Monday, February 09, 2009

Generic Brands....

For twenty-eight years of housekeeping, I've always found it more economical to include certain certain generic brands in my shopping than to rely on brand names alone -- even with the help of coupons. Of course, everyone has their favorite brand names, and I buy those when it's important to either my dearest husband or myself. But, in general, I've always bought a lot of store brand items as well, and I have usually been pleased with the quality.

Lately, thought, I've noticed problems in two areas -- or maybe it's one area, depending on how you look at it. My favorite store brands of powdered dishwasher detergent and powdered laundry detergent no longer dissolve well in water. I've had trouble rinsing out powdery film on clothing and dishes. I have no problem with liquid laundry or dishwasher detergents, so obviously, the solution is simply to use the better-working products.

I'm wondering, however, if manufacturers are cutting quality due to the economy or if an effort to make products more eco-friendly has also made them harder to use. I did read recently that they are finding many of the newer eco-friendly products really don't clean as well as the old-fashioned basics. But, I'm not sure that would account for the problems with the store brands I've been buying.

Has anyone had similar experiences?



Rachel said...

Somewhat. However, as I try to aim for greater frugality and self-sustainability, I am trying the homemade laundry detergents and old fashioned basics such as baking soda, white vinegar, borax, etc, that help to keep a home clean, as well as not devastate my wallet or the enviroment I live in.
It is a learning process. Some formulations don't work well in hard water (which may or may not be your difficulty). There are ways to work around that (adding water softeners like borax, for example).

It may be a combination of things affecting your cleaning--a seemingly small change in formulation, for example, that might make old generic favorites not work as well as they used to. Also, if you have moved, the water may be different (I have moved in the last year, and the differences can be remarkable).

Elizabeth said...

Good thoughts, Rachel. I think a lot of us will be trying the old fashioned basics.

We haven't moved, but my sister in law asked me if the local water system could have changed in some way. She lives in a nearby town (suburb) and has had problems with hard water. We are on different systems however, and, so far, it hasn't seemed to be a problem for the system we're on. I've been meaning to ask my neighbors if they've noticed any changes in the water.

faerieeva said...

I haven't had problems yet, but having moved here only recently, I am still experimenting which storebrands to use. So a change here and there would not be so noticeable.

Meredith@MerchantShips said...

Funny you should mention this! When we use the dishwasher, we typically use Dollar General generic dishwashing tablets. Now everything looks cloudy.

Elizabeth said...

Hi Meredith,

I was using both Wal-mart's and Kroger's store brands. Do you think it's the water or the soap forumlations? Maybe, we've had a change in water quality recently.

Hi Faerieva,

You'll have to let us know what store brands you decide on in your area.

Rachel said...

Meredith, I'd suggest using a vinegar rinse in your d/w rinse cycle. I'm easing my way into the homemade d/w detergent by starting with the rinse cycle. It definitely leaves the dishes shiny! :-) I have an ollld d/w (we're replacing it soon!) and it doesn't do as good a job of washing, sometimes. The vinegar rinse seems to help. And white vinegar is cheaaaap! I have a gallon jug under the sink for refills as needed.

If you ladies would like a recipe for the d/w detergents, here is the link I am planning to use:

The laundry detergent link is here (I made #1, with Zote laundry detergent--found on the laundry aisle, top shelf):

HTH! THere are a number of other good ideas on the tipnut website. It is well worth a look.