A girl's quest to live on the greener side.

Zero Waste Dish Soap

zero waste dish soap

By: Ariana Palmieri

Do you know what's in your dish soap? I can confidently say what's in mine (just 3 harmless ingredients), but it wasn't always that way. Just recently, I convinced my parents to let me make some zero waste dish soap so they'd stop buying conventional products. I'm not sure if you're aware, but not only are conventional brands packaged in plastic, but they're also filled with water-polluting chemicals. Nasty ingredients like fragrance, methylisothiazolinone (what the heck right?), sodium lauryl sulfate, and more chemicals you can't even pronounce are in conventional brands. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), Dawn's Ultra Concentrated Dishwashing Liquid (Original) has these harmful ingredients (and way more), which poses a high environmental concern. These chemicals enter waterways (and get on human skin!) every time we wash dishes with them. I'm just not comfortable letting those chemicals touch me, my family, or waterways, so I gave this DIY dish soap a try.

This DIY doesn't have sodium lauryl sulfate (or any sulfates) in it, so it doesn't foam up like conventional dish soaps do. But I'm okay with that, because it still gets the job done. I got the mason jar dispenser at Home Goods (I squealed when I saw it, no joke). To use it, I just pump some soap onto a sponge (we use a compostable sponge too, if you were wondering). Whenever we run low on this dish soap, it's super easy to just refill the mason jar dispenser - we just unscrew the cap and add the ingredients (as you'll see below). I love how easy it is, and honestly, its saved my parents a lot of money. If you buy all the ingredients in bulk, you won't have to buy anything else for a long, long time. Especially not icky conventional dish soap. Also, just a heads up, I do have one affiliate link in this post. It's to stainless steel soap dispenser lids (which is a similar product to my mason jar dispenser). Now without further ado, here's how to make some zero waste dish soap! 


Zero Waste Dish Soap
Zero Waste Cleaning

zero waste dish soap


  • 1/3 cup of castile soap
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons of baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cup of water (or until it reaches the top of the container)

Note: If you prefer a stronger dish soap, try adding more castile soap and less water. Don't be afraid to experiment with it! Also, the baking soda helps with scrubbing stubborn grime off dishes. Pro tip: Add a little extra baking soda to any dishes or pots that have stubborn grime, then scrub using just a little bit of water.  It will help get it off  easier (I swear, baking soda is amazing)!


  1. First, fill your jar dispenser with the castile soap. I use Dr. Bronner's - I got a big container at my local Trader Joe's for ~$11. Unfortunately, I have no bulk options for wet products like soap, shampoo, etc. so I try to buy the biggest container I can find (the bigger it is the longer it lasts and the less plastic I have to recycle). 
  2.  Next, dilute the castile soap with the water. Add the baking soda, then close the jar dispenser and give it a good shake. Your dish soap is ready to use! 

zero waste dish soap

Note on soap dispenser: If you have an empty bottle of dish soap you'd like to reuse, go ahead. There's nothing wrong with reusing what you already have, even if it's plastic (just as long as you eventually recycle it). I bought a mason jar soap dispenser at my local Home Goods (I freaked out when I saw they had it considering not many places do. Also it meant I could try out this DIY and my mom wouldn't have to continue buying conventional dish soap). If you'd like a mason jar dispenser of your own, Life Without Plastic sells stainless steel soap dispenser lids: These easily transform any mason jar into a soap dispenser. This lid fits any regular mouth (small mouth) canning jar with a 2.5" / 6.4 cm diameter. If I didn't find a mason jar dispenser on my own, I totally would've bought one of Life Without Plastic's soap dispenser lids instead.

zero waste dish soap

I don't have many complaints regarding this zero waste dish soap. It definitely does a great job helping me clean the dishes. While this dish soap doesn't create the sudsy, foaming, bubbly action some conventional brands do, I still love using it. It cleans the dishes and at least I know I'm not polluting waterways, or harming my skin when I use it. Eventually, I'll try experimenting with different recipes to see how I like them compared to this one. But for now, this is my new go to. My parents (who aren't zero waste, mind you) love it too!

zero waste dish soap

Would you try making this zero waste dish soap? Check out my cleaning page for more zero waste cleaning ideas.

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