Homemade Dish Soap Recipe (From Scratch)

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A simple homemade dish soap recipe with long-lasting fluffy bubbles that get dishes squeaky clean. Includes full cold process soap making instructions and uses recycled glass ramekins as containers. This recipe is perfect for the natural and zero-waste home.

A simple homemade dish soap recipe with long-lasting fluffy bubbles that get dishes squeaky clean. Perfect for the natural and zero-waste home #soaprecipe #soapmaking #homecleaning

I’ve been making handmade soap for over ten years, but I’ve always focused on body soap. Cold-process bar soap for cleaning skin, and liquid hand soap for filling up pump dispensers. Natural cleaning doesn’t stop with personal care, though, which is why I’m sharing how to make homemade dish soap. Unlike most body soap, this recipe creates very hard bars that are long-lasting and extremely effective at cutting through grease. It leaves dishes clean and sparkling while also being unscented, palm-oil-free, Vegan, zero-waste, and, best of all, 100% natural.

This recipe makes four to six bars of dish soap, and the method is a very simple cold-process recipe. There’s a unique adjustment for the amount of lye you’ll use, and the two fats used are not in a proportion that you typically see in a soap recipe. Together, they create a soap that’s ready to use after two days, and that has a thick sparkling lather for cleaning pots, pans, utensils, and dishes.

Make Cold-Process Dish Soap

Most of the time, when you make cold-process soap, you add a superfat. This is a percentage of extra oil that does not saponify (change into soap) and stays free-floating in your bars. This extra oil makes body soap conditioning and gentler on the skin, but it can also leave an oily residue on dishes. When making cold-process dish soap you make the bars with 0% superfat to avoid this issue. Homemade dish soap also needs to have a much higher cleansing power than body soap, which is why this recipe is 70% coconut oil and 30% soy wax.

A simple dish soap recipe with long-lasting fluffy bubbles that get dishes squeaky clean. Perfect for the natural and zero-waste home #soaprecipe #soapmaking #homecleaning
Wet the brush or scourer and rub it against the dish soap to create a thick lather

Soy wax is high in stearic acid and helps create a soap that has a long-lasting and stable lather. Stearic acid also helps bar soap to last longer when it becomes wet. Coconut oil, on the other hand, is highly cleansing, and most soap recipes tend to include it at a rate of about 25%. Sometimes a bit more, and sometimes a bit less, depending on your skin type and the superfat. You can make pure coconut oil soap, but it needs a very high superfat and a long cure time.

In this dish soap recipe, coconut oil is used at 70%, creating a soap that can clean dishes (and your skin!) of oil. If you have sensitive or dry skin, I’d recommend using washing-up gloves when doing the dishes with this homemade dish soap.

Using Citric Acid in Soap Recipes

Soap scum is bad enough in the shower, but it’s even worse on dishes. That’s why we add citric acid to dish soap recipes. Citric acid is a naturally fizzy substance that you often find in bath bombs; it’s also antibacterial and has a host of other useful properties. The magic of citric acid in soap making comes down to how it reacts with lye though. That reaction creates sodium citrate, a chelator that greatly reduces soap scum.

This dish soap recipe creates an effective cleanser with thick and fluffy lather.
The thick soap lather has a slight fizzing sound from cleansing citric acid

However, citric acid can also neutralize lye in cold-process soap making. What that means is that each gram of citric acid will neutralize 0.624 g of sodium hydroxide (source). Because this recipe uses 14 g of citric acid, we need to compensate by adding an extra 8.736 g of sodium hydroxide. If you fail to do this, then your soap will have a superfat of about 11%. This means that 11% of your oils do not turn into soap and that when you use the dish soap it will be slippery on your dishes and may leave a greasy residue.

Don’t worry, though; I’ve worked out the difference and worked it into the recipe.

Washing Dishes with Homemade Dish Soap

The bars this dish soap recipe makes are pure white, very hard, and very brittle. Though you can pour the soap batter into a mold for traditional bars, pouring the soap into ramekins is even better. They’re perfect little containers that both store the soap and give you a surface to hold onto when creating the lather. After use, you can conveniently set them next to the sink or in a cupboard for the next time you wash up. Soap and soap dish in one! The ramekins I’m using are glass and the type that some desserts come in at the supermarket.

A small squeaky clean dish filled with sudsy lather
This dish soap’s thick, fluffy soap lather gets dishes squeaky clean

Washing dishes with homemade dish soap is a little different than using liquid dish soap. First of all, the soap is solid, so you’ll need to work up a good lather on the brush. At this point, you can either wash the dishes with the brush or add the lather to your basin of hot water. The lather can be a little more slippery than conventional dish soap, and you should thoroughly rinse the dishes with water before leaving them to dry. Without that rinse, it’s possible to get a soapy residue on your dishes, and it’s particularly noticeable with glasses. Though this recipe does not include essential oils for scent, you could add some to the recipe if you wish. Lavender would be a good choice as would citrus oils ones such as grapefruit or lemon essential oil. More guidance on how much to use is in this chart.

Storing Zero-Waste Dish Soap

Homemade dish soap using my recipe has a zero percent superfat. That means that it’s extremely good at cleaning dishes while not leaving an oily residue. It also means that there are no extra oils floating around in the soap to go rancid. Once made, this soap has an indefinite shelf life but once you begin using a bar, make sure to use it all within six months. Until you use a bar, keep it stored in a place that’s dry and room temperature.

Pour the dish soap into glass ramekins for ease of use when washing the dishes.
Protect your homemade dish soap with beeswax wraps

Handmade soap is best stored in the open rather than in a sealed container. There is natural glycerin in handmade soap, and if you store it in a sealed container it has a tendency to draw moisture to it. However, beeswax wraps are breathable and will protect the soap from dust and spills. Simply fold the wrap over the soap and ramekin and store it until needed.

