Sunday, April 4, 2010

A Homemade Failure

A few months ago, The Father actually asked me if I'd look into finding a recipe!  I was completely shocked because he was giving me the side eye the whole time I was grating bars of soap for laundry detergent. 

Would you believe he asked me to look into making dishwasher detergent?!  I suppose he realized we run our dishwasher a lot and we could probably save a ton of money making it for ourselves.  Running your dishwasher saves more water than and handwashing so we make every effort to wash as much as possibly mechanically.

Over the next month or so I did some research and kept reading that the homemade stuff is never as good as the bottled goodness from the grocery store.  I, however, refused to believe that as a fact and kept an eye out for a recipe that was supposed to work wonders.  I deep down there MUST be a recipe that doesn't involve a chemistry lab and won't cost me a fortune, but would get the dishes clean. 

Eventually I found one and bookmarked it.  Once our bottle of detergent was 3/4 empty, I made a batch.  *I'm not sharing recipes because I don't think they were worth sharing*  This particular batch called for a billion or so packages of sugar-free lemon kool-aid.  The acid in the mix was supposed to help the glasses come out nice and shiney.  The first load we washed was on the small side, but we wanted to try it out before washing a normal sized load.  The dishes came out seemingly clean!  Yay!  The recipe lived up to it's hype. 

We carried on washing our dishes with the mix for about 5 days and then something unexpected happened.  We had an amazingly warm day and I'm convinced that is what set this whole thing off. 

Anyhooo, back to my story.  I opened the dishwasher one morning to find the inside was crawling with millions of ants!!!!!  Of course, by opening up said dishwasher, I'd unleashed them to crawl all over my kitchen.  Let me just say, my skin was crawling for days because I was convinced they were all climbing all over me.  It took about a week for me get all the ants out of my kitchen.  I suspect that they were attracted to the lemon kool-aid even though it wasn't supposed to have sugar in it. 

While I was wrangling ants, I found another recipe that was deemed "The Perfect Recipe."  I had to try it.  This one called for citric acid as a means to help the glasses come out shiney.  It also said that the amount of vinegar released by the rinse agent dispenser was not enough and you should add more prior to starting the wash cycle.  Despite doing this, all the dishes came out with a powdery residue.  It was gross.  I ended up having to rinse most of the dishes again by hand.  That doesn't exactly save water, now does it?

Good gravy!  Maybe my orginial findings of "Don't waste your time," were correct!

I was still determined to find something that will work.  So, to the latter mix, I added more citric acid to see if it would help.  Everything looked like it'd pass through a baby powder factory, just the same.  More vinegar this time.  Nope, still not working.  I even added more sea salt, just in case.

I finally threw in the towel!  LBG's bottles weren't clean by my standards and that just isn't acceptable.  Not to mention the rest of the dishes  I suppose I could have continued to tweak the recipes until I found a combination that worked for us, but right now I have more important things on my plate- like sharing the wonderful outdoors with LBG and reminding TF how to compost since, apparently, a 15 month deployment and 8 months of not having a compost bin has wiped his brain clean of what is compostable and what isn't. 

Maybe next winter, when there isn't much to do by way of fun things, I'll tackle the dish detergent quest.  Maybe LBG will even be able to help me by shaking up the jar!  But for now, we'll stick to our Seventh Generation and Wave brands. 


Heather said...

I've been looking for years and have yet to find a good home made recipe either. :-(