This is a question we get a lot during our natural babyproofing workshops, and the short answer is: yes.
Natural dishwasher detergent had proven to be my nemesis for years. After trying so many different brands with marginal results, I seriously had to ask myself if it was worth the effort. I spent some time and refreshed my research on the topic and here's why it really is important…
- Chlorine bleach is still a key ingredient in most mainstream brands. This poisonous chemical can cause some major respiratory troubles, especially when chlorine fumes are released into the air during the drying cycle. There's just no reason to expose your growing children to toxic indoor air when there are so many safer alternatives available.
- Synthetic fragrances are very common and often contain phthalates. Remember how more than 3,000 chemicals can legally hide behind the term “fragrance” on a product label? If you take a look at the “eco” version of a brand like Palmolive, you'll see fragrance listed, so you have to be careful with “natural” claims.
- Sulfuric acid is also added to regular detergents too. It's very corrosive, can cause burns and is suspected of causing asthma. Did you happen to notice sulfuric acid was also listed in Palmolive's eco detergent?
As you can see, dishwashers are a surprisingly big source of indoor air pollution because we end up inhaling chemical vapors during the wash cycle and even more so after you open the door when the dishes are done.
Switching to a Natural Detergent
I decided to test my skills at a DIY recipe for an automatic detergent. And even though it felt great to know I'd made something non-toxic and inexpensive, it just didn't get the job done. So I began working my way through some of the major eco-brands to see if they could do a little better. I was disappointed with many of the eco-brands.
DIY Dishwasher Detergent Recipes
Many of my eco-blogging friends are all over this game of finding a DIY detergent that actually works, so here are their top recipes:
- ecokaren's Borax Free Liquid Dishwasher Detergent
- The Homesteading Hippy's Homemade Auto Dishwasher Detergent
- Happy Money Saver's Homemade Dishwasher Tabs
- Wellness Mama's Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
I'd love to know which of you Non-toxic Ninjas out there have made a homemade recipe that really works. Would you share your winning recipes?