There are a multitude of chemicals used in most dishwashing detergents, whether they are liquid, powder, or tablets. These can include:
Fragrance: This one is a catch-all for a variety of chemicals used. It’s not just one chemical, it could be hundreds or even thousands. From the synthetic scents to the things like phthalates used to make the scent last longer, these chemicals can cause all sorts of issues, from allergies and asthma, hormone disruptions, reproductive issues, and even cancer. The fragrance does nothing for actually cleaning the dishes, and it’s damaging to your health.
Methylisothiazolinone: Typically used as a preservative, but often hidden under the “Fragrance” category, this one often shows up even in the “natural” dishwasher detergents. It can cause allergic reactions and neurotoxicity (toxic to the nervous system).
Triclosan: This chemical has gotten a lot of bad press, and for good reason. It’s been banned, sort of, from hand soaps, but that doesn’t stop them from using it in places like dishwashing detergents. It’s used for it’s antibacterial properties, but comes with a cancer warning and can affect fertility, fetal development, and exacerbate asthma.
Sodium hypochlorite: In other words, bleach. While bleach is known for being antimicrobial, it is also corrosive to eyes and skin, can cause throat and respiratory irritation, and gastric burns. It’s also associated with acute or chronic bronchitis. Even the vapors emitted during the wash cycle can cause problems.
Dyes: The colors that make the detergents blue, green, purple etc aren’t there to have any cleaning effect. They are only there to make you think they are doing something more effective. In reality, they are neurotoxins, cause reproductive harm, cancer and more. I have seen first hand how dyes on the skin can cause allergies, hyperactivity, learning impairment, irritability and aggressiveness even in my own children.
For a while, we just used the Thieves Dishwashing powder from Young Living with non GMO citric acid, and this works really well, but I found it a little annoying to have to scoop out of two containers every time we ran a load. (I know, this is a major problem, right?) I had tried mixing the two together ahead of time, and ended up with a jar full of hardened powder that I couldn’t get out. Then I learned how to make pre-portioned tablets using even more awesome toxin free ingredients that leave our dishes clean!
So heres the recipe for what we do now. They are so easy, and you can make a whole bunch at once, so it saves loads of time!
¼ c Non-GMO Citric Acid
½ c Sea Salt
1 c Baking soda
2 scoops Thieves Dishwashing powder
½ tsp -1 tbsp Thieves Household Cleaner
In a Glass or Stainless steel mixing bowl, mix together the citric acid, sea salt, baking soda and dishwashing powder. Slowly incorporate ½ teaspoon of the Thieves Household Cleaner at a time until the mixture holds together loosely when squeezed in your hand.
Press into an ice cube tray and let them dry overnight (i love these ones - the size is perfect for the compartment in my dishwasher). They will expand some in the container, so I found it helpful to place a large heavy pot or a cookie sheet stacked with books on top to keep it contained.
Once they are dry, pop the tabs out of the tray and store in a container.
To use, place one tablet in the machine compartment as you would any other commercial dishwasher tablets.
For sparkly clean dishes, dilute 1 capful of Thieves Household Cleaner in 1 cup of Food grade hydrogen peroxide or 1 cup of apple cider vinegar. You can also add a couple drops of Lemon Essential Oil to this mixture and pour it into the rinse aid compartment.
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