b. s. (or, baking soda) and natural dishwasher detergent

I read Eats, Shoots & Leaves over the past few days, and I loved it. I was reminded of a few punctuation rules which I am sure that I often break, and was also reminded of how much fun can be had with punctuation. No, I am not kidding. The book referred often to people like myself, who love finding punctuation and grammatical errors on signs and in books.
How fortuitous that I borrowed this book from the library! It's replete with errors. Such as "Breathe Freshener" instead of "Breath Freshener",
"Dishwasher Power" instead of "Dishwasher Powder",and - perhaps my favourite - "Use your hand to rinse clean the sin", rather than "sink".
Despite the errors and the decidedly un-beautiful cover, there are lots of good tips in the book, such as making dishwasher powder with equal parts of baking soda and borax. I was really excited to try this one, so I gave it a go this afternoon, and it seems to have worked well. The dishes look clean, and the glasses aren't cloudy. (I do have some residual Jet-Dry in the dishwasher, which I'm planning on replacing with good old white vinegar when the Jet-Dry is gone). I'll try the mixture again with a heavier load of dirtier dishes and see if the borax and baking soda does a good job on those. Here in Canada, Borax is in the odd box pictured below, in the laundry aisle at the grocery store, next to the washing soda on the top shelf, and costs around $5 for a box which will last a long time. (Toilet talk note: shake 1 cup of borax in the toilet before bed, swish it around and flush it in the morning and you'll have a clean toilet, free of rust stains and other nastiness.)
In the interest of some bloggy dishwasher experimentation, I also bought some Ecover dishwasher tablets which were on sale, $8.79 for 25 tablets, to do some unscientific testing against the Nature Clean gel we had been using, which costs $9.99 for 1.8 L, and the borax / baking soda homemade stuff. The Nature Clean stuff works well; best if the pre-wash compartment is filled as well as the wash one. But it's pricey. The Ecover tablets are going to be the priciest option, even on sale, so I hope they work. I'll do an update once I've tried those, too.

For sprinkling baking soda on sinks and surfaces, I bought this shaker this morning at Yarmouth Natural for $1.99. (Hello! You can see me in the picture.) I have another shaker, but decided that it would be sensible to have one upstairs and one downstairs. $1.99 didn't break the bank, and the holes are larger than the standard ones, allowing for better flow when sprinkling it in the tub. Apparently, mixed with a 5% peroxide solution, it makes a good cleaner for porous iron bathtubs, such as ours. I'm currently out of peroxide, but will pick up some more (with the natural cleaners aisle at the Superstore, since they didn't have any at Yarmouth Natural) and give it a try. I didn't know that since vinegar and baking soda neutralize each other, sometimes the cleaning power isn't the best. Which is why peroxide is recommended. It makes sense, I guess!

There! I hope you picked up some natural cleaning tidbits you can make use of in your home. And despite all of the tragic errors in the baking soda book, you should see if you can find a copy at the library. It's entertaining, if nothing else. Let me know if you try any of these tips!

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