Got a lot of blackberries? Then check out this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Fruit Leather.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Eco-dishwashing detergent that actually works

Catch the Wave!I know I said I'd have a book discussion post for you, but I didn't finish reading the chapters I was supposed to post about so it will have to wait. I should know better.

Anyway, I wanted to tell you all about some magical eco dishwashing detergent that doesn't suck ass. Now, I say this with impunity because we've tried a number of them and every single time we've been horribly disappointed. Not only do you get your environmental hopes up, but then you end up having to wash the dishes twice once you realize that the crappy eco dishwashing detergent you were trying out left your dishes all greasy, powdery or just plain dirty.

Let me first point out that we have a cheapo dishwasher. When we bought this house 2 years ago the previous owners just slapped in a "new" dishwasher. I'm figuring they bought the cheapest thing they could find. It doesn't exactly clean very well and you have to do a bit o' scrubbing of the dishes before you run the thing. Even still you need to apply a dollop of Cascade or Electrasol to actually get the dishes clean.

Now, I'm sure that the other eco dishwashing detergents out there work fine if you have one of those fancy Swedish dishwashers that will also clean the floors while it's at it, but for the rest of us with a less than effective dishwasher, they just don't work (this probably includes most apartment dishwashers).

We've been using the newly updated Wave Gel Dishwashing Detergent HP from Earth Friendly Products for a few weeks now. I have to say that, hands down, it is every bit as effective at washing the dishes in our overstuffed dishwasher than any of the more commercial detergents. Apparently, they have (Earth Friendly Products) some independent lab report on their site comparing this Wave stuff to Cascade and I'd have to agree.

My only complaint is with the consistency. You have to shake it up each time you use it as it tends to separate. If you don't, it seems to appear similar to a, how shall I say this, particular human male body effluent. Albeit with a delightful lavender scent. Probably not a good marketing hook, however.

How earth friendly is this Earth Friendly Products' product? From the manufacturer: "Wave is phosphates free, chlorine free, caustic free. It works beautifully on your dishes, silverware, and glasses. Wave is neutral ph, all plant based and totally biodegradable."

So, if you have been heartily searching for an environmentally friendly dishwashing detergent that works under most circumstances, I suggest you give this product a try.

[Don't miss out! The book giveaway for Fresh Food in Small Spaces is still going on until Wednesday...]

Related posts:
The deal with dishwashers
Green clean

30 comments:

Mariella said...

Can't beat washing the dishes the old fashion way, in a sink with a scrubbing brush. Better still fill up a bucket/big bowl inside the sink and when you finish the water can be poured straight onto the garden! Great if you're about to go into a very long dry summer as I suspect we might be here in NZ - touchwood.

koolchicken said...

I tried the only green dishwasher fluid I could find on my island (the new palmolive stuff) and it didn't work for me. I even have a brand new state of the art GE smart dispense dishwasher that costs well over a grand. I just went back to using the regular stuff. I'd wash by hand but I can really only do it with plates that didn't touch anything containing gluten. The dishwasher just makes keeping a gluten free kitchen easier and safer. This way I don't have to worry about my poor housekeeping skills getting me sick.

Burbanmom said...

Maybe it's my unnatural pre-rinsing compulsion, but I really do find 7G powder does a fine job with our dishwashing. Our dw isn't top of the line - but then, it's not an el cheapo either - it's probably average.

Or maybe my standards are lower. yeah, looking around at the mud and leaves on the floor and the dog fur tumbleweed that just rolled by... I'll bet that's it....

badhuman said...

I had decent luck with 7th Gen if I used about half as much, otherwise I'd get grit on the dishes. 1 tbs each Borax and washing soda works really well and you can find them both online. My glasses do get a little film but you can use distilled white vinegar in the electrosol area and you won't get the film. Oh and we rent so our dishwasher falls into the cheapest thing they could find category.

Jena said...

