new videos
hot off the press!  
    more about rocket
mass heaters here.

more videos from
the PDC here.
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Dishwasher Detergent  RSS feed

 
Jeff Rychwa
Posts: 39
Location: NH
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey, folks.

I'm pretty sure, again, that this has probably been covered, but a search didn't reveal anything useful for my situation. If there's a link, please let me know.

I made dishwasher detergent from the popular borax, washing soda, salt recipe. I put vinegar AND lemon juice in the rinse chamber.

My dishes still come out cloudy and with food residue stuck on them, especially proteins.

I keep hearing that this recipe is "better than store-bought detergents," and that people's dishes come out "sparkling clean," but I have yet to see this first-hand.

I've tried alterations and different proportions, but it's the same result.

I have the (relatively new) dishwasher set on the high-heat, pot and pans setting, as well (I've tried all the settings), but it's just not working to "scrub" the dishes.

We have well-water, but it's pretty hard water, and it stains the tub, sink, and even coats the dishwasher in a brown film, that we have to clean every so often.

Any ideas? Should I just break the dishes after use? Maybe, like living outside, I should just use wooden plates and bowls and chop-sticks and burn them when I'm done, huh?
 
John Elliott
pollinator
Posts: 2392
79
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don't see any soap molecules in this recipe.

Borax and washing soda (sodium carbonate) are all right for removing fatty molecules that can saponify (turn to soap), but as you have noticed, the results with proteins are less than sparkling.

You are right to blame part of that problem on your hard water. If your borax and washing soda in the recipe are making small quantities of soap molecules from the fats in the food residue, those soaps can't clean the proteins, because they get precipitated by the calcium in the hard water first.

My first question would be if you can replumb the dishwasher to a source of soft water. If there's one appliance in the house that has to have soft water, it's the dishwasher. If you have only enough rain barrel water for one appliance, it should be the dishwasher.

You can try other chemical workarounds, including adding enough soap flakes to your mix so that even after the hard water has precipitated all the soap molecules, there is still an excess of soap, but the root of the problem is the hardness of the water you start with.

 
Jeff Rychwa
Posts: 39
Location: NH
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you for responding.

I tried adding soap to the recipe, but everything still comes out really cloudy. Borax and washing soda are supposed to "soften" the water, so is the salt, but holy cow...


What I'm understanding is that vinegar is supposed to be a fantastic rinse; it's not working, though.

Next is to cut the amount of detergent, but also to add citric acid. I've found that people with confounding film on their glassware are swearing by citric acid. We'll give it a go and see what happens.
 
Bill McGee
Posts: 185
Location: Southeastern Connecticut, USA
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm reading a recipe for auto-dish washer powder:
- 2 cups washing soda
- 2 cups baking soda
- 20 drops lavender essential oil
This is from Mother Earth living May-June 2013

They have other cleaning recipes in the same article that add grated castile or glycerin soap. Also using coarse salt. (don't know if this could damage the machine)
 
Jeff Rychwa
Posts: 39
Location: NH
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I just did another load of dishes with less of the powdered detergent, but with maybe 2 teaspoons of liquid castile. It worked MUCH better. Now I want to find some citric acid and see how that might help.

Thank you, folks.
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1823
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
90
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've just begun the borax washing soda mix for dishwasher trial. I have fairly soft water, (snow melt water through a water company). I was using the 7th generation stuff and it worked, leaving no spots even without a rinsing agent. This stuff doesn't leave things "sparkling bright". I use a lot of stainless steel, milk cans and milk buckets, and a lot of clear glass jars. I want them to be clean.

