Discussion: How do you clean up after a day of formulating?

In the post, Discussion: How do you sanitize your workspace before formulating, Sarah wondered: Does anyone here have a favorite grease-cutting cleanser/method for cleaning little glass bottles and jars? I’ve tried very hot water, dish detergent and d-Limonene, but it still took many round of cleaning and I still don’t think it’s enough…am I going to have to break down and buy some Dawn dishwashing liquid?

Camirra suggested: You might have to just get the Dawn! lol its the only thing that gets my containers CLEAN forreal lol

And I responded: Are you soaking the dishes for a bit? I put all my dishes in a dish pan (washing up bowl), squirt a ton of Sunlight dishwashing liquid with added d-Limonene, cover it all in really hot water, then let it sit for a bit, sometimes 10 minutes, sometimes all day as I’m really lazy. I empty the dish pan to get rid of the grease, add more dishwashing liquid, and finish the job. It doesn’t always work well when I’m really grease heavy on a day where I’ve been making things like candles or lip balms, but it’s usually pretty good for things like lotions or conditioners.

You can find my post on using d-Limonene in your cleaning products with some formulas on the old blog.

As a note, I’ve heard that American Dawn dishwashing soap is quite different than Canadian Dawn. American versions have sodium lauryl sulfate, which is great for degreasing, while our version has what seems to be sodium laureth sulfate, which is a milder surfactant with less degreasing power. I know when we have things like oil spills and adorable animals need cleaning, the rescue groups ask for American Dawn only.

Check out the SDS to see the ingredients for American Dawn here.

Check out the SDS to see the ingredients for Canadian Dawn here.

I find myself looking for help on this topic, too. My mom couldn’t stand the sight of dirty dishes, so she’d wash them all when I was in the workshop. At the end of the day, there might be the odd beaker or spoon left for me to wash. She was a grandmaster of all things cleaning, and had all kinds of tricks she’d use to get things grease free, but I have no idea what they were. (They weren’t secrets, she would just say things like, “I don’t know, I just clean them.”)

A story, if I may: I lived on my own for about 9 months when I was 21 in my last year of university. I worked full time from 8:30 to 4:30, then went to school four nights a week from 6:30 to 10:30, and later added a part time job on Friday nights and all day Saturday. I was exhausted all the time, living on caffeine tables – this was before energy drinks were a thing – and 30¢ bowls of rice with honey and garlic salt from the school cafeteria. In the few minutes a week I had to myself, cleaning was the least of my concerns. I threw out countless pots, cutlery, and dishes because they were just too gross to touch, and bought so many pairs of underpants so I could delay laundry day.

I’ve never been good at cleaning, and haven’t had to learn until now my mom had such high standards, when I’d clean, she’d just do it again. I know I’m a slob and a flat space abuser, but I would like to get slightly better at all of this cleaning and decluttering business.

Previous discussion topics:


Organizing one’s workshop.

What do you wish you’d have known when you started?

What small tip made a big difference for you?

What did you learn from a spectacular fail?

What are your goals and hopes for 2018?

How do you keep track of your formulas?

How to measure smaller amounts?

How do you clean up after a day of formulating? Do you use a dishwasher or clean by hand? What are your tips or tricks? Are beakers dishwasher safe? Are there any devices you find helps, like bottle washers or scrubbing wands? (And can I exchange a day of teaching you how to make things in my workshop for post-crafting cleaning?)