Friday, August 10, 2007

Dishwasher Detergents

When I first moved into my house, I was excited to have a dishwasher for the very first time since I moved out of my parents' house 10 years ago. I got a box of Cascade, and started using that, but at some point my anti-big-brand bias took hold, and I thought, it's probably awful stuff, made with ground up bones and dreams or something. I got some of the Mrs. Meyer's stuff from Central Market, a brand that at least looks smaller and more independent, and started using that.

A while ago I realized that my dishes come out of my dishwasher just filthy. I routinely have to re-wash plates, silverware is covered in gunk, and I thought, man, I guess my dishwasher is just no good. That's too bad. I started washing things by hand more and more.

On a whim, I tried using the Cascade again, thinking, "This won't work, there's no way the difference is the detergent. Obviously it's just a bad dishwasher."

My dishes are spotless now.

I actually Googled, just now, to find the name "Cascade" -- it had slipped my mind -- and came across a review of detergents by Consumer Reports. I've been meaning to subscribe to them forever, and at $26 a year, you can't really go wrong, so I did. Turns out Mrs. Meyer's scored a 54, and the powdered Cascade got an 85. Now I'm going to go try their top scorer, the Cascade packets.

I'm just excited I don't have to hand-wash things anymore. It was a sad day when I realized it wasn't getting things clean.



Blogger Kristine said...

i had that same realization. I bailed on the 7th Generation powder since my dishes looked like shit. Crushed dreams and baby bones are a small price to pay for clean dishes.

Let me know if the tablets make that much of a difference beyond what you have now

August 10, 2007 2:41 PM  
Blogger And said...

Alas I had the same problem. Tried to go green on all my cleaning supplies, but the dishes were all dirty with the 7th Generation. At first I thought it was the dishwasher itself, but then went back to the Cascade or whatever it is I use, and it worked like a charm. Hopefully the green products will improve in the future.

August 13, 2007 10:56 AM  
Blogger brian said...

Both Ecover detergents rated highly in the CR study. The Ecover tablets rated Excellent at cleaning and preventing redeposits, Very Good at preventing water spots and not harming silver, and Good at not etching glass. The Ecover powder rated Excellent at cleaning, preventing redeposits, and not harming silver, Very Good at not etching glass, and Good at preventing water spots.

August 13, 2007 11:01 AM  
Blogger Vince said...

I use the trader joe's stuff because it's cheap and doesn't have phosphates. I find it to meet my needs, but then again, I always pre-soak & pre-scrub the crusty stuff before putting in the washer. If you're committed to using phosphate boosted powders (which, like the convenience of disposable diapers, is hard to argue against), you should at least compare how much phosphate is in each. Even amongst the cascade variants, some may have 3x the phosphate content than others. It's kind of the difference between driving a honda civic and a hummer. If the one with less phosphates can get the job done, go with that one. If I'm not mistaken, I believe the powders typically have less than gels, which have less than the little nuggets. :)

August 27, 2007 8:34 PM  
Anonymous Abby said...

The dishwashing liquid (for the sink) by the Meyer's folks had the WORST scent and ruined my favorite plastic travel mugs. Booo.

As for dishwasher powder, the Costco Kirkland (housebrand) works like a champ in my economy dishwasher.

(PS: found your blog when searching for ClayPit curry recipes)

September 18, 2007 4:07 PM  
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