Are you looking for complete steps to make eco-friendly dish soap at home? This is probably the only post that you need to know the process. But why do we need to make eco-friendly dish soap?
The Environmental Working Group is a worldwide community dedicated to informing everyone about human health and the environment. According to a report by the EWG that rates dish soaps based on their adverse effect on health and the environment, only a meager 16.2 % and 16.7% of dish soap brands score an A and a B, respectively. The vast majority of dish soaps available in the market today are neither good for your health nor for the environment.
That’s why we must focus on making eco-friendly dish soaps at home. Well, without further ado, let’s check out the dish soap-making ideas.
Ideas to make eco-friendly soaps
Lemon liquid soap
For this, you will need the following:
- Warm water
- Kosher salt
- Dr. Bronners Sal Suds
- Lemon juice
- Olive oils or grapeseed oil
- Essential oils of your choice
Start by mixing one tablespoon kosher salt in 2 cups of warm water, and stir it thoroughly till all the salt is dissolved. Then add 2 cups of Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds and stir till you have a uniform solution. Do not stir or shake hard as it will lead to lather formation.
Once you have the solution, add the juice of one good-sized lemon and about two tablespoons of olive or grapeseed oil. This oil will act as a moisturizer and help keep your hands soft. Then add ten drops of your favorite essential oil to get that nice fragrance. We recommend something with lemon in it.
Mix well and pour the eco-friendly dish soap into a container with a pump or a reused shampoo or dish soap container.
Soap nut-Lemon dish soap: Full natural
If you want to go even more organic and eco-friendly, you can use soap nuts to make your dish soap. Soap nuts, also known as Indian soap berries, have a natural substance in them that has a cleaning action. They have been used for centuries by the people living in the Himalayan foothills in India, where the soap nut grows wild for cleaning.
Soapnuts are also very gentle on the skin, so if you are someone who has sensitive or dry skin or are prone to skin conditions like eczema or allergies, soap nuts are the perfect choice for you.
For making this dish soap liquid in your home, you will need:
- 10-12 soap nuts
- 4-5 diced lemons
- Rock salt
- White vinegar
Soak the soap, nuts, and lemons over the light in water. After they are soaked thoroughly, boil them together in a pot till the lemons become soft.
Let it cool completely and then deseed the soap nuts. Once deseeded, blend the nuts and the lemons together in a blender till they are inseparable.
Add water and mix until it’s not too thick. But not too runny. Strain the mixture and to the strained liquid, add ¼ of the cup of rock salt and 1 cup of white vinegar. Then boil for 5-6 minutes until it acquires the desired thickness.
Bottle the dish soap after it cools down. Now you have a fully organic, eco-friendly dish soap you can use. It might be a fair bit of work to make, but it is very good for the environment and for you.
You can also use soap nuts to make a dishwashing powder for use in your dishwasher.
- 4/5 deseeded soapnut shells, and grind them to a powder
- Two tablespoons of grated Castile soap
- 1 cup of baking soda
Mix together, and you have your eco-friendly dishwashing powder.
Eco-friendly Dishwashing detergent
You will need:
- 1 cup Washing Soda (cleaner)
- 1 cup Baking Soda (cuts out the grease)
- Three packages of unsweetened lemonade drink mix (added cleaning power, antibacterial, and smells awesome)
- 1 Cup of Kosher Salt (reduces hard water build-up – you might be able to reduce this amount if you have soft water)
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl with a spoon. Perfect for use in your dishwasher.
Different oils You can Use
What you are doing here is called saponification. That is, you are making alkali salts of oils that will help remove dirt and grease from those dishes.
There are a large variety of oils that are used in soap making, and each oil has its own desired qualities.
Apricot Kernel Oil: Rich in vitamins A, C, and E and great as a moisturizer.
Argan Oil: Rich in vitamins A and E. It contains lots of antioxidants.
Avocado Oil: Contains high amounts of vitamins A, B, D, and E.
Babassu Oil: Creates a nice foam and has good cleansing properties. Rich in vitamin C and antioxidants.
Castor Oil: It makes a lot of lather and is moisturizing. Castor oil contains up to 90% ricinoleic acid, which helps heal skin diseases.
Coconut Oil: Deeply cleansing and stable as a soap base. It helps make soap hard.
Grapeseed Oil: Rich in good oils and antioxidants, grapeseed oil, has good conditioning properties and forms and rich lather.
Hazelnut Oil: It does a bit of everything: stable (not too rich) lather, moisturizing, hardening.
Hempseed Oil: Very good conditioning properties and rich in vitamins A and E.
Jojoba Oil: Great moisturizer and makes a rich, strong lather.
Lard: Lard is the soft fat derived from the fattest portions of a pig. It adds hardness to soap and is a good conditioner.
Macadamia Nut Oil: It also adds hardness and is high in antioxidants and good fatty acids.
Mango Butter: Rich in vitamins A and C. Mango butter is also conditioning and adds hardness.
Neem Oil: Has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial action. Also adds hardness and moisturizes.
Olive Oil: Olive oil is a very good conditioner and has high amounts of vitamin E and antioxidants. But it provides very little hardness or cleaning properties to the soap.
