Washing dishes with baking soda

alisandeFebruary 1, 2011

I forgot to buy dishwasher detergent, and I discovered this when the dishwasher was full. So I Googled dishwasher detergent substitute and learned you can put baking soda in the dispenser. I did so--about three heaping teaspoons--and ran the usual wash cycle. The dishes came out sparkling.

This makes me wonder if there's a reason why we need to use dishwasher detergent.

PS: Interestingly, the glassware came out exactly the same as when I use Cascade gel: some perfectly clear, and some covered in a white powdery coating.

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thanks for the tip!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 6:38PM
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I used to do that with the old dishwasher. Completely forgot about this. I think I put a little vinegar in 1/2 ways through.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 6:41PM
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I ran out of dishwasher detergent recently and Googled and then tried the baking soda. My dishes got clean but did not seem as sparkly as when I use detergent.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 6:57PM
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Well, I have to amend what I said about the glassware. When they got coated with white after washing with detergent, I was able to wash off the coating by hand easily. This time, one of the glasses appears to be permanently coated. My old standby of last resort, Greased Lightning, did absolutely no good, and even scrubbing hard with Comet cleanser only helped somewhat.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 7:07PM
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One of my sisters always brushed her teeth tiwth Baking soda. It is used a lot in the kitchen for cleaning purposes.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 8:16PM
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Baking soda raises the alkalinity of the water. When water is hard (calcium,magnesium and other minerals) and heated the alkalinity will react with the minerals and create scale.

Baking soda can also weaken tooth enamel over the long term.

Most products containing baking soda have other ingredients to offset these downsides.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 8:32PM
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You need to check with the manufacturer of the machine. My book tells me I can use vinegar in mine, but not very often. It is hard on the parts.

My glasses were looking awful so I soaked them and the regular dishes in vinegar water in my sink then washed them. They really sparkled when I was done.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 8:43PM
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Vinegar is an acid. All acids are corrosives to some degree.

Manufacturers of cleaning products have done the scince to balance the chemistry to do a good job of cleaning without the downsides.

Well almost. Of course the stupid greenies have made them remove the phosphates which ensured clean shiny dishes and less dingy laundry.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 8:58PM
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Is baking soda considered a good enough disinfectant/cleaner for dishes? I know it has slight abrasive qualities that can help with cleaning but I never thought it was ok by itself.

I don't doubt that the dishes may appear clean...I'm just not sure they are. Isn't a detergent also needed? Did you add borax or something else too?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 9:12PM
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I just used baking soda--nothing else added. I'm not too worried about disinfecting the dishes because a) the water was very hot and b) I'm the only one eating off them. :-)

However, I'm not 100% pleased with the result. Although the dishes and flatware are very shiny, the flatware feels rather odd, as if the baking soda left a deposit on it. I consider the baking soda to be an interesting experiment, but one I'm not likely to repeat.

By the way, my dentist in NYC--the best dentist I've ever had--advised his patients to brush with baking soda and peroxide.

And although I don't usually think of myself as stupid (well, only on rare occasions), I'm glad phosphate pollution of our waters has been banned.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 9:50PM
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I totally agree with Alisande about the phosphate ban. Wildchild, I do not consider myself stupid but rather a good steward of this planet.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 10:15PM
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I brush my teeth with hydrogen peroxide and baking soda twice a day. My teeth are clean and shiny!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 10:52PM
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I don't use it in the DW but I do use baking soda to get coffee and tea stains out of coffee cups, works nicely.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 11:12PM
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I can't find anything about using baking soda alone for dishwashing. Everything I find says to mix it with borax (a detergent) too. Baking soda is great for it's soft scrub cleaning capabilities but I'm pretty sure dishes need detergent too.

Of course you don't clean your teeth with soap or detergent; it's not the same type of cleaning.

Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't think your dishes are really clean. You may think it's ok but if you have something that had raw meat on it, you could be in trouble.

You may want to double check your source about using baking soda in the dishwasher and make sure you don't also need a detergent and/or borax. Possibly they are saying to use it to clean the dishwasher itself and not the dishes. I think many also recommend Tang for that.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 11:36PM
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It feels funny because it is not clean, clean dishes should feel slick. When they dropped the phosphates is when I started noticing my dishes didn't look clean. I have started using the blue rinse and so far so good.

Another chemical they are thinking of eliminating is Triclosano.15. It is in our water and in our bodies. It was in a lot of the anti bacterial liquid hand cleaners. Dial has it. Most now have alcohol.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 12:08AM
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You'd likely get as good a result, and possibly even superior by simply using a very hot water in the dishwasher. The "feel" on there may well be a baking soda residue on the dishes or possibly something from the water. Although some of the action of a dishwashing detergent is an abrasive to essentially sandblast things off. Enzymes, when included, will help remove food particles. But for dishes that aren't that laden with bacteria, food particles and such just running water on them will do a cleaning to a degree.

I don't have a dishwasher anymore and I often use the sprayer on the sink to spray off something, like the pans and they look "clean". Are they? I'm not sure. Depends on how you define clean I guess. Once the bulk is off then I still like to give them a wipe with some Dawn Direct Foam (or regular dish soap) and give them a good hot rinse. I also keep my water heater at a higher setting than do many.

I'm much less concerned with a bowl holding snacks or something that I am over something on which raw meat or something was placed. When I handle raw poultry, everthing in and around it gets hit with bleach.

