Healthy lifestyle · Homesteading · Money savers · Urban skills

Detergent-free household

dishwasherI did it.

As of this week, I have no detergents in my regular cleaning lineup. Instead, I am using a combination of natural soaps and other products.

  • Laundry detergent:  Dr. Bronner’s Citrus Castile Liquid Soap, borax and washing soda.
  • Shampoo: Kiss My Face Olive Oil Bar Soap (I was using “shampoo bars” but discovered this works even better, and my hair loves it)
  • Dishwashing detergent: Dr. Bronners and water, roughly half and half
  • Hand soap: Dr. Bronners and water in a recycled foaming soap pump dispenser
  • Toothpaste: I just started Heritage Products Ipsab Tooth Powder, which contains salt and prickly ash; it’s a bit odd to brush your teeth with salt but it may have long-term benefits
  • General cleaning spray (also for mopping): a little Dr. Bronners mixed with water and white vinegar
  • Window cleaner: vinegar and water

And the last to go:

  • Automatic dishwasher detergent:  a squirt of Dr. Bronners plus less than 1/4 cup washing soda added to the dispensers in the machine.

For all of these uses, the proportions of soap to water (or other items) isn’t scientific. For something like a counter spray, you mainly want water with vinegar, with just a little soap, but for something like dishes, you’ll want to use more soap. The trick is to use as little of the products as possible to get results, so you might need to experiment.

Now, instead of harsh petroleum products and random chemicals that could cause all kinds of havoc with my body and the environment, have to be tested on animals and have a whole host of other issues (see my post on making my own laundry detergent for more on that), I use much more gentle and biodegradable options. It’s also huge money saver. Although a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s, or a box of Borax, might cost more than a bottle of generic dishsoap, they each last a long time. Most ingredients also have multiple uses and I can mix up more as needed. Best of all, by shopping at Wheatsville Co-Op, I’m able to buy my Dr. Bronner’s in bulk, which is considerably cheaper.

The next step is to make my own soap… so stay tuned!

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6 thoughts on “Detergent-free household

    1. A couple things I discovered is that the Dr. Bronner’s soap alone is pretty much all you need. However, it has a nasty habit of leaving a white film on everything. A rinse with vinegar at the end will clear that up. I figured this out by looking at commercial natural dishwasher detergents, all of which have some sort of acid like citric acid in them. Worth giving a try!

      1. Yah, we’ve had to use a lemi-shine powder to get rid of film… I guess the water is a little hard around here.

    1. A couple things I discovered is that the Dr. Bronner’s soap alone is pretty much all you need. However, it has a nasty habit of leaving a white film on everything. A rinse with vinegar at the end will clear that up. I figured this out by looking at commercial natural dishwasher detergents, all of which have some sort of acid like citric acid in them. Worth giving a try!

      1. Yah, we’ve had to use a lemi-shine powder to get rid of film… I guess the water is a little hard around here.

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