I am really struggling with finding a zero waste alternative for my beloved Dawn. I have heard Castile soap works but doesn't break down grease. What do you use to wash your dishes and where do you buy it? Thanks so much! Anything that has no plastic packaging is a HUGE plus!
Castlie soap (liquid or bar) didn’t work for me either. So I’ve been using regular bar soap instead. Nice and simple, and it works just fine ☺
My local co-op has a lot of different kinds that come without packaging or problematic chemicals. I’ve been working my way through them. Some have definitely done a better job than others. At the moment, I’m using a clay based soap and it’s working well.
The thing I’m having trouble finding is a really good biodegradable scrubbie!
I tried a bar soap in the kitchen and it did not work well. I used soap works clay soap. I chose it because there is no packaging, and it said it was good for oily skin, so I thought it might help cut the grease on dishes. It cleaned the dishes ok, not great but ok, but they were really spotty after they air dried. I did find it easy to use though. I am using a sponge (not what would be considered zero waste, but I am new to this journey and I'm using up everything that I currently have before buying new items) and it lathered well and seemed really good while I was using it. I would like to try another soap, does anyone have any suggestions about which bar soap might work well in the kitchen for dishes?
JanetLynne, I'm wondering if the problem is basically the issue between a soap and a detergent: soaps, particularly in harder water, can leave a residue, or "scum", whereas detergents are chemically created to leave no residue. We had tried castile but found that it, indeed, did leave smear marks and didn't feel squeaky clean. Not wanting to eat soapy residue we went back to detergent which I was finally able to find in bulk.
You might be able to find specially formulated bars for dishes at Etsy, but be aware that they probably incorporate washing soda, etc which can be really drying to your hands, as well as having to deal with packaging, etc.
Another possibility might be to try a purely coconut oil based soap, since word is that those rinse more thoroughly.
Yet another simple idea: use vinegar in your rinse water and see if that works.
Here are some hints and tricks that we are doing for hand dishwashing.
But probably #1 is that we don't eat a very high fat diet, so don't really cook with oils...We aren't facing a stack of greasy dishes.
I have reused a quart vinegar bottle that I put about 1/16 to 1/8 C castile liquid soap in then top off with water. Shake it up before using as it does separate between uses. To this you can add about 1T washing soda but it isn't vital. When I wash dishes by hand, I have my stack of dirty dishes on the counter top and in the sink I have a small bowl of this soap which I use to replenish my washcloth which I use folded up into a sponge size pad. I basically do a camping style of dishwashing so the majority of the water I use goes for rinsing. I do pre-rinse my dirty dishes before I start. This soap isn't very sudsy. I do go through this bottle about every 2 weeks but that isn't too expensive for us.
The only time I have had spotting has been when I inadvertently put Borax instead of washing soda in the mix. It made it into a semi solid!
If you are finding hand soap in liquid bulk and like that sudsy sensation then why not give it a go and try it with your dirty dishes? I agree with the other commenter about adding vinegar to rinse water. When I'm at the lake using well water (which is usually harder) that seems to do the trick. If you aren't against bleach you can add about 1T to a sink of water to rinse your dishes in to sanitize them (learned that working in a cafeteria).
In transitioning toward zero waste you might just keep your last small bottle of Dawn on the shelf for the really tough jobs (yep, I do have that for the JIC) and use your bulk find for your routine washing. I am using my handy shaker of baking soda (repurposed a Parmigian cheese shaker topped jar for this which I keep out on the counter) for any baked on crusty bits. It has totally replaced the plastic scrubbie/sponge we used for non-stick. Baking soda has become so reliable and a versatile helper that I may just donate my old cans of cleanser (which sit with that bottle of Dawn).
I use diluted Castile soap, too, and it works well for me. Diluting it prevents clogging of my built-in soap dispenser and reduces the cost. I dry the dishes with a towel as soon as I wash them, so that prevents spotting. For scrubbing pads, crocheted or felted wool pads work well.
It's good to know that baking soda in a shaker is useful - I will try that.
Felted wool pads! That sounds like an interesting idea/possibility/next project...
But, for now, I found a "work-around" for the scrubby pads that is going really well for me: felt cloth rag dabbed in course salt (bought in bulk). Works on most things, for really tough stuff I use the stainless steel scrubby.