What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Saving on Dishwasher Rinse Agent

If you have been following this blog you will know we installed a high efficiency Bosch SHE44C02UC (more here) dishwasher shortly after moving here. You will also know that energy conservation and energy efficiency is a huge concern to us. I vary between using dissolvable dishwasher tabs (not the individual wrapped kind) and am currently in the process of switching over to using phosphate free Green Earth tabs for use during the hotter, humid months. During the dryer winter months I use a non-phosphate powdered dishwasher detergent. In terms of detergent, the cost is ranging from 9¢ to 29¢ per load. Electricity costs 13¢ per load and that includes the cost of the flow through water heater in the dishwasher. The water is pre-heated by natural gas comes in at about 6¢ per load and water less than 5¢. Total cost to operate the dishwasher per load come out to 33¢ to 53¢ without adding in the cost of the rinse agent. The manufacturer is very specific that a separate rinse agent must be used even if the detergent has a rinse agent included. The reason for this is the dishwasher dries by convection rather than using a heating element. A separate rinse agent ensures proper drying.

name brand dishwasher rinse agentBrand Name Rinse Agent

I started off using a brand name rinse agent (JetDry®) at 7¢ per load then switched to their new TurboDry® formula. A 200 ml bottle cost me $4.99 for 64 loads or 8¢ per load. This brought my total costs to run the dishwasher per load up to 41¢ to 61¢. In the big picture the total cost for the brand name rinse agent worked out to be $16.64 so saving on rinse agent was not going to be a big cost savings but it would still be a savings. Part of being frugal is to never pay more for a product if you can find a less expensive product that gives you the same results.

The biggest problem I had with buying brand name rinse agents aside of the cost was availability. The regular JetDry® was usually available but the TurboDry® was not. Another problem I had was rinse agent is not something I could find on sale.

off brand dishwasher rinse agentStore Brand Rinse Agents

On day I was in NoFrills® and rinse agent was on my grocery list. There wasn't a bottle of JetDry® to be found so I tossed a bottle of their no name® brand into the cart. It was $2.99 for 250 ml. I immediately thought I'm getting 50 ml more for $2 less so as long as it worked the same as JetDry® I knew I would be switching. This would reduce my cost to 4¢ per load, not bad! I filled the rinse agent reservoir then waited to see the results. There was no noticeable difference between JetDry® and the no name brand®! It worked just as the same and it was a made in Canada product.

A few weeks later I discovered rinse agent at our local dollar store. It was 250 ml for $1, made in Canada and phosphate free! So I bought a bottle to try. This brought my rinse agent cost down to 1.3¢ per load so a savings of 6.7¢ per load. The key thing that I liked was the product was phosphate free. Eliminating any phosphates in the products we use is also important. Once again I did a few test runs over the period of one full loading of the rinse agent reservoir. This product performed just as good as the brand name without the phosphates so I went back to do a stock up. There is no expiry date on the rinse agent and unlike powdered detergent it does not lose its effectiveness.

When shopping at a dollar store think of it as a liquidation store. If you find a product that you like that works to your expectations, stock up then. Their stock is determined based on availability and don't forget some of this availability is due to buying up stock from other stores that went under. Once they are sold out a different product will replace that product. So do keep that in mind.

Garden Gnome


"Jedopi" said...

You are so right about dollar store products. Sometimes you really can find items that are comparable to brand name ones and obviously if they cost less, why not buy them? We always check the dollar stores in our area.

I noticed that we are both in Ontario, Canada and I am a little curious about something I noticed on your sidebar. Seeing as it doesn't have anything to do with your post I hope you won't mind me asking you about it.

I noticed that you have amazon.com ads. I was only able to sign up for amazon.ca ads and they are not doing well at all. I was wondering how you managed it.

I actually found you through adgetize.com and not through blogspot. I also have ads with them and 3 blogs on blogspot. Check them out if you like.

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Jedopi, thanks for visiting. It's surprising what you can find at the dollar stores!

I didn't do anything special to get onto amazon.com other than sign up. They know I'm Canadian so it must just which site you accessed to sign up. I actually thinking of pulling the amazon ads as they have made nothing across my 5 blogs in the time I've been running them. They look nice but that's about it.

I'm on adgitize as well so will check out your blogs.

"Jedopi" said...

Thanks for commenting on the Cinderella dolls I made. Jean Greenhowe has some great pattern books out there and you can find pictures of her stuff online too, but none of them are free as far as I know.

Also thanks for answering my comment about amazon.com. I have amazon.ca ads on mine as I said and I haven't made a penny. I'm surprised because it's a popular company. Too bad people actually have to purchase and the ads are not pay per click.

Anonymous said...

I just got the same dishwasher installed, and rinsing is always a HUGE issue as my water is extremely hard. I found jetDry to leave a sticky film. I have switched to dumping a scoop of crystal citric acid in the last rinse. It works extremely well, and is most environmentally friendly (citric acid is fruit acid - we eat it all the time!) but this require good timing skills. I am experiment in dissolving the acid in water, and pouring the solution in the rinse agent compartment...