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.