Oh, the saga! My husband’s going to toss me out. (Actually, he’s threatened to just go to the store – the man who never shops! – and buy Cascade, but the first sentence sounded more catchy!)
Out of necessity and curiosity, a deadly combination, I tried yet another homemade, “natural” dishwasher detergent this week. I promised I’d tell you about it in the natural kitchen cleaners post.
It didn’t leave white stuff all over the plastic lids.
It didn’t have an ingredient that I later found to be semi-toxic.
It didn’t clean the dishes, either.
I found the same recipe I tried last time posted at Passionate Homemaking, and I was quite surprised to find that Lindsay said it worked great for her. I commented as such with my example, and Lindsay realized that she had actually used Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds, not castile soap. Apparently that makes all the difference. Since I was decently happy with the amount of food that recipe got off the dishes, I was excited to try this new version to see if the white film problem really went away.
Lindsay must have a better dishwasher than me. Or something. I even pre-rinsed after the first wash-all-the-dishes-again (poor, distressed husband!) failure. It does a B+ job on the food on the bottom rack, with the exception of some tough food or grease. The top rack is quite a mess though. This solution puts a film of greasiness on everything, even glasses that only had water in them to begin with. Shucks.
I’m also questioning Sal Suds a bit. It contains sodium lauryl sulfate, a surfactant that some say harms the environment (it’s in every soap you can find except special, natural ones). The bottle says its SLS is coconut derived, which makes me wonder: are all “natural” soaps that don’t disclose ingredients but say “from plant-derived surfactants” using coconut-based SLS? And is that any better than whatever conventional soaps’ SLS is made of? (Or is that coconut-based after all, too?) A topic for another day…
Why Keep Trying Homemade Dishwasher Detergents???
The reason I tried this homemade detergent at all was because we ran out of Mrs. Meyer’s. I remain super happy with my results with Mrs. Meyer’s, but I am waiting on a sample from Biokleen, and they’re a little less expensive, so I was kind of hoping I’d like it too! I’ve been very pleased with Biokleen’s Bac-Out for laundry pretreating after a dear friend got me some for a birth-of-Lovey-Girl present. I have high hopes for their other products and didn’t want to buy anything until I knew which one worked better…so…on with the dread of a full dishwasher and nothing to put in it!
This week, after two or three tries with varying amounts of the Sal Suds detergent, I had a full dishwasher again. I saw “Homemade Dishwasher Detergent” on a Works for Me Wednesday list and, gullible child that I am, clicked on the link. It was one similar to the borax/baking soda/salt mixture I tried back in the winter, along with a tsp of liquid dishsoap, similar to the last sort-of successful venture before the Sal Suds. I was intrigued. Maybe the combo would do the job, and even though I’m not thrilled about borax, it’s getting mixed reviews on safety and is still better than getting stuck with a whole box of Cascade. Heart palpitations commence. I felt like I was running around on my husband; I made sure I started the DW load with this stuff when he was not home and could not ask questions.
I watched for suds overflowing on the floor. None.
I waited for the cycle to end. Such a long time! I have no patience.
I squeezed my eyes closed and opened the door. No fireworks went off, and no lightning struck either, and upon first glance at the silverware, it looked like it wasn’t a complete disaster.
Final analysis: only two glass bowls and a cup were “rejects”. An incredible improvement! Finally. Something that works if I’m in a pinch. (Speaking of pinch, I might add a pinch of citric acid next time around…if I ever need to use this again!)
The next day, the most beautiful sight in the world met my eyes:
So I’m finally loading my dishwasher as usual, no prerinsing – a serious challenge for any detergent, to be sure. I breathe faster when I do it, imagining the potentially baked-on crud that could come out at the end of the cycle. Imagine what I’ll be like loading the Biokleen detergent in the little cup! I’m going to have a heart attack! Sweet Jesus, may this Biokleen work! (Is it sacreligious to pray about dishwashers? I don’t know, but I don’t want to sleep on the couch tonight!)
Clean dishes are a Finer Thing. See more at Finer Things Friday at The Finer Things in Life AND Fearless Friday at Home-Ec 101. I’m making do with what I have until the box comes for real: Ann Kroeker’s Make-Do Mondays. I’ve learned a lot, haven’t I? What I Learned This Week at Musings of a Housewife. At least this stuff doesn’t cost very much: Tightwad Tuesdays at Being Frugal.