How to make dishwashing liquid

dishwashing liquidDishwashing liquid is a necessary expense in most of our homes, but what if you could make it yourself for a fraction of the cost? Luckily, the key ingredients in most commercial detergents are actually quite similar and you can find products around your house that do the same job (though we can’t vouch for how effective it’ll be!)

So if you’re so inclined, what are some ways of making your own dishwashing liquid?

The key ingredients to making dishwashing liquid

The most important ingredient of any dishwashing liquid (besides water of course) is a detergent. Detergents are a group of compounds that are designed to help remove oil, grease and solids from your kitchenware. They’re a type of surfactant, which is a substance that reduces the surface tension between two substances and lets them mix more easily – pretty useful when you’re trying to scrub those pasta sauce stains out of your Tupperware. Other ingredients can include thickeners, antibacterial agents and perfumes (these are usually provided by certain essential oils).

Dishwashing liquid recipes to try


No.1 – Plain old soap

Soap is easily the most common instance of a surfactant and we’ve been using it to clean ourselves for hundreds of years. If you’re looking for a super cheap and simple dishwashing solution, grate a bar of plain, unscented soap into several cups of very hot water and stir until completely melted. You can then add any scented or antiseptic essential oils that you fancy, leave it to cool, and you’re ready to wash! The obvious downside of this is that it doesn’t have a smooth, well-mixed consistency as a commercial detergent, and we can’t vouch for its effectiveness. If you’re looking for a cheap, simple dishwashing solution though, look no further. If you want to add a bit more cleaning power to this recipe, try adding a small amount of Borax as this recipe recommends.

No.2 – A greener recipe

Instead of using soap, this recipe utilises a naturally derived surfactant product along with equal amounts of water and white vinegar, as well as a small amount of mild citric acid for extra cleaning power (you can use lemon juice if you can’t find the concentrated product itself). This recipe has a few more ingredients and is therefore more expensive, but it’s definitely cheaper than buying a commercial product.

Of course, making your own can be messy and time-consuming. If it’s not worth the hassle, then we’d suggest reading about the brands of dishwashing liquid that New Zealanders are most satisfied with. You can check out our ratings here.

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