Make your own detergent

This year I’ve embarked on a low-plastic waste challenge for my family. Every fortnight I’ll be posting a low-plastic WIN that I’ve had in Alice Springs. Please email me at if you have any good ideas you’d like to share!

Solution: Make your own detergent

When it comes to hand washing dishes, there are a few ways to use less plastic.

Here are my favourite ideas:

  • If your dishwashing liquid says “concentrate” just use a pea size amount.
  • Alternatively, water down detergent in a separate container if you live with someone who likes to give the detergent bottle a big squeeze!
  • Make a homemade version of castile soap, water and/or vinegar (
  • Just wash dishes with a splash of vinegar in hot water (or kombucha!).
  • Rub salt and a cloth to get rid of any stained coffee cups or pots.
  • Use a bar of soap in a metal or crocheted soap saver instead of dishwashing liquid.

There are other advantages of moving to a home-made dishwashing detergent or doing your homework on your store bought one. A recent study by Melbourne University reported one in three Australians experienced health problems such as headaches and asthma, from commonly fragranced consumer products (Steinemann, 2017). In Australia, companies are not currently required to disclose the chemicals they use to make fragrances, although some do voluntarily.

By making your own dishwashing liquid, or sourcing products that avoid unnecessary fragrances, dyes (made from petrochemicals) and phosphate, you will help to keep our waterways (and your dishes) clean!

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