Kitchen Part I: DIY Dishwasher Detergent and Pot/Pan Cleaning


I have been slowly transitioning over to home made, non toxic, Terrific Twenty list products to use in the kitchen. There is so much that happens and needs to be taken care of in the kitchen that I have decided to break it up into three parts. This first part focuses on ways to clean the dishes, pots and pans. Here is what you will find in this post:

  1. Dishwasher Detergent
  2. Basic Scrub
  3. Tough Scrub

Dishwasher Detergent

What You Need

  1. A jar (I used a 1 pint mason jar, but any size will do; just adjust amounts.)
  2. 1 part water (I used a little less than 1/2 cup)
  3. 1 part Castile Soap (I used a little less than 1/2 cup of Dr. Bronner’s Baby Hemp)
  4. 1 cup vinegar (for the rinse)

What To Do

  1. Mix the ingredients in the jar
  2. Put 1 Tablespoon of the mixture in the compartment where you usually put the dish washing detergent.
  3. Add 1 cup vinegar to the rinse compartment of your dishwasher or just to the bottom of the dishwasher.

Note: Do not combine the vinegar and Castile Soap; they will counteract each other. The main website I used for this recipe can be found here. Really great website. This works REALLY well. My dishes and glasses come out clean and shiny, even when the dishes have been put in without a good rinse off.


Basic Scrub

What You Need

  1. Baking soda
  2. Half of a lemon

What To Do

  1. Place the baking soda and a little water in the pot, pan or sink that you want to clean.
  2. Use the halved lemon to scrub.
  3. That’s all!

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Tough Scrub

This works WONDERS on those tough to clean pots and pans. I don’t have any before and after pictures at the moment.

What You Need

  1. Water
  2. Vinegar
  3. 1-2 Tablespoons Baking Soda
  4. Scrub brush

What To Do

  1. Combine vinegar and water in the bottom of the pot or pan.
  2. Make sure the mixture reaches the area you want to clean.
  3. Place the pot or pan on the stove.
  4. Turn the burner on and wait for it to come to a boil.
  5. Turn off the burner and remove the pot or pan from the heat.
  6. Add the baking soda.
  7. Scrub until clean.

Note: I have seen this idea on various websites and tried it out myself multiple times. It really works. Check this website out for more detailed instructions and a second opinion.


Olive Oil-Lemon Furniture Polish

We have small children and I am more of a big picture type of mom. This means our house is not pristine, bits of paint frequently find themselves on the walls  and food crumbs are often hiding under kitchen chairs. I am realistic about our lifestyle so our furniture is not top quality; however I do try and take care of what we have. The children’s kitchen table and our dining table are made of wood with a dark stain. This past weekend I have been working on cleaning and polishing them up a bit. Olive oil and lemon make an excellent polish without giving off noxious fumes (unlike Old English furniture polish). It is super easy to make: 2 parts olive oil combined with 1 part lemon juice. You need only make as much as needed for the day of use; it does not keep well unless the mixture is refrigerated. I prefer to mix mine up in a small glass mason jar and use a clean rag to dab in the mixture and then polish until I am happy with the result. Keep a low quality olive oil and lemon juice on hand for these occasions; no need to spend a lot of money. Olive oil is a great thing to have on hand for polishing up wood and removing door creaks. Yes, I used olive oil on a creaky door a few years ago when no WD40 was on hand. Guess what? I have not had a single creak from the door since.

What You Need

  1. 2 parts olive oil (low quality is fine
  2. 1 part lemon juice (low quality is fine

What To Do

  1. Combine the olive oil and lemon juice in a container on the day of use.
  2. Mix well.
  3. Dab a clean cloth in the mixture and polish to your heart’s content.
Kind of gross looking, but it works!


Cleaning Product Make Over

I decided to make over my cleaning products using all natural items on the Terrific Twenty list. My goal was two fold:

  1. Make the process and product super simple.
  2. Limit waste as much as possible.

For the past few weeks I have been using up my existing cleaning products and placing them in a paper bag for future reuse. I also began adding other containers such as shampoo bottles. Thanks to this pre planning I was totally prepared to quickly whip up my new, all natural set of cleaning products!

