Your home environment is affected by the type of running water you have at your disposal. If you live in the Pioneer Valley then there is a high chance that you have hard water of varying degrees coming into your household via town water pipes or a well. In either case, the water will pass through your pipes (hopefully not lead lined but that is another discussion) and the water enters your washer, your tubs, sinks, faucets and dishwasher.
Calcium and lime specifically affect the appearance of your dishes and the minerals and proteins on your dishes will remain without some kind of chemical to remove them. If you would like to read more about this chemical process, read about making your own laundry soap.
Cascade is a popular brand of dishwasher soap that has enzymes that will change the effectiveness of your hard water and help remove food particles from your dishes. Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is another type of water softener that allows the water to soften as it cleans the dishes. Knowing your waters’ chemistry is the first stage in knowing how to fight the battle of having clean dishes.
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Diluting your dishwashing liquid with a little homemade chemistry can help stretch your pennies and the usefulness of the soap will remain depending on your households’ type of water. After experimenting with it in several homes in the Pioneer Valley, the consensus is that 1/2 to ¾ dilution worked well for the extreme cases of hard water (if you have lime and calcium deposits in your toilet or on your coffee pots) and diluting it 4 times was the average with still very clean dishes as a result.
If you have made your own laundry soap then you have a good idea how to go about making any soap from the store products available. You are not reinventing the wheel when you are using other products to stretch your pennies further. It simply just makes sense to add some more talents to your penny-pinching-repertoire (PPR) of homemaking.
The recipe is simple regardless which recipe you choose.
If you use the laundry soap as your base, this is the recipe.
You have set aside two cups of your homemade liquid laundry soap as a base and you will add:
1 cup baking soda
1 cup of borax
Make a paste.
You can add any amount of water up to two gallons to dilute your dishwasher soap even more.
Once the dilution is complete and the mixture is cooled overnight, add your dishwasher soap. You can find Cascade (this soap works best for hard water) on sale for 2.99 for a 45 oz. box of dry powder or liquid frequently.
You will only need four storebought dishwashersoaps per year so stock up when you find it on sale and use your coupons as well. Occasionally the Family-Dollar has it on-sale and that store also accepts coupons. Compare before you shop.
If you did not set aside some laundry soap to use as a base use this recipe.
1 cup baking soda
1 cup borax
1 cup of your preferred laundry soap.(this write uses Tide for cold water, coupons this weekend!)
Heat in four cups of water: add water if needed as it is cooking.
When completely heated and the powder has turned into a cloudy liquid, turn off heat and go one to next step.
Dilute this cooled mixture with two gallons of water in a five-gallon bucket and let sit over night.
In the morning, this mixture may have a thick film of soapy goop on top. Chop it up and stir it in. This process occasionally requires a blender to get the largest chunks to blend smoothly into the rest of the mixture.
When it is completely blended to your satisfaction, (this does not have to be perfect but it is up to you), add your favorite dishwasher soap to the cooled mixture. Vigorously stir with a whisk to make sure the blending is complete.
Once complete, put into bottles of your choice. Large seltzers bottles or recycle those single-serving water bottles for this application but you can also use leftover recycled laundry soap or dish soap bottles as well. Tip: It is easier to pour from the single-serve water or soda bottles.
This recipe makes two gallons. You will not need more than that in two-three months depending on the size and frequency of your dishwasher loads. You can see why this recipe requires only 4 boxes or bottles of your favorite dishwasher soap per year.
If this recipe does not work in your household, you may have extremely hard water and you will need to cut back on your dilution. If you do not want to waste what you have already made, simply add another box or bottle of your favorite dishwasher soap to the mixture this time and when you make it again, simply do not add as much water to the recipe. (Cut back on the dilution with water by half to start)
Be at peace, stay healthy, and pay-it-forward,
Your friend in creating a frugal family,
Email me directly if you have an article suggestion of if you would like something researched and you don’t have the time.
The information on this site is in the public domain. This site is for entertainment purposes only. The Examiner is not responsible for information published on this site. The author’s expertise is limited to the formal education of Social Work, 20-year self-taught herbalist, 30 year self-taught and self-studied gardener/wholesale plant distributor, 20-year self-taught bargain hunter and a formally trained Master/Teacher of Reiki. Debra not a formally trained financial advisor and information on this site should not be construed as financial or medical treatment, advice or direction. This site is for entertainment purposes only.