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April 01, 20195 min readHome

4 Natural and Zero Waste Dishwashing Soaps


Zero waste dishwashing soaps was a change I made pretty easily for just myself. However, it took my significant a little bit of convincing. But after presenting him with these 4 options, he found one that he liked and we have never looked back!

The reason I wanted to switch from our Dawn dish soap to a zero waste dishwashing soap option was twofold.

1. I’m a huge fan of easy, simple DIY’s that replace chemical laden traditional products, and dish soap is no different. For example, Dawn’s dish soap contains Sodium laureth sulfate (causes water toxicity, damage to vision, cancer, and issues with the endocrine system), methylisothiazolinone (causes acute water toxicity), among others. Plus, the fragrances in Dawn soap are also known to cause biodegradation.

2. Dawn dishsoap comes in plastic. As I am living low/zero waste, this was a no-go for me of course.

So, I make my own! But there are a couple of different options out there for a non-toxic, more sustainable, DIY dish soap (and most are super cheap)!

Option 1: Bar soap

Super simple, just use a bar soap. I personally don’t care what kind of bar soap I use to wash dishes as long as the ingredients are simple and smell nice.

However, some care for a certified streak-free shine to their dishes, which is also achievable  with bar soap too! And a bigger plus, you might have an easier time finding these made without palm oil. ( Read why certain palm oils are bad for the environment here.)

This Handmade Castile Dish Soap is very popular for both hand and dish washing.

Pair with a Walnut Dish Sponge or a brush for a more sustainable cleaning set up.

Quick tip: if your dish soap doesn’t have groves to help with drainage, place some rocks on the bottom. This helps prevent it from getting a goopy bottom.

Option 2: Liquid Soap from a Grated Bar

In all honesty, I haven’t tried this option yet. But I’ve heard amazing things and it is a recipe from Zero Waste Chef, who I really admire.

Zero Waste Chef’s Plastic Free Dish Soap made from Castile Soap

Related content:

How I clean my sink for pennies with just lemon and baking soda.

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How to save \$30 or more by making your own zero waste all purpose cleaning solution to have a sparkling clean house.

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Option 3: Liquid Soap from Sal's Suds

While I can only find this in a plastic bottle, Sal's Suds is super concentrated and a large bottle should last you a long time. They do use palm oil, but they seem to have processes in place that support a sustainable agriculture and trade practice.

I urge you to do your own research though (and not just for this, but everything you buy) and see if it aligns with your values.

Ok but before we dive into the recipe, what’s the difference between their Castile Soap and Sal’s’ Suds?

Castile Soap reacts with the minerals contained in hard water, leaving behind an insoluble film that’s commonly called “soap scum”. While this doesn’t affect the cleanliness of your dishes, some prefer that squeaky clean shine to their dishes. Which is where Sal’s Suds comes into play.

Sal’s Suds is a formulated biodegradable household cleaner that doesn’t react with hard water.  It rinses cleanly and leave surfaces sparkling.

For a more in depth explanation of the difference between the two, see this article.

My Soap Photo min 792x1024


¾ cup of water

¼ cup of Sals Suds


15ish drops of essential oil (for smell, but I personally love the pine scent of Sals’)

1 ½ tablespoons of a liquid oil (like olive, jojoba, avocado etc - this will help provide some moisturize if you use your bare hands when washing up)


Combine all ingredients into a soap-dispensing bottle. Yep, that’s it. It’s that easy. You’re welcome.

Option 4: Common Goods Bulk Liquid Dish Soap

I feel like I’ve been stumbling upon Common Goods Refillable Dish Soap around so many Boston stores lately and I’m loving it! Their ingredients aren’t scary at and the bulk options show their committed passion for sustainability.

This is also an option I haven’t tried personally yet, but they seem to have rave reviews (although it can seem a little pricey).

Click here to see if there are refill stations near you.

Wrapping it up!

I hope this inspired you to find a more sustainable dish soap! Whether you make it or buy it, chances are you'll also be saving a bit of money too, which is always a win in my book :)


You may also like:

Super easy and super simple steps to make the most luxurious body butter of my life! This recipe should save you $60 compared to the conventional stuff too!

Transiting to a zero waste lifestyle while living with roommates? Check out the 5 things that I suggest you do to help you be successful!

Did you know that most conventional household cleaners contain toxic chemicals for you and the environment?! If that freaks you out, check out my two easy DIY zero waste cleaning swaps you can implement to ensure you aren't exposed to harmful toxins. Bonus, you'll also save money!

Hi, I'm Taylor

Amateur adult. Zero waste zealot. Personal finance fiend. Spicy food supporter. I’m an mid 20’s gal living in Denver, Colorado. My love of the outdoors has cultivated my zero waste lifestyle, which inadvertently fueled my passion for personal finance. Cheers to everyone interested in lessening their footprint while growing their wallet!


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