Author Topic: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?  (Read 5058 times)

Bracken_Joy

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Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« on: November 10, 2016, 11:22:41 AM »
Hello! I recently acquired a DISHWASHER when I bought a house this summer. This thing is a miracle- with minimal work from me, it makes my dishes clean! I find this a fabulous miracle and am not sure I can ever go back to hand washing. However.

I've noticed dishwasher detergent is pretty spendy! I've been buying the cascade liquid at Costco (recently picked up 2 when it was on sale). However, this is still more expensive than hand washing was. How can I bring the price down?

Do you put any soap in the little prewash slot? How full do you fill the slot with the little clip lid? (Sorry if this is unclear).
I've heard the DIY stuff leaves a film on the dishes- anyone have a good recipe you like? Thoughts?

Thanks in advance mustachians!

ZiziPB

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2016, 11:31:24 AM »
I really like the Costco (Kirkland brand) detergent packs.  I just stick one into the compartment with the lid and done.  And while detergent may be more expensive for the dishwasher, you save a ton on money on water and energy.  My tips for using the dishwasher efficiently are: don't pre-rinse your dishes (just scrape off any excess) and run your dishwasher only when completely full.

letired

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2016, 12:12:12 PM »
Things to consider:
 - How hard/soft your water is. Softer water = less detergent required, hard water = more detergent, possible white film on dishes. You'll have to experiment.
 - How much pre cleaning you do. DON'T DO IT. Any new machine should be able to handle cleaning dishes, and some use sensors to determine how vigorously to wash dishes, and if there is no dirt to sense because you precleaned, it will do a crappy job of washing.
 - How much you care. I am a terrible lazy asshole, I don't give a f* if I have calcium deposits on my glasses, or if a dish occasionally has a piece of cheese that didn't get washed off.
 - How full it is. Don't run the dishwasher unless it is full or starting to smell. The manual will have recommendations for loading it. Experiment with maximizing loads!

When left to my own devices, I buy the cheapest powder detergent from the grocery store (my mom sometimes gets me fancy name brand stuff with a weird points thing from work) and it seems to get things clean, albeit with a white film from the hard water (I just do a vinegar rinse every once in awhile if I'm having guests or I get an attack of caring). I never put any soap in the prewash thingie and I don't fill the main soap compartment unless I'm washing lots of really greasy stuff. That said, my water is pretty hard, so I don't skimp either. For me and my roommate, with a low to medium cooking load, a single large box of cheap store brand powder lasted about a year. I run the dishwasher 1-2x a week.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2016, 12:18:22 PM »
Hmm. Does the no pre-rinsing apply if it's an old dishwasher? I believe this one is original to the house, 1995. So like 21 years old.

ZiziPB

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2016, 12:23:11 PM »
Yes, no pre-rinsing is necessary even for older dishwashers (but do scrape off any excess food bits).  I have a friend who is really into pre-rinsing.  So she stands at the sink getting her dishes basically clean before she puts them in the dishwasher.  I, on the other hand, do not rinse anything ever.  Our dishes come out the same - clean!

rockstache

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2016, 12:24:40 PM »
Congrats on the dishwasher! We use the Aldi brand, and I only fill the clip lid, not the other bonus section, if that makes sense. We do generally do a quick rinse before filling, so it seems to do a good job. I haven't noticed much of a cost impact on handwashing versus dishwashing, but that might be because my husband over-soaps when handwashing.

therethere

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2016, 12:25:50 PM »
I have an old as dirt dishwasher. I'm still trying to kill it so I can get a new one. Definitely quick rinse your dishes right after you use them if you're motivated. Not required but it helps. I use any dry dish detergent that's on sale. Don't bother with the rinse aid as its already filled with 20 years worth of crud. Make sure you are cleaning out the drain area every few runs. Also, just pay attention to how its working when you lay out dishes different ways. I've found sometimes if you put too large of items on the bottom the top won't clean at all. It actually gets dirtier.

If you put sharp knives in the dishwasher turn off the heated dry and put them on the top rack.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2016, 12:27:29 PM »
That's going to be a tough change to make! I grew up with a dish "sanitizer". We rarely used it, but things came out the same way they went in, lol. Just... warm.

Water is super expensive here (oh the irony, I live in PNW), so that'll be a good change to make though.

Thanks you guys!

More thoughts on powder vs liquid? I've only ever used the liquid soap.

Congrats on the dishwasher! We use the Aldi brand, and I only fill the clip lid, not the other bonus section, if that makes sense. We do generally do a quick rinse before filling, so it seems to do a good job. I haven't noticed much of a cost impact on handwashing versus dishwashing, but that might be because my husband over-soaps when handwashing.

Do you totally fill the little clip section? Mine has multiple "rings" on it, so I'm not sure how much to use =\ Currently doing a little above the lowest ring, and some in the prerinse slot.

I have an old as dirt dishwasher. I'm still trying to kill it so I can get a new one. Definitely quick rinse your dishes right after you use them if you're motivated. Not required but it helps. I use any dry dish detergent that's on sale. Don't bother with the rinse aid as its already filled with 20 years worth of crud. Make sure you are cleaning out the drain area every few runs. Also, just pay attention to how its working when you lay out dishes different ways. I've found sometimes if you put too large of items on the bottom the top won't clean at all. It actually gets dirtier.

If you put sharp knives in the dishwasher turn off the heated dry and put them on the top rack.