I'm glad you found something that works! The lavender scent sounds nice too. I've been happy with just borax/washing soda/water in mine. It is a pretty cheap model too, maybe it has something to do with our water (it is quite hard). My Mom, who has soft water, does not have as good of luck so I'll have to check in to that detergent for her. I wrote a post about greening your dishwasher if anyone is interested. It also links to a great post by Melinda on the same subject.

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

Hey Crunchy. I don't know your feelings about hand-dishwashing soap. I watch "America's Test Kitchen" and I love that show! They tested a bunch of diswashing soaps and loved the one from Method. They said it was better than even the non-eco-friendly ones. Now, I'm not a big greenie like you so I don't know if this rec is worth it's salt, but I just thought I'd pass it along for when you have to do some hand-dishwashing.

LisaZ said...

I love my dishwasher!!! It's a Kenmore, middle of the road model that does a pretty good job with whatever we use. I know it's better to wash by hand in a small tub and rinse in another small tub, but I don't care. This will be one of the last things to go for the sake of green!

That said, I like 7th Gen. stuff too. But right now, due to the extremely high price of many foods and budget concerns, we're using generic grocery store stuff. For both dishwasher and sink washing. I know, that's bad, but we use way less than called for and I just can't justify $7 a box over $3 a box in these economic times. I'd much rather spend the money on what we put into our bodies directly. (yeah, I know the water thing but some things gotta give...)

Wendy said...

We've used both Seventh Generation and Wave and love them both. And we got our dishwasher for free from the curb, so I'm not really sure how great it is in the overall scheme of things. We'd been without a dishwasher for over a year because the old one leaked. Well, we had it still, but only used it as a giant dish dryer. And when we brought our curb trash home, the old one went out on Craigslist (properly labeled that it leaked). I love being cheap and green.

Amanda said...

despite all of the 7th gen rec's, i just can't agree! i find that it doesn't get grease off well at all...our dishes have to be washed twice to get grease off. ew. also, i haven't had such great luck with ecover either. thanks for the rec - i can't wait to try it!

Liz said...

I use Nature Clean powder dishwashing soap and find it works great. Our dishwasher's nothing fancy. In the year or so that I've been using this soap, I've only had to scrub a couple of things off after the load was done. It's safe for the septic system and comes in a cardboard box rather than plastic. Not sure how readily available it is in the US though.

Oldnovice said...

Does it come in that plastic-looking bottle?

Abbie said...

I have a fancy Swiss dishwasher and have to say I've been disappointed. It conserves water but fails to always CLEAN the dishes. Gross food residue on glasses especially, so combined with eco-dishwashing detergents that don't actually work, it's a big pain. I'll have to try this one.

Kelsie said...

Crunchy--Thanks for the rec. I, too, have been lamenting the ineffectiveness of my eco dishwashing detergent.

But did you hear?!?! Britta has agreed to "Take back the filters." Exciting??

Tara said...

I have a crappy dishwasher but have found that the ecover dishwasher tablets work amazingly well.

Anonymous said...

BioKleen's powder worked best for us. Unfortunately, we can no longer find it in the local stores. 7th Generation works fine if we fill the dispenser only 1/3 full and add white vinegar to the rinse agent area. Ecover worked better than 7th Generation but is also hard to find here.

We haven't had a grease problem but I tend to be a low-fat cook.

--Ave

SusanB said...

We use powdered det.in the d/w that came with our house, not bottom of the line but older. After bad luck with 7th Gen. in our apt. d/w, we've found that Trader Joe's eco det. gets our dishes cleaner than Cascade did in the house, both at 1/2 recommended or less. It seems what works is really dependent on your dishwasher, your water and what makes your dishes dirty.

Nature Deva said...

I've been using the Biokleen dishwashing detergent for many years and both the powder and the liquid work well for us. My d/w is a very quiet energy star one, a few years old. I also put vinegar in the rinse aid cup and that works really well, too.

A d/w repairman told me that for any dishwasher with any detergent - especially the powdered kind - you have to run your tap water to get that hot before you turn on the d/w to get it to work the best. Since I started to do that, I've noticed that it really made a difference in using the biodegradable detergents and leaving no residue.

