If you’ve been keeping up with my other household recipes, you probably already have all this stuff on hand. It’s not really hard to make, but it does involve cooking it on the stove. But it also makes a big enough batch that you’ll feel like you’ll never have to make it again.
Here is what you’ll need:
- 1 quart water
- 3 Tbsp baking soda
- 2.5 tsp washing soda
- 2.5 tsp lemon juice
- 3 oz shredded Ivory soap (I used this as a substitute for Octagon soap. If you have Octagon, you can use that, but Ivory works too.)
Add the shredded soap and water to a large pot and melt it on the stove. Make sure all the little bits of soap are dissolved. Turn off the stove and add the remaining ingredients. Cool and store in a sealed container.
In my experience with this recipe, it makes a ton of soap. (And this was after I cut the recipe down to 1/5 of what it originally called for. The original recipe called for 5 quarts of water!) This smaller version refilled about 3 empty dishsoap bottles. So make sure you’ve been saving squeeze bottles for a while; you’ll need to have several on hand. Also, make sure that the shredded soap is completely dissolved in the water before you turn the heat off. My batch of this came out lumpy because the soap was still in shredded solid form after cooking, when I thought it had dissolved. That makes it harder to squeeze out of the bottle, more likely to clog the nozzle, and generally harder to use.
When you use the soap, you will notice it doesn’t foam or bubble up like soap you’re used to. This doesn’t mean the dishes aren’t getting clean. It cuts grease and works just fine. It does seem to me that I have to use more of it than the commercial stuff though. And next time, I’ll be sure to fully dissolve the soap, and I bet it will be even better.
EDIT: I’ve found that as this soap mixture cools, it separates: the liquid-y stuff sinks to the bottom and the soap forms thick chunks at the top of each bottle. The trick is to leave the mixture in the pan to cool (I just left mine overnight, but a few hours should do the trick). When it’s all separated in the pan, then mix it back together and put it in bottles from there. It won’t separate back out once it’s been mixed after it cooled down. That was a major reason I didn’t like this recipe, but now that I know what to do, it’s fine. I also gave up on putting it back into dishsoap squeeze bottles and opted for something with a bit bigger of a spout on it, since this soap comes out a little thicker than the commercial stuff.