DIY Dish Soap Recipe

If you’re on a mission to replace store-bought cleaning products with homemade, this dish soap recipe is a great way to begin. It’s a product that stands up to the best dish soaps out there! There are plenty of other products that you can make, though, too, including homemade all purpose cleaner, and homemade laundry detergent. If you’re after simple solutions, washing soda, vinegar, and baking soda have many uses for cleaning the home, including as an oven and toilet cleaner. And if you’re interested in making more soap, here are some ideas for you:

A simple homemade dish soap recipe with long-lasting fluffy bubbles that get dishes squeaky clean. Perfect for the natural and zero-waste home #soaprecipe #soapmaking #homecleaning
A simple homemade dish soap recipe with long-lasting fluffy bubbles that get dishes squeaky clean. Perfect for the natural and zero-waste home #soaprecipe #soapmaking #homecleaning

Homemade Dish Soap Recipe

Lovely Greens
A homemade dish soap that you can use for washing pots, pans, and dishes. It's ready to use two days after making it and is a great zero-waste cleaning product for the natural home. We also use citric acid in this recipe at a rate of 3% of the main soaping oils and because it neutralizes some of the lye, we compensate for the difference. Creates 4-6 solid white bars that last a long time and create thick, cleansing lather. Technical details: 0% superfat and a 35.7% water discount
4.91 from 22 votes
Author Lovely Greens
Cost 10


Lye solution

Solid oils

Citric acid solution


  • Prepare your workstation with your tools and equipment. Put on rubber gloves, eye protection, and an apron. Carefully pre-measure the ingredients. The oil and wax into the pan, and the lye, 2x distilled water amounts, and citric acid into each of the four jugs.
  • Prepare the ramekins by washing and drying them thoroughly and setting them on a sheet of greaseproof paper. The ones I'm using came from a supermarket dessert pack and are 3¼" in diameter. At that size, you'll be able to perfectly fill four ramekins.
    If your ramekins are smaller, prepare a few extra and I imagine you can get six, or possibly more dish soaps. You can also pour the soap into ordinary molds but the soap hardens very quickly so I'd advise silicone cavity molds. If you use a loaf mold and cut the soap after two hours (or so) of making it, then it will crack and break as it's very brittle.
  • Next, dissolve the lye (sodium hydroxide) crystals in water designated for the lye solution. In an airy place, outdoors is best, pour the lye crystals into the water and stir well. There will be a lot of heat and steam so be careful. Try not to breathe it in. Leave outside in a safe place, or in a shallow bowl or basin of water to cool.
  • While the lye solution is cooling, make the citric acid solution. Pour the citric acid into the water set aside for it. Swirl and stir until the citric acid is fully dissolved. This can take up to a minute as the water will be room temperature.
  • Melt the coconut oil and soy wax in a stainless steel pan on very low heat. When melted, remove from the heat and set on a potholder. Pour in the citric acid solution and stir together well. You'll notice the citric acid solution beading up at the bottom of the pan. This is normal and simply because oil and water don't naturally mix.
  • Measure the temperatures of the lye-water and the contents of the pan. You should aim to cool them both to be about 125°F / 52°C*. The lye solution can be slightly higher than this but try not to soap at lower temperatures for this recipe.
  • When the temperatures are just right, pour the lye solution into the pan of oils.
  • Dip your immersion blender into the pan and with it turned off, gently stir the mixture. Next, bring it to the center of the pan, and with both your hands, hold it on the bottom of the pan and blitz it for just a couple of seconds. Turn it off and stir the soap batter, using the blender as a spoon. Repeat until the mixture thickens up to 'Trace'.
  • Trace is when the soap batter leaves a distinguishable trail on the surface. The consistency will be like thin custard. Trace happens very quickly in this recipe so please be prepared.
  • Working quickly, pour the soap into the ramekins. Give them a tap to settle the soap.
  • Leave the soap in a place that it won't be disturbed for two days. Saponification will be complete and you can begin using dish soap from that point. However, soap always performs better if you leave it to cure for at least 28 days.
  • To use your homemade dish soap I'd recommend using gloves, as the soap may be too cleansing for your hands. Wet the soap and work up a lather with a dish brush or scourer. When you have a good lather, use it to wash dishes or to add to your washing up water. Rinse dishes thoroughly with fresh water before drying.


* We can make this recipe at 125°F / 52°C for most types of soy wax. However, please check the melting point of your particular brand.
Lastly, are you a beginner soapmaker looking for more guidance on how to make handmade soap? Enroll in the Natural Soapmaking for Beginners Online Course to get up to speed quickly. You’ll learn all about soap ingredients and equipment and be guided through step-by-step soap recipe videos. Learn more
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Recipe Rating


  1. Janice Cohoon says:

    I’ve made this dish soap and it’s fantastic! Thanks so much for this recipe 💕

  2. Hi Tanya! I so enjoy your content and recipes. It has been a joy to see your growth over the years. Wishing you much continued success. I am going to make this recipe. Very excited to give it a try. Quick ? I was contemplating using hydrosol water such as lavender and lemongrass. Have you ever used a hydrosol? Will it cause it to trace even faster? Interested in hearing your thoughts on hydrosol as water portion of recipe.
    Kindest Regards ~ Kristine

    1. Hi Kristine, my advice is to save your precious hydrosol for making skin cream. It’s a waste in a dish soap recipe like this! You will not get a scent and any remaining rose essence in the soap will get quickly washed down the drain. Rose, lavender, and other hydrosols are best used in recipes that are leave-on. Meaning that they aren’t washed off after you apply them to your skin or hair.

  3. Alicia Copa says:

    I am a soapmaker always looking to get away from detergents but with the hard water it seems impossible. This recipe calls for soy wax and I was just wondering what it’s purpose is in the recipe

    1. Hi Alicia, it’s high in stearic acid which creates a hard bar and the fluffiest lather, ever. I know that other soapmakers use only coconut oil to make dish soap, but the soy wax takes the recipe to another level.

  4. Do you have to use soy wax? Is there a sub?

    1. Hi Laura, without the soy wax the entire recipe would need to be recalculated. In my opinion, it’s essential to making a great dish soap with thick, fluffy lather – I wouldn’t make dish soap without it.

