How To Stretch Your Liquid Dish Soap

One of the great side benefits of making more of your own stuff is that you’ll usually save money too. Some of the homemade strategies may seem like only little changes at first, but over time they can all add up and become regular ways to help the budget.

One of the little strategies we’ve had in place for several years now is stretching our liquid dish soap so that it lasts almost five or six times longer than before. How do we do this?

We discovered you can make your own foaming dish soap simply by combining a little bit of dish soap with water. I’ve been using this strategy faithfully ever since I first gave it a try. I LOVE my homemade foaming dish soap!

Make your own foaming dish soap refills - save money by stretching your dish soap and making it last much longer!

A few weeks ago when I was shopping a saw a price comparison that got me thinking about this whole concept of homemade foaming dish soap again. Let’s take a closer look.

Saving Money On Dish Soap

On my recent trip to the grocery store I bought a 24 oz bottle of Dawn dish soap on sale for $2.59. Just a little farther down the shelf I noticed that the 10 oz Dawn foaming dish soap was also on sale for the same price – $2.59!

Of course we’re going to look at that and think, hmmmm, 24 ounces vs. 10 ounces both selling for $2.59. I choose the non-foaming 24 ounces please!

How to stretch your liquid dish soap and save money - learn how to make your own foaming dish soap

And that’s the smart money saving choice – But here’s something else to consider.

How does your household wash dishes? Do most of the dishes go right into the dishwasher after a quick rinse? Do you just hand wash a few things like pots and pans with a squirt of liquid dish soap on a sponge? That’s how it often goes at our house. Is that how it goes in your house too?

If so, then using your own homemade foaming dish soap is a good cost alternative.

What we’ve done is traded a squirt of full strength liquid soap on a sponge for dish washing, for a squirt of watered down liquid soap from a foaming dispenser on a sponge. BUT, this works just fine because if you think about it, anytime you wash dishes in a sink full of water with a squirt of soap, you’ve got watered down soap! You still get a very nice amount of soapy bubbles with this homemade foaming dish soap strategy too.

How to stretch your liquid dish soap and save money - learn how to make your own foaming dish soap

And frankly I think that’s what the manufacturer is selling you in the foaming bottle for $2.59 – watered down soap!

So either way you save with this strategy. If you’re a person who likes the foaming pump soaps, you can save the bottle and refill it yourself at least five or six more times from a 24 oz bottle of dish soap with your homemade version. This brings your cost down to about 45 cents per batch. AND if you’re using a less expensive dish soap (maybe from the dollar store or a great bargain that you’ve found) you can bring the cost down even more. Maybe even for just pennies!

If you’re a person that’s always squirting straight liquid dish soap on a sponge for hand dish washing, switching to refilling a foaming dispenser will also greatly decrease the rate at which you use up your dish soap. You’ll find that a 24 oz bottle of Dawn dish soap, for instance, lasts much longer – probably for a year. Truly!

If it takes you a couple months to use up a batch of your homemade foaming dish soap, and you can get about six batches out of your 24 oz bottle of Dawn, then you’ve got enough dish soap for 12 months. Yup, you made your dish soap last for a whole year.

When I got out my handy dandy calculator, I came up with savings of over 80% !

Sound good? Here’s how to do it if you’d like to get started:

How To Make Your Own Foaming Dish Soap Refills

To make your own foaming dish soap refills, you’ll need to start with a foaming soap dispenser. I think an easy way to get started is to buy the Dawn Foaming Soap and then just keep recycling the bottle when it needs to be refilled.

Making your own foaming dish soap refills

When it’s time to refill the dispenser, you’ll want to use about 1 part dish soap to about 5 parts water. I put about 1/4 cup of dish soap in the bottom of the dispenser. If you’re just eyeballing it (which I always do), it’s about 3/4 of an inch. Then you can fill the dispenser the rest of the way with water up to the fill line at the top. This will be about 1-1/4 cups of water. There needs to be a little head space at the top of the container for inserting the top back in and screwing it on.

Once the top is screwed back on, gently tip the container back and forth to combine the ingredients.

