08 October 2013

Dishwasher Cubes

When Aldi discontinued the dishwasher powder I used (and was very happy with) and replaced it with one at double the price I was more than a little annoyed. I was downright peeved!And so began the search for a dishwasher powder that really cleaned the dishes, without leaving them streaky or milky or covered in a residue.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of recipes on the WWW for dishwasher powders, and more than a few in the Cheapskates Tip Store, so to save money, time and energy (mostly mine) I spent an afternoon experimenting in the kitchen with the basic ingredients from the most popular recipes.

What I discovered was that I couldn't make a dishwasher powder that satisfied my inner cleaning fanatic. Nor could I make a dishwasher liquid or gel that met said cleaning fanatic's standards.

I did however discover a mixture that did a great job, but it solidified after a couple of hours. Sadly, once it was solid, it was too hard to get out of the jar. That's when inspiration struck (or the caffeine kicked in) and I realised that if the mixture set like cement in the jar, it would just as easily set like cement in a mould, preferably an ice cube mould, to make dishwasher tablets (or cubes or butterflies or rabbits or whatever shape your ice cube mould is).

And when this mixture is used in the dishwasher, just like a bought dishwasher tablet, it works. It works beautifully. It doesn't leave the dishes greasy or filmy or streaked. They are clean and sparkling and everything a cleaning fanatic could want when it comes to clean dishes.

I included the recipe and instructions in this month's Cheapskates Journal, along with a printable tip sheet, but it's so good I just have to share it here too.

MOO Dishwasher Cubes

You will need:
3 cups water
1-1/4 cups washing soda
3 tbsp liquid castile soap* (orange or peppermint is nice for dishes)
1 litre bowl or jug
Stick blender
Silicon ice cube trays (they need to be flexible to get the cubes out without breaking them)

Step 1. Put the water and the liquid castile soap into the jug. Stir to combine. Add the washing soda and stir thoroughly until it is dissolved. The washing soda needs to be thoroughly and completely dissolved. The mixture will thicken and turn milky - don't worry, it's fine. Keep stirring until the washing soda has completely dissolved.

Step 2. Leave for 1 hour then whisk again. Give your arms a good workout. Whisk and whisk. This goop needs to be mixed up really well. Leave for two hours, when the mixture should have turned to a gel and started to set.

Step 3. Whip with a stick blender until the mixture is creamy and smooth and really thick.  Spoon into the ice cube tray. Level off the top of each cube. Leave overnight to set then turn them out of the mould. Use one tablet per load of dishes. Keep the tablets in a dry, air-tight container.

I've just looked up the price of commercial dishwasher tablets and let me tell you now I am so very glad I never, ever bought them. The cheapest I could find was 58 cents each. Some of the fancier tablets, with added stuff, cost 84 cents - each. If you do a load of dishes every day, and I'm sure most families would, that adds $5.88 a week to your grocery bill! Yikes!

MOO dishwasher tablets are much more budget friendly at just 12 cents each!

Costs: $2.41for approximately 64 cubes, 12 cents each -  a definite price winner
Washing soda (1kg @ $3.78) = 1-1/4 cups $1.21
Liquid Castille soap (1 litre @ $19.95) = 3 tablespoons (60ml) $1.20

Helpful hints:
*Do not be tempted to use regular liquid soap or detergent, it is far to sudsy to use in a dishwasher. Liquid castile soap is very low sudsing and gentle and safe to use in your dishwasher. I used Dr. Bronner's Liquid Castile soap because that is what I had. I buy it from my local health food shop; it's available online too, but you'll pay postage. Check a few different health food shops and even some soap shops to compare prices.

*Do not be tempted to swap the washing soda for bicarbonate of soda, the recipe will not work. Washing soda and bicarbonate soda are two very different substances.

*Scrape dishes and pots before putting them in the dishwasher. There is no need to rinse anything before it goes in.

*Clean your dishwasher regularly - schedule it for once a month when you clean the drains.


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1 comment:

  1. Cath, I'm now using Coles no name dishwasher powder. It's about $2 for 1kg. It works just like the Aldi one. I was very annoyed when Aldi discontinued their cheap dishwasher power. I'd been using it for years.

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