DIY: Grease-Fighting Lavender Dish Soap

Can I be totally honest for a second? I have bought my fair share of natural dish soaps over the years, and I like them and I like knowing that I’m using a greener alternative. But here’s the thing … I really love that certain blue dish soap because it’s amazing at getting my dishes clean and fighting the grease. So I always have a bottle of both kinds under the kitchen sink. I pull out the blue one for a really greasy job. But I really don’t like to. I never thought that I could make my own that would tackle the grease like a store-bought one. Well, that’s changed! I think I’ve finally found the solution, and I’m saying good-bye to the blue dish soap and grease residue forever.

Lavender Homemade Dish Soap | When making homemade dish soap, which is incredibly easy, you get to be in control of what goes into it. Which is fun! No toxic chemicals or artificial colors.

There are tons of recipes online using the same basic set of ingredients – castile soap (liquid + grated bar), washing soda (really strong baking soda), glycerin and essential oils. Others contain citric acid or vinegar and some use borax. I did my research and read hundreds of comments from people who had made and either loved/hated their homemade dish soap. Then I tested until I found one that worked – say goodbye to grease and the residue!

Grease-fighting Lavender Homemade Dish Soap


I’ve been using castile soap for just about everything lately, so it made sense for me to start with that and see how it went. The common complaint about homemade dish soap is that it doesn’t get the dishes totally clean – there’s a residue left behind. And I found that to be true.

Super washing soda

I came across a recipe that looked very promising and well-tested. I made a few minor tweaks, and it was the best one yet. It did not have any acidic ingredients, which would un-saponify the castile soap. Instead it uses super washing soda, one of my favorite things to use for natural cleaners. Total grease-fighting action!

Lavender Homemade Dish Soap | Lavender

We are the biggest fans of lavender at our house, so that’s the scent I chose. You could certainly use another variety of castile soap and different essential oils – citrus, herb (peppermint), floral, tea tree, etc.

Soap flakes

Soap flakes or grated natural soap give the dish soap a sudsing agent and a bit of body. I used soap flakes, but grated castile soap or other natural vegetable soaps will work as well. It might change how the dish soap sets up and how thick or thin it is. That’s where you have to play around a little bit (remember, that’s the fun part!).


I wanted a soap that was more the viscosity of liquid hand soap. So for a thinner one, add more water or use a little less washing soda. And besides a little time on the stove to melt the soap flakes and dissolve the washing soda, it’s basically one of those recipes that you mix up and use.

It does need to cool and set up for a few hours or even 24 hours, but I have used mine almost immediately after it cools and it’s been fine. It does go from clear to opaque when it sets up. The picture above is when the liquid is still fairly hot.

Grease-Fighting Lavender Dish Soap
A completely natural homemade dish soap that fights tough grease.
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ cup all natural soap flakes or grated soap
  • ¼ cup castile soap
  • 2 teaspoons super washing soda
  • 1 teaspoon non-GMO vegetable glycerin
  • 30-40 drops lavender essential oil
  1. Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan.
  2. Add the soap flakes and stir to dissolve.
  3. Add the castile soap, washing soda, glycerin, and essential oil.
  4. Stir well, making sure everything is dissolved.
  5. Carefully pour into a bottle with a spout or pump.
  6. It needs to set for about 24 hours.
Adapted from Mommypotamus.

Note: If it's too thick, add a little more water. Different factors can affect the thickness of the soap - the water you use (is it filtered or tap), the brand of soap flakes or grated soap, etc. If you want a thicker soap, pour the soap back into the pan and warm it back up. Add a little more washing soda.

Have you tried homemade dish soaps? Did they work?


is the blogger behind Cafe Johnsonia and a Contributing Editor


  1. Ashley says

    I have a quick question does the essential oil get absorbed into plastic containers? Im new to the essential oils and I had the understanding not to use essential oils with or on plastic materials. So ive been petrified to try dish soap because I dont want to ruin my tuba wear. My husband bought me Dr. bronner hemp peppermint castile soap do you think this will cause a problem?

    • says

      Hi Ashley, I haven’t heard that, but I do know that the scent from the oils does linger in the plastic, so it must get absorbed. Could you use a glass bottle or jar instead?

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