      1. Can o change out soy wax or bees wax?

        1. Sorry, no, that won’t work for this recipe. Soy wax is high in stearic acid, a fatty acid that creates big fluffy lather. Beeswax does not create any lather, and much of it doesn’t saponify in soap recipes. Meaning that it creates waxy, non-lathering soap. That’s why in an ordinary beeswax soap recipe, beeswax is only used at 2% or less of the recipe. All it does is make the bar hard and potentially waxy-feeling.

  5. Carole Button says:

    I made this, it’s excellent at cleaning dishes. I also had some coated kitchen knives which had become stained. Normal washing up liquid had no effect on the stains, but the dish soap did the trick!
    A zero waste product that’s cheaper than store bought washing up liquid & is more effective – win/win!

    1. Thank you so much for leaving your experience here, Carole. Glad to hear that the dish soap works so well for you :)

  6. Hello! WONDERFUL article! I would love to make this soap, but I want to switch out the soy wax with another steric acid option such as tallow, shea or cocoa butter. How may I calculate those in with the citric acid–I’ve not seen a calculator that includes that option.
    Thank you!
    💜 Tracy

    1. Hi Tracy, very sorry but this is an excellent recipe and I don’t suggest any alterations to it. However, you can make a 100% coconut oil dish soap with 0% superfat very easily by using the SoapCalc. As for citric acid, this is something that must be manually worked out.

  7. 5 stars
    Thanks for this recipe. I’m an absolute beginner currently fond of Mrs Meyers Clean Day scented dish soaps. I’d like to add essential oils to this recipe. Would that be safe and at what step in the process should that happen? Thanks so much😊

    1. Hi Allison, I’m not a big fan of essential oils for dish soap, but if you stick to a very low usage rate, you should be safe. Many you can use at 2% by weight of the soap recipe without the water included. You’d add the essential oils, and stir them in, right before you add the lye solution.

  8. Thank you for your detailed instructions! I made your dish soap and from how it set up and looks in the ramekin, it seems to have turned out perfectly :) My question is, since it is not hot process, how is it ready to use in 2 days? thank you.

    1. Hi Pat and that’s wonderful to hear :) Though it will be more bubbly after a month’s cure, you can use it successfully just two days after making it. That’s because two days is how long saponification takes to complete. Since you’re not using it on your skin and the recipe is water discounted, it’s fine to use from day two onwards.

  9. Do you have a new link for the soy wax? it is unavailable at your current link.

    1. Sure, if you’re in the UK, here’s where you can find a small amount of soy wax. The link in the recipe works for the USA, though.

  10. Hi there can I replace the soy wax for bees wax?
    Thank you

    1. Not in soap recipes. They have different fatty acid profiles and fulfil different purposes in soap. Soy wax is an essential for this recipe, whereas beeswax would ruin it.

  11. Hi! Super excited to make this soap. I don’t have any extra glass ramekins at the moment. Does tin work? I have a candle tin stored away that I could use for this.

    1. Hi Sandra, unless it’s stainless steel it will rust and/or react with the lye in the soap before it saponifies. I’ll bet if you go to a thrift/charity shop that you’ll be able to find glass or ceramic ramekins, though :)

    2. Thank you so much Sandra, I will definitely try this! :)

  12. 5 stars
    This is great! Just made this and everything turned out so well.
    I do however notice that on my stainless steel it seems like leave a bit of a residue, but not on my glass or ceramics. Is this a reaction of the lye? How can I get rid of this? Our water is hard, mainly with calcium, is that my problem?

    1. Hi Emily, lye does not react with stainless steel so that isn’t what’s going on. It may potentially be your water, but it’s hard for me to say without seeing what’s going on. If it is your hard water, then scrubbing your pans with baking soda and white vinegar can help!

  13. Hi There, I made this recipe a few weeks ago. I had the soap ramekins stored in my garage/studio. It get’s pretty hot in there, and my soap has softened after already being hard. I brought it inside, but it isn’t hardening. Is it ruined?

    1. Hi Claire, my guess is that you may have experienced false trace. That’s when the soap seems to firm up to a trace, but it’s actually just the solid oils returning to be solid at a cooler temperature. They then melt again when the temperature warms up! You can avoid this keeping the ingredients warm (in this case, around 125F) and by stirring longer. As for this batch, you could pour the ingredients back into a pan, gently heat to 125F, and try mixing it together again.

  14. I tried making it for the first time tonight. I forgot to add the citric acid water before the lye water so I threw it in after the lye. Is that ok? Also, the soap is pink……. it hasn’t cured yet so maybe that will go away?

    1. That’s fine to add citric acid at that point. As for the pink color, don’t worry. Some soy wax brands can cause it, but it’s perfectly harmless. Unfortunately, the color won’t fade away but the dish soap is fine to use.

  15. Hi Tanya, I’ve made this soap dish recipe several times and love it. However, when making it today, I’ve only realised I accidentally used beeswax instead on soy wax 😬!! Do you know what the outcome might be like?? And if it’ll be useable??

    1. It’s likely that the lather won’t be as good for one. I’d also run the recipe through a soap calculator to see what the superfat would be, if any.

  16. Hi Tanya
    Thank you so much for this detailed instruction and recipe for kitchen soap. I would like to tweak the kitchen soap at 1% superfat to try out. I was wondering how do you know the % of superfat excess when adding citric acid?
    Thank you so much in advance!

    1. Hi Rebecca, you’ll need to put the recipe into a soap calculator, and calculate it for a 1% superfat. Then manually add the extra lye amount on that I go over in the section on using citric acid in soap recipes. Please be aware that having any superfat in dish soap recipes will likely leave spots/residue on your dishes, though.

  17. Raphaella says:

    Hi! I was wondering, about how much does each soap weigh?

  18. Hi Tanya,

    If you wanted to add essential oils to this recipe for scent, at what point would you add it in the process? Thanks!

    1. Hi Sloane, I’d add them before adding the lye solution. Otherwise, you might not get a chance to add it before the soap starts setting up.

