Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Eco-friendly dishwasher detergent

To my great embarrassment, it was only recently that I clued in to the environmental hazards posed by the phosphates in most dishwasher detergents. When the phosphorus returns to the water system, it acts as a fertilizer and promotes an algae bloom. The algae bloom, in turn, chokes out the rest of the life in the ecosystem.

In the Canadian Province of Manitoba, the leader of the Liberal Party is introducing a private member's bill to ban phosphates in dishwasher soap, as was done several years ago with regards to laundry detergent.

There are a few dishwasher detergents on the market which are low in or free from phosphates. Mrs. Meyer's liquid and Method Dish Cubes come to mind, but both are rather expensive and neither are readily available in my area.

Fortunately for me, and for the planet, an economical, efficient, and eco-friendly dishwashing powder can be assembled from basic ingredients which are already in my pantry and laundry room. Here's the recipe, courtesy of Lynn at The New Homemaker.

In a container with a tight fitting lid (like a recycled peanut butter jar) combine:

1 cup Borax
1 cup Baking Soda
1/4 cup table salt
2 packets of dye-free unsweetened Kool-Aid or 1/4 cup citric acid*
a few drops of tea tree oil and a few drops of a citrus-y essential oil**
Shake well.
Use 2-3 teaspoons per wash.
* I use Kool-Aid because I can get it cheap, cheap, cheap at the grocery store on Fort Drum. Citric acid is available at wine-making shops, of which we have none in this area.
** I am using Sweet Orange Oil as it was the cheapest essential oil at the local health food store. The Tea Tree oil is germicidal.

Apart from being phosphate free and economical, this powder is highly efficient and cleans my dishes as well as any commercial product I've tried.


Anonymous said...

would this Eco-friendly dishwasher detergent work if one was to do dishes the old fashion way ??


Rose said...

I don't think it would be suitable for washing dishes in the sink. I believe that most liquid dishwashing detergent (for handwashing) is already phosphate-free.

Valerie said...

Kudos to you!!!
I'm very impressed!!

I might just have to try it myself - I would like it very much if I never had to buy dishwasher detergent again. Thanks for the recipe.

sandhiya said...

Great thoughts you got there, believe I may possibly try just some of it throughout my daily life

Commercial Dishwasher