Homemade Citrus Dish Soap Recipe ~ Natural Dishwashing

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Homemade Citrus Dish Soap Recipe

I love making my own homemade dish soap. It’s super easy and you only need a few simple ingredients. I use castile soap as a base, which is gentle on your skin. The addition of citrus essential oil means this formula cuts through grease easily.

It also smells really nice! You can customize the recipe with any citrus oils you like. I personally prefer the combinations of lime and orange or lime and grapefruit.


To make this dish soap, you need castile soap, citrus essential oils and grapefruit seed extract. You can usually buy these ingredients at local health food stores, and you can sometimes find castile soap at the grocery store. Just make sure it’s the liquid kind. You can also order online if necessary.

  • 15 Ounces (440 ml) Liquid Castile Soap – I use unscented Dr. Bronner’s castile soap, but any brand will work as long as its unscented. Optionally, you could purchase the liquid citrus castile soap and use it to wash your dishes without adding any essential oil.
  • 15 Drops Lime Essential Oil – You can purchase this oil very inexpensively and it has such an invigorating smell. Works wonderfully for washing dishes and lots of other natural cleaning applications.
  • 10 Drops Orange Essential Oil – One of my favorite essential oils for cleaning, it works incredibly well for cutting grease in the kitchen. You can also substitute grapefruit essential oil for orange if you prefer.
  • 5 Drops Grapefruit Seed Extract – A powerful antimicrobial, it’s sometimes called citrus seed extract. I use this in cleaning formulas for its germ-killing properties. I have to order mine because I haven’t found it locally. I get this one from Swanson and it works great.


This homemade dish soap recipe requires no heating. You just mix in the bottle, so you don’t need much equipment.

  • 16 Ounce (470 ml) Empty Bottle – You can use glass or plastic, but I recommend a pump or foaming top. I use a glass cobalt blue bottle with pump, but I think a foaming top would be wonderful for washing dishes. You could also use a squirt bottle or even recycle an old dish soap bottle you already have.
  • Funnel (Optional) – It might help you with pouring the castile soap into your bottle, but isn’t necessary. I usually just pour by hand, depending on the size of the bottle’s opening.


The instructions are simple. Just combine all ingredients in the bottle and shake well to combine. I recommend NOT filling the bottle to the brim. Leave a little room for the oils and the pump, which will displace some of the liquid when you put the lid on.

  1. Fill an empty 16-ounce (470-ml) glass or plastic bottle with the liquid castile soap.
  2. Add the essential oils and grapefruit seed extract. Secure the lid and shake well to combine.
  3. Wash dishes as usual. Shake the bottle before each use.
NOTE: I also use this as a hand soap in the kitchen. It’s very gentle on your skin – as long as you can tolerate citrus oils. See Safety Precautions below.

Printable Instructions

If you want to print out these instructions in a recipe format for later use, here you go! Just click the “Print” button below.

Homemade Citrus Dish Soap

Cuts grease while gently cleansing dishes and hands.


  • 15 ounces liquid castile soap
  • 15 drops lime essential oil
  • 10 drops orange essential oil
  • 5 drops grapefruit seed extract


  • Fill an empty 16-ounce (470-ml) glass or plastic bottle with 15 ounces (440 ml) liquid castile soap.
  • Add the essential oils and grapefruit seed extract. Secure the lid and shake well to combine.
  • Wash dishes as usual. Shake the bottle before each use.

Safety Precautions

The ingredients used to make this lemon kitchen cleaner are natural and organic in origin, but that doesn’t mean they’re without consequences if used improperly. Do not ingest this formula or leave it where children or pets could ingest it.

Essential oils are highly concentrated and should never be used internally. Just a few drops of essential oil equals 30 – 40 cups of herbal tea. Essential oils may also be toxic to pets, especially citrus oils. Do not allow pets near this formulation.

Essential oils and other ingredients may be irritating to the skin – so always do a spot test before using. Combine a drop or two of essential oil with a small amount of carrier oil (olive, sweet almond, etc.). Apply to your skin and wait a few hours to see if there’s any reaction.

Additional Resources

If you’re interested in making your natural homemade cleaning supplies, I can recommend the following resources:

  • The Naturally Clean Home – This book contains 150 super-easy recipes for green cleaning. This is my favorite book on the topic, and it’s been recently updated and revised.
  • Rosemary’s Garden – A great place to purchase dried herbs, essential oils, and equipment like empty containers, funnels, etc. for your herbal cleaning products.
  • Swanson Vitamins – If you aren’t able to buy castile soap and essential oils locally, Swanson offers good, affordable brands like Dr. Bronner’s and Now Essential Oils.

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