  19. Belinda Goodman says:

    5 stars
    I loved the simplicity of this recipe and was anxious to try. I tweaked the recipe by adding 3% clay to the oils to help with the oily dishes. Then I used some soap nuts in the hot lye water. I think this is where I went wrong. It cured for 3 days. It had amazing suds, but left a waxy film on dishes. I’m going to try it again, but without the soap nuts.

  20. Thanks a lot for the great recipe. If I use a silicone molt, when can I take it out and cut it?

    1. This soap is very hard and very brittle. If you do use a loaf mold, you will need to take the soap out before it cools to room temperature to cut it.

  21. 5 stars
    So I have done a lot of reading and was very excited to try this recipe as it has both a wax and citric acid. I gave it a 5 star as I’m certain my issue was with something I did and not the recipe. The first time I made it I did it at 125f as per the recipe. Part of it solidified immediately and half was still liquid. I used the immersion blender and continued to try to reach emulsion, which I kind of did, but it was difficult to scoop into the ramekin. Then, it reached gel phase in seconds and volcanoed. I realized I forgot the citric acid and it was lye heavy so I tossed the batch. I thought my issue was that the temp was too low as my Soy wax has a melting temp of 145f.
    Take 2- this time I did it at 150f, and the same thing happened! I think I got it all emulsified, but it wasn’t easy. I only filled the ramekins 2/3 to reduce the volcano. It still did it a bit. The last one filled is dry and crumbly, like pie dough needing more water. I have no idea if this batch is usable. What did I do to make this recipe do this? What should the ph be if the batch is good, since it is high cleansing? I followed the recipe perfectly! Thank you for your help.

    1. Hi Denise and so sorry that you’ve been having challenges. Next time, stick with making the dish soap at the temperature in the recipe — 125F. Also, try just stirring and no immersion blender since this recipe does thicken quickly. Hope this helps :)

      1. I think stirring is out of the question as there was a big mass of solid goo as soon as I poured in the lye water, which I did slowly. Could it be my coconut oil? I bought the Kirkland one with the orange lid, so it’s just regular oil, not refined. Does the refined make a difference? Because the exact same thing happened twice regardless of the temperature. I would appreciate knowing the ph of your soap to test mine against…or what ph level should it not be higher than? Thank you for your help!

        1. Hi Denise, unless the Kirkland coconut oil has another additive, I don’t think that it could be it. What it might be is the soy wax you’re using. Could you send me a photo of the package over email? My email is tanya at lovelygreens dot come

          1. Thank you so much for your help Tanya! I just wanted to clarify that my issues were because of the Virgin unrefined coconut oil I used (Costco’s Kirkland brand) and not the fault of the recipe. I figured it was something I wasn’t doing correctly! I will order “Refined coconut oil, 76 degree” and give it another go.

            1. You’re welcome, Denise, and please be in touch again if you have any further questions :)

    2. So I panicked when I read this thread as I’d already measured out everything using unrefined coconut oil (PC Organics 100% virgin coconut oil). Fortunately, I always half a recipe when I do it for the first time. I double-checked the soy wax too, which turned out to have a 125F melting point. I was expecting a mess.

      Wink and a prayer, I went ahead and soaped at around 130 (my oils were a little warmer than my lye solution: 134 for the oils, 125 for the lye when I mixed them). They emulsified and went to trace just fine. So far so good. No volcano as of 10 minutes, so unrefined coconut oil might be okay.

      I wonder if there’s something weird with Kirkland.

  22. Hi I made up dish soap and not sure how to write this! It does clean but I feel it’s grease cutting powers are very weak? Or ability to emulsify fat. My dishes come out with a waxy residue which either comes from the soap or the oils in the food. The water kind of beads on the washing up even after a rinse. The actual washing up water has oil blobs in it.

    I followed the recipe to the dot but I do live in a hard water area. I’m wondering if there’s too much wax? Or not enough citric acid? I thought I’d pick your brains over this if possible before attempting take 2! Thank you!

    1. Hi Zoe, It’s almost certainly your hard water that’s affecting the lather of the soap. It’s unfortunately a common issue for most handmade soap! This recipe uses the maximum amount of citric acid recommended for soapmaking so adding more isn’t the solution. I think a water softening unit for your home or considering sticking with liquid detergent-based dish soap will be your best option. The latter won’t be natural soap, but it will clean dishes in hard water and there are more sensitive products to choose from including Meyers Clean Day.

      1. Ah thank you for replying! We usually try to stick to the eco dish soaps but I will continue to experiment on reducing my waste! About to experiment with diluting normal dish soap with bicarb and vinegar, which would make one bottle last over a year. Fingers crossed!

        I’ve made some of your other soaps and loved them, just a shame I’m in the wrong area currently for block dish soaps.

    2. Belinda Goodman says:

      Hey Zoe! I had water spots and a waxy feel at times. Lower the lye from zero to -1. It worked for me! Could be the lye is old, therefore less effective. Regardless it works.

  23. Hi. This recipe looks great. But I have a small problem. That is the soy wax.
    All I can find of soy wax (here in Norway) is intended for candle making. Is there a difference, or can I buy Eco Wax C3 and use it?

    1. Hi Helen, and yes, you can use that type of soy wax for this recipe and other cosmetic applications.

      1. Thank you so much for a quick reply :)

  24. Marie Lanyou-Pandoo says:

    5 stars
    This recipe looks really great and I can’t wait to try it out.
    I just have a little question: I don’t have soy wax at home but I do have a stock of stearic acid. Can I just swap the soy wax for the stearic acid ? Or is there any adjustment needed to the recipe?
    Many thanks for your help.

    1. Hi Marie, and though I haven’t tried I’m sure that yes you could :) Use the same amount of stearic acid as you would soy wax when making the swap. There is a small difference in the amount of lye you’ll need so run the new recipe through the SoapCalc and make adjustments for the amount of lye that the citric acid will use up. There’s information on how to do that in the article above the recipe card.