I read the ingredients on the box I've been using before I began the substitution. It does have citric acid in it, the 4th out of 8 ingredients. I guess I'll try adding citric acid, equal amounts of citric acid, borax and washing soda. And based on the mention of soap above, I'll put some soap in too. I guess I'll try grated solid soap as well as dissolving it in water first. Luckily I have plenty of soap on hand, I can't bear to throw away spoiled batches of soap I make (spoiled as in lye pockets when the lye separates from the fats during curing. It only happens when I make clove soap. I think the clove essential oil is an accelerant because when I add it, the reaction speeds up, but there are people who have used ONLY the clove soap I make for 10 - 12 years. It is very popular. But when I see the lye running out, and cut through harder areas in the soap, I know the lye has recrystallized in there, and I don't feel right about selling it. I have at least 15 pounds of clove and clove lavender soap on hand.)

I still half a box of the 7th generation stuff to use in between my experimental loads if coatings are building up.

If anyone has experience of has had success with this I'd love to har about it.
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1823
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
90
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I had a case of brand new jars, and I put them in the dishwasher, they were about 80% of the full load. I mixed soap into the soda borax and citric acid powder. I checked that the stuff did dissolve when the little container for detergent opened, and it had.

So, this morning all the fresh from manufacturing jars are cloudy, especially on the outside. I am assuming it is mineral deposit, not so much from the water as the soap and powders mixture I am using. The cloudiness appears mostly in areas where the water flow is more restricted. These new jars have flat sides, and so can be packed close together. The sides next to other flat jar sides are where there is most film. I think hand rinsing while they are still wet from the dishwasher cycle would get rid of most of it.

Next load, I'll put the last of the jars in, and not so close together, also increase the citric acid.

The ingredients on the 7th generation stuff is mostly sodium- whatevers, one two three four five and six. out of 8 ingredients 6 are sodium compounds.

I read research recently about using sea salt as "fertilizer" otherwise I would be reluctant to increase the amount of salt going into the septic system, and thence into the soil, but now, maybe that's better than baking soda, another possible powder to add.

Still hoping someone will chime in here, whose research I am replicating.
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5858
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
346
bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Any ideas? Should I just break the dishes after use? Maybe, like living outside, I should just use wooden plates and bowls and chop-sticks and burn them when I'm done, huh?


hahaha....or maybe just switch to hand washing them

http://www.permies.com/t/4019/energy/washing-dishes-hand-dishwasher
http://www.permies.com/t/56138/energy/washing-dishes-hand-dishwasher-water
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1823
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
90
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Judith,
Thanks for posting those links. Now I know at least one other person is reading my posts.

Now I'm in on the debates/ conversations about which way is "best" hand or machine washing, consuming less energy, using less water, killing more germs and so on. Possibly the existence of those threads make others reluctant to discuss the topic of recipes for homemade dishwasher detergent, I don't know.

To me, this is one more place where there are enough variables for different people in their different situations to reach different conclusions about what is the best way for them to proceed. I do care about waste of water and power, but I don't think all use is waste. I have a carbon negative life, but that does not mean that some people in some situations utilize less than I do for a given function, such as dishwashing.

My soil carbon project involves dairying, and making cheese for others to eat. In the kitchen I need to pay particular attention. Left on my own, I use the same dishes and cook in the same (unwashed) pots and pans. When I do "wash" the dishes for my own use, a casual rinse is usually adequate, however, the pots, buckets, pails, jars, knives, curd cutters, cheese cloths everything I use for the cheese, kefir, yogurt, I am more fastidious about.

The question for me is about getting everything done. There is an automatic dishwasher, there is not an automatic weeder, nor an electric muscle stretcher and range of motion restorer and protector, nor automatic dog trainer, or goat fence mover, or automatic cook. There is not an automatic cheese maker, though there is a milking machine, and I do use it about half the time.

I'm interested in the dishwashing detergent because if I can figure it out, it decreases my trash, my expenses, the amount of things I bring home from the grocery store, or if I'm having it shipped to me from amazon or thrive or other online vendors, making my own will reduces the packaging even more, and the transportation costs, and supports the local business people more than the transportation industry. It's one of the tradeoffs in my life. I utilize some of the solar power from my roof to run the dishwasher, but I'd like to stop buying the commercially made powder. And I am interested in the experience and suggestions and knowledge of others.


