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Greener Dishwasher Detergents

Which low or no-phosphate dishwasher detergents are the best?

The most reliable study on this topic was done by Consumer Reports following the announcement of the bans on phosphates in dishwashing detergent. Twenty-four low to no phosphate dishwasher detergent products were tested.

The top products in their tests came in the form of tables and pacs. Gels tested the lowest in cleaning ability. Top brands included several produced by Finish (previously known as Electrosol), Cascade Complete, and Cascade Dawn Action Pacs.  Numerous low to no phosphate products have been on the market for years produced by “green” companies such as Seventh Generation. Citradish Automatic Dish Detergent and BioKleen Free and Clean Automatic Dish Powder also did well in tests.

Are low to no phosphate dishwasher detergents compatible with most dishwashers?

Low to no phosphate dishwashing detergents do not harm dishwashers, and nearly all will work relatively well with low to no phosphate dishwashing detergent. Newer dishwashing machines with expanded technology will likely work the best to clean your dishes. Some dishwashers on the market now for example “sense” how dirty the dishes are and adjust the power of the water spray accordingly.

If you experience a film or clouding on your glasses, that can be caused by the alkalinity of the water (not the type of detergent). Glass exposed to high alkaline aqueous solution will essentially melt the glass over time. “Etching” of glass happens in a similar fashion when flaws in the dishware are exposed as the glass (very) gradually melts.

States that have banned phosphates:

Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Vermont, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Washington, Utah, and Wisconsin.

Related:
Are Green Cleaning Products Really Safe?
Guide to Cleaning Product Labels
Make Your Own Eco-Friendly Dishwasher Detergent
Clean Your Plate: Energy-Saving Dishwashing Tips

Read more: Bed & Bath, Conscious Consumer, Conservation, Do Good, Eco-friendly tips, Green, Green Kitchen Tips, Health & Safety, Home, Household Hints, News & Issues, Non-Toxic Cleaning, ,

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89 comments

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12:11AM PST on Mar 7, 2013

Mary Beth, would it be safe to say you don't like P&G? Maybe those that buy their products buy them because they work. I use TIDE and that's all I wlll buy as it does the best job and ends up being the most economical product. To each, their own.

10:03AM PST on Mar 6, 2013

Something to consider: Cascade, owned by the mega-giant Proctor & Gamble, has an abysmal record in regards to animal abuse. Proctor & Gamble continues to test on animals, has outsourced to China, where incredibly cruel animal testing is mandatory, and has no plans to change its practices. Unfortunately, P & G is unmoved by petitions, letters, requests for stopping these cruel and unnecessary forms of animal cruelty, as they have a huge market share. Just glance in shopping baskets or ask friends or neighbors which products they use. Some examples: Tide, Crest, Cascade, Old Spice, among many others. P&G has little motive to change. People buy their products regardless of their cruelty and avarice.

10:59AM PST on Feb 18, 2013

Thanks

4:11AM PDT on Jun 3, 2012

Thanks

3:39AM PDT on May 2, 2012

phosphate-free laundry has been possible since the 1970's...

3:34AM PDT on May 2, 2012

thanks for sharing

7:59AM PDT on Jul 14, 2011

Thank you

3:44PM PST on Jan 16, 2011

Thank you

5:27PM PST on Jan 6, 2011

Thankyou for the info.

10:47AM PST on Nov 28, 2010

I have had issues with most dishwasher detergents since moving to our house 10 years ago. Tried eco-friendly, homemade non-toxic and even commercial "bad" brands. None seem to work or work for long. Last week, had washed a load of only glassware that had all been prerinsed and they came out looking like I soaked them in oatmeal... eeeewwww....Had a chat with my appliance repairman and he even checked all teh filters adn tehy were clean....and he said that these new dishwashers need water at a min 120 degrees to make the machines work and properly disolve the soaps regardless of what kind. As well, prerinsing only leaves the soap with nothing to do, leaving a soap build up in the dishwasher. just a little food for thought.

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