Personally I'd probably think about putting some bleach in a rinse cycle of the dishwasher if I had one again. Dishwashers are a haven for bacteria.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 12:11AM
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Well I can only use Dial with triclocarbon on my hands and body. The old fashioned gold bar. It's the only thing that keeps my hand eczema under control. If I so much touch liquid soap or another bar the little blisters on my fingers appear. That includes those so called no soap bars and cleansers that are so expensive.

Special thanks to Mary Ann TX for recommending it through HER doctor.

They will probably go after the blue rinse aid next. Someday they will look at the chemical components of plain water and ban that to. Crazy.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 12:18AM
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This turned out to be an informative topic. I decided to check Arm and Hammer's web site to see if they had hints for household use and there have lots. I liked the idea of washing off produce with it - I hate buying waxy cucumbers. I usually look for the seedless or English cucumbers because they have little or no wax.

But here's what Arm and Hammer said about using it in the dishwasher:

..........Hand washing Dishes and Pots & Pans
Give yourself a hand! Add 2 heaping tablespoons ARM & HAMMER Baking Soda (along with your regular dish detergent) to the dish water to help cut grease and foods left on dishes, pots and pans. For cooked-on foods, let them soak in the ARM & HAMMER Baking Soda/detergent water first, then use dry ARM & HAMMER Baking Soda on a clean damp sponge or cloth as a scratchless scouring powder!

........Deodorize and Clean Dishwashers
Relax. There's no need to run the dishwasher just yet! Sprinkle a handful of ARM & HAMMER Baking Soda on the dishes or in the bottom of the dishwasher to absorb food odors just lingering in the dishwasher. Double duty! Use ARM & HAMMER Baking Soda to deodorize before you run the dishwasher and then as a gentle cleanser in the wash cycle.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 8:06AM
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I don't have any fancy dishes so I don't care what they look like as long as they're clean. I sacrifice a little vanity for less chemicals in my home and the water supply. I use Method.

Whether that makes me a stupid greenie or not, I can't be the only one who sees a direct correlation between the ridiculously high cancer rates in our society and the rampant use of chemicals and pollution in the environment.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 8:26AM
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Makes the dihes shine!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 8:36AM
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Thanks for pointing out the raw meat issue. The only thing that touched raw meat (actually, it was chicken) was a white plastic cutting board, and that's all I use it for. In fact I used it again last night.

I'm planning to wash dishes by hand until I can get out to buy some more detergent.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 8:52AM
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I found a video last night and she said to use:

1 1/2 cups borax
1 1/2 cup baking soda
1 cup salt
mix all togethe in a bowl, put in a jar.
use 2 TB in the dishwasher.
try that and see if its any better.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 9:10AM
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Thanks, Joann. I'm tempted, as I have those ingredients. Maybe I'll make a small batch.........

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 9:12AM
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If you can find some LemiShine - it will take that nasty coating off your glasses and silverware. I get it at my grocery store - but I have seen it at WalMart also.

I used to use Cascade - but something changed and it left my dishes spotty and feeling icky. Not everytime -but often enough.

I use the LemiShine in the first compartment - the one without the lid - then I add a Quantum pack to the compartment with a lid(these are the soft ones)It has a spot free agent in it also. My dishes are always clean and sparkly. It also took off the grundgy feeling left by the cascade.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 9:27AM
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Our news paper puts out articles on things we use all the time, electronics, appliances, feeding the birds, etc.. One time it was the dishwasher. You are suppose to scrap off hunks of food, but don't rinse them before you put them in the dishwasher. They are suppose to be dirty so the detergent will adhere to it and do it's job.

Another time it was on laundry. It said you are not suppose to place a sheet around the agitator, you are suppose to push it all down on one side and the other sheet on the other side. I did not know that. Here I am 75 years and have been doing it wrong all these years. LOL

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 9:50AM
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I've been using Electrasol for years, but am now using the Quantum Powerball that Iowagirl just posted. I was actually very happy with the results I was getting with the old Electrasol, but I'm surprised at how much cleaner and sparkley everything is now with the Quantum.. even the inside of the dishwasher looks much cleaner.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 10:01AM
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I clean my Electric Coffee Pot with baking soda. I fill the coffee pot with water and add 2 TBps to the basket and plug it in....When completed I scrub and it is so clean and my coffee tastes delicious. I only do this once a month...

There are many uses to baking soda...but I use dishwasher detergent in my dishwasher...and my dishes and glasses come out spotless......

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 11:34AM
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Let me know how it works alisande, I've made some in the past but not with salt. The salt is supose to help scrub. It will be good to have on hand in case you run out. I plan to make some also.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 2:14PM
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My plumber told me 1. to pre-scrape all dishes before putting them in Dishwasher and 2. always use Cascade "complete" formula. My dishes are always nice and clean. One "no-no" he told me is using the rinse-only cycle. That's not good.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 7:33PM
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What was called the Senior Men's Coffee Group, later re-named "ROMEOs" (Retired Old Men Eating Out) ... and they wouldn't touch my suggested "ROMDOs" (Retired Old Men Drinking Out) with a ten-foot pole, met this morning.

After the meeting, when I was rinsing the cups prior to putting them through the sanitizer, a couple had some stains, and there's a small dish with some baking soda and a scrubber there on the counter that we can use to remove such stains.

Usually it works fairly well - but sometimes one needs to add quite a lot of elbow grease.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 1:32PM
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I went to school with a guy who had the most beautiful white teeth. He was from a very poor family and they used baking soda for tooth paste.

I remember using it every now and then hoping to have teeth as white as his.

Years later we had a class reunion, that he attended. I was amazed to see his teeth were all brownish. The looked horrid. I wondered then about the baking soda.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 2:44PM
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