3.18.2011

semi-green, semi-frugal dishwasher detergent

I had initially planned on making a totally natural dishwasher detergent. I used it for a while and was somewhat happy with it – the problem is not the detergent, but my dishwasher setting of choice. I like to run my dishwasher on the “water miser” setting, which somehow uses less water. (magic?) Because the borax/baking soda combo does not dissolve food, and because the lower-use water setting does not power it off quite as well, I have added some commercial detergent.

If you are cool with using the normal water settings, the borax & baking soda combo works great!DSC_0943 

I just put equal parts borax, baking soda and detergent in a container with a tightly-fitting lid and shake it up. Here’s what it looks like:DSC_0944

The hardest part of this was finding the borax – I had to go to two different stores. I KNOW. My neighborhood grocery store doesn’t carry it, so I had to drive to the next store over to get it. sigh.

Along with this, I fill the jet-dry tank with vinegar. Plain old white vinegar. Works great!

It took some experimentation with the no-detergent mix, the water settings and how cleaned-off my dishes are going into the dishwasher. I think I found a mix that will work for me. If you want to go totally green and totally frugal, you can skip the detergent, but since I still want to use less water I use the combination. I really don’t know which is better – using more water and no detergent or less water and a little detergent, but for now this works, it’s cheap, and it’s less chemical-ly than detergent alone.

It’s just another small way I’m saving money and some environmental impact. Small things add up!

3 comments:

  1. I've been asked TWICE already this morning about my use of (gasp!) NAME BRAND PRODUCTS in this post! Let me defend myself!

    When I'm at the grocery store, I always buy the generic alternative when I find it to be comparable in quality/taste/experience. However at Costco, where I get my dishwasher detergent, baking soda, etc. there was either not a generic alternative (the baking soda) or the generic alternative was lemon-"enhanced" (the powdered detergent) which reacts badly with some metal utensils. So there we are. The per-unit cost of the name-brand items at Costco is comparable to (if not less than)the per-unit cost of generics in the grocery store. Whew!

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  2. I made and was using backing soda and borax in my dishwasher for a month or so. I ended up having to add a package of lemon kool-aid to the mix to help with rinsing the mixture off my dishes. Our town has very hard water but the kool-aid was still not enough to help. I even use viniger as my rince aid but it was still not enough for our hard water.
    I might have to give it a try with some powdered dishwasher soap. Thanks =}

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  3. give it a shot - there is a reason why the detergents sell so well - they work well. i just want to make them more environmentally friendly and a little less expensive!

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