In terms of how they affect the health of humans it's hard to determine which brands are safe. Many detergents leave a residue on the dishes which is consumed when you use them to eat or drink off of. Others (like chlorine bleach) can cause respiratory problems or allergic reactions.
Another concern is the phosphates because they boost algae growth which can also harm fish and wetland plants. I don't know about you, but all the brands that I've tried that are phosphate free don't perform nearly as well as the ones with phosphate because phosphates help significantly with hard water.
In the recipe I'm trying today I am using a few simple ingredients:
Washing Soda: It is a natural substance made from salt and limestone, which is also known as sodium carbonate. It cuts grease, raises pH, and neutralizes chlorine.
Baking Soda: Also raises pH and acts as a "scrubber" to clean off the really crusty stuff. You may want to be careful when cleaning aluminum based products though as it can damage them.
Salt: Has some affect on water softening
Citric Acid: It helps eliminate the need for products, like phosphates, that soften the water. It removes hard water stains and is an antimicrobial agent.
It comes out to be pretty cheap because you only use around a TBSP per load!
MY NEW DISHWASHING DETERGENT:
So if you run your dishwasher every day that would be a savings of over $91/ year.
A few tips for clean, sparkly dishes:
- Run the hot cycle. Your water temp should be around 120 F.
- Use white vinegar as a rinse aid
- Make sure your dishwasher is clean!You can read how it do it in my post DIY Dishwasher Cleaner.
- If you still continue to get that nasty while film, try putting 2-3 TBSP of vinegar directly in the dishwasher before you wash. It will loosen up some of the grim before your dishwasher releases the detergent.
- If you have extremely hard water, sadly, you may never get those crystal clear dishes unless you get a water softener or use chemicals to treat the water.