I’m Making Dish Detergent, Y’all.

When I married Calvin and had children, I developed this romantic idea of creating a homesteading life complete with gardening, making soaps, canning, and using a lot of DIY home care recipes. I wanted a simpler life that reflected the good memories I had living on a farm and watching my mom garden and can food. My paternal grandmother tatted, and being a depression era woman, she would pull the strings off the grain bags my dad discarded and use them for her work. She said the store bought thread was too expensive. Little did I know this was my first experience in reducing and reusing, but it was also a major seed that was planted in my fiber journey. 

Calvin got the gardening down, and I’ve fulfilled the knitting garments aspect of this dream scenario, but it wasn’t till I started using Young Living Essential Oils that I started implementing the DIY recipes.

Now that I’m down here in small town America I have the motivation to do my part, even if it’s a little bit, to help our planet. Some days are better than others, I still can’t seem to quit grocery pickup (it’s so convenient for a mom of two young children) and find the bagging of my groceries in cloth bags an awkward experience, they are brought out already in plastic bags. So, I’ll alternate grocery pickup with the in store experience that functions as my “me time”. I reuse the plastic containers and bags that companies insist on using and recycle. We do the best we can.

When I started using Thieves from Young Living I knew I had to keep this good thing going. The wonderful part of this line is the oodles of ways you can DIY your cleaning supplies. One item I immediately researched was dish tabs. I have been aware of the environmental impact of some commercial dish cleaning products since I took an ecology class in high school. What we dump into our streams, oceans, and waterways is appalling. I always wanted to do my best, but so many earth friendly brands were out of my financial reach. Food became the priority.

Before I go further, I want to let all my readers know this is not a sanctimommy post. I’m just doing me, and you can do you, I’m just giving my experience and if you find it useful, fantastic. If you don’t have time to make your own dish detergent, solidarity, because I’m doing well to get a shower in everyday at this point.

I sent myself over to Pinterest (because you know you will find hundreds of pins about this) and started searching for a simple dish detergent recipe that used essential oils. I found this blog post by One Essential Community and decided to give it a try. Here’s the link to the natural dish tabs recipe. They also have really cute printable for your containers. I haven’t used them because I’m just re-purposing the old plastic dish detergent tub till I find an adequate container.

The recipe is really easy, but you have to order citric acid and find a store that sells washing powder. Those are the two biggest challenges, which are really quite simple in the age of online shopping. I bought my five pound bag of citric acid at Amazon and you can find Washing Soda there, too. I bought mine at the local grocery store.

The ingredient list is:

Citric Acid (1/2 cup)

Washing Soda (1 cup)

Salt (1/4 cup)

40 drops of your preferred citrus essential oils.

So simple and smells amazing! Thieves and Orange Essential Oils, need I say more?

As of this blog post, I’m using a combination of Thieves and orange essential oil, but I’ve also added lemon. Other oils you can use include lime, grapefruit, bergamot, and citrus fresh.

Mix it all together and you have your dish detergent! You can keep it loose in the container and spoon out one tablespoon per load. You can also spritz the mixture with water till it’s like damp sand and mold them in silicone ice cube trays or as I’ve done here, you can just scoop them in a tablespoon and drop them on the tray to dry out for 24 hours. It makes enough for about 28-30 loads.

My imperfect dish tabs. This isn’t Pinterest perfect, ya know.

So far I haven’t had any issues with the dishes getting clean, it smells amazing, and it feels good doing something positive for the environment. I also get my creative needs met with this, too. I haven’t done the math, but I’ll wager I’m saving money with this simple technique. The only drawback is if you don’t have a proper sealed container, the dish detergent tends to clump up and get hard. It’s not a big issue, but I’ve had to get a fork or spoon out to break it up.

I hope you find this useful. Please check out the link provided for the full recipe and instructions.

Do you have any DIY home care recipes you would like to share? Let me know in the comments!

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