Nobody wants to do dishes while camping, but it’s got to be done! While we’re enjoying the great outdoors, we want to treat it with as much respect as possible. This means making sure we’re leaving as small of a footprint as we can. Biodegradable dish soap is a good place to start!
Over on my other blog Garden Therapy, you’ll find that I make many of my own natural soaps, beauty recipes, and herbal healing products. Plants are powerful partners to have, whether at home or in the wild!
I wanted to share one of these recipes here on Poptop Treehouse as it is the perfect recipe just for camping. Biodegradable dish soap!
Biodegradable dish soap is super easy to make. It requires only a few ingredients and you can easily customize the scent so you can enjoy the fragrance while scrubbing away. Once you’re done, you’ll have clean dishes and an eco-friendly conscience knowing that you’re being a responsible camper.
Which Soaps Are Biodegradable?
Biodegradable is a tricky term. Many people like to claim their products are green, environmentally friendly, compostable, or biodegradable when they aren’t actually. Technically everything will decompose over time, but something that is truly biodegradable will degrade within a year.
So how do you know if soap is actually biodegradable?
Your best bet is to consult the ingredient list. It can be difficult to trust packaging fully so you want sure you can read and understand the label on your own. Research any words that don’t make sense to you. You want to avoid phosphates, phthalates, sulfates, parabens, petrochemicals, synthetic dyes, and artificial fragrances.
For this recipe, I use liquid Castile soap as my base and essential oils. All of this is plant-based.
If you’re not making your own biodegradable dish soap, try to buy from brands you already know and trust. Most importantly, make sure to leave no trace while camping and ensure you bring everything back out that you brought in.
Lemon and Pine Biodegradable Dish Soap
For this biodegradable dish soap recipe, I like to use lemon and pine essential oils to scent my soap. It’s the perfect combination for washing dishes and smells just like being outdoors!
- Container for mixing
- Soap container
- 400 ml water (distilled or boiled)
- 100 ml unscented concentrated liquid Castile soap
- 10 drops pine essential oil
- 10 drops lemon essential oil
Castile soap is already extremely concentrated soap that comes from plants, most commonly olives. To use it, you will want to dilute it with water first. I choose an unscented Castile soap as the base so I can add whichever scents I like to it.
Many local refill stores will carry Castile soap. You can also find it online easily and Dr. Bronner’s Brand is a good name to trust.
When you have your ingredients, you will want to whisk together the water, Castile soap, and essential oils until you get a homogenous mixture.
Using a funnel, pour your mixture into your reusable bottle of choice. Shake it well before use and it’s good to go!
How to Use Your Biodegradable Dish Soap
Make sure that you’re washing your dishes away from any water sources, no matter how biodegradable your soap is. Soap can disrupt the natural aquatic ecosystem, affecting animals and causing algae to bloom.
You want to wash dishes at least 200 feet away from any water source. When disposing of the water, try to empty it down a greywater drain if your campground has it or in an outhouse. Otherwise, dig a hole that’s 8 inches deep and pour the water down into the soil to help it degrade faster.
Use as little soap as possible. The less nature needs to biodegrade, the better. Most dish soap is fairly concentrated so you won’t need more than a few drops.