Natural, Non Toxic Cleaning: Zero Waste DISH & LAUNDRY Coconut Oil SOAP Recipes

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Hello zero wasters! 

Today I will show you how you can make a soap using just 1 oil as your main ingredient: coconut oil.

Soap is the mix of fats in our case vegetable oils and sodium hydroxide (lye), a very caustic material! If you want to try this recipe but have not made soap before, I recommend checking my blog post about everything you need to know to get started with soap making

Coconut oil is an extremely cleansing oil so it's the perfect candidate to make a laundy or dish soap. In order to make soap, we need to mix our oil with sodium hydroxide, also called "lye".

Each oil requires a certain amount of lye to become soap. If we wanted to obtain a moisturising soap, we would remove some of the lye from our recipe. In our case, we will use pretty much all the required lye so there is little oil left in the recipe and the soap is more cleansing. 

Before getting started, make sure you are using gloves, goggles to protect your eyes, and are wearing long sleeves and long pants and you are in a room with a window and good ventilation.

lye palm oil free soap


Natural, Non Toxic Cleaning: Making Zero Waste DISH & LAUNDRY SOAP from Coconut Oil

zero waste soap dish recipe


goggles and gloves for protection
an apron as it might get messy!
respirator: optional to protect you from lye fumes
1 bowl for the coconut oil
1 heat resistant pyrex glass or stainless steel saucepan (NO aluminum)
1 stainless steel spoon and 1 silicone spatula
1 high precision scale
1 small bowl to weight the lye
1 stick blender to mix the soap
silicone moulds of your choice ( I used 5 small ones 5 x 5 cm)

soap making tools zero waste


250 grams coconut oil
45.81 grams lye
0% superfat = very cleansing
93.01 grams water
33% water discount*

*check my blog post to learn more about water discounts


We will start by preparing the lye solution. Sodium hydroxide, when in contact with water, reaches very high temperatures so we need to give it the time to cool down.

lye solution soap making

We weigh our coconut oil in a separate bowl. Once the lye has cooled down to about 120 F/49 C, we can add it straight into our coconut oil so that the heat of the lye will melt the coconut oil. You could also melt the coconut oil fist, but if you do this, you will need to make sure that both the coconut oil and the lye are at similar, and lower temperature (about 100/37C-110/43C).

coconut oil soap recipe

 We will make sure that the mixture is completely mixed in and there are no clumps left. Don’t use the stick blender at this stage as it would thicken up the soap way too fast, so we will just use the spatula. Once it’s nice and smooth you can go ahead and give it a couple of stick blends on low, be careful not to make the soap thicken up too much! I have stick blended mine for just a few seconds just enough to see the soap slightly changing in colour meaning it’s really bonding with the lye.

Pour the soap in the moulds and let dry. Don’t cover them or they will get too hot, if they are too hot, put them in the fridge for the first couple of hours after pour.

soap recipe pour

The soap will harden super fast, I have unmoulded it after less than 24 hours.

Soap normally takes 40 days to cure as any excess lye would need to evaporate. As you would be using the soap for your laundry or dishes, it is fine for it to be still a bit alkaline, but just make sure you wear gloves while using it not to irritate your skin.

Laundry Detergent

To make a laundry detergent, I followed The Green Boutique’s tutorial and recipe from her book. They kindly sent me her green kit with everything you need to get started with making your own cleaning products!


10 grams soap flakes: directly into the drum, before the laundry

15 grams sodium carbonate: into the main wash detergent compartment of the drawer

2 blobs of washing-up liquid from the soap dispenser: directly into the main wash detergent compartment of the drawer with sodium carbonate

30 ml Liquid sodium citrate: into the drum, on the top of the laundry, in a dosing ball

only for whites: 15 grams sodium percarbonate, into the pre-wash or bleach
detergent compartment of the drawer

Do not use this detergent on WOOL or SILK as it is too alkaline.

natural coconut oil soap recipe for laundry and dishes

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