Friday, August 2, 2013

DIY: Homemade Dishwashing Detergent

Last night after dinner was finished I was looking forward to relaxing in the comfy chair, watching Curb Your Enthusiasm on DVD and entering end of the month giveaways.  The baby was in bed, everyone was full and the dishes were clean....or maybe they weren't because we ran out of dishwashing detergent!

Over the last few weeks I have been trying to transition to a cleaner more non-toxic home.  I've decided to quit purchasing items that are toxic, bad for the environment or that produce dangerous byproducts.  My son is six months old now so I'm trying to get all of these cleaners out of the house before he is crawling and getting into everything.  I just don't want to chance him getting into something.

There is a pretty extensive article I found online titled, How Toxic Are Your Cleaning Supplies on the Organic Consumer's Association's website that I found very informative.  It seems a little dated though as it cites it's data from the year 2000.  It still a pretty good article and has extensive resources for alternatives to all cleaning supplies.

The problem for me is that I've tried "green" products before and never seem to find ones that can compete with the standard commercial cleaners I'm accustomed to.  It may just be a matter of me finding the right product.  I have found that I really like Seventh Generation Dish Liquid.  It's works great and the smell is amazing so I definitely can recommend that product.  I haven't tried their dishwasher detergent, mainly because it's so expensive but might bite it if this homemade route doesn't work.

As far as dishwasher detergent that I've tried goes, the last detergent we bought was the Trader Joe's brand.  It is a more natural alternative as it contains no phosphates, chlorine, or any of the "bad" stuff.  However, I was not really impressed with the end result on our dishes.

Online there are lots of different recipes for homemade cleaners but the one I used couldn't be any simpler.  I found the recipe in the book Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron.  The recipe from the book calls for one tablespoon of Borax and one tablespoon of baking soda.  Yaron suggests putting one tablespoon in each of your dishwasher's components.

Now here's another controversy.  Depending on where you look, Borax may or may not be a good choice for anyone looking for a cleaner and safer option for dishwashing detergent.  Obviously, it's not something you would want to spoon over your breakfast cereal but from what I have gathered it's a safer alternative to the traditional detergents and a whole lot cheaper.  Most importantly, my dishes are clean and I didn't have to leave the house to go buy something!

If you would still rather stick with a store bought product, I found a great chart outlining some suggestions found on Natrurmoms blog that you can see here.  She compares some of the common detergents for you in a very detailed and organized chart.

What about you?  Do you have a favorite brand or recipe for homemade dishwashing detergent?