Figuring out how to de-chemical-ize our automatic dishwasher detergent has been one of the most difficult transitions thus far. In some ways, personal care products are so much easier to finagle. And it’s very easy to go more natural for hand-washing (I’ll post more on that another time)… but the automatic dishwasher has driven us a bit nuts.
Later in the week, I’ll give you the actual saga of our search for an effective detergent, but today I wanted to focus on a great rinse aid trick.
Early on in my detox process, I stumbled across a post on My Healthy Green Family about making your own citrus vinegar. Being a family who goes through a ton of citrus weekly, it was a wonderful way to feel like we were making even better use of our fruits while also benefiting from a bit of simple DIY-ery.
Upon doing further research, I found some information suggesting use of vinegar as a rinse aid might actually destroy the plastic within the dishwasher. I have no idea if this is true; however, I figure better safe than sorry… and have since switched to the method described by Whole New Mom.
Here are the best things about this method:
- It’s cheap: Vinegar is one of the most cost-effective natural cleaners around.
- It’s safe: All the ingredients you’re using are natural. Nice to know when you think about the fact that you’re eating off of everything that rinse aid touches.
- It’s effective: Both vinegar AND citrus are anti-bacterial. So you’re getting the extra bang of natural anti-mold, anti-mildew, anti-germ fighters for very little cost to your pocketbook or your health.
(As a little side note, this vinegar is great for cleaning toilet bowls as well – but I’ll save that for another post!)
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You can do this in any sized jar you like. I had lots of jars of different sizes and would just fill up whatever was on hand. Each batch has to sit for 2 weeks somewhere dark, so when you’re going through lots of citrus at a time, it’s nice to stagger your efforts so that you’ve always got something that’s about to be ready!
citrus (peel only – any kind: grapefruit, orange, lemon, lime, etc.)
distilled white vinegar
- Place your citrus (peels only) into a glass jar, filling to the top. (If you don’t have enough to fill all at once, you can store the jar in the fridge until it is sufficiently packed.)
- Pour your vinegar into the jar, tipping or shaking periodically to ensure all crevices are filled, until it nearly reaches the top.
- Put on the lid and give it a good shake. If necessary, add a bit more vinegar so that there’s very little air up top.
- Store somewhere dark for no less than 2 weeks. Shake the jar every few days… though if you forget, it’s really ok.
- At the end of 2 weeks, strain the liquid into a new, clean container – discarding or composting the citrus rinds.
- Store your finished citrus vinegar somewhere dark and use – without diluting – as a rinse aid for your automatic dishwasher.
- To use, place a small cup or bowl face-up in the top rack of your dishwasher and fill with citrus vinegar… then run your dishwasher on your normal setting.