Sustainable Saturday - Dishwasher Detergent Greenwashing!

I realized today that I have fallen victim to "Greenwashing".  As much as I may try to read labels and make sure that I am purchasing a product that is truly better for my family, Palmolive pulled a fast one on me or I never took the time to validate what I thought was a green product.

I have been using their Palmolive eco+ Dishwasher detergent periodically for the last year.  After Method discontinued their Dishwasher cubes (which they are now making again), I began looking for another product.  For awhile I used Seventh Generation Dishwasher Liquid, but became frustrated because my dishes where not clean and my glasses were spotted.  So, I was excited when I discovered Palmolive eco+ which promised to be phosphate free and a more green alternative to the average dishwasher detergent.

I discovered my unfortune tonight when my almost two year old son was helping put the soap in the dishwasher after supper.  He got some on the floor (he does a pretty good job for a two year old) which I wiped up.  A little while later I noticed his socks were bleached, then his pants, then a spot on my husband's sweater and my shirt.  My husband went and grabbed the bottle and was reading the ingredients including chlorine bleach and do not come into contact with mouth, eyes, clothing etc!  But wait, this is the same detergent that is currently cleaning my dishes most likely leaving some sort of film and then in turn we will place our food and drink in these dishes. So much for being environmentally friendly!  I haven't used chlorine bleach (We use Seventh Generation chlorine free bleach) in my laundry washing machine and here I unknowingly placed chlorine bleach in my DISHWASHER!   In addition, I now have one ruined pair of socks, one ruined pair of jeans, one ruined sweater and one ruined shirt.

Do NOT buy this product!  ALWAYS read your labels! 

Partial Damage:



On to some great Green alternatives:

Method smarty dish go naked available at Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Babies R us, Toys R Us, Whole Foods, The Andersons (Columbus) and Big Lots (depending on availability).

powerful cleaning punch, earth friendly pouch.

just when you thought smarty couldn’t get any smarter, it does. still a super powerful detergent that cleans dirty dishes without resorting to dirty chemicals like phosphates and bleach, but now in a lightweight pouch that uses 87% less plastic than the original. same clean, smaller footprint. 


Seventh Generation available at Target, Babies R Us, Toys R Us and Whole Foods.
Automatic Dishwasher Detergent Pacs
These concentrated automatic dishwasher pacs deliver our phosphate and chlorine free formula in a convenient single-use pac.

Free & Clear Automatic Dishwasher Powder

Our Phosphate- and Chlorine-Free Automatic Dishwasher Powder gets your dishes sparkling clean. Free & clear of perfumes and dyes.
 
Citrasolv - Available at Whole Foods, Raisin Rack (Columbus), Clintonville Community Market (Columbus) and Alice.com

Citra Dish Automatic Dishwasher Gel & Powder



• Chlorine bleach-free
• Contains no synthetic perfumes or dyes
• Safe for septic systems
• Contains no phosphates, EDTA or NTA

Sun & Earth Products

Sun & Earth Automatic Dishwasher Detergent Pacs

Our Automatic Dishwasher Detergent is tough on grease and baked-on foods yet safe to use for baby bottles, utensils, and dishes.  Use (1) pre-portioned pac per load.  No measuring, unwrapping or mess.  Safe to use around kids - no danger of splashing or airborne powder.  If you are looking for a 100% biodegradable, phosphate-free dishwasher detergent that works and is gentle on the environment, Sun & Earth Automatic Dishwasher Detergent is the one you want!  Safe for septic systems.  It will leave dishes streak-free and squeaky-clean.

No animal testing.  Vegan.  Gluten-free.  Soy-free.  Casein-free.  No tree nuts.  No peanuts.
Ingredients: Sodium citrate, sodium percarbonate, disodium silicate, natural enzymes, orange oil.


Ecover available at Whole Foods and Bexley Co-Op (Columbus).

Dishwasher Tablets, Automatic Dishwashing Powder, Rinse Aid

  • plant based ingredients
  • quick and complete biodegradability
    (OECD-test 301F, full product)
  • minimum impact on aquatic life
    (OECD-test 201 & 202, full product)
  • no animal testing
Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day available at The Andersons (Columbus), Giant Eagle, Whole Foods and Raisin Rack (Columbus).

Automatic Dish Packs and Automatic Dishwashing Liquid

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Automatic Dish Packs help your dishwasher create sparkling dishes, glasses and flatware. Each pack of oxygen bleach formula loads easily in the dishwasher's soap cup. Removes stains like coffee and tea without phosphates or chlorine.



Wave available at The Hills Market (Columbus), Giant Eagle, Raisin Rack (Columbus) and Beechwold Natural Foods (Columbus).

Wave Gel Auto Dishwasher HP and Wave Gel Free and Clear.

High Performance Wave Gel has been rated as the most effective natural auto dish product. Now with Lavender oil for fragrance. Wave is free of phosphates, chlorine and caustics. This plant-based product has a neutral pH and is fully biodegradeable.

OR you could make your own if you are concerned about the cost of the cleaners listed above.   It cost less than a penny a load to make, or 50 loads of dishes for just 50 cents. Now, that's frugal!

Here is a recipe courtesy of planet green:

Recipe for Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
  • 1 cup Washing soda
  • 1 cup Borax
  • ½ cup salt
  • ½ cup citric acid
Mix together and store tightly covered in a Mason Jar. Use one tablespoon per load. Add vinegar to the rinse dispenser for the best results.


Sustainable Saturday - Dishwasher Detergent Greenwashing was originally published by Saving Family Green in February 2010.

1 comment:

Lisa Sharp said...

We all fall victim to this at least once. Great reminder to always read labels.

FYI Mrs. Meyers has some questionable ingredients in some products and while borax is natural it needs a lot of caution as it's toxic to people and pets if you eat it and it's hard on your skin. Still better than the other stuff but needs to be used with caution and some question on it ending up in the water.