“Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be.” George Sheehan
I'm a woman of my word. I informed the curious that the blog would be ready by Saturday...and here I am, two days early! I am here to introduce my method of DO IT YOURSELF dishwasher detergent, because this mommy doesn't necessarily have the time (or energy) to hand wash every single dish the builds up in my sink. Granted, I COULD, however, with my sensitive skin, and my notion that The Dust Bunnies are Plotting my Demise, I chose to toss them in the dishwasher. Being a family of two, it is curious how we build up so many dishes...and even clothes (laundry detergent to follow)...but I accrediting it to the fact that my son is now potty trained and his underwear is the culprit to extra loadage in the laundry and the ability to consume copious amounts of water and milk from cups that pile up in the sink because of his dire need to pee (or poop) in the toilet. I'm not complaining. Having my 3-year old potty trained has been an absolute lift off my already weighed down shoulders. Through this, I have more freedom to complete daily activities while he practices going to the john, standing up, sitting down, pulling up, pulling down...so far, so good.
One of my first task in completely revamping our demolition of chemical products around the house (besides my extremely easy spray), is to create my own dishwasher detergent. Thank goodness for the internet! I'm not saying I wouldn't mind going to the library to research healthy alternatives for my generic dishwasher detergents I buy from the grocery, but I have the freedom at my fingertips to research and study right in the comforts of my own home (or a coffee shop) without the hassle of lugging my almost 40-lb child around.
Naturally, when I started researching, most of the DIY/homemade products called for Borax. I immediately red-flagged the recipe as toxic. I will explain. Despite the overwhelming debates on the toxicity of Borax and its uses around the house, the only thing I have ever used Borax for in the past was for...that's right...gross little friends-cockroaches. My mother gave me her Borax several months ago to spread around the corners and baselines of my house to get rid of those nasty little boogers! Let me tell you...while I hate seeing a dead cockroach belly side up on the floor in the morning, I hate watching a live one scurrying across my floor early in the morning. ERGH. Anyway, I automatically relate Borax to poison. However, if you feel differently, then by all means, use it. I just pull myself to add even the smallest amount to my detergents or cleaners where it's going to touch, rub, or potentially soak into my 3-year old's skin.
Anyway, I furthered my research into the realm of Borax-free detergents. And by golly, I have deemed myself successful! For not only do I feel wonderful about my recipe, I had amazing results the first time around! To be clear (hehe...no pun intended), I have an older dishwasher and while it gets the job done, I have had instances where it doesn't clean the dishes all the way, or still leaves behind a garlic-y odor from the previous nights dinner garlic incorporation. Therefore, I felt I had nothing to loose. I couldn't tell if it was just the dishwasher, or it was my lack of finding the right detergent to clean. I got down to work.
Blog after blog, website after website, I searched for the perfect ingredients, possible measurements someone used opposed to another, and in the meantime, found some cheap (but nice looking) tall glass jars at Kroger to place my detergents in when they were complete. While I recycle the plastic containers that once held my chemical infested products, I find that glass suits me better, and I give the empty washed out plastic containers to Grayson to play about!
I collected all the possible additives intermittently when I came across the most decent priced ingredient. I already possessed the baking soda I needed, for I use that stuff like it is going out of style! My toughest challenge was to locate citric acid. This was the only ingredient I have had to purchase that cost me more than any other. Despite the fact that it was more expensive, I concluded that it was better to buy a 5 lb bulk off Amazon for $17.99 (click here) and have it for the next couple years, than buy a small 7 oz bottle at Walmart for almost $3. It was really a no-brainer. Because, as you will see, you do not need to use much of the citric acid. From what I have researched, this is the ingredient that helps to make your dishes clear. Another alternative is LemonShine (a whooping $6 *sigh*), which I had to use at first because I couldn't find citric acid - HOWEVER, you need citric acid for both the dishwasher and laundry detergent, therefore, much better to stick with citric acid.
By this time, my hobby had become a slight obsession. I wanted to research the cheapest, most convenient ways to incorporate my ingredients on a global scale in my home! I'm sure that my son is convinced that "Mommy has lost her sanity." ...and in some way, I concur, but it's only to provide the best living environment while using my "free" time productively. If you consult with my mother, she will tell you that I have ALWAYS enjoyed creating things, trying new activities, and researching. Therefore, my new hobbsession (patent pending...hehe) is just in my nature. And so, why not incorporate nature! TA-DA! The most interesting, and probably beneficial task this accomplishes, it the incorporation of Grayson in my creations. The ingredients I am utilizing can be handled by my son using standard precautions. Normally, as long as he washes his hands after cleaning or mixing, I ask him to wash his hands for any residue that he might potentially place in his mouth if he chooses to rub his mouth, snack, or, to mommy's chagrin, add in his nose.
