Zero Waste Fails – Homemade Dishwasher Tablets!


Don’t all the blogs you read about Zero Waste preach about everything that works for them. I’m getting a little sick of it actually, it’s like the edited version of many people’s lives that are portrayed on Facebook. It’s simply not real!

So, I’ve been trying to find a Zero Waste alternative to individually, plastic wrapped dishwasher tablets for some time now. It’s been one massive fail. I’ve tried recipes for liquids, powders and tablets. None of them was successful, not successful enough to switch to anyway. They contained in varying proportions; soda crystals, bicarbonate of soda, borax substitute, essential oils, castile soap and citric acid.

The tablets fell apart as soon as I removed them from the ice cube moulds. Alongside that, they were only halfway effective – leaving nasty, gritty residue on my cups, making my stainless steel cutlery marked and rusty. In addition they were totally useless on tea and coffee stains – meaning that I had to wash many items again by hand or soak them in  a special solution to remove the stains.

The dishwasher powder was the same, only this added a terrible white residue to everything which I had to scour off with a metal scourer. The liquid was no better, with horrible water residue marks on everything. The whole point of having a dishwasher is to remove that heavy burden of washing up, multiple times per day. Because we cook most meals from scratch, we normally have a large amount of dishes and pans to clean.

Whilst I’d love to be writing about my fantastic homemade dishwasher tablet recipe – it just didn’t happen. I don’t know if it’s because we live in a hard water area, or something else. I ended up making a trip to the supermarket just for dishwasher tablets because I couldn’t bear the white residue on everything any longer and I was worried I was going to ruin my expensive cutlery permanently. On top of having to wash everything again, it simply wasn’t worth it.

What are your Zero Waste fails? Do you have a successful dishwasher tablet recipe you can share?

How do you wash your dishes?

Dishwasher Hand wash dishes

The great debate of the moment in our house is how to wash the dishes.

As you know, we recently moved house. Unfortunately our dishwasher didn’t survive the move and so we were forced back to washing all of our dishes by hand. This led to some interesting discussions on how we should approach dish washing in the future.

Now we used to live in a tiny, one-bed flat. We didn’t have room for a dishwasher, even though we wanted one! So every night, we would have a big pile of dishes to wash. It was always the last thing we felt like tackling, after a hard days work. You’ve just eaten a big meal and sat down to relax, when you remember that enormous pile of dirty dishes. You know you must tackle them tonight, or you won’t have the crockery and pans you need for tomorrow. You also need the kitchen counter space back, as your kitchen is so tiny. It was never something we looked forward to and washing dishes seemed to take over half our lives!

Now I cook everything from scratch- eating take-away or even a ready-meal is a very rare occurrence in our house. One of us also has a  special dietary requirement and so, all of this equals extra pans and dishes- usually at least twice as many.  We didn’t look forward to having guests over- partly because it was a massive squeeze to get even two more people around the table. Dishing up the food was tough because there wasn’t enough space to lay out the plates and the pots it had been cooked in. But mostly because the pile of dishes would become extreme. We worked out we were spending at least an hour a day washing and drying dishes, this doubled if we had guests or if I baked a cake, for example. The task felt endless.

And so, I have to laugh at these minimalist bloggers who are proponents of having as few dishes as possible and washing up by hand. They must be mad, I think. Although I know that washing dishes by hand uses less water, which is great for the environment and your pocket if you are on a meter. But, using a dishwasher is more hygienic and gets the dishes to a higher temperature during the wash. Sure, dishwashers ruin your glassware faster and no doubt take the pattern of your crockery faster too. But how do you manage, maybe they’re not bakers and home cooks?

But what about you, my readers? Do you wash dishes by hand or do you have a dishwasher? What difference does either make to your life? What are the reasons for your choice? I would love to hear your thoughts. Come on- join the debate!