Btw, I don't waste the tap water, I wash the large items first that are not going in the machine or if I have no pans to wash, I catch the water in a big bowl and use it to water my plants.

Robj98168 said...

I use Trader Joe's Automatic Dishwasher Soap- no complaints yet. AND i have been using it for about a year.

Jennifer said...

Yea! A new dishwashing soap to try! I've tried all the green ones and they just don't work in our machine. Although, I must admit, I never tried using less. I"ll have to keep that in mind.

The one we use is Trader Joe's dish soap. But we're moving far, far away from any TJ's so it's good to have an alternative to Cascade.

Kimberly said...

Our DW is pretty lousy and our water is very hard. All that I've found that works is Wave as well. I just bought six bottles last week because I could get it for 25% off. I've returned 7th Generation as well as regular store brands as they leave the worst film I even tried making my ow, to no avail. This stuff is THE BEST--even with the shaking required. You're right, its consistency is odd without shaking. It sure smells nice though and I am very sensitive to frangrances. I love this stuff!

Leanne said...

Oh my, I am so happy to read this. I have tried and tried to switch to an eco detergent, and was frustrated everyone I know seems satisfied with 7th gen. We have the exact same kind of inherited cheapo dishwasher, and I finally figured out that it was sabotaging our efforts to at least use a green detergent. I have half-full containers of Planet and 7th gen, and have nearly ordered other stuff, but couldn't trust it'd actually work for us, ugh!

So I am taking your recommendation to heart! Maybe we will have good luck, too. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

We live in an apartment with an old crap-o dishwasher, so I understand how hard it is to use eco detergent! We have had some good results with Method "smarty dish" pellets. You just drop them in, no mess! They claim to be non-toxic with no phosphates or bleach. I find it at Target everywhere (I figure it's pretty easy to find, if I can find it here in Texas).

Cheap Like Me said...

Mmm, sounds like the unshaken soap would go beautifully with a nice drink of pearl sake, which has the same ... er... appeal.

I too hate 7G - it does not work at all. We have been using Ecover, which has been great.

In the sink, I just discovered and blogged about a Williams-Sonoma variety that I received as a gift -- it is green, awesome, and does not leave dishrags smelling like mold!

Mel Mazz said...

I don't think it's the quality of the dishwasher, it's that most of the eco-friendly stuff just doesn't work. I have a non-cheapo dishwasher (Bosch, never get one, nothing but trouble and terrible cleaning), and the only thing that works is the Cascade Complete. I bought the Wave today! Will let you know how it goes. Melissa in Chicago

Susan Och said...

We like Ecover, but our water is only moderately hard. There is no "best" dishwashing detergent, each household has slightly different water, but they all react differently with the detergents. You just have to try them and find what works.

JessTrev said...

Our water is really hard, I agree with Ave that you need to use vinegar - I use 1/2 cup in with the dishes on the front end and also put it in the rinse aid cup. That is the only way my eco soaps work. I would even say the (cough crappy) 7th Gen powder is ok that way (I am currently using some up). And we have a Bosch, have to agree with Mel Mazz that I would *never* rec'd it. Crazy little parts snap off and roll around the floor EVERY TIME. But I digress. Vinegar may get you right back to the powder in the box and away from the plastic bottle. Try it!

Juli said...

Thanks for posting this. I only wish I had a dishwasher, human, canine, or otherwise. One of my sisters was asking me if there was such a thing as eco-friendly dishwasher soap and I hadn't a clue. Link forwarded!

Amber said...

I recently discovered the Ecover tablets and agree with Tara that they are amazing.

Lily said...

I've tried Wave and The Other Half and I agree that it sucks. Sorry to disagree with you on this one. We're still searching...

Anonymous said...

i'm on my own internet search... Trader Joe's and 7th Gen liquids both were terrible imho.


here's another link to a similar article that recommends METHOD brand. http://ecochildsplay.com/2008/12/02/do-natural-dishwasher-detergents-actually-work/#comment-41589

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