  25. I made your soap and it turned out great! I want to post on IG about ditching bottled dish soap and switching to a more sustainable alternative and I’d love to link to your recipe and blog or IG account with your permission.

  26. Hello, I love this idea but I am desperately trying to find a natural dish cleaner that doesn’t have citric acid. Can this be omitted or substituted? Thank you

    1. You can omit the citric acid as long as you recalculate the lye amount. Use 0% superfat and the amounts of the other oil/wax using your favorite soap calculator.

  27. Hello! Is it possible to swap the soy wax for bee wax? Thank you!!

    1. Sorry, no, not for this recipe. Beeswax does not have the same chemical profile as soy wax and is not a replacement for soy wax in making solid dish soap.

      1. Hello, what about coconut wax? Could you swap the soy wax for coconut wax?

  28. 5 stars
    Hi! Is it possible to use bee wax instead? I’ve made the pure coconut soap and it’s my son’s favorite so far. Thanks!!!

  29. Hello,
    I’m not into soap making but I have an inquisitive mind: someone mentioned that adding citric acid can lower the pH of a soap which I knew it’s impossible but I’ve googled it anyway and I ended up on this website.
    I have to acknowledge the quality of your articles here and also to thank you for explaining in such a detail.
    I’m very tempted to make this dish soap but I have two questions, please:
    1. May I use unrefined coconut oil or this will mean I have to make some adjustments? 2. I only have laboratory glass thermometers which I use for my emulsions. Can these be used in the lye solution?
    Thank you, a lot.
    Kind regards,

    1. Hi Ileana, citric acid does not affect the final pH of handmade soap. Instead, it reacts with some of the lye and forms sodium citrate, a substance that helps reduce soap scum and helps soap to work in hard water. For your other questions, you can use unrefined coconut oil if you wish but it’s quite expensive and better used in food recipes. Lab thermometers work fine but take longer to give you a reading. It’s only a slight inconvenience though.

    2. Thanks for the recipe, how long do you have to cure dish soap.

      1. You can use it almost immediately, but it’s best to fully cure it for a month for the best bubbles and cleaning ability.

  30. Would it work to use beef tallow
    Instead of the soy wax?

    1. Hi MJ, the soy wax is important to this recipe and can’t be replaced with another ingredient.

  31. 5 stars
    I made this and it’s a roaring success. Just read the recipe steps a few times before starting out. No lies, it traces quickly so everything has to be washed and ready to go. Works great with city tap water (soft). I’ll try it with well water next. A neat project, I had fun thanks for posting.

    1. Thanks so much for your feedback, Monica! It’s a great homemade dish soap in my humble opinion — I use this exact recipe to hand wash dishes practically every day :)

  32. 4 stars
    Hi Tanya,
    Tried this recipe today. It traced instantly to a very hard mass. And after a minute or so it started volcanoing. Kept mixing and I think it went through gel phase and turned into a hot process soap. The temp of the oilwax mix was about 64C and lye about 58C. Did it happen because of the high temperatures? My wax melting temp was 60C. Do I need to look for a different type of wax?
    Thank you.

    1. Oh boy. What I can’t understand is why you would rate this recipe a four-star when you clearly did not follow the instructions. Making soap at hot temperatures, such as those you used, can result in volcanoing and aesthetic issues. Try making it again but stick to the temperatures listed in the recipe. Ignore the melting temperature of the soy wax you use and good luck!

      1. 5 stars
        Thank you so much for the reply. Sorry for the rating, I was doing it ina heat of the moment.
        So I take it it’s ok if soy wax is not fully melted?

        1. Hiya and no worries. To clarify on melting temperatures: when different oils are mixed together (such as coconut and soy wax) their melting temperature generally becomes the average of the oils. In this case, will begin melting at the lowest melting temperature (76F) and the vast majority of the melting will be complete before you hit the melting temperature of the soy wax (melting temperatures vary). The most important thing is to keep the lye solution close to the temperatures of the oils and for the oils to be completely liquid when it’s introduced. If the oils look cloudy then it’s too cold. It’s good to think about these things and understand them but if you’re following a recipe and deviate from it then toss it up to experience and try making it again sticking to the instructions.

    2. Hello! I just made your recipe and mine turned pink while mixing too, like a previous comment. The only thing I did differently than your instuctions, were I used unrefined coconut oil since I didn’t have refined. Do you think that would make it pink? I hope ill still be able to use it.
      Thank you

      1. Hi Beverly, some hydrogenated oils can turn soap pink and the culprit is likely the soy wax in the recipe. It doesn’t happen with all soy waxes though and don’t worry, your dish soap is okay to use :)

  33. Nancy Serle says:

    5 stars
    This is brilliant. I have never made soap before, but this has changed the way I wash up now. So much better than the unknown chemicals in washing up liquids! Also, it makes my hands nice and soft and very clean.
    I was puzzled why the recipe said 4 jugs were required – I think that must have been a typing error.
    I will try to get others to make this too.
    Thanks so much,

  34. Good evening,
    Thank you for the amazing recipe, i just did it. I’ll wait two days to use.
    I just have one question, that i don’t see it on the comments. Any idea why can turn pink? Mine turned pink while blending.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Emma and great to hear that you’ve made the dish soap successfully :) I can’t think of anything in the recipe that could turn it pink so I wonder if there was something in/on the equipment you used such as inside the immersion blender head or the pan. If you added something not called for in the recipe (such as milk/sugar/honey/fragrance) then that can cause the soap to change color too. UPDATE: I looked into the pink issue and found that hydrogenated oils (such as soy wax) can turn soap pink on exposure to air. It doesn’t happen with all soy wax though, and if it does, it does not affect the properties of the soap in any way.

