Here’s what happens when you mix an acid and a base, I mean make dishwasher soap from a bad recipe on EHow. Even though this was a waste of my ingredients I did have a pretty cool science experiment.
The recipe was clearly never tried. Here are the ingredients they say to use: vinegar and Castile soap. Well being a scientist I should have seen this coming, but I guess I lost my brain somewhere between college and having a toddler. Half Acre Homestead does a good job of explaining what’s going on. But here’s what’s going on, try to remember back to science class for a minute, don’t worry this won’t hurt. Soaps are bases and vinegar is a acid. The two are not meant to be combined and what happens is a precipitate is formed. No explosions, sorry not that cool. In this case the precipitate was oil. This is the reverse process of soap making. Not a cleaning agent. Back to the drawing board for this one.
I don’t give up easily so I am going to try just using diluted Castile soap and use vinegar in the rinse aid compartment. We will see how this goes, I may add salt for hard water and possibly washing soda to help clean but I want to start with less ingredients first. I also thought about adding my citric acid but wake up Court, it’s an acid too. If anything it could go in with the vinegar if I feel I need more spot remover.
Here’s each ingredients job as I understand it:
Castile Soap: Cleans the dishes, dissolves, not cuts the grease
Vinegar: Removes the soap scum that can form when Castile soap reacts with minerals in the water
Citric acid/Lemon Juice: Lowers pH so it works like vinegar
Salt: Helps soften water, this is what those bad phosphates do in commercial brands
Washing soda: This guy is tricky for me. Washing soda is similar but not the same as baking soda and we know what a good cleaner and odor absorber soda is. So my guess is they aid in the cleaning and deodorizing. It’s basic so it’s a good partner for soap.
(I am trained as a scientist but remember I lost my brain somewhere, so don’t take all this as advice but merely my thought process)
Here are some pictures of what happened. Another bummer is that I quadrupled the batch so all that is wasted.
So what’s the lesson I learned, you can’t trust everything you read on the internet. Somehow I think I should have known that.
Update: Check out my post on a successful dishwasher detergent recipe – without Borax.