Something that does seem to work for us is when The Pilot is home, 99% of the time, he cooks. He doesn't seem to mind. In return, I eat his food and I like it. I also clean up most of the time. The Pilot would much prefer to hand wash the dishes and I prefer the dishwasher. We have both found supporting documentation that our preferred methods conserve more water but I won't get into that. When I clean up after a meal, those dishes are going in the dishwasher. Another topic of debate is the dishwasher detergent. I buy the cheapest thing I can find. That is until The Pilot came along and ever so gently told me that all of my cleaning supplies are killing me and the Earth. Ummmm....ok. So we bought some "eco-friendly" detergent at Whole Foods. It cost an arm and a leg...and it didn't work. It left a cloudy, chalky residue on the dishes.
Enter the homemade dishwasher detergent. The Pilot's cousin (in law) shared a recipe she tried and had success with. At 4 ingredients, even I didn't mind the extra step of making my own.
- 1 cup Borax
- 1 cup washing soda
- 1/2 cup citric acid
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
The Pilot brought his own Borax when he moved in so that was taken care of and I knew I could easily find kosher salt. Washing soda and citric acid?? Where on earth do you get that stuff? I needed to go to Whole Foods anyways so I stopped in and a very helpful employee directed me to the citric acid quickly, as if I had just asked where to find the bread. They sell it in bulk so you just measure out your own.
I stopped at Target with hopes of finding the kosher salt and washing soda. They had the salt but no luck with the washing soda. I stopped back home for a little while and as luck would have it, The Pilot's cousin was on FB and suggested the grocery. Now why didn't I think of that?? I stopped by Kroger later in the evening and easily found the washing soda, right next to the Borax, just as she had suggested.
Once I had all my ingredients, I combined them in a pitcher (I'm hoping it will work out that I can just pour it into the dishwasher). The instructions did mention that the citric acid will cause some clumping. It suggested to stir it a couple times in the first day or two and that should help. They also suggested a teaspoon of rice but I think I will try stirring it a couple times in the first day.
I won't do the complete cost breakdown but the homemade detergent saves about 10 cents per load. This isn't a lot and one could argue that my time is worth the additional cost. More often than not, I would agree and often times, convenience wins. But I also wanted to make sure we were using a more eco-friendly product. Not only is this not going to put any nastiness in the ground water, but it's also not going to leave any nastiness on our dishes.
Now I realize that it seems like I drove all over the place to get these ingredients but I was planning to make these stops anyways. Plus now I know I can easily get the Borax, washing soda and salt at Kroger and only need to make one other stop at Whole Foods to get the citric acid. We are at Kroger at least once a week and Whole Foods every couple weeks. I actually ended up doubling the recipe because I ended up buying one cup of citric acid so I just used it all. This should last for about 90 loads of dishes. I think that will last awhile since we only run the dishwasher 1-2 times per week.
I've run one load of dishes so far and they came out clean! No weird film on the dishes. The glasses were even clear and spot-free. I would call this a success. I'll have to wait to see what The Pilot thinks since he seems to be anti-dishwasher. :)