April 23, 2008
Recently I made a comment about my horror at seeing people buy conventional dishwasher detergent, but I realize I haven't even written a post about what better options there are.
Conventional brands of dishwasher detergent contain phosphates, which can cause algae blooms in lakes and ponds that can suffocate plants and animals that live in those bodies of water.
Conventional options may also contain chlorine, which the production and use of creates toxins which are dangerous for people and the environment. Standard dishwasher detergent may also contain ingredients derived from petroleum.
I did a search online and found some information on Grist about phosphates. The article even mentions that Washington State has recently signed a new bill that will keep the phosphorus content in dishwashing detergent to 0.5 percent beginning in 2010 (a big improvement).
There are many eco-brands which offer safe dishwasher detergent. I've tried Biokleen, Seventh Generation, Ecover, and even Trader Joe's. For my machine it does seem to help if I use a rinse aid. I have found one called "Wave Jet" from Earth Friendly Products. I've also read that you can use a few teaspoons of baking soda for the same effect.