 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5858
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
346
bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thekla McDaniels wrote:Hi Judith,
Thanks for posting those links. Now I know at least one other person is reading my posts.

I'm interested in the dishwashing detergent because if I can figure it out, it decreases my trash, my expenses, the amount of things I bring home from the grocery store, or if I'm having it shipped to me from amazon or thrive or other online vendors, making my own will reduces the packaging even more, and the transportation costs, and supports the local business people more than the transportation industry. It's one of the tradeoffs in my life. I utilize some of the solar power from my roof to run the dishwasher, but I'd like to stop buying the commercially made powder. And I am interested in the experience and suggestions and knowledge of others.



hi Thekla, you are welcome..... I know that our friends who milked goats and sold the milk resorted to a dishwasher to keep the jars extra clean/sterilized and so no milky smells accumulated. I don't know what detergent they used though.
I think borax isn't good in a grey water system...as it is harmful to plants and to soil biology.
and I definitely get the 'trade off ' thing...
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1823
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
90
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Judith,

I found out some new ideas on line. I might be able to decrease the borax, maybe all the way to nothing, using bkg soda, salt washing soda, and soap. I did read some negative things about borax a few years, and looked at every thing I could find about it. I was using borax in the lotion I was making. In the end, I decided maybe borax was OK, but I'll look again and see.

I don't have "grey water" I have a septic system, where all the fluids go into the subsoil layer. It's alkaline already, being arid and all that. I just hope the milk leaving the property is taking the extra minerals with it.
 
Sebastian Köln
Posts: 97
Location: Germany · Schleswig-Holstein · Eutin
2
bike toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Have you tried adding Bile soap (german: Gallseife)?

It should help to remove potein.
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1823
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
90
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'll have to find out what we call that, thanks for the suggestion.
 
K Putnam
pollinator
Posts: 245
Location: Unincorporated Pierce County, WA Zone 7b
22
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So, this thread inspired me a few months ago to give this a try. 

I went with 2 parts borax, 2 parts washing soda, 1 part salt, 1 part citric acid and then added a few drops of castile soap every time.

It worked GREAT...for awhile.   And then my dishes got cloudy. Of course, I blamed the detergent for working...and then not working? Because you know, that makes so much sense.

And I was reminded, yet again, that dishwashers need to be cleaned.  Especially after a party.  Especially after a holiday party or any other party that might involve whipped cream, butter, or just tasty fat in general.  Tasty fat that clogs the tiny holes in the filter and screen and just results in tiny fat molecules staying stuck to the dishes.

So, before deciding on whether a recipe works, pull out those screens and filters, given them a good scrub, run the whole thing with vinegar, and then give it a go.

 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1823
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
90
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
What I've been doing is using the homemade stuff for the prewash, and the commercial stuff for the wash.  I am using half as much as I used to for each cycle, and it works quite well. 

Now that I think about the filters and fat build up, I think I'll go looking inside my dishwasher and see if there is anything that needs to be cleaned.

I never knew about cleaning the dishwasher itself, but it makes sense.  I do notice that if I have a few large things like milk pails and milk cans and half gallon jars, and there is not a lot of food going in, then things are cleaner than when I pack and repack the dishwasher with lots of small and food laden things.

There is likely a filter somewhere in there, and I'll find it and probably it will be pretty disgusting, but I'll really enjoy getting it clean!
 
K Putnam
pollinator
Posts: 245
Location: Unincorporated Pierce County, WA Zone 7b
22
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Let me recommend gloves.  LOLOLOLOLOL.

I didn't realize they had to be cleaned until two Thanksgivings ago when I hosted dinner for 20 and then all my dishes stayed just a hair dirty.  Of course, I forgot and threw a party a couple of weeks ago and made an icebox cake with really amazing Jersey cream....
 
Don't listen to Steve. Just read this tiny ad:
Jacqueline Freeman - Honeybee Techniques - streaming video
https://permies.com/wiki/65175/videos/digital-market/Jacqueline-Freeman-Honeybee-Techniques-streaming
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!