Friday, May 6, 2011

Homemade Dishwashing Detergent

My first attempt at going green in this area was to buy dishwashing detergent in powder form, in the cardboard box. My first mistake was buying "Cascade". Not only did I nearly pass out each time I opened the box because of the fumes, it did a crummy job of washing my dishes. Next, I tried Seventh Generation. It worked fine with no fumes but it did leave a cloudy residue. But...what if I took it a step further and made my own?

Since my homemade laundry detergent worked so well, I took the ingredients I already had from that experiment and made my own dishwashing detergent. According to Matt Jabs at diy Natural, the citric acid in this recipe helps with the cloudiness that is sometimes left on glasses. Combined with white vinegar as the rinse agent, my dishes came out sparkly clean! Even though the citric acid is a little pricy, the recipe comes out to $0.07 per load, which is half the price of name brand detergents!

Homemade Dishwashing Detergent

● 1 cup borax ($2.99/box at Target)

● 1 cup washing soda ($5.99/box at Ace Hardware)

● 1/2 cup citric acid powder ($28 for 5lbs at Amazon or check your bulk aisle)

● 1/2 cup kosher salt

Mix ingredients together and use 1 tablespoon per load. This detergent will clump together because of the citric acid but it doesn't affect the product in any way.

Fill rinse agent compartment with white vinegar.

I also want to make a note that the biggest motivation in making my own cleaning products is not saving money at all. That part is nice, but I love that I can clean with natural ingredients and keep my family safe from toxins as well as reduce waste.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Green Snacks and Lunches

I got these cute reusable snack and sandwich bags last week and I am in love with them. We normally use glass snapware for lunches and leftovers but they are so heavy and take up so much room. Sometimes a ziplock bag is great for snacks on the go and these are perfect for replacing those plastic bags! I bought a few from a small company here in Seattle as well as online at Etsy. They come in different designs, sizes and closures. You can flip them inside out and wipe them out or throw them in the washing machine. Most of them have a velcro closure at the top (some have a drawstring option). The "sandwich wrap" is genius. It's basically just a square of fabric backed by a waterproof liner that you fold your sandwich up in and it seals with a piece of velcro. I wish I knew how to sew so I could make my own and save more money! But, I love supporting local moms and artists so it all works out :)

Below are the links to my favorite shops. I always look for bags with the "gusseted bottom" because it allows for more room and the design allows you to "stand" the bag up when it's filled. (Yes, that is Care Bear and Strawberry Shortcake you see there...Mama needs her own snack bags too!)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I found this recipe over at diy Natural and decided to give it a shot. I wanted to stop polluting the earth with those plastic jugs every couple of weeks and save some money too. There are only 3 ingredients and all but one are easy to find. Bar soap, borax, and washing soda. I had the first 2 ingredients already but had to do some investigating to find the washing soda. They didn't have it at my grocery store or Target but I managed to track it down at good ol' Ace Hardware. Needless to say, I stocked up since I also plan to make my own dishwashing detergent later this week with the washing soda. You can also find all the ingredients at Amazon but they are a little more expensive.

I've already done 2 loads of laundry with it and it seems to be working great. I may change soaps (I used Ivory) as I'm not fond of the scent, but other than that, it does the job!

Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe, by Matt Jabs

● 1 bar of shaved bar soap (Ivory, ZOTE, Fels-Naptha)
(I got 10 bars at Target for $3)

● 1 cup borax
($2.99/box at Target)

● 1 cup washing soda
($5.99/box at Ace Hardware)

Grate the bar soap, add borax and washing soda and mix well until it forms a fine powder. Use 1-2 tablespoons per load. Also works with HE washers.

I keep mine in a recycled glass pickle jar with a tablespoon scoop inside, properly labeled of course.