Over the last couple of months, dish washing in our house has become an experiment of sorts. One of the last household items to go natural in our home was our dishwasher detergent. I was having difficulty finding one that REALLY worked. And you, Dear Reader, gets to benefit from my trial (and error).
Palmolive Eco+ – liquid in lemon splash
Planet – powder
Seventh Generation– powder and liquid
Method– Smarty Dish Detergent tabs in pink grapefruit (20 count unwrapped in tub)
Ecover-tabs (25 count individually wrapped in clear plastic)
Let me start by saying, I’m not a fan of powder dishwasher detergent and avoid it. My favorite are tabs because I know the right amount is being used and there is no mess. Liquid falls in the middle.
The Palmolive Eco+ ($2.99 at Fred Meyer/Kroger’s) is basically a greenwashed product. The only ecological benefit of these dishwasher detergent is that it is free of phosphates. IMO, it didn’t clean nearly as well as I expected. This will not be used in our home in the future.
I didn’t like the Planet ($4.59 at Fred Meyer/Kroger’s) powder AT ALL. My dishes came out with residue and most had to be rewashed. It was a trying few weeks. I will not use Planet again.
The Ecover ($3.99 at Whole Foods) tablets worked okay. The tablets had a tendency to crumble somewhat when taken out of their wrap. They would fall in a decent cleaning range, but definitely far from what I experienced with traditional cleaners. While the outer package is cardboard and therefore recyclable, each tablet is individually wrapped. While the wrappers are said to be recyclable, they aren’t in my area and I suspect in most areas. I would use these tabs again if my number one or two choices weren’t available.
My favorites are the Method tabs and Seventh Generation Liquid. Both these products provided a great clean with no noticeable difference from traditional cleaners.
As for what they are made of, Method’s website proclaims “Instead of the nasty phosphates and bleach that make up conventional dishwasher detergent, smarty dish is made from super effective ingredients so green that one of them won a presidential green chemistry award (yes, that really is an award). The blend of mineral cleaning salts, anti-spotting agents and enzymes give smarty dish some serious kick, while the biodegradable and non-toxic ingredients mean no harmful residues or fumes to worry about in your home… and happy fish after they rinse down the drain. The formula is DfE-recognized, with packaging made from 25% recycled plastic. What’s more, smarty dish is specially formulated to be effective yet gentle on glass and flatware to prevent etching.”
Seventh Generation claims, “Non-toxic, No Chlorine bleach or phosphates, No dyes, No NTA or EDTA, Safe for septic & greywater systems, Not tested on animals, Kosher certified.”
The Method ($4.99 at Target) tablets come in a small, squarish, plastic container with a snap close lid. The container is made from 25% recycled plastic and I find it a useful tub to reuse around the house. I would love to see refill packages that use less material since we have no need for a new plastic container every month. Smarty Dish is available in (YUMMY) pink grapefruit and go naked (sans perfume and color). The tablets kept their shape well, without crumble. There was little residue left in the container once the tabs were used.
The Seventh Generation ($4.59 at Fred Meyer/Kroger’s) liquid comes in the traditional plastic squeeze bottle with snap cap. Once emptied the bottle can be rinsed and sent out with recycling (at least in my area, check with your local curbside pick up). I have to monitor the kids on their dish nights to be sure they don’t overuse the liquid cleanser.