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, March 17, 2009

Another eco-dishwasher product miracle

A few months ago I reviewed an eco-dishwasher detergent that we had received a sample of and loved. It worked great with our crappy dishwasher and had minimal environmental impact. Unfortunately, the brand, Wave Gel, is hard to find in our area or, at the very least, is inconvenient to buy.

Because of the cost (free!), we went back to the plastic bottles of cheapo dishwasher detergent my mom gets on super-sale and gives to us, but it's been driving me crazy not using something more sustainable. We were out of detergent this weekend and using up the rest of the Seventh Generation detergent that doesn't work for us - it leaves a greasy film all over the dishes - and trying to figure out what to buy.

So, Saturday, before I went shopping, I went back through all the comments from the post and re-read which detergents you guys love. After reading through them all I decided to look for the ECOVER Dishwasher Tablets. We had tried some other non-sustainable gel pack things (again, from my mom on super-sale) and liked the fact that it was packaged in a cardboard box with only a thin plastic liner (albeit non-recyclable) on the inside. I was hoping to find something similar instead of a product in a big hunking chunk of plastic.

Our local grocery store, that I love with all my heart, doesn't sell the Wave detergent but they do sell ECOVER tablets. I was happy to see that the tablets were individually wrapped in recyclable plastic, the box is made of 95% recycled cardboard, it has plant based ingredients, is biodegradable and has a minimum impact on aquatic life.

But do these miracle tablets work in a crappy dishwasher? Well, I'm here to testify that, yes, they do work just as well as Cascade and the other "leading" brands. Who knew that something so simple as finding a decent eco-dishwasher detergent could be so satisfying and make me so pleased! Thanks to everyone who regularly supplies their input on what does and doesn't work for you. Without your suggestions, I'd still be fumbling around with trying to figure out what to do.

27 comments:

Robj98168 said...

What? Is this Crunchy chicken or June Cleaver's blog??? J/k I am glad you found a dishwasher soap you can live with. Sounds great! Thanks for sharing!

Eco Yogini said...

Hmmm. I also was pleased with most of Ecover's products. Until I read their FULL ingredient list on their website.
I do know for certain that "parfum" most likely hides sketchy chemicals- and there are plenty ingredients there that I have no effin' clue what they are or if they are safe.
For example:D-glucitol is used in areosal sprays.
I can pretty easily pick out the plant based ingredients: sodium citrate, limonene (Limonene and its oxidation products are skin and respiratory irritants-D-limonene is biodegradable, but due to its low flash point, it must be treated as hazardous waste for disposal- wiki).

one ingredient: Subtilisin, is posted as a moderate-hazardous on Skin Deep:

http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/ingredient.php?ingred06=706360

The rest I am having a hard time finding what they are on the net. This would be a nice time to have a chemical dictionary on hand. Paranoid sounding? Maybe- but then there is a LOT of greenwashing going around (i.e. LUSH) and I am tired of using products that claim to be safe.

Sigh. I am pretty paranoid eh? I should just buy a chemical-health dictionary.

Eco Yogini said...

actually- I just reread my post- it sounds kinda bitchy! Sorry about that. I do love your blog :)

If anyone has any resources (online or otherwise) or could illuminate the health-ingredient list that would be fantastic- cuz I would love to feel comfortable using Ecover... :)

Healing Green said...

I've been using their laundry detergent this month on everything from clothes to cloth diapers, and that works great, too. I order products like soap, cream, dry goods, etc, a couple times a year in one shipment through Frontier co-op at wholesale prices.

Farmer's Daughter said...

I just use equal parts borax and baking soda, with vinegar for "jet dry." I saw it posted on Green Phone Booth a while ago and decided to try it.

I love it and I love that I don't have to buy plastic bottles anymore.

organicneedle said...

I couldn't agree more about 7th dishwasher detergent. They couldn't possibly pack more suck into a box. It actually dirtied my dishes and ended wasting a ton of water because everything had to be rewashed. I will def. be giving Ecover a try. I have also heard good things about Trader Joe's version.

Anne said...

I use the Method tabs and they work really well in our sucky dishwasher! They are kind of a compact powder tab thingy that doesn't have an internal wrapper. The container is plastic but kind of cool and reusable or recyclable.

Green Resolutions said...

It is such a relief when you find something that that works and you can stop thinking so much about something as mundane as dishwashing detergent, isn't it?!!

Laura said...

We're doing fine with 7th Gen in our counter top dishwasher. But then, I use Dr Bronner's bar soap when handwashing dishes and have not had any residue or even comments about residue from my partner or guests (which I have heard people post about before.)

Must be my good dish karma. :)

jenny_lucey said...

I use charlie's soap for our clothes, and the website said you could use it in the dishwasher, too, and it works! It makes the whole dishwasher look clean too.

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

I was just thinking about dishwasher detergent the other day. The 7th Gen dishwasher detergent works fine for me, so I think it's interesting that many people would have had such bad experiences with it.

Anyone know what might be the differentiating factors that would make a detergent work for one person but not for others? I was thinking it might have been an Energy Star dishwasher vs. an old one (I have an old cheap one), but it doesn't sound like Crunchy Chicken has a nice dishwasher. Maybe it's the degree of hard/soft water? Just curious...

