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!