I’ve found I can refill these dispensers many, many times but I have had the pump dispensers break on me after a few years of use and then I have to buy another new Dawn Foaming Soap. One other mildly annoying thing I’ve noticed is that as time goes by, the top doesn’t screw on “straight” anymore. If you screw the top on nice and tight, the pump will kind of be pointing off on an angle.

But none of those small issues are deal breakers for me and this continues to be a money saving strategy I like to use. If you like to use a foaming dish soap by your sink, I think you’ll like this strategy too. It’s a great way to just stretch a bottle of dish soap and a great way to just make your own foaming soap refills.

How To Make Your Own Foaming Dish Soap Refills

Make your own foaming dish soap refills with this quick and simple strategy. You will need a foaming soap dispenser and an easy strategy is to just keep reusing and refilling a Dawn Foaming Dish Soap container.


  • 1/4 cup Dish Soap
  • 1-1/4 cups Water
  • Foaming Soap Dispenser


  • Place about 1/4 cup of dish soap in the bottom of a foaming soap dispenser.
  • Slowly add 1-1/4 cups of water. Make sure you leave a little head space at the top of the container. If you are repurposing a Dawn Foaming Dish Soap bottle, add water up to the fill line at the top of the bottle.
  • Screw the top back on the bottle and gently tip it back and forth to combine the ingredients.


This foaming soap can be made in larger or smaller batches too. Just use 1 part dish soap to 5 parts water in a foaming dispenser.

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  1. I dilute my ‘liquid fabric softener’ since they claim their bottle is 2 or 3 times concentrated. Been doing that for some time. No particular diluting ratio that I follow. Haven’t seen any static cling so far but it sure helps stretch the price.

  2. Just ran across this recipe, and I’d like to share a tip that will make life even easier! If you add your water to the dispenser FIRST, and top it off with the soap SECOND, your mixture is less likely to bubble up. Put the top on, shake to mix, and you’re set!

    1. Yes, you can do things in the order and you will indeed have less bubbling. If I add the soap first, however, it sure seems to help me just eyeball it a little better on how much soap to add without getting out my measuring cups.

  3. I use this water soap combination in all my foaming soap dispensers. Works great…..until the dispenser wears out or breaks!

    1. I know what you mean! When you recycle one of the foaming containers and refill it, they will last for awhile, but after many months they can wear out.

    1. Yes! I use this strategy for hand soap in my bathroom too. I’ve used castille soap, dish soap, and Sal Suds soap in my foaming hand dispenser.

  4. It was so gratifying to read this post, because I’ve been doing this for my hand-washing soap for years. It’s nice to know I was doing it right! Tomorrow I will try it for the dishwashing soap. I hadn’t thought of that. Thank you!

  5. I just came across this article (found you through the 2020 Blogging challenge) and while I’ve done this with hand soap for ages, I never even knew there was such a thing as foaming dish soap! This seems like a totally winning idea and MUCH better than the simply watered down version I use now (my husband hates it — we have it in a regular soap pump and it always shoots out onto his stomach when it’s watered down lol)!

    1. My understanding is that the foaming dispensers add air. There are two chambers in the pump mechanism, one for the soap and one for air, and when pumped, the pressurized chamber then creates foam by combining the two.

  6. Hi Bev: I also love foaming soap. I find if I use a little foam on the counter, stove or a plate with stuck stuff on it, it dissolves it easily after a few minutes without scrubbing. Of course, i’ve noticed if it’s a flat surface, a more than damp dish rag laid over the offending area for a few minutes also gets it off. Who knew? (When we still had gas station attendants here in California, they would wash our windows. Once I asked what the guy was using because the windows just sparkled. He kind of laughed and said, “water.”) Well, that was embarrassing!

    As far as washing dishes with foam, we use a dish wand that you fill up with dish soap. When it gets wet, dish foam comes out and we use that to wash dishes.

    Thanks for all your ideas.


    1. Oh that was my smile for the day . . . finding out the magic cleaning ingredient is water! I’ve always wondered if those wet squeegee things you can use at the self-serve gas stations to clean your car windows had more than just water on them too. I guess not 🙂