Bottom Line Inc

Extending the Life of Everyday Cleaning Products


Is your dish soap almost gone? Who has time for a special trip to the supermarket just for that? Don’t do it! There are ways to make your soap last…and handy substitutes to fill the gaps.

Stretch your dish detergent. You forget to hit the soap aisle on your last trip to the grocery store, and that little bit of dishwashing liquid will not make the week’s end. In a plastic squeeze bottle, combine that one leftover part of liquid dish detergent with one part distilled white vinegar and three parts water. Be sure to shake the bottle a few times before using. The detergent cuts the grease, the white vinegar disinfects and helps clean, and the water dilutes the strong scent of vinegar, so it doesn’t seem like you’re washing your dishes with salad dressing.

Dish detergent substitute. If you’re completely out of dish soap and have a sink full of dirty dishes, use shampoo (make sure that it’s the nonconditioning kind) to clean them. If you have oily hair and use shampoo specifically formulated for it, all the better. It will cut right through the oily pots and pans and greasy dishes. (See other uses for shampoo below…)

 Emergency laundry detergent replacement. You thought you had enough laundry soap to get you to the end of the week, but you miscalculated. In an emergency, when you must do a wash and you don’t have any laundry detergent, use shampoo…that is, if you have shampoo. About one-third cup will do a full load.

In case you were wondering, dishwashing liquid is NOT a good substitute for laundry detergent. Washing machines and dishwashing soaps both vary in strength…just a small squirt could create enough suds to float the Titanic! (OK, that’s an exaggeration.)

Better-than-your-usual scouring powder. Most scouring situations can be solved with baking soda on a sponge, but if you need more oomph, add some salt. We add six tablespoons of table salt to one-half cup baking soda (leftovers placed in a well-labeled container). This blend works well on those stubborn stains in your tea and coffee mugs, without adding a harsh-chemical flavoring. You may never buy scouring powder again!

Source: Joan Wilen and Lydia Wilen are folk-remedy experts and home tipsters based in New York City. They have spent decades collecting “cures from the cupboard” and are authors of several books, including Bottom Line’s Treasury of Home Remedies & Natural Cures and Bottom Line’s Household Magic. Date: April 11, 2017 Publication: Bottom Line's Household Magic
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