Economist’s Dish Soap

Let’s not be tree huggers for a moment. I know, it’s difficult, and I promise it won’t last. Here’s the thing. I’ve been thinking about making my own dish soap, and I just can’t decide if it’s worth it.

I have not yet done research on the scary chemicals in commercial dish soap, though I’m sure they are many. But since we’re pretending not to be tree huggers for a moment, maybe that’s not the only reason to do it. It might, just might, be cheaper. I’m willing to find out.

Let’s meet the contenders:

Option A: I’m currently using opaque, pink Dawn dish soap. It looks like this. It costs $0.23/fl. oz. at my local Safeway.

Option B: I’ve found a fabulous recipe to make my own dish soap. How much would that cost? Let’s do some math. Makes approximately 2 cups (16 fl. oz)

Castile Soap – 1/2 cup. – 32 oz. for $17.99 = $.055/oz. = $2.20

White Vinegar – 1 TBS (1/2 fl. oz) – 64 oz. for $4.09 = $0.06/oz = $0.03

Super Washing Soda – 1 TBS (1/2 fl. oz.) – 55 oz. for $4.25 = $.08/oz = $0.04

Water – let’s call that free. It’s not, but let’s call it that.

So we get a grand total of $2.27 for 16 fl. oz. That’s $0.14 /oz! The home-made dish soap is the winner!

Of course, in up-front cost, to make 2 cups of dish soap you have to spend $25.53. And that’s a lot, for dish soap that you can just spend a couple of dollars on at the supermarket. One of the trickiest things about trying to live more sustainably is that the up-front costs are often greater. If you have the capital – awesome – as this analysis shows, is can be cheaper in the long run. If you don’t have the capital, you can be stuck with less-sustainable¬†alternatives. Bummer, that, but I don’t see any way around it.

No cost benefit analysis would be complete, either, without a calculation of my time to make it, but I’m leaving that out too. It seems like just throwing a bunch of stuff in a bowl and whisking. Additionally, if it takes longer to do the dishes with this stuff, that should be a consideration, but I’m willing to at least try it before I decide that it will definitely take longer.

These are prices I found on the internet, and are approximate. The washing soda will likely be the most difficult, as I have never seen it in a store, and it costs, HELLO $11 to ship on the one site I found. That seems like a lot, for a $4 box of washing soda. This may require some more searching. Maybe I can find it in a physical store and not pay any shipping at all! A girl can dream.

I shall make a search for these ingredients, and I shall make my own dish soap, for it is in fact, less expensive than the alternative.

So. Home-made dish soap. Looks like it’s on!

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3 responses to “Economist’s Dish Soap

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