      1. Thank you so much! I later though i could have been that i didn’t wait long enough to cool the lye. They worked out great, i’m almost done with that batch and I’m making more :-)

  35. Is there anything we can substitute the Soy wax with? We tend to avoid soy at all costs in out family.

    1. Soy is very important in this soap recipe since it gives the soap its very stable bubbles. You could make dish soap using a 100% coconut oil recipe with zero superfat though :)

    2. Because I don’t have any soy wax except what I use for candles, and didn’t readily find a pure soy wax I am using stearic acid in place of the soy wax. The online lye calculator I use has stearic acid as an ingredient, so that made it an easy substitute. It is very close to the soy wax. I’m excited to try this formula! I was looking for something beyond just 100% coconut oil soap (which I use as part of my laundry blend).

  36. Nicole Mitchell says:

    5 stars
    This recipe is amazing! I’m so impressed. I love it as a dish soap, entire kitchen cleaning soap, window soap. I’m currently preparing to try it as a dishwasher powder and laundry powder. It’s just soooooo good. I can’t thank you enough!

  37. Shauna newcombe says:

    5 stars
    My husband is a scientist and very impressed with your description.. lol. I have made allot of things from laundry soap to dishwasher soap.. all fails.. BUT THIS IS A WINNER.. amazing.. I was shocked that it worked so incredibly.. lathers, not greasy, cleans.. I am just FLOORED and so excited about this soap.
    Question. Can I add lemon zest to it and when and any essential oils drops.

    Thank you Thank you for this recipe..

    1. Hi Shauna and thanks :) I’d avoid putting lemon zest or anything else that could leave a residue on dishes. I’m also unsure about using essential oils in dish soap, which is why I left it out. It could leave a residue too and potentially get into your food. Not all essential oils are created equally, and none of them should be ingested. I’d recommend sticking with unscented for this recipe.

  38. hello. merci pour cette recette que j’ai très envie d’essayer mais je n’ai pas accès à la cire de soja est il possible de remplacer par de l’acide stéarique directement en repassant la recette dans soapcalc par exemple pour les changements éventuels de la quantité de soude?

    1. Hi Betty, your message in google translate says: ‘Hello. thank you for this recipe that I really want to try but I do not have access to soy wax is it possible to replace with stearic acid directly by ironing the recipe in soapcalc for example for possible changes in the amount of soda?’ –> If you are comfortable and experienced with customizing a soap recipe, then try it out. Remember that lye will need to be manually adjusted due to the amount consumed by the lye, though. Good luck :)

  39. 5 stars
    Hi, Tanya!
    Thanks so much for sharing your recipe.
    I have two questions about it.
    1. Where did you find NaOH SAP of soy wax?
    2. How did you calculate the amount of Citric acid ?
    I appreciate if you let me know them.

    1. Hi Miho, that information is freely available on the internet and even linked to in the recipe above.

    2. Paulette Lamere says:

      I love this dish soap.

      Can this recipe be doubled? I want to make Christmas gifts.

      Thank you

      1. It could but it does firm up rather quickly so you’d have to pour it into ramekins quickly too!

  40. What is the purpose of the soy wax?
    Can you give percentages for all ingredients?

  41. Hi Tanya, I have question. Can we replace citric acid directly with natural pure lemon juice or orange juice in this recipe? In that case, how do we calculate the amount of lye used in the recipe?

    1. Very sorry, but you need to use powdered citric acid since the citric acid amount in citrus fruits is not nearly enough for this recipe. 2 TBSP of lemon juice only contains about 1.2 g citric acid. To get the 14 g required you’d need 11.5 oz of lemon juice. That’s 3x more liquid than the recipe calls for and would likely result in a soft and wet mixture.

      1. Can I use a regular food/meat thermometer?

  42. Beverly Delventhal-Sali says:

    Well, I was so excited to make this recipe, I’m a little sad it didn’t work out. I have soy wax that says heat to 180 F for candles. When my oil mix was about 136 the wax looked like it might get too solid, and the lye was at about 124 so I put them together with a few drops of lemongrass eo. it seized right up, wasn’t even able to give one burst with my blender! Do you have any suggestions for my next batch?

    1. Hi Beverly, this soap traces FAST. You could probably make it without the use of a stick blender if you wanted to try it that way next time. Also, remember that the melting point of mixed oils is different from that of the singular oils in it.

    2. Lemongrass EO also speeds up trace. I discovered this trying to make a camping soap to keep bugs off while outdoors. I had to eventually just stir my oils together, leave at room temp and also do the same for my Lye solution. I add Lemongrass EO Before I add my room temp lye water.

    3. Tanya, I have a question. I am new to soap making. Does the soap need to be insulated once poured? I am thinking no as it can be left uncovered for 2 days?

      1. Hi Patricia, soap doesn’t need to be insulated after pouring it. You do that step in other soap recipes to help the soap to gel, and that deepens the color. Insulating doesn’t affect anything other than how the soap looks and it’s not necessary for this recipe :)

  43. 5 stars
    I always have used Sunlight soap for my dishes as it cleans and leaves the sink shining. I thought that making dish soap would not be cost effective. I decided to read the label and found that Sunlight soap is made from palm oil.
    Wow! Fantastic recipe with a clear and very good tutorial. The soap makes great long lasting suds (much better than any soap or liquid I have tried) that stay even when you are washing greasy dishes, my sink is sparkling and it costs about the same as Sunlight soap. The dishes dry crystal clear no streaking at all

  44. 5 stars
    I love this recipe!! I almost have up with dish solid bars altogether as the few I bought didn’t lather and left so much residue. Then I came across this post… I liked the citric acid in it and I was curious to try. I have zero experience in making soap but I did it and it is amazing!! Definitely use it again and again. So effective and lathers so nicely after only 2 days of curing so it can only get better. I live in a very hard water area. I tried it on my silicon oven mats and no feeling of oilyness left behind. Super happy I found this post!! :) :)

    1. 5 stars
      Thank you for the wonderful recipe and instructions. I made your dish soap and sold it a my local farmer’s market. Customers come back and rave about the product. They all say “I was skeptical at first, but I love this dish soap.” One lady was so complimentary that I sold completely out of the 6 ramekins I brought to the market that day. I package the dish soap with a brush, instructions and a bakers twine ribbon. Thank you I really appreciate the time you take to research and communicate.

