Greener Every Week – Dishwasher Detergent

“Greener Every Week” is my ongoing series in which I do one (cheap, easy) thing every week to make my home or lifestyle more healthy & eco-friendly.

I love my dishwasher. I didn’t have one until about a year ago and holy jeebus does it make my life easier. I have an LG one that plays a little song when it’s done so not only does it do my dishes, but it seems positively cheerful about it, too. I also like that with a high efficiency dishwasher you actually use less water than doing the dishes by hand (at least if you only run it when it’s full, which I do) so you can feel good about it from an environmental standpoint, too.

What I didn’t feel great about was the detergent. Most of the big name brands have all sorts of funky chemicals in them which I didn’t like adding to the water supply and I didn’t particularly like adding to the dishes I eat off of, either. So the hunt began for a clean green alternative. And it was a surprisingly difficult hunt. I mentioned that I’m not that picky about my laundry, but I am pretty picky about my dishes. I just really like looking at a shelf full of sparkly glasses!

I heard that you could use Dr. Bronner’s in the dishwasher, which would have made me all kinds of happy since I use it for darn near everything else, but despite trying it several times it never really worked that well. It might work in some machines, but in mine it left things too filmy for my tastes.

So then I researched making my own, but everything I could find online looked crazy complicated, involved commercial soap or bleach (what’s the point, then?) or just didn’t work.

But finally, I found success! And not in one, but two different products, so you’ll have options. And who doesn’t love options?

The first thing I loved was Ecover Tablets. I like the tablet thing because it makes measuring a non-issue and you know you’re using the right amount. The ingredient list is not bad at all, entirely plant based and recyclable packaging. And my glasses end up nice and sparkly! I don’t love that each tablet is individually wrapped, but at least they are recyclable.

The other one I tried and liked was BioKleen Powder. (Does reading “Biokleen Powder” out loud make anyone else think of The Princess Bride? “What you do not smell is iocane powder. It is odorless, tasteless, dissolves instantly in liquid and is among the most deadly poisons known to man.” Man I love that movie. Also this stuff is unscented but definitely not deadly. Presumably. I think this company is going to ask me to stop talking about their products if I get in the habit of comparing them to poison. Sorry about that.) Biokleen is also plant based with good ingredients, and also gets everything shiny. You do have to measure out the amount you want, but there’s less packaging. I think. I’m never sure how it balances out between cardboard box with individual wrappers and plastic tub with no individual wrappers. Sometimes trying to be green involves too much math!

The other thing I learned and love is that instead of using a commercial rinse agent (you know, that blue liquid stuff you put in the special compartment once a month or so to keep things shiny?) you can just fill that compartment with vinegar! Super clean, super cheap, and I already keep a ton of vinegar around to use as cleaning spray so it’s effortless to try it.

Has anyone else tried any of these things? Or do you have some other dishwasher tips to keep things gleaming and eco friendly?

Note:  Nobody has paid me in any way to endorse these products, I just genuinely like them and want to share my enthusiasm with you.  If you click the link and buy them from Amazon I’ll make like 37 cents through their affiliate program, so that would be sweet, but that’s the only compensation happening around here.

 

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