Saturday, April 9, 2011

Soap Nut Dish Detergent

I ran out of dish detergent so I decided to try out a homemade recipe. I've read a lot of homemade dishwasher detergent recipes and decided that the only reason I'd bother is if I could make something safe and non-toxic (read: no borax). So the soap nut recipe I found here seemed ideal. I've been using soapnuts for laundry detergent for about 6 months now and have been really happy with the results. I'd never made the liquid soap though, so this was new to me. It was super simple:

15 soapnuts
6 cups water

Bring to a boil. Simmer 1 hour. Cool completely. Remove soapnuts. Store in fridge.

I used 2 TB in my dishwasher and it seemed to work fine the first run. Mostly, I didn't expect it to do anything so I was pleasantly surprised. I kept testing for about a week and the results were not great. I mostly blame my super crappy dishwasher though. I think if we had a good one, the soapnuts would be fine. Basically, if there was residue stuck to the plate, you could still see a little smear where it had been. I started scrubbing all my dishes thoroughly before loading them but before long, they were just piling up because I didn't want to bother with it. I felt like it disinfected and degreased well enough, it just didn't make my dirty dishes clean and I am way too lazy to scrub and pre-rinse everything before loading.

So at the end of the week, I bought another box of commercial detergent. When that runs out, I'd like to try this recipe and see if it works better. Or maybe after we move (in two weeks - yikes!), I'll give the soapnuts another try in the other dishwasher (which looks super old but maybe it works better). I'd love to hear if any of you have better luck with the soapnuts version. It is super cheap and non-toxic and if you're cool and have one, you can even compost the nuts.

Note: the post for the other recipe has been broken for a while so just in case it goes away again, here it is for future reference. (1/2 cup Dr. B Sal Suds, 1/2 cup water, 1 tsp lemon juice, 3 drops tea tree oil, 1/2 cup white vinegar. Combine. Store covered. 1 TB per load)

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