My friend, we’ll call her Outdoorsey, she’s inspired by nature. When she’s feeling down, or stuck, or lost, she hikes. Another friend, whose pretend name is Bachman, would listen to classical music. And my friend Zenmeditativenessanie (that’s her real name), well, meditates. Zenly.
I like to clean the kitchen.
After my big, explosive day yesterday, I was a little “stuck” today, feeling antsy and lazy all at the same time, with no ideas … nowhere to go … and pretty blah about, you know, whatever.
At this point, I think I mostly needed recovery time. Like a kid after four cotton candies and a pony ride at the circus, I needed to calm down and take a metaphorical nap.
So this afternoon, while I was fretting away about not wanting to do anything at all and what that meant and maybe how I was just losing it and all my thoughts and wants and desires were silly and I should probably just go look for a job cleaning fish or driving a school bus (both probably equally gross, at the end of the day), I realized I needed to get off of my sofa, away from checking my email, and somewhere not in front of a screen.
So I went the first place I go when I need inspiration – the kitchen. Occasionally, the inspiration is found in the chocolate cabinet. (Yes. This is a cabinet reserved for chocolate. What do you mean, you don’t have one of those?) But mostly, it’s found in cleaning. There’s something about getting your hands all pruny and slimy while rhythmically scrubbing away that just sparks all sorts of ideas. It begs contemplation.
And although I’ve been entertaining the idea of “living in the moment” and “living consciously,” I don’t think I’ll ever give up drifting away while cleaning the kitchen. It’s a mini-vacation in the most unlikely spot. And the sense of accomplishment – when all the spills are wiped clean and the pots a gleaming silver, it’s like a fresh, new day … everything that came before is irrelevant.
(I know what you’re thinking now, and no, I won’t come clean your kitchen. You deserve the gift of inspiration. Clean it yourself.)
So, luckily, today while I was cleaning the kitchen and drifting and contemplating the intricacies of my life (like, “should I buy almond or coconut milk next?”), I noticed I was COMPLETELY OUT of dishwasher detergent. So I made some. Here’s how:
Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
- 1 c. Borax
- 1 c. Washing Soda
- 1/4 c. finely grated Castille Soap (optional) (do NOT use a soap that suds)
- 1/2 c. Sea Salt (optional)
- 30 drops Lemon Essential Oil (optional)
- Citric Acid (optional)
Yep, our old friends borax and washing soda are here again. I don’t really feel I need to go into the combining of all these things too much, except to say, perhaps, that with the castille soap, you really want to grate this as absolutely fine as you can.
The reasoning behind using the castille, for me, was to make sure everything got “soaped off” to some degree. Pure castille creates no suds – and suds are something YOU DO NOT WANT I SWEAR ON EVERYTHING THAT IS HOLY in your dishwasher. It will be messy if you try. Trust someone who knows.
Again, the castille is optional. But once you’ve grated your castille soap (if you have – no pressure), add it to the borax, washing soda, and sea salt, and stir. Here is where you can add your citric acid (if you so choose). All it really does is help add shine to dishes, but we can take care of that with the rinse aid (all you need to do is put white vinegar and perhaps a 10-15 drops of lemon essential oil in the well, and you’re good to go). I typically don’t use citric acid.
So after you’ve stirred the dry ingredients together, and if you want to add the essential oil (again, just for a little extra shine and a fresh, lemony scent), do it a few drops at a time, stirring well after adding three or four drops. If you notice clumps, as they do often form while using the oil, all you have to do is break them up with your fingers. They don’t fight back, so don’t be scared.
And … you are now done making dishwasher detergent. How awesome is that? You know EXACTLY what’s going on your dishes, and, therefore, on your food and eventually into your mouth. It’s all completely safe for the environment. And you’ve saved money. Gah, it’s like paradise, really.
(First, I’d like you to really note my awesome dishwasher detergent container. It is an old Cascade tub. I think I’ve been making my own detergent for five months now, and it’s lasted this long. I’m pretty surprised.)
So, some final notes about this:
If for some really weird reason you skipped over my incredibly concise instructions above, I want to reiterate that, if you use this recipe, you’ll want to put something in your rinse aid well. I suggest white vinegar and perhaps some lemon essential oil. But you’re welcome to put any liquid in there that you’d like. (Hmm … almond milk or coconut milk?)
