To be totally fair, I didn't properly follow the dish soap recipe the first time. But the second time? Yeah. Not as chunky, still does not cut grease! Why, oh why, would anyone want a dish washing soap recipe that won't get grease off the dishes?!?
(Don't take everything the government says at face value. Notice the quotes around "soap"? Just sayin'.)So I've been experimenting.
I know you can use wood ashes to scrub greasy pots. Wood ashes+water=lye. Lye+fat=soap. Scrubbing with wood ashes saponifies the grease on wet dishes. Theoretically, this would give you grease-free dishes. But, here's the kicker. It hasn't been cold enough (yet) to fire up the wood stove and all of last year's ashes went on this year's garden. Plus, we use the fireplace ashes for traction on the walkways after a snowfall, as well as on the plants. Do I really want to run the risk of falling on my patoot this winter because I used all the ashes cleaning the dishes? I think not. Plus, ashes are messy.
Ashes are out. Strike one. What about bleach?
Washing with the dish soap and then rinsing the dishes in a sink of bleach water cut the grease...some. I was annoying not having the second sink to rinse the dishes off while I washed them, which necessitated rinsing the dishes beforehand, then stacking the wet, drippy, dirty dishes beside the sink and on the counter. Plus, when it came time to scrub the pots...well, the second or third time I knocked the pot I was scrubbing, while trying to balance it on the edge of the sink, into the sink and splashed myself with grey, greasy, grimy dish water, I decided I wanted my second sink bowl back.
Bleach is out. Strike two.
And then I had an epiphany.
Because we use a kerosene stove, the bottoms of our pans get blackened by soot from the open flames. (Kerosene isn't the cleanest burning fuel in the world. But "free" covers a multitude of sins. I, for one, will willingly scrub pots for free kerosene. Don't judge me.) In order to get the soot off the pots and pans, I'd squirt a bit of the homemade dish soap on the bottom of the pan, add a decent amount of baking soda, and then scrub with a wet stainless scrubber. Soot came right off...and the pans weren't greasy afterward. Hmmm...
Maybe baking soda would work.
So what I've been doing is putting a squirt of soap directly on my dish sponge, adding a sprinkle of baking soda, and scrubbing the plates to grease-free happiness. I'm probably using a bit more soap than I would otherwise, but with better results. So far, so good.
Score: Baking soda for a win. Dish soap, still not that great.
(Just in case I forgot to mention this: the homemade dish soap does not make suds. No bubbles. None. Which takes quite a bit of the fun out of doing the dishes by hand. Just sayin'.)
Which brings us to the laundry soap.
Rubbing alcohol gets out grass stains (Biology 101. Chlorophyll dissolves in alcohol.) Hydrogen Peroxide will get blood out of anything...although the whole foamy-exothermic-reaction-thing is a little disconcerting. Rubbing alcohol followed by Ammonia gets grease out of clothes. So really, there isn't much left for the laundry soap to accomplish besides just getting light surface dirt off. (It certainly doesn't remove any stains that are even remotely oil-based.) Which, honestly, plain warm water and a good agitator will accomplish without extra soap.
Score: Laundry soap, better than nothing...useless without pretreatments.
My take-home on homemade dish and laundry soaps: If there is no alternative, yeah, they'll "work." If you have access to any detergents whatsoever, grab them, store them, use them. They are worth the money. You'll have clean dishes, clean clothes, and most importantly....