Turn Soap-Bar Nubs into Savings with DIY Dish Soap

What to do with all those soap nubs left behind in the tub?

Make your own dish soap, of course.

We gave up a long time ago on buying cleaning products that ironically pollute the very space they're allegedly trying to tidy up; making the switch to biodegradable, gentle products containing as few ingredients as possible.

Unfortunately, the gallon-sized jugs of Bio-Pac dish soap that we love retail at the local health store for around $18 (yikes). So when the idea arose to upcycle old bars of soap to create lots and lots of dish soap, we jumped right on the proverbial bandwagon.

Here's how simple this recipe is:
  • Old bars (or nubs of bars) of soap
  • Cheese grater for grating the soap with
  • Hot water
  • Lemon juice or white vinegar
Add two cups of soap shavings to every 2-3 cups of hot water (we used a big pasta pot on the stove for this—no need to boil the water, just get it hot!), mix, and let it sit overnight. The next day, mix the concoction again, adding more water as needed. Mix in 1/2 cup of lemon juice or white vinegar to help fight grease. Then carefully funnel the soap into your bulk containers for easy storage...

Ta-da. This saved us just under $40, took almost no time at all, and works just as well as any dish soap you can buy in a store. Not too shabby.

Thanks to interns Soon Kai Poh, Elizabeth Musoke, and Natasha Pietila.

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.