Na Na pinches her pennies (aka frugal living)

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

Using dish soap frugally

I was asked how I get a bottle of dish detergent to last so long.  One 48 ounce bottle often lasts me about four months.  Sometimes a little less or a little more than four months.  I’ll explain my way and maybe it will help someone else too.

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I hand wash the dishes.  I don’t own a dishwasher.  I’m washing dishes for only one person, not a hugh family, so I use less.  When I was young, Grandma Mama taught me the correct order of washing dishes.  Lightly soiled dishes first which is silverware and glasses.  Next is plates and serving bowls.  Last would be the pots and pans.  Why this order?  Well Grandma Mama said it was sort of like doing laundry in our wringer washer.  You start with the lightly soiled and gradually got to the heavily soiled ones all with the same water.  That made sense to me so I still wash dishes the same way.

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When buying dish liquid I make the choice between quantity and quality. I often buy a name brand dish detergent these days.  There are times when paying the higher price is the more frugal option. Cheaper brands will have more water in them than a name brand.  More water content means a weaker product which naturally means you must use more of it. I don’t like paying for extra water.  I could add water myself if I wanted a weaker product.  I do experiment with cheaper brands now and then just to be sure the name brand is still the best bargain.

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There was a day, many years ago, when I was measuring laundry liquid into the cap from the container.  I had become very conscientious of the amount of laundry liquid I was using because I needed to make it last until the next payday.  Then some thoughts entered my DUH brain.  Why doesn’t dish liquid have a measuring cup cap like this? Shouldn’t we be just as careful with it as we are laundry soap and liquid fabric softener?

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So, I decided to start measuring dish liquid instead of willy nilly squirting some into a sink.  It took some experimenting but I came up with a couple of measurements I use for my dish washing.  You would need to do your own experimenting to know what works for you.  Start with far less than you believe you need and add more if necessary.  I use one half tablespoon for only a few dirty dishes and one full tablespoon for extra dirty ones.  I use only a teaspoonful when washing canning jars to be used.  The size of the sink and the amount of water will make a difference in the amount needed.

I did suggest to a couple of the dish liquid manufacturing companies that they start using a measure cup cap but obviously they weren’t interested in doing it.  Probably because by letting the customer guess at the correct squirt amount we use much more than necessary thus creating quicker sales.  Everyone tends to use more than really needed to clean the dishes.

Ok, I hope this helps my readers understand how one 48 ounce bottle of dish liquid can last me four months.  I’d be interested in knowing if you try the measuring and if it makes a difference in your use.

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6 comments on “Using dish soap frugally

  1. Randal Oulton
    May 30, 2016

    Trick I learned from friends in Nova Scotia. Dollar-store sprayer bottle. Fill about 1/8th to 1/4 full with dish soap. Top up with water. Shake a bit to distribute, then let settle. For now on, just squirt when you need. Really handy too on those one-off items such as a frying pan you are cleaning up. You will save a bundle plus is so convenient. (Now, we did have to go through 2 or 3 sprayer bottles from the dollar store till I got one I liked enough for everyday use; the rejects got relegated for gardening use.)

    • Anita
      June 1, 2016

      That’s a good idea. I’ll use it when I move to the new house. Thanks.

  2. lettergrade
    April 25, 2016

    THIS. –> “Lightly soiled dishes first which is silverware and glasses. Next is plates and serving bowls. Last would be the pots and pans.”

    I am always amazed that this escapes some people.

    • Anita
      April 27, 2016

      Yeah, me too.

  3. KAYTHEGARDENER
    April 24, 2016

    I have a small plastic foot soaking tub ( about 12″ x 10″) that I use for handwashing, instead of the full size sink… That also helps to conserve water, soap, etc…
    I also use the tub to presoak clothes before washing…

    • Anita
      April 24, 2016

      Yes, it does. I have a smaller tub I use sometimes. I got mine the last time I was in the hospital.

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