Mary said...

Glad to hear you've tried Ecover! About 3 years ago we tried the Sev Gen and it was awful - always left residue on the dishes. We've been using Ecover ever since and it works great for us. But after our first box of the tablets we switched to the powder and actually like it much better - sometimes the tablets left grainy residue on the dishes, as if some of the tablet didn't dissolve all of the way. And I can't help feeling wasteful using individually wrapped tablets - seems like extra, unnecessary plastic packaging. We also use Ecover dishwashing liquid and liquid laundry detergent, both with very good results.

Anonymous said...

Put me down as another person who likes the Seventh Generation. I've never had an issue.

Cheap Like Me said...

I too love how Ecover products work. I think which product works for you depends on the appliance, water, etc. But the powder seems much more eco-friendly than the tablets -- no individual plastic wrapping (recycled/recyclable or no), and I can adjust the amount down low to stretch a box further.

I don't know about the ingredients ... I do know it is carried at Vitamin Cottage, which has fairly strict screening standards, and yet it doesn't make my husband complain about the dishwasher's cleanliness, so that's a good compromise for me.

Condo Blues said...

I thought that I had a sucky dishwasher but it turns out that the dishwasher repair guy said that it was leaving grit all over my dishes because I didn't have my hot water heater turned up high enough. I had it set at 120 degrees to save energy & prevent scalding. He said that I'd use less enegery if I turned my hot water heater up because I wouldn't run the water (and the heater) longer in order to get the water hot enough for showers, etc. I was doubtful but since the guy didn't work for the natural gas co and the dishwasher co. I figured I'd try it. He said he had his hot water heater jacked to 135, that seemed way too high so I set mine to 125. No more grit on the dishes. I haven't done it long enough to check the difference in our use yet.

Liz said...

I'm curious - where's it made?

Marianna said...

I've een using the Ecover tablets for about 18 months now and I love them. I also use their rinse aid. I never fully researched their ingredients, but they are much safer than the Cascade with bleach and phosphates that I was using. Bleh.
I've used the Seventh Generation as a backup when I run out of Ecover and it works pretty good too. I've never had any issues.

Jodi AB said...

Yup, the Ecover tablets are the only eco-friendly brand that works. This is in line with the Consumer Reports reviews as well. It's the only type that contains enzymes. It's expensive, and I'm not that thrilled that it's made in the Netherlands, but if it's the only thing that both gets my dishes clean and doesn't fill my home with bleach fumes (which just can't be healthy), I'll take it.

Anonymous said...

They (Ecover tablets) seemed to work okay at first, but then I discovered a film over most of my clear glasses, and realized my other dishes just weren't getting clean. I have about half of a box that I'm keeping for emergencies, but I've had to go back to the commercial gel-type stuff for now.

JessTrev said...

@organicneedle ha! 7th gen is definitely "suck in a box" -- but I had basically decided that all eco options suck unless you use vinegar rinse. in which case you might as well make your own! borax + baking soda all the way, baby.

Rosemarie said...

I like Ecover too, but I've only tried the powdered kind. I've tried so many alternative brands of dishwashing powder and this one was one of the best. I think now I am trying the 7th generation gel and that works too.

I think I may try someone's suggestion about borax and baking soda!

Scout said...

When I first started using the 7th Gen dishwasher soap, it was really sucky, but we stayed with it. After trying a few boxes, we added an ecofriendly "rinse agent", and a couple of weeks later (not sure if it was a coincidence), the dishes started coming out cleaner than ever. So far, we've only added one installment of the rinse agent, which apparently only needs topping up once a month or so. (We haven't topped up since the first addition, so we're not even sure that was what did the trick ...). In any event, we're sticking with the 7th Gen powder for now. It works, it's not horribly overpriced, and we can buy it at our tiny local grocery store.

NS said...

I wouldn't use Ecover as they do not use a fixed cut off date for animal testing. They are no longer approved by the Vegan Society because of this.

In the UK, I would recommend the Co-Op's own brand eco-friendly stuff. All BUAV approved as well.

Miss Kris said...

Just saw this article posted on Yahoo today and it reminded me of this post.

I've been using Trader Joe's powdered detergent for as long as I've had a dishwasher. The only time we have a problem with our dishes not getting clean is if my husband doesn't do a pre-rinse of his dishes before putting them in.

I've never heard of using Borax & baking soda + vinegar before. I already use all of those to clean the rest of my house - I think I'm going to have to give it a try in the dishwasher now.

Eco Yogini said...

I actually finally found a safety review datasheet http://zchrudniki.com.pl/m_dwukrz.pdf on one of the ingredients for the tablets (disodium disilicate). In higher concentrations this ingredient is toxic. Truly, many ecover ingredients on their website include SLS and "parfum". Not so eco-friendly after all.

Tricia said...

What's your grocery store? I'll get in touch with Earth Friendly Products to see about getting it in there!!

Crunchy Chicken said...

Hey Tricia - It's Ballard Market. They carry Ecover and Seventh Generation dishwashing products and a lot of other Earth Friendly products (like the Earth Enzymes that I'd like to try), just not their Wave dishwashing gel or tablets. From their website, it also looks like it's a lot cheaper than the Ecover tablets.

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