Greening Your Dish Routine

The way you do dishes just got more sustainable. 

Photo by Tracey HockingIf you’re like me and are transitioning to a work-from-home lifestyle amid the COVID-19 outbreak, you might be struggling with one particular, unforeseen consequence of being at home all day. Yes, I am talking about your dish pile. Practicing social distancing norms-- for me at least--has created a substantial uptick in the number of dirty dishes I face every day.
Dishwashing soap can be expensive, come in hard-to-recycle plastic bottles, and contain ingredients that are harmful to our bodies and the earth (check out this blog to learn more). With more dishes to wash, I have been searching high and low for the most ecologically conscious--and wallet-friendly--dishwashing soap to make at home.

Check out these recipes - and sign up for the PEA newsletter for more DIY ideas for greening your home.

DIY Plastic Free Dish Soap by Zero-Waste Chef

This recipe is one of my personal favorites for two reasons. One is that it does not require you to buy any plastic and the other is that the ingredients will last you a long time, which is great during times like these when going to the grocery store is more than an ordeal. Here’s the recipe: 

3 Tbsp shredded bar soap (Like Dr. Bonners or Kirk’s)
1 Tsp of Washing Soda
15 Drops Essential Oil
2 Cups Water


  1. Use a cheese grater to grate 3 Tbsp of soap.
  2. Heat water in a pot and add the soap. Remove from heat once soap has melted. 
  3. Stir in washing soda a little at a time until dissolved-- Zero Waste Chef recommends being extra careful with this step since this ingredient is what causes the recipe to gel.
  4. Cover and set mixture aside for several hours or overnight.
  5. If soap is too solid, put it in a blender or blend with a hand blender. 
  6. Add essential oils and stir until combined.

Check out Zero Waste Chef to read her notes on this recipe and view in-progress photos. 

Zero Waste Dishwasher Detergent by Greenify Me

This recipe is so simple it almost feels too good to be true. Not only does it feature ingredients commonly used in a variety of other zero waste cleaning products, but most of the ingredients can also be purchased in zero-waste packaging.

1 Cup Washing Soda
1 Cup Baking Soda
1 Cup Citric Acid
¾ Cup Table Salt


  1. Funnel all the ingredients into a jar, cover with a lid, and shake well to combine. 
  2. Use 2-3 Spoonfuls per load of dishes.

Visit Greenify Me to learn more about this recipe and get links for where to purchase the ingredients.

If You Care Automatic Dishwasher Tablets

Dish products can be one of those things that many people feel cautious about making on their own. After all, these are the products we use to clean the surfaces we literally eat from--it’s pretty important! If that sounds like you, I highly recommend using If Your Care’s Automatic Dishwasher tablets. I personally use these at home because they can be purchased at the Winston-Salem Whole Foods, are cheaper than the Cascade dish pods I used to buy, come with ZERO plastic packaging, and are made from environmentally safe ingredients.

Cassia Organics Vegan Dish Soap Bar

While many people prefer a liquid dish soap, it can be difficult to find a pre-made version that is environmentally safe and plastic-free. Many folks online have found success with Cassia Organics Vegan Dish Soap Bar. This cottage industry business has over 1000 5-star reviews on Etsy and is cruelty-free, organic, palm oil-free, and ethically sourced. Check out Sustainable Jungle’s article on zero waste dish products for a fuller review of this product.

If you decide to make any of these recipes at home or utilize any of these products, be sure to post online and tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter @peancorg. Use hashtags #PEAearthday #EarthDayEveryDay and #VirtualEarthDay to interact with us online. 

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