essential oils.
  7. Let this mixture cool for about a half an hour.
  8. Pour into wide mason jar.
  9. Let sit for a few hours to thicken, stirring occasionally.*
  10. Pour into squeezable dish soap bottle if desired.
Recipe Notes

*This homemade dish soap may seem quite watery to begin with, but it will thicken after a few hours. The reason it is important to store this homemade dish soap in a jar for a few hours initially, as well as to stir it occasionally, is because it gets very thick. If you pour it into the squeezeable dish soap bottle right way, after a few hours, you won’t be able to squeeze it out. Don't let it thicken too much before pouring it into your squeezable bottle either. Otherwise, it will take a long time to get it in the bottle (yes I've done this, with a funnel and a wooden spoon, ugh!).

Related content  Homemade Air Freshener with Lemon

Where I buy my ingredients

I am very frugal. My mom taught me well. I always hunt down the best products for the best price. Here is a list of what I used and where I bought it.

  1. Soap flakes – Well.ca (same price on Amazon)
  2. Washing soda – Well.ca (slightly better price on Amazon)
  3. Lemon, lime, grapefruit and orange essential oils – Plant Therapy (you can buy these individually here or as a pack on Amazon with two extra scents)

Please share if you know someone who would love this recipe. Thanks! 🙂

Have you tried making homemade dish soap? Do you have a favorite non-toxic store brand? Share your comments below.

I wish you health and happiness,


DIY citrus dish soap


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