16 August 2016

Washing up the dishes.

I've read a couple of posts about how it's so easy to replace your dish washing tablets or powders with something easy, cheap and biodegradable made of baking soda and salt in most cases and I was thrilled!

Just in case if you really want to try yourself, be my guest, but please read until the end so that you avoid disappointment.

I have tried a simple recipe suggesting:

2/3 soda bicarbonate (the basic ingredient in baking soda),
1/3 kitchen salt
and a few drops of dishwashing soap.

I've tried this with fully loaded dishwasher and it didn't work well. Light loading it didn't improve things, replacing baking soda with soda bicarbonate grade A purity, pure salt (without anticaking agents and such) and simple castile soap left all my dishes looking like this:

Frankly? They looked as if they weren't washed at all. Knives were greasy and marked with white residue. Glasses streaked with a powdery cover which only went off when washed manually.

Then I read an article that what actually is going to help is turning baking soda into sodium carbonate. Sodium carbonate is well known domestically for its everyday use as a water softener, and since I have a very heavy water I thought it must be it. 

You can make sodium carbonate quite easily from sodium bicarbonate.
Spread a thin coat of SB on a baking tray and put it in the oven for an hour in 200 deg.

Then you mix it in the following proportions:

2 cups of sodium carbonate
1 cup of sodium bicarbonate
1 cup of borax (also known as sodium borate)
1/2 cup of citric acid.

Now why did I chose this particular recipe?
Because people overall were ecstatic about it.
It had really high reviews and contains stuff you can easily buy and is safe for the environment.

Now I was expecting a huge improvement.
Both sodium carbonate and borax are water softeners and should make my dishes sparkling.

Well, I had a reception the following day and I ended up hand washing ALL of my dishes in preparation because there was literally no improvement at all.

I could not give my guests glasses which looked like taken from my grandma's dusty coffer and not even wiped clean.

So after the party, I just went and bought already tried and tested Ecover Dishwasher Tablets.
They are zerowaste, Even the small packet in which the individual tablets are packed are nicely marked with the type of plastic they are made of and it is a widely recycled one.

Sure I personally would like not to use ANY plastics at all, but I am working full-time. I can't wash manually daily. Not to mention that even if I wanted to, castile soap also comes in a plastic container. And on top of that manual dish washing is wasting a lot more water than the dishwasher does, and water should be saved too.