      1. That’s amazing Rose! Woo hoo for succeeding with the recipe and turning customers to a more eco-friendly product 💚😍

  45. Liz Ellis says:

    5 stars
    Hi Tanya
    Well – I finally made this dish soap today
    Oils and citric acid solution were 52 degs C and lye solution at 56 degs C
    It comes together so quickly – barely pulsed on low and used stick blender to whisk then pulse on low again – did that 3 times and it was ready
    pours beautifully – got 4 nice wee ramekins and 2 rounds in a silicone mold – was able to level the silicone mold ones but left the ramekins with a bit of a swirly uneven top but i dont care about that
    as i do it more i will learn how to smooth it if i want to
    now – can i add an essential oil like lemon or peppermint??? – and would i work out the percentage according to the weight of the coconut oil and soy wax base combined weight???
    i am so looking forward to trying again – but must find more of the wee ramekins like the ones i used today – the only ones i can find are the deep ones now – but will keep on hunting on the net and when i am next in the big city i will try to find a junk shop and look through there – i live about 200km from the nearest city so it will be a while away before i get there
    thanks for the inspiration

    1. Great to hear Liz! The ramekins I use are the types that pre-packaged desserts come in at the grocery store. I’m not sure if you have the same products in your region, but here, you can get inexpensive chocolate mousse, panna cotta, and other things in these glass ramekins. As for essential oil — it can be dangerous if ingested. Even the smallest amount left on a plate or cup can cause reactions in people if it gets into food or drink. That’s why I didn’t include essential oils in the recipe and why I don’t recommend them in dishwashing soap.

  46. Hi Tanya,

    When I made this soap it was slow to trace for some reason, so I’m wondering if I did something wrong and if it is Ok. After two days, I tried it out. It looks good, makes a lot of lather, but the pH is 11. Does it sound Ok to use? If it is lye heavy, could I use this bar for laundry? Years ago, my mom used to make soap and put the bar right in the washing machine.

    Thanks for your website. It’s great!


    1. Hi Lynnette, not really sure but I wouldn’t worry about the pH too much. Continue using it to wash dishes :) Also, if there’s any chance that the superfat is more than zero, then the soap will unfortunately not be suitable for laundry. There’s a chance that superfat oils can leave an oily residue on your clothes.

      1. Hi Lynette,
        I grate up all my soap left overs, fails, end bits and ugly bits. Then add an equal amount of washing soda (sodium carbonate) to the grated soap and bingo washing powder. I have been using the washing powder for a while now and the clothes are clean with no residue or soap burns.

  47. sophie barker says:

    Hi, absolutely love this recipe – but I’m trying to use less coconut oil in soap making and using local oils produced in Europe. Would you recommend swapping the coconut oil for olive oil (or another oil)?

    1. Hi Sophie, you can’t directly substitute olive oil for coconut oil in this recipe as the lye amount would change too. It’s possible to make a 0% superfat olive oil soap but please be aware that it wouldn’t have a good lather and would not have the cleansing power of coconut oil soap. I wouldn’t recommend it so don’t have a recipe to share.

  48. Hi Tanya,
    I’d like to make this into a liquid dish soap to use as a refill for old plastic bottles…could I grate this soap into flakes and use it in a liquid dish soap recipe (with distilled water, a bit of washing soda, glycerine, essential oils and a touch of xanthan gum to thicken)? You’re my hero with these recipes. I love your site and was googling around for a good dish soap without thinking to search here and ended up on your site anyways because it’s exactly what I needed!
    Thanks so much! Can’t wait for your new book!

    1. I’ve not yet tried grating and diluting this soap with distilled water, but it would probably work. I’d leave out the washing soda, essential oil, and glycerine though :) If you do end up trying it out, let me know how it goes?

  49. Karen Adamczak says:

    I love the look of this recipe! I am new to soap making and have been searching for a dish soap recipe. My only question is how to replace the soy wax. I have a severe soy allergy so I definitely don’t want to use soy wax. Do you have any suggestions on how to make the recipe work without it?
    Thank you!!

    1. Hi Karen, if any of the ingredients are changed in this recipe, then the amount of lye used changes too. The same goes for any from scratch soap recipe. The end product will be different from the original recipe too and in this case, you would not get the thick stable lather that you see in this dish soap recipe’s photos. As long as you are aware of that, you can make a soy-free dish soap using the recipe below. It will not be as good as my original but it will be better for those with soy allergies.
      Lye solution: 92g Sodium hydroxide + 120g Distilled water
      Base oil: 454g Coconut oil
      Citric acid solution: 14g Citric Acid + 30g Distilled water

  50. Haley Lafontaine says:

    Hi there. I’m looking to make this recipe and am wondering what my ramekin has to be made out of. Will A porcelain ramekin work? Can I pour my soap directly in to cure in there?

    1. Glass or ceramic is best — I’m not sure about porcelain and wouldn’t want you to ruin the dish.

  51. Hi, I’ve been making cold process soap for about 20 years. Just recently I’ve been trying to reduce my plastic usage and branching out.
    I’m the first to admit I’m no chemist! I find a recipe I like and stick with it.

    Here’s my problem. I have made another hard dish soap which worked wonderfully at our lake house. . Tons of suds and no residue. So I thought this is great and brought the same ramekin to our other place. It’s horrible! No lather waxy feel….so sad. I’m thinking the water has to be the difference. We have very soft water at our lake house.
    Do you think the addition of soy and citric acid will make a difference? My last recipe was coconut oil and tallow that came to zero fat.
    Now I’m afraid to make a another batch before the last can be used up.

    Care to give an opinion.?


    1. Hi Janet, and you’re bang on the money with the water quality. Hard water can impede the lather of all-natural soap. However, adding citric acid to the recipe, as mine does, helps the soap to lather in hard water.

  52. 4 stars
    I really love this soap. The bubbles are truly fluffy and it lasts through piles of dishes!!! We dont get any residue on stainless steel pots or glass cups, they actually sparkle! But both my husband and I feel a little waxiness left on rubber or plastic material. I feel waxy residue leftover on our sponge and hands too even after a thorough cleaning, is this how the soap should feel? Is there any recommendation for reducing the waxy feel? Still very happy to have found your recipe, thank you!

