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Frugal Household Hack: Conserve dish soap

Dish detergent comes in a soft-sided bottle with a squirt nozzle for a reason: so you’ll use plenty of it and soon have to go out and buy a new bottle. When you tip the bottle into the sink and give it a squeeze (and maybe another and another for good measure), you use several times more of the stuff than necessary. Truth to tell, a little liquid dish detergent goes a very long way. So, it behooves you to conserve dish soap by transferring it into a container that dispenses it more frugally.

For quite a while, I used a cheap glass cruet (a vinegar or oil cruet) purchased at World Market (Cost Plus). This worked fine, except that I was always concerned that I might drop the thing in the sink, breaking it and creating a nice mess to clean up. And also, for reasons unknown in the realm of common sense, dish detergent is laced with wax, the better to clog up your drain and any container that collects a residue around the lid. This is why you’ll often find a gummy layer around the top of a detergent bottle: that goop is built-up wax. This kept collecting inside the cruet’s stopper, so I’d have to take the it apart and wash it out in running hot water every few days.

One day it occurred to me that I could put the stuff in a squirt bottle. The pressure of the squirter would force the liquid through firmly enough to push the wax on through, or so I hoped. And a single squirt should be all that’s needed to clean a frying pan.

Ta DAA! Turns out both of those are so!

dcp_2284I poured a bunch of clear detergent (I favor Ivory but couldn’t get it at the Safeway at the time I first tried this experiment, so used Clorox’s “green” variety) into a heavy-duty spray bottle. Yes, the viscous liquid will move through the squirter. And yes, just one or two squirts is all you need to clean a frying pan or greasy dish. And no! so far, after a couple of months the squirt nozzle has not clogged!

Only drawback is it’s not very pretty. But then neither is a detergent bottle. Keep it under the sink.