My New Boyfriend, Borax

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I had no idea that you can make your own dishwasher detergent.  Until a few weeks ago, when I saw this:




And I thought, "Wow.  That is damn crafty.  And you know what?  I bet it's cheap as hell."  (I curse a lot in my thoughts since I have begrudgingly but responsibly stopped cursing around Jack.

As I've mentioned before, I'm a busy lady.  But the thought of doing this kept buzzing about in my busy brain.  How hard can it be?  Wouldn't that be cool to try?  Dishwasher detergent is pricey stuff.  And you know I like the liquid, and that's even more expensive.  So, if I could make my own dishwasher detergent, that's more lattes at Starbucks that I can justify.  (Evidently, my new rapture at home economics hasn't impacted my raging addiction to overpriced but so amazingly awesome coffee.  Stay tuned.)

I started reading recipes.  The first one I found, on a very cool website called DIY Natural called for:
  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1/2 cup citric acid
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
I thought, "I've heard of this Borax stuff for my whole life.  Four ingredients?  I'm in."  Until, that is, I read further and was advised that you can purchase citric acid in big, $27 bottles from your local brewing supply store.  Suddenly, this seemed harder than I cared for it to be.  (Yes, that is lame.  But it's true.)

I kept looking.  And found another recipe on another very cool website, Domestic Cents, that didn't require the home brewing store.  This one called for:
  • 1/2 cup Arm &  Hammer Super Washing Soda
  • 1/2 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
  • 4 packets lemonade flavor Kool-Aid powder (unsweetened)
  • 1/4 cup salt (Kosher salt recommended)
  • Extra:  Lemi-Shine, to use as a rinse aid

Kool-Aid?  HUH?  I read on.  Of course, the thing that makes Kool-Aid sweet is the heaping cup of sugar that you pour into it when you make it.  So, it would seem that the actual beverage powder is all sorts of citrusy goodness for your dishwashing needs.  Hmm.  I was intrigued.  And with four ingredients that I was pretty sure I could get at one store, I was back in.

One of these informative blogs recommended that you make the detergent in a container that you would have thrown away or recycled, to make it a truly frugal endeavor.  That made sense.  So, I gathered my ingredients and was on my way.


And, just because I found it in the grocery store, I bought the Lemi-Shine, too.


And then I, uh, put it all in a container that I would have recycled.  Which took about 60 seconds.


Considering that you use one tablespoon per dishwasher load, this amount would have lasted a long time.  But, you know, since I'd chosen a large container, and Borax comes in big old boxes, I decided to make another batch.  So, in 60 more seconds, I had twice this amount.  

If you want to really crunch the numbers on this, other websites will tell you.  I am not a mathematician, to say the least.  So, here are my approximations:

  • Borax:  Cost like $3.50 and the box is huge.  Still have WAY more than half left.
  • Washing Soda:  Cost like $3.50 and the box is huge.  Still have like 3/4 left.
  • Salt:  That container cost like $1.50.
  • Kool-Aid:  10 packets for $1.00.
  • Total cost of those supplies:  $9.50.
  • Amount of dishwasher detergent it made:  My guess is that it will last us through the end of the year, if not longer.
  • Amount of supplies remaining:  No Kool-Aid (not that we drink that, so whatevs), but a ton of Borax, washing soda, and a good amount of salt that I will cook with.
How were the dishes, you ask?  Awesome.  I used one tablespoon of my new detergent, and put another tablespoon of Lemi-Shine in as a rinse aid.  The dishes are crystal clear and perfectly clean.  

That's not the end of the story, though.  Making the detergent was sort of anticlimactic because it was so damn fast.  When I was done, I stood there and pondered this magical stuff called Borax.  And then, I got an idea.

I shook some into my dual stainless steel sinks that are never as clean as I want them to be.  After a couple minutes of moderate scrubbing, they were cleaner than they've ever been.  I stood there like a dork, grinning. I shared this revelation with Durel, who was watching football and was all like, "Huh?  What's Borax?"

I was on a mission.  I proceeded to SCRUB our master bathroom, on a random Monday night, with my new best friend, Borax, until it was completely gleaming.  It took all of my self-control not to tweet this:  "Just discovered Borax.  May be up all night cleaning."

I didn't, though, because you would have thought I was nuts.  Oops.  Anyway, I highly recommend this magical Borax stuff, and this recipe for dishwasher detergent.  And maybe I am a little nutty.

But at least I'm nutty enough to admit it,
Heather

8 comments:

  1. Okay now I have to go make my own detergent. Great, like there wasn't enough on my list! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm totally going to buy some Borax tonight!

    And, I think I will make my own too! :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. You are awesome. I'm totally gonna do this.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have Borax, not so much Kool-Aid! lol
    Totally saving all my containers. People will accept this from you sort of like sharing your canning!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am so impressed! I've never used Borax before, and clearly I need to change that. Anything to make me clean our master bathroom on a random Monday night!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Am I the loser that has to ask, where in the heck is the Borax and Lemi-Shine in the store???

