Let’s Dish

We are running low on our dishwasher detergent. Just having a working dishwasher is a huge game-changer for us since our first house in Washington state didn’t have one. We hand-washed everything. And we’ve always been somewhat eco-friendly (although we still used lots of products in plastic), so when we had guests over – it was lots of time spent washing dishes since we never used disposables.

Honestly, I don’t mind it so much except for the time factor. Now that I’m a mom, I really mind the time factor. I can’t wait til my kids are old enough to do the dishes. That’s going to be a fantastic day. Right? Because they’ll do dishes all the time, right?

When we moved in and used the dishwasher in our house, it was so disappointing. We “borrowed” a bottle of dish-washing detergent from my parents that we had no intention of ever returning or replacing (Hi, Mom!). It left everything white and streaky. Every other detergent we tried either didn’t get our dishes clean or left them white and streaky. I tried to make my own too with no luck though.

So for awhile, we hand-washed all our dishes with our dishwasher just sitting there.

But then, a friend of mine at work told me to try the orange Finish gel pacs and our life was changed. Even though they have stained the inside of our dishwasher orange, they do a beautiful job of cleaning all our dishes.

It’s time for a change though! The Finish gel pacs may have been a time-saver, but I’m sure they are full of harsh chemicals (I’m not looking that up) and while they come in a cardboard box, they also come wrapped in a plastic bag.

So it’s time to see if there is a better solution to cut out the harsh chemicals and the little bit of plastic.

My first step was to try to make my own from a zero waste blog that claimed to work with hard water. We have EXTREMELY hard water. Have I mentioned that? It makes finding detergents that work (or trying to go ‘No Poo for your hair-washing) very challenging.

Anyhow, I tried a recipe from Zero Waste California, where you use 5 drops of dish soap, cover it with 1 1/4 Tbsp baking soda, and then 1 tsp of salt. I loaded it up, said a little prayer, and turned it on.

I was actually a little excited to open up the dishwasher to unload it afterwards which is typically a non-existent emotion I have in regards to my dishwasher. I couldn’t wait to see how it did!

The first thing I pulled out was a Pyrex bowl and it was so beautifully clean and shining…I thought I was in luck! What an easy detergent – so cheap too!

But then I pulled out some of my glass jars and they were wicked spotted. My plates were streaky too. Harumph.

I have to wonder if these DIY recipes would work in a house with “normal” water. Maybe if we ever move some day, I’ll try them again.

But for now, I’m on the hunt.

This morning on Facebook, I had an advertisement for Clean Cult because of course, Facebook knows me better than I know myself and my feed is full of zero waste, eco-friendly products. That’s not a complaint. Well, I mean – it is super creepy how easily they can profile me so I guess it’s a mild complaint.

Clean Cult had such a funny video and they have foaming hand soap, bar hand soap, laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, dish soap, all-purpose cleaner etc. Plus any order over $12 has free shipping! The reviews sounded good and like they have some quality, natural cleaning products. I loved that their refills are entirely plastic free/recyclable and I was totally ready to order from them. Until I went through the process of trying to order.

For starters, you have to buy a trial kit to get their products. I’m assuming it’s to get the plastic containers with their own labels to advertise their products. I personally wanted to jump straight to the refills to refill what I already have at my house. I have lots of spray bottles and a dish soap bottle – why do I have to buy a new one?

Also, they want you to buy a minimum of 3 products in the starter kit (you get a free bar of soap, though!).

I was happily filling up my starter kit to get that free bar of soap and getting really excited about it when I realized it was wasteful for me.

I have enough hand soap stock-piled right now that it will seriously last me a year. I like my current DIY all-purpose cleaners, and I really want to try the EcoEgg for laundry detergent. So here I was about to buy products that I didn’t need, just to try a new dishwasher detergent.

And I didn’t really want to buy them in plastic containers, even if I would get refills for them later.

I’m not opposed to Clean Cult by any means – I just didn’t need all the products when all I want is to test-drive their dishwasher tablets.

So I placed an order with Dropps instead. Dropps claims a lot of the same perks as Clean Cult and with both of them you sign up for a subscription that you can cancel at any time. Actually, Dropps you could do a one-time order, I signed up for the subscription because there was a 20% discount with it.

I only ordered their dishwasher pods (I got 64 lemon-scented pods for $16) and I found a coupon code on RetailMeNot – (code: BargainBuddy) – that got me 15% off and free shipping. So I paid $13.60 for my dishwasher pods.

Which was less than what I was going to spend with Clean Cult and saved me a bunch of products that I would have been happy to test drive for the sake of Science, but really didn’t need.

I’ll report back on how they work once they arrive. I know, what a tease 😉

Speaking of reporting back and “dishing”…a friend of mine pitched the idea of creating a Facebook group where my 4 readers could share out when they try a zero waste product or have ideas for reducing waste.

Ok, it’s slightly more than 4 readers, but that’s way more fun to say.

And I love the idea because I’m definitely not going to try everything under the sun – I’m just trying to find what works for me. And what works for one person definitely isn’t going to work for everyone.

So, if you’d like to be included, just let me know and I’ll send an invitation. I think that’s how it works. If you know of someone else who would like to be in, then you can send them an invitation (is that how it works?). If you want to post your triumphs, failures, ideas, and questions – go for it. If you just want to read about other people’s triumphs, failures, ideas or questions, they’ll be available to you. But bear with it, because it’s a new thing and I’ve never done it. I titled it “Love Your Mother (Earth)”. We can see how it goes. 🙂

6 thoughts on “Let’s Dish

    1. Yeah, it at least didn’t need to be run again, and I should try the vinegar (I had read that on your blog, but wasn’t sure exactly what compartment to put it in on my dishwasher and was afraid of getting a 2nd grade volcano science experiment in my dishwasher). Thanks for your blog and everything you do – you’re an inspiration!!!


  1. Kind of love the play by play on the dish detergent game. I wish I had your problem but I’m still washing my dishes by hand. I love to think there will be a day when I finally have a dishwasher again but for now I’m using package-free dish soap from a local bulk shop. Good luck in your clean-dish journey!


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