    1. Hi Leydie, there shouldn’t be any waxy residue left in the soap as this is a zero superfat soap recipe. That means that the lye uses up every drop of oil and wax. If there’s a residue, it’s possible that you accidentally added too much oil or wax, or not enough citric acid. I’m glad it’s cleaning your pans and glasses though :)

  53. Michelle Lee says:

    Hello Tanya,
    I made these soaps but when I added the lye to the oil mixture it became in to trace instantly… I am not sure why this happened so I stirred really quickly and put it into the mold as fast as I can.. another thing is that I was excited to use these so when I tried it, on stainless steel pots and in the sink it gives like a white /film coating … so it doesn’t really feel clean… I wonder if this is from soy wax? Do you know what I did wrong?

    1. Hi Michelle, this recipe does trace VERY quickly, but it’s possible that you experienced a false trace. That’s when the temperatures that you’re working at are so low that the solid oils re-solidify when you add the lye solution.

      1. Michelle Lee says:

        I am not sure if that was the case because I made sure temperture in both oil mix and lye solution was at 125 degrees.

  54. hi tanya
    oops – i meant the diameter at 3 1/4 inches
    cant type today – all fingers and thumbs it seems

  55. 5 stars
    hi tanya
    i am sooooooooo keen to try this recipe – you gave the measurement for the ramekin as 31/2 inches diameter – not a problem there – but what i am wondering about is the depth – my ramekins look so much deeper than yours and i dont want to make a huge block of it – i also have the 6 mold of round deepish pucks which i may end up looking for a dish to pop them in once they are set up – but if i could have the depth of the ones you used it would be easier to look for them
    hope that made sense – lol

  56. MeadowAndWoods says:

    5 stars
    Hello Tanya, thank you for this wonderful, simple, and easy to make recipe. I made it as directed and it’s working great–so bubbly! I bought some cute ramekins on Amazon to match my kitchen. Love that I can use them over and over. This recipe filled six (6) traditional ramekins.

    1. Fantastic, and thank you for letting us know that it fills six traditionally sized ramekins. That will be a big help for others :)

  57. Ramona Briggans says:

    Hi Tanya, thank you for sharing your dish soap recipe. It seems really different from most I’ve researched so far. Can you share more about why you add the soy wax, it seems counter intuitive to me, and I’m afraid of clogging up the pipes in my old house.

    1. Soy wax is high in stearic acid and creates a soap that’s long-lasting and with big fluffy stable lather. From your question, I can tell that you’re a beginner and I recommend that you pick up a copy of my Guide to Natural Soapmaking. It will introduce you to the chemistry of cold-process soapmaking and lead you on to how to make your first batches of natural soap.

      1. EVELYN Pereira says:

        Hola recién estoy incursionando en los jabones y quería sabes si es q le pongo más agua a esta receta podré obtener un jabón líquido

        1. I put your comment into google translate and got “Hi, I’m just getting into soaps and I wanted to know if I put more water in this recipe, I can get a liquid soap”

          The answer to this is no. Making liquid soap is a much different process, using a different type of lye. Here’s my recipe.

  58. Lisa Atwood says:

    5 stars
    Hi Tanya!
    I love your website, recipes and helpful tips! Thanks so much for sharing your hard work! My question is also about the soy wax. I don’t have any on hand, but I do have stearic acid. If I put that in the soap calculator along with the coconut oil and citric acid, will that produce the same hard bar with fluffy lather? I saw a S.C. with citric acid on the list, but I can’t remember which one. I think soap calculator made the needed adjustment for the citric acid. Assuming I can find that calculator again, would you recommend the use of stearic acid as a substitute to soy wax?

    1. Hi Lisa, I don’t work with stearic acid in soapmaking personally, but yes it’s possible to add it to the recipe to compensate for the 26% lost from the soy wax (The total recipe contains 28% stearic acid naturally occurring in the oil and wax.) Doing that will help keep the lather thick and creamy.

      1. Lisa Atwood says:

        Hi Tanya! Thanks so much for the reply! I will experiment with this and see what I can come up with. If I run your original recipe through the lye calculator, I can make the needed adjustments from there. I was wondering which soap calculator you used when formulating this recipe. Since this will be an experiment, I’d like to keep all the other values the same. Thanks for your help! I’m excited to try your recipe!

        1. Hi Lisa, I always use the SoapCalc, but have manually calculated the lye amount based on the citric acid ingredient.

  59. Wow, amazing. I’ve never gotten into soapmaking before, and want to see if it is cost-effective.

    Do you have any suggestions for buying sodium hydroxide or soy wax in bulk?

  60. Can it be any wax that you use I have beeswax and would prefer to use that or how would you adjust this recipe for that? Can you give me any advice? And also can you put essential oils in this soap?

    1. Hi Shelly, to answer your question, no, you cannot replace the soy wax with beeswax. Handmade soap with more than 2% beeswax loses its ability to produce lather and to clean. If you wanted to make this recipe without soy wax, you could make it with 100% coconut oil but the lye amount would change. You would have to work that out using the SoapCalc and manually add the amount back in that the citric acid uses up.

      As for essential oils, I wouldn’t recommend using them on items that you wish to eat from. I don’t recommend that they’re used in dishsoap.

      1. Theresa Bauman says:

        Hi Tanya!
        I was looking online for soy wax and all I am seeing is soy wax for candle making. Is this the same soy wax? I just want to make sure I buy the right kind. :) Or, can you suggest a brand or share an Amazon link?

        1. Yes, it’s the same stuff :) Just make sure that it’s 100% soy wax since some types can have additives.

        2. Hi Tanya!
          Since you said Soy wax is good even in creating strong leather; can it be used in making body soaps?
          Thank you

          1. Hi Asela, and yes it can. It’s also be used for shaving soap recipes that need a thick, rich lather.