Today I noticed I was low on dishwashing liquid. As per my intentions when I had such a successful experience last time I dabbled in DIY cleaning products, I had a little look around via google at some recipes, and had a go at making my own dishwashing liquid.
I really want to try some castile soap but no luck yet in finding where to buy it, so I went with a recipe based on soap flakes. I grated a bar of pure soap, and dissolved it in a saucepan with a little water. A lot of the comments I read on various sites seemed to be concerned that their liquid wasn't very thick, and subsequent advice to use less water, so I went with using a minimal amount of water, just enough to cover and dissolve the soap. As I heated the mixture with a good slosh of vinegar, it first separated into some pretty disgusting-looking curdle-y components, but with lots of stirring and then cooling, it ended up as an amazing creamy substance. It looked like custard but with the slightest greenish tinge. I figured I had been a bit too stingy on the water after all. I added a bit more water and vinegar slowly, but still, it seemed to curdle into little lumps again. Just to be on the safe side, I heated the mixture back up again. This time around it looked a lot like clarifying butter to make ghee, but again, a suspicious greenish hue.
More stirring and cooling, and it ended up looking like a creamy bechamel sauce. I wish my bechamel sauce looked that good. Mine does smell better, however. I stirred in about 3 teaspoons of borax and about 4 teaspoons of glycerin, and then about 10 drops each of lavender, eucalyptus and lemon essential oils.
At this point I was wondering how I was going to get this gloopy stuff into my dishwashing-liquid bottle with the convenient nozzle dispenser. Maybe I could have thinned it out a bit more - but I didn't want to go through all that heating and cooling again. I still haven't solved this problem, and I'm thinking I might have to invest in a small funnel. For the time being I stored it in an ice cream container.
The next step, of course, was to test it out in the sink on some real live dirty dishes. (I'm happy to report that none were harmed during this experiment.) It actually made the thought of doing the dishes a little bit exciting. Well, there's a miracle already, right there.
I started off with 2 teaspoons of what I was by now thinking of as my Dishwashing Sauce. 'Liquid' didn't quite make the grade as a descriptor. It did seem to be taking a little longer to get through the dishes, so I added another teaspoon, and then it seemed about right. So, it works, in that it does get the dishes clean. It feels like washing up with pure soap, which I'd done a bit of before, only it didn't leave my hands feeling dry (I'll attribute that to the glycerin) and it didn't leave the greasy ring around the sink (I credit that to the borax).
Next time I will use more water and a bigger pot to cook it up in. But all in all, I'm pretty happy with my homemade Dishwashing Sauce.