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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dishwasher detergent substitutes

This morning, I noticed that the Palmolive Dishwasher liquid is running low. Several years ago, when I noticed the bottle was empty, I turned it over and left it to drain into the dishwasher. I drained the bottle into the cup, then drained more into the dishwasher, sort of the first wash or pre-wash portion. The next dishwashing event happened and I drained more into the cup and washed out the bottle.

I am parsimonious like that. The next time, I washed the bottle out again and poured the liquid into the dishwasher, and then put the bottle and cap in the dishwasher to get the last bit.

Better Me, Better World
Then, Dmarie over at Better me, Better world wrote a post about the same thing--dishwasher liquid substitutes to be more green and save money. In the past, this subject has been discussed. I am apparently the only person who does not have major film issues. Maybe Dmarie will tell about her film experiences. Read her post for her recipe.

Complementary post
This post on a similar subject is supposed to be complementary, not competitive.

Whiter than white
The film issue seems to be sort of like the "whiter than white" conversation in washing machine detergent ads a few decades ago. Why is it necessary to add chemicals to make clothing that white? And, what is a little film compared to being green, saving the cost of a plastic bottle, and spending less money?

Enviromental issues
Palmolive has no phospates. Is that good enough? I don't know. There is the problem of a plastic bottle, but that is not the focus of this discussion. I do try to reuse them. Another thing I do is use less than the bottle or the cup in the dishwasher calls for.

White or shiny equals clean?
We are being brain-washed into thinking that cleanliness equates shine and brightness. I do like the dishwasher and the washing machine. No, I love my dishwasher and washing

Back to brainwashing. I noted that I used only baking soda and vinegar. Others said there was a film on the stainless steel and nothing was shiny enough. However, the water temperature assures me that it is all clean.

The shiny plate or bowl that I carry to the chicken yard and dump food from is clean and germ-free when I leave the house. However, once I handle the latch on the pen, handle freshly laid eggs, pet a hen who thinks she must submit to get food, neither the dish or my hands are germ-free, even if the plate still shines.  (I am the rooster substitute)

Wash a shiny dish?
Thankfully, I have grown beyond "shiny=clean." That said, I do like shiny dishes. Commercial dishwasher liquid accomplishes the shiny goal. Yes, I do was the still-shiny dish that was handled after I fed chickens. However, when the pen is open and I touch nothing, the dish is placed on the counter for more scraps for hens.

My formula
I pull out both racks. Then, I take a cupful or less of vinegar and sort of pour at the top rack. Then, I sprinkle about half cup of baking soda over the top rack and bottom rack and the utensils on the door. This half cup is all I use for all three locations. Close the door and wash.

Stay nearby
This method only works to avoid film if you can catch the rinse cycle. I then put more vinegar into the dishwasher. That seems to cut the film. The film is just the baking soda. It will not hurt anything. For the sake of aesthetics, we buy commercial products? Okay, I, too, am often guilty.

Too much trouble
Yes, it is a problem, but so is washing dishes by hand, as is comsuming plastic and throwing it in the landfill. Actually, washing dishes by hand never leaves things as shiny as the dishwasher does. Okay, maybe you get different results.

I believe my handwashing of dishes leaves the dishes clean. I know the hot water temperature of the dishwasher does a better job of sanitizing, far beyond clean. Think about it: how clean do dishes need to be? How do you figure in the germy hands that touch them. Yes, we all have germs on our hands.  I don't know how clean dishes need to be. But, I do know that we all eat from less than sanitary dishes at least some of the time. But, we never die or even become ill. I was my hands and call them clean enough--soap, warm water, that's all.

Your turn
Do you feel safe eating from dishes your hands have touched? Do you have a problem with film after using a substitute for dishwasher liquid?


  1. I didn't even know they sold liquid detergents for the dishwasher! I had read about putting vinegar in the rinse cycle, but how does one catch the thing during that cycle! hoping this homemade stuff won't cause a film...fingers crossed, so far so good.

  2. Electrasol has "tabs",solid. Look in the store shelf where the liquid is kept. When I washed dishes today,I read the bottle and noticed there was bleach--not a good thing for the environment.Let us know how it works.There is a light that comes on over the word "rinse." I watch for that and put the vinegar in at some point in the rince cycle.


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