My container collection

In keeping with my first goal (SIMPLE), I chose the four products I use most frequently for the make over.

  1. Glass Cleaner
  2. Surface Cleaner
  3. Scrub
  4. Disinfectant Wipes
The originals

The make over portion of this was so simple; it took about ten minutes. I used the original containers and refilled them with the new products (except the scrub). Easy, simple, quick.

  1. Glass Cleaner: Undiluted white vinegar
  2. Surface Cleaner: 2 cups water, 2 cups white vinegar, 10 drops essential oil of choice
  3. Scrub: Baking soda
  4. Disinfectant Wipes: For all of the following options you will start with a paper towel roll, cut it to fit your container, place it in the container (mashing ok), mix up the liquid ingredients, pour over paper towel. Once the paper towels have absorbed the liquid you may remove the cardboard center in order to pull the wipes through. OPTION A: paper towel roll cut to fit your container, 2 Tablespoons castille soap, 1 cup water, 8-10 drops essential oil of your choice (optional). OPTION B: paper towel roll cut to fit your container, 2 T white vinegar, 1 cup water, 8-10 drops essential oil of your choice (optional). OPTION C: paper towel roll cut to fit your container, 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol, 1 teaspoon liquid dish soap, 8-10 drops essential oil of your choice (optional)
The center cardboard was easily removed after a few minutes wait. Paper towels successfully pulled through the opening!
The finished product!

Declog Your Drain Naturally

Our tub and utility sink get a lot of heavy use with kids and projects. I was frustrated last week by how slow they were draining, but refused to turn to a toxic drain cleaner. We had spent the morning watching the salmon (mostly chum) returning to their place of birth at Chico Creek in Bremerton, WA. The salmon are such amazing creatures. They travel thousands of miles, without eating, just to return home and continue the cycle of life. I was struck by how close to urban life these fish find themselves, but they don’t give up; some have been observed flopping across roads in an effort to complete their journey. I certainly do not want to add Drano to the toxic runoff entering their streams and further hurt these awesome creatures. Crunchy Betty has a great method for declogging drains using vinegar and baking soda. It worked wonders! I did have to repeat the process for the tub drain.

What You Need:

  1. Boiling water
  2. Vinegar
  3. Baking Soda

What To Do:

  1. Pour a pot of boiling water down the drain.
  2. Dump 1/2 cup baking soda into the drain. You may need to work it into the drain with a butter knife handle.
  3. GRADUALLY pour 1 cup vinegar/1 cup hot water down the drain. The mixture will fizz  up so you want to add the liquid gradually.
  4. Let sit 5-10 minutes.
  5. Pour a pot of boiling water down the drain.
  6. Repeat 1-2 times as necessary.

Check out this post for a bonus activity kids can do while you have your naural cleaning supplies at the ready. Also, below are a few pictures of the tired salmon at the end of their journey. The salmon tour was a day after a big rain so the current was strong and the waters were murky; this resulted in not so great pictures. However, the photos do show the salmon searching for a safe gravel bed in which to spawn and hide their eggs.





Playing with Vinegar and Baking Soda

One of the great things about The Terrific Twenty is they are all kid-friendly. While you are going about your daily routine there is no need to worry about your little ones getting into your household products. My five-year old son is very fond of mixing vinegar and baking soda; the reaction gives a lot of bang for very little effort. While I was de-clogging a few drains using the baking soda/vinegar method, I set my son up with an old soap dispenser filled with vinegar, a bowl of baking soda and an empty bowl for mixing fun!

“I put baking soda in a bowl and then I squirted vinegar into the bowl. It was fun!” -Wyatt (5)

One of the best things about this activity for kids is afterwards you can put the product and the kid to good use. We poured the final mixture into the bathtub and scrubbed it down. Good, clean fun!

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