Shea Butter: Rich in vitamins A, E, and other minerals, it is also very good for the skin.
Tallow: Tallow is derived from cattle fat, and it adds hardness and has good cleansing properties.
If you are making bar soap, you will have to add some hardening and cleansing oil such as coconut oil or lard as the base, then add some other oil like olive oil or argan oil in small amounts to get their beneficial properties as well.
Please don’t use palm oil
Palm oil is the most used vegetable oil on the planet at the moment, accounting for around 60% of all vegetable oil consumption. It is found in everything from ice creams to shampoos and, of course, dish soap.
Palm oil is popular because of its versatile uses and cheap production. And the demand is only growing.
If it is all that good, then why am I asking you to avoid palm oil while making your eco-friendly dish soap? Because the world’s thirst for palm oil is destroying already threatened rainforests.
You see, palm oil is so lucrative to grow for a farmer or a country that growers are always looking to increase the land area under palm plantations. And this land comes from destroying forests.
More than 80% of the palm oil production happens in Indonesia and Malaysia, both home to some of the world’s richest and oldest rainforests.
Palm oil comes stained in the blood of orangutans and clouded leopards. Avoid it.
Hopefully, these recipes will make it easy for you to make eco-friendly dish soap at your home that will be good for your family’s environment and health.
The problem(s) with store-bought dish soap
Dish soap is composed of surfactants, preservatives, fragrances, colors, and other active or inactive ingredients. These are often toxic to the environment and wildlife, especially aquatic fauna and lead to imbalances in aquatic ecosystems. Not only that, dish soaps often leave chemical residues on dishes and utensils, and such chemicals find their way into your body.
Some potentially dangerous chemicals in dish soap include:
Cocamide DEA: May cause cancer and lead to aquatic toxicity.
DMDM Hydantoin: This can release chemicals (formaldehyde) and lead to irritation of the skin, eyes, or lungs.
Ethanolamine: Can cause respiratory problems, organ problems, nervous system problems, skin irritation, or allergies. Ethanolamine may also lead to chronic aquatic toxicity.
Formaldehyde: May cause cancer, affect organ systems, respiratory system, and skin, and also lead to acute aquatic toxicity.
Fragrance: Fragrances are considered a trade secret and not completely listed on the bottle. But they contain many chemicals, some of which can be harmful to health. One component, in particular, phthalates, is known to affect the hormones estrogen and testosterone in the body.
Methylisothiazolinone: May lead to allergic reactions, skin irritation, and even neurotoxicity.
Propylene Glycol: Can cause liver abnormalities and kidney damage.
Sodium Borate: May lead to developmental or reproductive defects, as well as cause irritation to skin or lungs.
Sodium Dodecylbenzene Sulfonate: This is also known to cause skin irritation.
Sodium Xylene Sulfonate: May cause irritation of the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract.
Sulfuric Acid: Known to cause cancer, problems in respiration, and skin irritation.
Triclosan: Triclosan can cause a lot of problems, including long-term aquatic toxicity, environmental toxicity, reproductive problems, cancer, immune system effects, and problems with several organ systems. Triclosan also causes skin and eye allergy and irritation.
Surfactants: Surfactant is a substance that dissolves fat, hence cleaning oil and grease. Soaps are surfactants by definition, and that in itself is not a problem. However, Modern soaps contain surfactants that are produced from petroleum refining processes. These synthetic surfactants, while much more powerful than traditional ones, can be harmful to your health as well as the environment.
Petroleum-derived surfactants cause environmental damage at the source, and then they pollute aquatic ecosystems as a waste product. Only surfactants that break down within 28 days of being released into the environment are considered biodegradable. With all the different types of dish soap and different surfactants they use, it’s almost impossible to be sure if the one in your hands is sustainable or not.
Surfactants are not easily degraded in the body and may cause toxicity and disrupt enzyme action. A less than thoroughly washed hand or an improperly wiped dish is all it takes to get such chemicals inside you or your loved ones.
Dish Soap can cause Eutrophication
Eutrophication is a dangerous phenomenon that affects aquatic ecosystems. Chemicals like phosphates and phosphonates, present in dish soap and other detergents, act as fertilizers for algae when they enter the water.
Eutrophication is also called Algal Bloom.
And the algae does bloom. They keep proliferating and covering every bit of the water body. Soon they obscure light from reaching into the depths, and the other aquatic plants start dying off. Soon the algae population reaches a tipping point, and the algae at the deepest levels of algae stop getting sunlight and start dying en masse.
These dying algae are decomposed by bacteria that use oxygen from the water. With so many algae dying in such a short time, a lot of oxygen is suddenly removed from the water body, and fishes and other organisms start dying.
This is how your store-bought dish soap can turn a vibrant lake into a foul-smelling dead lake.
Dish Soap Packaging is Harmful
The most pertinent problem is of all–plastic packaging. Even if a company is selling perfectly eco-friendly dish soap, they will still be selling it in unsustainable packaging.
Liquid dish soap needs to be shipped in waterproof and oilproof containers, and plastic is the only practical material that can be used. Even bar soaps come in cardboard packaging with a thin layer of plastic lining the inside.
As long as you are buying dish soap, you are contributing to environmental damage. And often jeopardizing your own health and that of your family.