Homemade dishwasher detergent and other natural cleaners

In our household we have slowly been making the change from normal chemical and sodium lauryl sulfate laden cleaners to those that are more natural. It has been a gradual process but we are making headway! If I were to go out and buy cleaners that don't have chemicals or SLS I would have to pay quite a bit, so I have been happy to find various recipes that allow me to make my own stuff for quite a bit less.

The latest thing that I have tried making is Dishwasher Detergent. I found the recipe over at "Blessings Overflowing". I had to go out a buy liquid Castile soap but otherwise it was normal kitchen ingredients. I found the Castile soap at our health food store (where you could buy it from a bulk container) and they had 3 different scents (scented with essential oils, not perfumes) Eucalyptus, Lavender and Peppermint. I chose peppermint and have really been enjoying it. It makes our whole kitchen area smell wonderful while the dishwasher is going. Since the soap already had a scent, I left the tea tree oil (which is good for disinfecting but also has a scent ) out of the recipe as I didn't want to get to many scents mixed together. If the Castile soap you find doesn't have peppermint oil in it, I am sure you could add it on your own if you so desired.

The recipe was very easy to mix up and it is easy to store. I decided to use an old oil jar. And what is really neat about it is that it works! I have tried my own detergent recipes in the past that have not been successful so I am very happy about that! I actually think it works quite a lot better than the Cascade that I had been using, and it smells so much better!

Other ways that we have become more natural are:
  • Making my own Laundry Soap with this recipe from the Simple Dollar. This has saved me a lot of money! I also like not having to shop for detergent, whenever I need more I simply pull out the simple ingredients and make another batch. I don't necessarily think this works better than store bought stuff but it works okay and I really appreciate that it is more natural and way cheaper!
  • Baking Soda for scrubbing toilets, sinks, etc. This works great and is a great deal!
  • Baking Soda instead of toothpaste. I don't do this 100% of the time but I do a lot and it works just fine.
  • Vinegar rinse instead of conditioner. This has been working lovely. I also have tried the No'poo method, using baking soda instead of shampoo. This work for a while but then I started having some difficulties and when I tried it again lately the baking soda really bothered my scalp. I am hoping to make this homemade "shampoo" soon and try it.
  • We do also use natural Melalucca products for shower cleaning, windows, to spray on the toilet, etc. It lasts a long time but when I run out of that I will probably experiment with some homemade recipes. (Though I am pretty attached to their shower cleaner as it works very well with hard water stains!)
  • For mopping I simply use warm water with vinegar.
  • To avoid SLS we also don't buy soft soap but rather use bar soap for washing hands and washing up while showering.
  • Currently I am still using normal dish soap but I was given this recipe and will probably try it soon:

Shred 2 bars of Octagon Soap (have you ever heard of this?) into 4 1/2 to 5 quarts water in a pot on the stove. Heat it until it dissolves. Then turn stove off and add 1 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup washing soda and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Stir. When cooled pour into sealed containers. It says it doesn't suds as much but it will get the dishes clean.

I am curious to hear any more ways to make natural cleaners, especially if they are frugal too!

What do you do at your house?

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