Enough with the phosphates! I’m switching dishwasher detergents. Why the shift? I think the final nudge came when I heard that Spokane (Washington) residents were traveling to Idaho to buy phosphate-laden dishwasher detergents. I thought, that’s silly. Why would someone drive to another state to buy dishwasher detergent?
Sparkling clean dishes - that’s why. Some Spokane residents found that the eco-detergents left chunks of food and grease on their dishes. Really? We have wireless Internet access at our fingertips, but we can’t engineer a great eco-friendly dishwasher detergent?
For Spokane residents, the culprit is their hard water. Phosphates in dishwasher detergents soften the effects of hard water, while removing spots and film from your dishes. The solution? Install a water softener, rinse your dishes a bit more, or go back in time and wash your dishes by hand. Sorry, driving to Idaho is not a solution. At least not for long.
In 2010, Washington and several other states will ban dishwasher detergents with more than 0.5% phosphorus. It’s likely that more states will follow until there’s a nationwide ban – similar to what we have today for laundry detergents.
So why are phosphate detergents being banned? Phosphates from our detergents end up in our lakes and streams, where they promote algae growth, which consumes oxygen and ultimately kills fish and plants.
OK, I’m ready to switch! I bought Palmolive’s Eco+ dishwasher gel and put it to the test. Expecting to see dirty greasy dishes, I was pleasantly surprised to find my dishes were still clean. There was dried food bits on some silverware, but that could happen even with the phosphates; my dishwasher is 10 years old and I’m a pre-wash minimalist.
Palmolive’s Eco+ dishwasher gel wasn’t expensive; it was $3.70 for the 75 ounce jug. It isn’t perfect though – I’d rather not buy products in plastic jugs and after closer examination I discovered that Eco+ contains chlorine bleach. Next time I plan to try Ecover dishwashing powder in a box. I’ve heard great things about Ecover.
What phosphate-free detergents are out there? Trader Joes, Seventh Generation, Ecover, Method, Diamond Brite, or you can try making your own. There are a few recipes out there on the ‘Net.
A phosphate ban is on the horizon. So why not make the change today? Go phosphate-free!
Have you already made the switch? What products have you tried and what works for you? Please post a Comment.