We continue the additions to my ever-growing newbie hobbsession in the form of washing soda and coarse sea salt. All of these ingredients (despite my unfortunate run-in with LemonShine and Walmart's overpriced citric acid) cost me pennies. When you divvy up the ingredients out of the boxes and containers (in which will keep and you can utilize in other concoctions later on) is about $1.50. My apologies if in ANY way this seems too overpriced for nearly doubling the amount of dishwasher detergent you buy in the store...while incorporating the "no-chemical" aspect. I'm hoping that everyone is becoming as elated as I was (and still am) over the detergent.
Let's establish our ingredients:
Citric Acid (or LemonShine)
Fine Sea Salt
...and my absolute favorite...FRAGRANCE! You can accomplish this through essential oils, or you can go to your nearest craft store and walk up to the soap making (or candle making) aisle and grab a little bottle of "fragrance".
Now you're wondering, "What are the measurements Brittany." In which I will respond, "Give me a minute!!" No, not really, but I want to make sure you understand that it depends on your container size. First, I would start off with a 1:1 ratio of Citric Acid and Washing Soda, followed by a 1:1 ratio of baking soda to sea salt, and several drops of fragrance.
Try this first and then double, triple, or quadruple at your leisure.
1 1/2 cup: Citric Acid
1 1/2 cup: Washing Soda
1/2 cup: Baking Soda
1/2 cup: Fine Sea Salt
5-10 drops of your fragrance (I use Red Rose and Tulip fragrance...it is FRESH and makes my dishwasher smell heavenly!)
NOTE: Tea Tree and Lavender are natural antibacterial essential oils...but I waited to use those in my laundry detergent.
Combine the top 4 ingredients to a large mixing bowl (or directly to your chosen container) and mix together thoroughly. Then, add the drops of fragrance, mixing a little more.
And VOILA! You have your detergent.
BUT WAIT! There is one more important factor when you decide to make your own powdery products...and it is called CLUMPING. You may think, "Oh dear, I have to do something about clumping? That's completely not worth making this concoction!!" To which I would respond, "Don't worry, I did the research for you, and it's a breeze."
I read the word desiccant several times during read and, while not knowing if I was pronouncing it correctly, I finally realized the importance (especially with the laundry detergent). Apparently, this is the SAME idea as those little packets that fall out of new shoe boxes that: "You're not supposed to eat..." I think I heard that several times throughout my childhood, and while I never ate one, i always wondered, "Why was it in there?"
And I stumbled rigidly over the answer...to keep fresh. Well, I'm not going to go buy a million pairs of shoes in order to keep the little package of silica gel (that isn't ACTUALLY a gel)...no matter how much i LOVE shoes. Where do I turn? The internet-browser search: How can I make a desiccant? Everyone loves information - you can use silica gel, calcium carbonate, salt, rice, and white clay. Well, which bloody one do you use? After briefing several websites, I came up with a person who actually compared them together, and guess which one was the best? CALCIUM CARBONATE! *sigh* ...I didn't know where to even start looking for calcium carbonate until I accidentally laid eyes on a picture of a bottle I had passed in Kroger. Calcium carbonate is used in pickle jarring to keep pickles crisp and fresh. With an eye roll, I think, "Yes, because pickling has a lot to do with de-clumping, but whatever!" I bought a container of calcium carbonate in the jarring section of Kroger, and even though it was $6, I hardly used any of it, therefore, the investment was well worth it because I can use it in my laundry detergent desiccant also!
To make your lovely desiccant, you will need:
1-2 tbsp: Calcium Carbonate (or your chosen weapon against clumping)
Baby sock or panty hose (be able to tie)
Drop it in your closed container of dishwasher detergent and place your top back on.
You DID it!! Yippie! You have now completed Brittany's beneficial dishwasher detergent blog. I wanted a tongue twister for amusement. Now say it 5 times fast!
To add my last tidbit of fascination with my newest concoction, my dishwasher has NEVER smelled so clean, NEVER appeared so pristine after a wash, and NEVER cleaned my dishes so well :) If...wait...WHEN you have the same experience, I do hope you will consider my other blogs on "going green". And if not, I hope you STILL consider reading my other blogs...
In all things pure, your heart will sing, "Let me soar above the clouds with the gift of faery wings!"