Dish soap not only cleans flatware and plates, but also is handy for cleaning bigger items such as countertops and tables. When you are out of dish soap or you want to try another cleaning solution, there are substitutes that are just as effective as commercial soaps--and cheaper. And dish soap substitutes also are safe to use on pots and pans.

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You don't have to buy and use commercial dish soap, there are cheaper substitutes.

Laundry Bar Soap

Laundry bar soap, available at grocery and home improvement stores as well as online, is a substitute for dish soap. Cut one or two bars into 1-inch by 1-inch squares and place the bars in a pot or other container. Add hot water and let the soap melt overnight. Blend the mixture with an old spoon into a thick liquid. Add 1/4 cup of cold water to the mixture. You will notice the mixture foaming. Continue adding 1/4 cup of water to the mixture until it is no longer foaming.

Borax Mixture

Borax is another dish soap substitute. Mix 2 cups of Borax and 2 cups of washing soda in a pot or other container. Stir the mixture with an old spoon and add 1 tbsp. of the mixture to your dish water. Borax and washing soda are available at grocery and home improvement stores as well as online. If the water in your area is hard, mix 3 cups of washing soda to 2 cups of Borax.

Liquid Soap

Hand and antibacterial liquid soap also are substitutes for dish soap. Squirt 1 tbsp. of the soap into your dish water. If cleaning pots, pans or plates with heavy food debris, add 2 to 3 tbsp. of white vinegar to the squirt of liquid soap.

Castile Soap

Castile soap is a natural cleaner that is made primarily from olive oil. It is found at retail superstores and online; biodegradable; and usually contains no synthetic surfactants. The soap comes in liquid and bar form. Mix 1 cup of liquid Castile soap and 4 cups of cold water in a pot. Heat the mixture on low heat and stir it occasionally until the soap is dissolved. Add 2 tbsp. of vegetable glycerin to the soap mixture. Stir the mixture until it is completely blended and thick. Transfer the Castile soap mixture to a jar that contains a lid. Add 2 tbsp. of the mixture to your dish water. Add 1 to 2 cups of warm water to the Castile soap mixture if it becomes too thick to remove from the jar.