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Natural Year Challenge: Household - Month Three

Household SoapsMake Household Soaps

Welcome to the third step of our Natural Year Challenge! This month we'll continue our transition to natural, chemical-free cleaning products by making our own household soaps. If you've purchased all five supplies from our Month One Challenge, you're ready to create your own liquid dish soap, dishwasher powder, hand soap, and more!

Liquid Dish Soap

You can either purchase a pump dispenser or reuse a squeeze bottle filled with your very own creation!


  • Liquid castile soap
  • Filtered water
  • Essential oil of choice (optional)

Combine liquid castile soap with filtered water. The ratio of soap to water depends on personal preference. Begin with a ratio of 1 part liquid castile soap to 6 parts water and adjust as needed. For extra suds, add 1-2 tablespoons of glycerin. If desired, add several drops of essential oil such as lavender, tea tree, or lemon.

This recipe can be adapted for bar soap. Grate 1 oz. of castile bar soap. (Our momsAWARE Online Store offers an excellent all-natural castile soap in both bar and grated forms.) Pour 1-2 cups of boiling water over soap and allow to dissolve. This is a simple version of liquid castile soap. (True liquid castile is made with potassium hydroxide, as opposed to the sodium hydroxide used in bar soap. We will be learning how to make liquid soap in our Month Ten Challenge.) Combine as instructed above. Experiment until you find a ratio that works for you.

For added cleaning power when dishes are especially greasy, add 1/2 cup vinegar or lemon juice to the dishwater. To loosen burned-on foods from pots, add baking soda or washing soda combined with water and allow to soak for 15 minutes or overnight, if desired. (Washing soda should not be used with aluminum.)

Automatic Dishwashing Powder


  • 1 c. washing soda
  • 1/2 c. borax (see our article Borax: Friend or Foe? for pertinent safety information)
  • 1/2 c. baking soda

Combine ingredients and store in mason jar under the sink. Use 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons for each dishwasher load, depending on mineral content of water. Use 1/2 cup white vinegar as a rinsing agent.

If dishes come out with a film or powdery residue, try reducing the amount of the powder to 1 tablespoon or less and adding white vinegar to the bottom of the dishwasher. Increasing the acid component and reducing the alkaline component often solves the problem. 1-2 tablespoon of citric acid ("sour salt") may also be added to the powder to prevent filming.

Liquid Hand Soap


  • 1 c. filtered water
  • 3 tbsp. liquid castile soap
  • Essential oil of choice (optional)
  • Grapefruit seed extract (optional)

Purchase a hand soap pump bottle or reuse an old one. Combine filtered water with liquid castile soap and fill container. (If using a foaming soap dispenser, use less castile soap.) Add essential oil for scent, if desired. Add several drops grapefruit seed extract to extend the shelf life.

In the following video, Andrea shares her tips for making all-natural liquid castile soap,
dish soap, hand soap, and "rebatched" bar soap (see below for recipe!).

Bonus Challenge Tip: Soapmaking

You can have fun making your own soap balls or bar soap by hand milling or rebatching an existing bar of castile soap. You can use a double boiler, slow cooker, or oven for this process.

Here is a simple recipe using a double boiler:

  • 4 oz. grated castile soap (see our momsAWARE Online Store for a fragrance-free, chemical-free castile soap in both bar and grated forms)
  • 1 oz. liquid. This can be distilled water, fresh milk, kefir, yogurt, or herbal water. Use your creativity!
  • Essential oils, dried herbs, or other additions

Heat on medium and stir. If the soap begins to dry, add more liquid. Stir every ten minutes until the soap is the consistency of pudding. At this point you may add any essential oils, dried herbs of choice, or other desired ingredients. (Cacao nibs or coffee grounds make a nice exfoliating addition!) Pour or spoon into rectangular mold lined with parchment paper.

Allow to dry for 24-48 hours. Release from mold and allow to air dry for an additional 1-2 weeks.


"My daughter started having digestive problems... heart palpitations... coughing episodes... muscle/joint pain... asthma/allergies... Her doctor finally advised me to check for mold in our home."

– Anonymous

"The entire time we lived in our (mold-infested) house the kitchen sponge would get musty smelling within 3-4 days. It was so strange. I had to buy a pack of sponges nearly every week."

– Anonymous

"We all suffered from headaches, hormonal body temperature fluctuations, brain fog, fatigue, difficulty breathing, thrush, rashes, and yeast infections... we vacated our home two weeks ago."

– Anonymous

"We had some water leaks in our home... we never thought we needed to clean out and remove the floor, the ceiling, or the drywall... my two small children and I have remained constantly sick for years in this home."

– Mia

"Both of my sons went downhill quickly and coughed for months... They both lost their ability to read, had profound vision disturbances, and had phenomenal gastric issues."

– Lee

"Our family has been out of our home for 9 months due to mold... I am so scared and weak from all of this. We have lost friends; family members don't understand."

– Anonymous

"I've been living in a mold-infested home for 13 months... I was going CRAZY! Finally figured it out... Just a few days of recovering in a mold-free home and I feel AMAZING!!!"

– Lauren

"My symptoms persisted and eventually turned into lethargy and depression. At the age of 26, I required a nap every evening after work."

– Jennifer

"I knew it was mold, but doctors kept telling me I had anxiety. I was sitting in my office and could not remember who I was talking to, or what we were talking about."

– Brenda

"I started finding myself sitting on the floor in rooms of my house and not remembering how I got there, what I was doing before, or how long I had been there."

– Brenda

"I had been struggling with headaches, head fog, breathing difficulties (unable to get a full breath), constant scalp tingling, migraines, nausea, feeling spacey/detached, and severe itchy skin."

– Anonymous

"In my moldy home if I left the wet clothes in the washer they would get musty very quickly and I'd have to re-wash... Sometimes I'd run a load, go to work, and they'd be musty when I returned that evening."

– Anonymous

"I have been sick for almost 6 months now and doctors were not able to figure out why. I finally put it all together after going away for vacation for a week and suddenly my symptoms were going away."

– Anonymous

"My daughter has had many blood samples taken to test for everything imaginable and her doctor just seems puzzled. Everything comes back normal."

– Anonymous

" age 35 or 36 I started to become allergic to everything, and I got asthma at age 36... I went to doctor after doctor after doctor and was desperate for help, but nobody could help me."

– Mia

"I'm new at this, but today I cleaned my bathroom with baking soda and vinegar. It's much better not having those strong chemical smells afterwards."

– Anonymous

"The ERMI mold test as well as your helpful articles and Toxic Talk Tuesday programs have helped us avoid a terrible mistake in purchasing a new home."

– Angela

"I was skeptical at first that these (natural cleaning) products would work, but they work better than the stuff I buy at the store! We will soon be moving to the personal care products as well!"

– Jennifer

"We were having a lot of health problems and had been to the doctor countless times... we had large circles of slimy greenish-black mold on the bathroom ceiling, where it had caved in a few months before."

– C.

This site is dedicated to a true friend and mother — Barbara Dell Kessel (1929-2009)