After years of using a gel dishwasher detergent I switched to an old-school powder and I’m never going back.
First of all, the dishwasher is my responsibility. Of all the household duties, it’s one some spouses hate and some don’t. In our household it turns out that I’m the “don’t” party so I’ve been on dishwasher duty for years. (This is why you’ve seen a few dishwasher-related articles on this site!)
Having done a lot of (admittedly not very scientific) research a few years ago, I made the bold decision to primarily use Cascade Complete dishwashing gel. It’s available everywhere (well, except Whole Foods), it’s super reliable, it never streaks, and I find it offers the best cleaning of any dishwasher detergent I’ve used.
For the record, we only use the gel, never the pods after reading too many scary stories about the pods.
I will sometimes mix in Seventh Generation Dishwasher detergent gel with the Cascade as it’s a greener product using the higher power Cascade every other wash, or even very third, seems to be almost as effective as using it every wash. The Seventh Generation is dye-free, EPA certified, phosphate-free, and has a number of other nice qualities.
Why I Switched To Powder
There are a few simple reasons why I’ve been using dishwasher power lately and think you should consider doing the same. They are…
- Cost Effective – Powdered detergent is almost always cheaper than a gel. An equally priced box of powder will have about 2x the used of a gel. Also, with gel you tend to squeeze too hard and send out too much, that rarely happens with powder.
- Environmentally Friendly – The powder ships in a recycled cardboard box, not plastic. Also, the gel’s number one ingredient is water and shipping that water all around the world is inefficient and wasteful because my dishwasher is going to add the water.
- Lasts Longer – A 45 oz or 75 oz box of powder detergent will outlast any gel. Our family of four will use the smaller 45 oz. box up in about 4 months, which mean buying more detergent is an infrequent task.
- No Residue – In my dishwasher there is no build up or residue from the powder — it does its job and wash away. Cascade is good about this too, but many other gels stick around, leaving residue inside the machine. You’ll know this is happening because you’ll see a hazy or greyness on the dishwasher’s side and if you do a wash with no detergent right after a wash with the detergent, you’ll get clean but streaked dishes because of the detergent’s leave-behinds in the machine.
So, in the end, the powder is an easy choice for me. My favorite is the Seventh Generation Powder, which is affordable and highly effectively. There are, sadly, few powder choices than there used to be, but this one is reliable.