Our non-food items to store this month are dish washing soap and bleach. In 2005 dish washing detergent retails totaled nearly $10 billion USD worldwide.1 How much do you use in a year? Do you wash your dishes by hand or in a dishwasher? Probably some of both, right. If we ever get to the power grid down scenario, we’ll all be washing dishes by hand, if at all. We keep three 24 oz. containers of dish washing liquid in storage and add this to our shopping list when we open one. If you would like to make your own, there are recipes available which will clean effectively, have no harsh chemicals and will save you money.2
Dish Soap Alternatives
Simple Recipe – Use liquid castile soap (name used in English-speaking countries for olive oil based soap made in a style similar to that originating in the Castile region of Spain. It is made with olive oil, not animal fat). Mix four parts of liquid castille soap to one part of water. Stir to combine and store in a labeled squeeze bottle. Shake before use to make sure everything is combined. Add a few drops of lavendar or lemon essential oil for a slight fragrance. Use tea tree oil to add an antimicrobial function.
Basic Recipe – For a more complex dish soap, mix 1 teaspoon of borax and and a grated bar of castile soap; cover with 1 3/4 cup of boiling water. Stir until dissolved. Allow to cool, stirring occasionally. Add a few drops of essential oil for scent. Store in a squirt bottle.
Stronger Recipe – If you need something stronger to cut that bear fat, combine 1 Tbs. each of borax, and washing soda with 2 Tbs white vinegar and 1/4 cup liquid castile soap. Bring 2 1/2 cups water to a boil and pour over the mixture. Stir gently until everything is dissolved and combined. Let cool, add a few drops of essential oil and bottle. Shake well before using.
Note: Homemade dish soap will not bubble like store bought (it doesn’t have sodium laurel sulfate), it will look cloudy.
Tips on Hand Washing Dishes
There are two ways to wash dishes by hand. One is by filling a container with diluted soapy water. The other is by applying soap to a sponge or wash cloth and rubbing it directly on the dishes. Either way, don’t run water continuously. Your grandmother had a water saving technique of preparing a pan of hot soapy water and starting to wash the least dirty items first. We always washed the glasses first. Then pile in the silver ware while you scrape off the food left on plates and in bowls. Our raw food waste goes into the compost pile; cooked food goes into the trash. By this time, the eating utensils are nearly clean and can be rubbed with a cloth or sponge and stacked in a pile. When they’re all done, rinse them with some warm water and stack them in a draining rack. Next, wash the bowls and plates. Stack them until the sink is full or you have finished washing them. Now rinse and stack in a draining rack to air dry. (Air drying has been found to be better than drying with a dish towel – one less thing to wash.) Your grandma probably put some of that hot soapy water and maybe a dash of baking soda, too, into the dirty pots and pans and let them soak while she washed everything else. Always wash the less greasy items first. Do not leave them to sit all night, you’ll have a yucky mess come morning. Wash all then rinse and turn up to drain and dry.
Now, after all of that, manufacturers claim that most dishwashers only use 4 gallons of water. How much water do you use? Also, did you know most dish washing detergent bottles can be recycled when empty?
Billie Nicholson, Editor