Sunday, April 14, 2013

Adventures in DIY Dishwasher Detergent: Liquid

It's time for part 2 of my experimentation with DIY dishwasher detergents!

Last time, I discussed the dry powder recipe I had found on Organic Authority, which was written by Elizah Leigh.  It was fabulous.  I truly may never buy dishwasher detergent again.  Why bother when two common household ingredients can produce better results?

Well, today I'm discussing the second detergent recipe she had listed in that article:  Liquid detergent.

::commence oooing and ahhhing::

Elizah Leigh listed the following ingredients:

white vinegar, castile soap, lemon juice, essential oil (peppermint), 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 c of white vinegar
  • 2 c of castile soap
  • 1 tsp of lemon juice
  • 1/2 c of water
  • 3 drops of essential oil

First, I sliced the recipe in half.  I mean, there's no point in trying out a full recipe, right?  What if it suddenly starts bubbling and oozing, then growing until at last it's rolling down the streets, absorbing people in its way in a real life re-enactment of The Blob?

The neighbors would probably be a bit annoyed.

So I halved the recipe, although when it came to the three drops of essential oil, I used 2 drops.  One drop felt like too little, and anyone who can manage to add only half a drop of anything into a recipe is my hero, because I sure can't do that!

I poured all of the detergent ingredients into a mincemeat jar, stirred slowly, and watched it do its chemical reaction magic.  The texture and color of the liquid changed. 

mincemeat jar half filled with white liquid

I think it even increased slightly in mass.

angry green mass of goo reaching out of a jar. Yellow eyes and wide open mouth.
But that could just be my imagination...

Anyway, I loaded it into the dishwasher's dispenser, and noticed something that was not a figment of my imagination... the camera proves it.

white liquid with a full top section of bubbles.
It totally bubbled.

A lot.

I sent a few prayers off to whichever god was listening at the time, and I hit 'clean'.

Then I waited.

And waited.

Have I mentioned this dishwasher takes an extraordinarily long time to reach completion?

Finally, everything was done, so I opened up the dishwasher and let it flash dry - which basically means I let a huge wave of hot water vapor come bursting out of the machine immediately after the last cycle ended, causing my sinuses to clear and my pores to soak up large amounts of moisture.

In short:  I scrunched my eyes closed and felt my face turn momentarily red as the heat wave blasted me.

But, you know... I like the first version better.

The result, unfortunately, was horribly anti-climactic.  

I had hoped to talk about how amazing the liquid detergent recipe was, or even to complain about how nothing got washed, and I was stuck with nasty spaghetti bits plastered to the dinner plates.  Alas, nothing like that occurred.

So what was the result, exactly?

Well...  it was... decent.

It got the job done, but I wasn't overly impressed.  Indeed, I wasn't impressed, at all.  It got dishes no cleaner than the standard dishwasher detergent, and if I didn't actually have the ingredients in my house at the time, well...

I would have lost money.  The recipe is more expensive, in total, than your standard eco-friendly dishwasher detergent.

In conclusion?  

The liquid recipe isn't worth it.  Just buy some environmentally friendly detergent.  Or go with Elizah's powder recipe.

Actually... ignore the first part of that statement.   

Just make the powder detergent.  Because it's awesome.

And cheap.

And only two ingredients.

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