Occasionally – and especially if I let my rinse aid well run dry – I will end up with a film on my dishes after using this.
I find that running my hot water for a few seconds (making sure the pipes are pumping through really hot water)before I start the dishwasher helps alleviate that problem, as well. I don’t know why. I assume it’s magic.
Now, like all posts of this nature, I am going to ask you, dear readers, what you do when you’re feeling in a rut, or antsy, or just plain blah? How do YOU find inspiration when you’re a little out of it? And, as always, please let me know if you try this recipe and like it (or – gasp – don’t), or if you have any suggestions.
Happy cleaning, friends!
So, I had a lot of trouble with film on the dishes and was getting discouraged until I added 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid to the dispensing cup. I read that if you add the cutric acid to the whole batch, it can clump or completely harden.
I also think I was putting too much soap in, scaled down to just one teaspoon. A final trick is to add about 1/2 cup of vinegar in an upright glass at the beginning of the wash.
After these changes, my next load came out FILM FREE!! Whoo hoo!!
Thanks Crunchy Betty for this awesome blog!! You’re an inspiration!!
Has anyone figured out what to do to get rid of this powder film??? I’ve been trying it for about a week now. First without the castile and then with and still….I get the film! I swear my fiance is gonna freak that I convinced him this was a good idea and we spent a boatload on our first batch cause Ace Hardware was the only place we could find the washing soda (of course right after walmart had it for way less) and yet all week all the dishes have gotten the powder film and I don’t know what to do to get rid of it. Help!
Hi, Jessica. First, try running your hot water in your kitchen sink before you start your dishwasher. Let it get completely hot before you start. I don’t know why this helps, but it does. Also, make sure you’re using straight vinegar in your rinse well. That helps, too.
Lastly, if those things don’t help, you can try adding some citric acid to your mix (a little goes a long way).
And double lastly, plastics tends to attract that film a LOT more, so consider reducing your plastics and washing the remaining by hand.
It’s totally my plastics that are getting the film the most. I don’t get it! But just in the past day or so my ceramic bowls are also geting a film on them. I did already know about the hot water trick and I definitely do that. I’m just getting tired of running the dishes through over and over and getting the same result. And I’m not 100% sure that my rinse aid compartment is fully functional, but that’s what I get for living in a place that will constantly try to repair something many times before it’s replaced….if it’s replaced at all. I was thinking maybe tweaking the recipe and cutting down on one or the other ingredient. Any suggestions on either the borax or washing soda to be cut down?
How much do you use?
I had the same problem with the soap I made. I used Dr. Bronner’s castile bar soap, and put vinegar in the rinse well. I got the film/powder coating on ALL my dishes… 🙁 Not sure if I need the EO or the salt or what. I’m not ready to give up on it yet, but I definitely need to do some tweaking. Not sure what to do though…
i was very excited when i found this recipe, i happily returned my finish gel pacs to walmart and made my detergent. my first time using it didn’t go so well it left a powder coating on all of my plastic with vinegar in the rinse well, so i decided to make it into more of a liquid. it worked really well as a liquid until i pulled the container out from under my sink today. it had completely hardend! rock solid. im totally bummed and dont know what i did wrong for it to harden. any ideas?
K. Got it. Going to try it. Ever use liquid castille? You know, since I just ordered a ton of it? (but, I did order some yummy scented bars too)
I haven’t. I worried when you said you’d ordered liquid (although there are TONS of things you can do with liquid castille, too). I would imagine you could use it for the dishwasher detergent, but you’ll want to make the whole thing a gel-like substance instead. So you’ll want to add water to the mix, too. Honestly, I have no idea how much, but it’ll end up being a lot like the laundry detergent, I would imagine. (So you’ll need to put it in a container that’s either REALLY easy to shake up or stir in.)
Actually, I just looked at one of my favorite websites ever (www.tipnut.com) and there’s a recipe for liquid dishwasher detergent. It’s basically equal parts water, washing soda, and borax. If you’re going to do 1-cup ratios, I would use no more than 3 tsp liquid castille in there too. (The castille is for extra shine and cleaning, but it’s more of a “booster” than a critical ingredient, y’know?)
Good luck! Let me know if you try the liquid and how it works out for you.