    ReplyDelete
  7. Like everyone else, I'mma gonna do this now. And I'll be using your recipe, cuz I wouldn't do it if it wasn't something I could find at the local wally world anyway. Thanks for the breakdown! :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am going to try this! My mom also makes her own laundry detergent. I think she told me her last batch lasted three years. Guess I should stop buying the natural stuff and try and make my own!

    ReplyDelete

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My New Boyfriend, Borax

I had no idea that you can make your own dishwasher detergent.  Until a few weeks ago, when I saw this:




And I thought, "Wow.  That is damn crafty.  And you know what?  I bet it's cheap as hell."  (I curse a lot in my thoughts since I have begrudgingly but responsibly stopped cursing around Jack.

As I've mentioned before, I'm a busy lady.  But the thought of doing this kept buzzing about in my busy brain.  How hard can it be?  Wouldn't that be cool to try?  Dishwasher detergent is pricey stuff.  And you know I like the liquid, and that's even more expensive.  So, if I could make my own dishwasher detergent, that's more lattes at Starbucks that I can justify.  (Evidently, my new rapture at home economics hasn't impacted my raging addiction to overpriced but so amazingly awesome coffee.  Stay tuned.)

I started reading recipes.  The first one I found, on a very cool website called DIY Natural called for:
  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1/2 cup citric acid
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
I thought, "I've heard of this Borax stuff for my whole life.  Four ingredients?  I'm in."  Until, that is, I read further and was advised that you can purchase citric acid in big, $27 bottles from your local brewing supply store.  Suddenly, this seemed harder than I cared for it to be.  (Yes, that is lame.  But it's true.)

I kept looking.  And found another recipe on another very cool website, Domestic Cents, that didn't require the home brewing store.  This one called for:
  • 1/2 cup Arm &  Hammer Super Washing Soda
  • 1/2 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
  • 4 packets lemonade flavor Kool-Aid powder (unsweetened)
  • 1/4 cup salt (Kosher salt recommended)
  • Extra:  Lemi-Shine, to use as a rinse aid

Kool-Aid?  HUH?  I read on.  Of course, the thing that makes Kool-Aid sweet is the heaping cup of sugar that you pour into it when you make it.  So, it would seem that the actual beverage powder is all sorts of citrusy goodness for your dishwashing needs.  Hmm.  I was intrigued.  And with four ingredients that I was pretty sure I could get at one store, I was back in.

One of these informative blogs recommended that you make the detergent in a container that you would have thrown away or recycled, to make it a truly frugal endeavor.  That made sense.  So, I gathered my ingredients and was on my way.


And, just because I found it in the grocery store, I bought the Lemi-Shine, too.


And then I, uh, put it all in a container that I would have recycled.  Which took about 60 seconds.


Considering that you use one tablespoon per dishwasher load, this amount would have lasted a long time.  But, you know, since I'd chosen a large container, and Borax comes in big old boxes, I decided to make another batch.  So, in 60 more seconds, I had twice this amount.  

If you want to really crunch the numbers on this, other websites will tell you.  I am not a mathematician, to say the least.  So, here are my approximations:

  • Borax:  Cost like $3.50 and the box is huge.  Still have WAY more than half left.
  • Washing Soda:  Cost like $3.50 and the box is huge.  Still have like 3/4 left.
  • Salt:  That container cost like $1.50.
  • Kool-Aid:  10 packets for $1.00.
  • Total cost of those supplies:  $9.50.
  • Amount of dishwasher detergent it made:  My guess is that it will last us through the end of the year, if not longer.
  • Amount of supplies remaining:  No Kool-Aid (not that we drink that, so whatevs), but a ton of Borax, washing soda, and a good amount of salt that I will cook with.
How were the dishes, you ask?  Awesome.  I used one tablespoon of my new detergent, and put another tablespoon of Lemi-Shine in as a rinse aid.  The dishes are crystal clear and perfectly clean.  

That's not the end of the story, though.  Making the detergent was sort of anticlimactic because it was so damn fast.  When I was done, I stood there and pondered this magical stuff called Borax.  And then, I got an idea.

I shook some into my dual stainless steel sinks that are never as clean as I want them to be.  After a couple minutes of moderate scrubbing, they were cleaner than they've ever been.  I stood there like a dork, grinning. I shared this revelation with Durel, who was watching football and was all like, "Huh?  What's Borax?"

I was on a mission.  I proceeded to SCRUB our master bathroom, on a random Monday night, with my new best friend, Borax, until it was completely gleaming.  It took all of my self-control not to tweet this:  "Just discovered Borax.  May be up all night cleaning."

I didn't, though, because you would have thought I was nuts.  Oops.  Anyway, I highly recommend this magical Borax stuff, and this recipe for dishwasher detergent.  And maybe I am a little nutty.

But at least I'm nutty enough to admit it,
Heather
 
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