This week's posts are fall in the category of fix-it/clean-it/cook-it. Fixing, cleaning, and cooking take up much of our "spare" time on the boat. We had Fix-it Monday, so here's Clean-it Wednesday.
Now that we are back in St. Thomas and have unlimited Wi-Fi (not necessarily a good thing for productivity) I’ve had the opportunity to notice number of cleaning recipes posted that use Dawn dish detergent as a primary ingredient. In fact, at least among my friends, it’s rare to see a posted cleaning recipe that doesn’t include Dawn.
If one simply Googles “Dawn cleaning recipe”, one finds that a whole lot of bloggers post recipes that include Dawn as a major ingredient. No wonder it shows up on Facebook all the time. Since we and a number of our friends are cheap cruisers, and since Dawn is the most expensive regular brand on the shelves here in the Caribbean, I wondered whether Dawn was really required in these recipes. In fact, I wondered whether Dawn just had better press than the other leading brands of dish detergent and whether it wasn’t truly appreciably better. Guess it depends on your definition of “appreciably”. This post by Home Sweet Home, indicates that Dawn Ultra is one of the best dish detergents, though they recommend Seventh Generation higher because it also is a good dish detergent and because they conduct no animal testing. I have to confess, I skimmed most of this article because it was so long, but I do appreciate their attention to detail. Really. <Yawn>
Here’s the thing: There are a number of recipes for home cleaning products available in the Internet, many of which list Dawn as a major ingredient, though you can others which call for castile soap as well. This all started for me because of how friends and family and evidently the entire Facebook community posts recipes. A savvy blogger posts a recipe and tells you to “repost this so you can find it on your timeline”, then all of you (not me!) repost it without trying it out, essentially endorsing a recipe you haven’t used. I don’t do that. When a recipe for cleaning products, dinner, or dessert looks good, I copy it and paste it into Word. If I like it, I may remember to let you know, though it’s more likely that you’ll hear about it in a cockpit discussion than on Facebook. As for a cleaning recipe, whether with Dawn or castile soap, they all seem to use water and vinegar. Some add tea tree oil, and others add lemon juice. My general cleaner spray bottle currently has a mixture made up of 10 ounces of water, eight ounces of vinegar, and 2 ounces of Joy, because it was cheaper than Dawn. I may look for Seventh Generation and I always have castile soap on board, so I may switch to that the next time.
As for Dawn, when I was in a St. Thomas warehouse store this week (Thanks to Barb Hart the First for taking me.) there was a display of large bottles of both Dawn and Joy. The Dawn cost several dollars more than the Joy. Two ladies were standing near me and I asked them, “Do you think Dawn is worth that much more?” They answered in the Caribbean version of a Maine “Da-ow!” which is a polite way of saying “Hell, no!” And followed up with, “But the Joy is finished.” That is the Caribbean version of “all gone”. Indeed, while the shelf had signs for both detergents, the savvy Caribbean shoppers had purchased all of the Joy, leaving cases of Dawn for the rest of us.
I’m currently using one of the household cleaning recipes and have a spray bottle of the stuff made up with the following: 10 ounces water, 8 ounces white vinegar, 4 ounces of lemon juice and 2 ounces of dish detergent (Of course the original recipe called for Dawn.) I use this in the heads, on the galley counters, and on the bane-of-my-existence companionway steps.
Spray liberally with the stuff, let is sit for a bit, scrub, rinse with fresh water. Works as good as any of the more expensive and abrasive cleaners, is cheaper, and is better for the environment. If something is severely stained, I sprinkle the area with baking soda, spray with the home-made cleaner, swirl it around a bit with my fingers and let it bubble before scrubbing.
Finally, just today one of my FB friends posted something from “Northern Belle” (I didn’t know there were northern belles) with instructions on getting oily stains out of clothing. I’ve saved it to Word, but haven’t tried it, yet. (I did include the link so you can find it if you want to try it). Of course, one of the ingredients is Dawn.
Procter and Gamble have a powerful marketing department.
Happy Anniversary to La Luna. Thirteen years ago, we signed the papers and closed on the boat, and that is no April Fool story.