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Using Your Dishwasher without Crazy Chemicals


When we lived in Scotland, I was the dishwasher. Washing dishes is my least favorite household task. Its never done and it takes forever. When we moved back to America, one of the things I was most excited about (I am not exaggerating) is having a dishwasher. It has made my life so much easier! So, being me, I started thinking about what might be going onto our dishes–because I knew if it was on our dishes, then it might get into our food, which of course goes into our bodies.

The first thing I got rid of was the rinse agent. What is in that bright blue stuff? I couldn’t tell you because they don’t list the ingredients on the bottle. I figured if they won’t even list the ingredients, then I don’t need to be spraying my dishes with it. I still needed a rinse agent, though, because we have a lot of lime in our water. So, after a little research, I tried using white vinegar. It works. Granted, not as well as the Jet Dry, but it works well enough for me. And I’d rather have my dishes sprayed with stuff that is edible and identifiable, instead of some blue stuff with secret ingredients.

After that, I decided to look into natural dishwasher detergent. We were using Cascade, but wanted an option with less, you guessed it,  less crazy chemicals. I had read about homemade dishwasher powder, but it got very mixed reviews and left me doubtful. Then I discovered that someone else had already done the research for me! Yay! You can read about how Katie over at Kitchen Stewardship tried many different things, but ultimately chose Biokleen as the best. (I love when other people do all of the work and I get to benefit from it as well.:) )

That was good enough for me! When we ran out of Cascade (which took a long time because it was the Sam’s Club size) I bought Biokleen and I have been very happy with it. I haven’t noticed any difference between the Cascade and the Biokleen and I like the smell of the Biokleen bettter.

Yay clean dishes without the nasty chemicals!

Here is the ingredient list for the Biokleen.

You can buy a case of Biokleen Dish Powder from Amazon. If you aren’t quite ready to commit to 12 bottles of it, then I don’t blame you. I bought mine from when it was on sale. Right now, The Natural Store has it on sale. (If I see a good sale in the future, I’ll post it on here.)

Next, I need to find a natural dish washing liquid for the dishes that need to be hand washed. Has anyone tried anything that actually worked? I am going to try Mrs. Meyers, I think.

  1. Karie permalink
    12/29/2010 8:20 am

    My mom and I were just talking about how terrible it is for you to open the dishwasher while it was running because of the chemicals that are released. You would hope those are rinsed off but really they probably aren’t, and I open the dishwasher to add something at least once a day so…
    Glad I have a coupon! :-)

  2. Jan permalink
    12/29/2010 11:40 am

    I don’t use any rinse agent, but I’m going to try the vinegar. I use it in my wash all the time.

    • Kate permalink*
      12/29/2010 1:42 pm

      Jan, That is coming up in a future post! :)

  3. Tara permalink
    01/02/2011 9:00 pm

    I love ECOVER dish soap. It’s pricey so I only buy it when i see a good sale (at Whole Foods), and when I do stock up. In also dilute it for our foamy hand soap the way you do with Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap. I like it as hand soap because it’s super mild, less expensive per ounce than Dr. Bs (on sale, of course) and it doesn’t leave soap scum all over the sink since it’s technically a detergent. I used to dilute Dr. B’s like you do but it was making my sink too nasty all the time. Thank you for writing this wonderful blog!

  4. Coralie permalink
    02/02/2012 6:49 am

    I tried using 1/2 borax and 1/2 bi-carbonate soda with vinegar in the rinse cycle. It was ok but the cutlery was a bit coated in powder and the dishes didn’t dry (no real problem re drying). I am looking for a better solution so will check this out. I tend to avoid dishwashers but my flatmate is lazy and wants to use it… grrrr.


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