Making your own natural dishwashing soap! Is there even such a thing as homemade natural dishwashing soap? In short, yes there is and it’s very easy to make and very effective. However, if you are after bubbles then this may not be for you! Dish washing soap made with soapnuts, does produce some bubbles, but only by agitating the water vigorously.
Firstly let me tell you a little about the main ingredient in my dishwashing soap, which is soapnuts. Soapnuts grow on trees and are not nuts but berries. The trees and shrubs which produce the berries are of the Lychee family and grow in tropical and warm temperate climates. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soapberry
How do they work? Soapnuts contain saponins which are a natural surfactant (soap), they are also thought to contain anti-microbial properties. Lots of research going on currently to prove this! This makes then ideal for laundry and dishwashing. Apparently you can use the liquid in the shower and on your hair too!
RECIPE – 15 whole soapnuts, 1.5 litres of water, essential oil – either grapefruit, lemon, eucalyptus or tea tree.
Method – Put the water and soapnuts into a saucepan, bring to the boil, turn down and simmer. Once the soapnuts have softened enough, use a potato masher to mash them up a bit. Simmer for a total of 20-30 minutes. Once the liquid has cooled sufficiently, strain the mixture into a jug, through muslin cloth or a tea towel and then bottle. You may add some essential oil to give a nice scent and also to help with cutting through the grease. I used 20 drops of oil to 1.5 litres of liquid, that was 10 each of grapefruit and 10 of eucalyptus.
What to expect – The liquid is a light brown colour and smells a little like vinegar, once you put in the essential oil it then smells of that. If you shake the bottle you will get lots of bubbles, otherwise the liquid is not bubbly. I use hot water and add about half a cup of my soapnut liquid. I then put some of the liquid directly in a pan or bowl if it is particularly greasy. The dishwater will look dirty before you begin, but that’s just the colour of the soapnut liquid.
Likes and Dislikes
Positives first – Completely natural and no chemicals; no plastic involved; harmless to the environment; cheap; you can use the soapnuts again and make a second batch; much kinder to the hands.
Negatives – no bubbles, dirty brown colour, using electricity to make (although you can soak them in cold water also).