2012-05-12

Doing the dishes

We got some new dish soap. I'm really excited about this, because our previous dish soap was a bit of a disaster.


You see, in the interest of reducing our waste, we had decided to try using a bar soap for the dishes. We got Dr Bronner's bar soap for the job. It turns out that using a bar of soap for hands is awesome, but using one for doing dishes is quite a pain.

Not to worry, surely we can make our own liquid soap by simply melting down the bar and adding water to dilute it and keep it liquid. I've lost the link to the "recipe" I tried to use, but basically it involved a large quantity of water, a shredded bar of soap, and a couple hours of simmering.

Sounds easy; I'm good at shredding soap.

The result was a good deal more painful than if I had stuck with the solid bar. Using the soap at this point involved immersing the bottle in hot water for fifteen minutes or more so it would re-melt and become suitable for use. This meant just to prepare to do the dishes, there had to be some vessel large enough to contain enough hot water to cover most of the bottle we keep the soap in.

Let's just say that the dishes stacked up.

To be fair, I may have used less water than the recipe indicated. I had started out with at least twice as much shredded soap as called for. But, I tried to help things by adding even more water when my soap was in its heated liquid phase. That didn't help; it remained stubbornly solid.

The point is, this is one homemade item that I don't have the patience for.

We've decided that it's an acceptable trade-off to purchase a gallon jug of liquid castile soap. While we would prefer to avoid it anywhere we can, plastic is the only way to get it. We'll eventually be able to recycle the bottle, and possibly even the lid. We considered the option of filling up our own bottle from a store, but then we realized no matter where we get it, it's going to be plastic for someone. Unless we can convince Dr Bronner to package it in glass...

We got the lavender. It smells great. Works great too!

For doing the dishes, we're using a glass bottle that used to contain some garlic herb olive oil / balsamic vinegar. We found that the plastic lid from an old bottle of Seventh Generation dish soap fit the oil bottle perfectly. The soap is pretty watery, so it sort of comes out of the bottle a little like Tobasco sauce.

The soap in its natural liquid form is super concentrated. The mix Dr Bronner's suggests for dishes is a ratio of 40:1 water to soap. The bottle we have holds about a cup. When I make it, I mix a cup of water and a little dribble of soap. I haven't actually tried to be precise about the soap measurement, but 1/40 of a cup is 1.2 teaspoons. At this rate, I'll be able to fill this bottle around 640 times. It took me a couple weeks to use the bottle, so unless we find some other uses for it, I expect we'll be finishing this gallon of soap around November 2036. That should make up for the plastic.

Edit: This post was actually written by Rob, the dish-doer.

Edit: This post also shows on a blog hop, dated 2012-05-15 here: