Zero Waste Dish Soap Alternatives | No one jumps out of the bed each day raring to do the dishes. It’s just one of those tasks we all have to do – the price of being an adult. It’s “inconvenient” which is one of those instances that disposable products companies jump on to market a solution. “Here’s to Family Time – More Picnics, Fewer Dishes”. A pretty catchy slogan from a leading disposable tableware company.
We as humans tend to always look to avoid the uncomfortable – no matter simple it is. We are a selfish species, finding justification anywhere we can.
But what if we can turn these inconveniences into positive, healthy, and important tasks that make us better?
Doing the dishes is something I never thought about until I was about 12 years old. My mom just always did them – bless her heart. She worked full time when to college full time, took care of both my younger brother and me, and did her absolute best to take care of the household.
Related: Zero Waste Cleaning
The sink was always overflowing with dirty dishes. There wasn’t a dishwasher. We were a fairly (I wouldn’t say ) poor family who looked for ways to save wherever we could. We ate from our garden, hunted, and lived in a modest single-wide trailer while my parents saved every penny they owned to build a home – that is now absolutely gorgeous.
Anyway – one day a sauntered into the kitchen looking for snacks when I noticed the dish heap. At that moment, I felt compelled to help my mom out. I lured my goofy little brother into the kitchen, handed him a towel, and we chipped away at a seemingly impossible feat. One by one, we got those dishes taken care of just in time, too.
My mom came home, saw what we had done, and wept. It was one of the most touching moments of my childhood and somehow one of the most important lessons I learned. Everything we do has meaning – avoiding every uncomfortable task takes those chances to learn and grow away.
Disposability disconnects us.
Now, I won’t lie, I do have a dishwasher that I use. But still, I wash the items that shouldn’t go into a dishwasher. When my son is with me, I pull up a stool and give him an extra-long scrubby brush to help. We chit chat, smear soap bubbles on each other, and giggle. “Here’s to Family Time.”
When it’s just me, I use that time to pause, reflect, be alone with my thoughts as I methodically scrub each pot and pan. It’s grounding.
I know what you’re thinking. I just took you around the world to get to the part where I teach you how to do dishes without creating waste. Stories are just so important!
Zero Waste Dish Soap Alternatives
There are several ways to get dish soap without buying a plastic bottle.
Refill | Scope out local soap refill shops. Bring your own container and fill up with all-natural dish soaps. This avoids buying and resourcing a new plastic bottle.
Related: How to Locate Bulk Stores
Solid Soap | Skip the liquids altogether and get a solid, dish soap block. There are several you can find online and you may even find them at your local soap shops.
Keep it Real Simple with Baking Soda | Did you know people used to scrub their dishes with just baking soda and water? It’s hard to imagine washing dishes without soap but baking soda is a pretty effective way to get dishes clean. If you have dishes that came into contact with raw meat, I’d recommend sticking to soap or boiling them for 5 minutes or so to ensure there is no residual bacteria.
Say What?! | Ash is a good replacement for soap. Dish soap is a relatively modern invention so people often used a myriad of other things to keep dishes clean like ash. I’ve tried this while camping and it works. Of course, I’m not recommending this for home use (unless you want to, go for it), just thought you’d find it interesting.
Make Your Own | If you want to give making your own a try, check out my recipe in my new book! Why buy something that you can make? I’m not going to lie, I love proving my self-sufficiency. It’s always been a fun challenge to see what I can make myself. You never know when those skills will come in handy.
And if none of those options are available, do the next best thing:
- Support ethical, natural brands
- Buy the biggest bottle you possibly can
- Use soap sparingly so that it lasts longer
Do you use a zero waste alternative for dish soap that I didn’t list? Share what you use in the comments below. I’d love to know!