When I think of ways to detox my home, dishwasher detergent isn’t the first one that comes to mind. It actually took me a little while on my journey to think of it as a potential concern. But, it does affect you, and is a super cheap and easy swap out. If you’re looking for a simple baby step in the world of crunchy DIY, here it is!
Think about after your dishwasher runs (or while it is still running!). It is a steamy cloud of ‘fresh’ detergenty smell. So, not only are you inhaling whatever it is made of, but there’s bound to be at least some residue on your dishes. As I said, not a huge health crisis, but still not the best for you.
Most detergents actually contain highly concentrated levels of chlorine – so toxic that they can be deadly if swallowed in large amounts. There are also multiple hormone disruptors and carcinogens. You know, the usual gunk that gets thrown in most conventional household products. Yet, we use it to wash the dishes we eat off of, and over time, it can build up on them. Then, we are consuming this toxin…every day! Yuck!
Not to mention, the swap we’re offering today is not just healthier, but more economical as well.
I know many DIY and healthy dishwasher detergent recipes call for multiple ingredients and more complex concoctions, but we’ve tried it multiple ways and found this to work just as well, if not better. It’s also cheaper, safer, and simpler! No prep required!
This super simple swap out is just 2 ingredients! Washing soda and citric acid.
All you do is fill the prewash compartment on your dishwasher with washing soda and your secondary wash compartment (the one that flips open during the wash cycle) with citric acid. If your prewash compartment is small, or just doesn’t exist, shake a few tablespoons of washing soda in your dishwasher before starting it. I (Amberlyn) honestly don’t measure it that precisely…just eyeball it. Mama (Sheila) has measurements nicely written on the lid of the containers that she stores the two in and measuring utensils all conveniently inside. So, whichever floats your household’s boat! : )
Now, about these two ingredients…
Washing soda is usually manufactured by Arm and Hammer and can be bought at Walmart or ordered online here or here. Or, it is also known as soda ash and can be bought in bulk at a pool store or ordered online here.
Citric acid can be food grade or industrial grade, since you aren’t eating it. But the cheapest option I’ve found is here.
Also, adding vinegar to the rinse compartment (if you have one) helps greatly with getting your dishes cleaner.
*Optional: I add a few drops of a citrus essential oil to the washing soda to help get the dishes extra clean. Plus, it smells nice! : )
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