Okay, wait. I'm an idiot. What does this mean? I guess I didn't realize you had to clean dishwashers. Uh oh? Luckily we've only been here a few months.

therethere

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2016, 12:30:18 PM »
Mine has a grate at the bottom rear where the dirty water drains out. DH is not great about rinsing dishes so its always filled with chunks of food. Because it doesn't drain all the way it sits in ~1/2" of dirty water too. Gross. I don't actually clean it. More like go in every few days with a paper towel and scoop out the chunks.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2016, 12:34:37 PM »
Mine has a grate at the bottom rear where the dirty water drains out. DH is not great about rinsing dishes so its always filled with chunks of food. Because it doesn't drain all the way it sits in ~1/2" of dirty water too. Gross. I don't actually clean it. More like go in every few days with a paper towel and scoop out the chunks.

Okay. My dishwasher is running right now, but as soon as it's done I'm going to look for the drain! Ours definitely empties all the way, and it's never smelled- I cook every meal from scratch, so it gets runs every other day at a minimum.

Thanks for the advice guys!

ZiziPB

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2016, 12:43:02 PM »
Quote
If you put sharp knives in the dishwasher turn off the heated dry and put them on the top rack.

Sharp knives should not go into the dishwasher at all.  It dulls them.  Wash your knives by hand.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2016, 12:45:31 PM »
Oh god yes, I wash all knives by hand. I have a set of Henkles my parents got for my 15th birthday. I baby these things so intensely. They still look brand new <3

...actually, almost broke up on the spot with a guy who, in an attempt at "helpfulness" but totally forgetting my direction I had given the week before, dishwashed both my chef's knife and my cast iron pan.

ohsnap

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2016, 12:49:37 PM »
I really like the Costco (Kirkland brand) detergent packs.  I just stick one into the compartment with the lid and done. ...

+1 except that I buy the Finish brand tabs from Costco.  They are on coupon at least 2-3x/year so I have NEVER paid full price.  Sometimes they are 2-for-1!  That gets the price down to about 6 cents each. 

ZiziPB

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2016, 12:55:52 PM »
I really like the Costco (Kirkland brand) detergent packs.  I just stick one into the compartment with the lid and done. ...

+1 except that I buy the Finish brand tabs from Costco.  They are on coupon at least 2-3x/year so I have NEVER paid full price.  Sometimes they are 2-for-1!  That gets the price down to about 6 cents each. 

I like the Finish brand too, but the Kirkland ones are generally cheaper and go on sale sometimes too.  I've been very happy with them.  No rinse aid necessary and my dishes are sparkling clean without any perfumey smells like you get from Cascade.  I tried the Aldi liquid detergent but didn't think it cleaned well and also smelled bad.

jooles

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2016, 01:46:58 PM »
We use dishwashing crystals from the dollar store.  We use about 1 Tbsp which is much less than what the manufacturer (of the soap and the dishwashing machine) recommend, but it does a fine job.  We also do no use the heated dry, just to save on electricity. 

MMMaybe

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2016, 03:04:35 PM »
I just use the cheapest tablets on sale. The really cheap ones don't have that heavy fragrance either. But I use rinse aid and dishwasher salt (for hard water areas) as well, and it works great.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2016, 03:05:25 PM »
Huh, never heard of dishwasher salt! I don't think we have hard water though here. How do you tell? We don't get rust stains on sinks or anything, the way my cousins do from their well.

rockstache

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2016, 03:08:41 PM »
We fill it to the line but it only has one line. Sorry that's not more help!

ZiziPB

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2016, 05:00:34 PM »
Hard water leaves white deposits, mostly calcium. You can call your water company to find out your water hardness. It's useful to know as it affects detergent dosing for your laundry as well.

Cadman

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #19 on: November 10, 2016, 06:03:53 PM »
Speaking as an appliance collector/enthusiast, do yourself a favor, and order a case of Cascade "Fryer Boilout". It's really the same powdered detergent that was sold up until just a couple of years ago before the detergents were neutered. No more chalky residue or film, and it'll last you forever.

MsPeacock

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #20 on: November 10, 2016, 07:59:57 PM »
I add a splash of vinegar to the dishwasher before I run it. If you have hard water this will help cut down on build up on the dishes and interior of the dishwasher. I mostly use Kirkland packets. Add me to the list of people who do not prerinse dishes (except egg yolk and melted cheese- which require elbow grease to remove).

seattlecyclone

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #21 on: November 10, 2016, 09:05:14 PM »
We usually use powdered detergent. We fill the clip section about halfway full, never pre-rinse anything, and the dishes get clean.

This is one area where the "green" Seventh Generation or whatever is absolutely not the thing to buy. We've tried a couple different brands of "eco-friendly" detergent and it simply doesn't work. I have a hard time believing that we're doing the environment any favors by re-washing half of our dishes by hand after running them through the dishwasher.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #22 on: November 11, 2016, 09:49:20 AM »
Do you totally fill the little clip section? Mine has multiple "rings" on it, so I'm not sure how much to use =\ Currently doing a little above the lowest ring, and some in the prerinse slot.
If you have multiple rings, the lower ring is for soft water and the higher ring is for hard water.

FWIW, our village has really hard water (13.3 grains).  We had really bad white film on all our dishes until we installed a water softener (purchased used for $80, installed myself, go me!).  Now, there's no white film, and our dishes come out cleaner than before.

We also purchased a box of TSP, and put 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon in each load along with a tablespoon or two of regular detergent.  DW says it makes a big difference.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #23 on: November 12, 2016, 05:07:54 PM »
Do you totally fill the little clip section? Mine has multiple "rings" on it, so I'm not sure how much to use =\ Currently doing a little above the lowest ring, and some in the prerinse slot.
If you have multiple rings, the lower ring is for soft water and the higher ring is for hard water.

Ah! Thank you!

Another Reader

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #24 on: November 12, 2016, 05:28:13 PM »
I use both detergent cups.  The pots and pans cycle uses a really long first wash.  I do not waste money on tablets.  I use Walmart or Finish powder, when it's available.  I fill both cups half full, unless there is a lot of residue.  Then two thirds to three quarters.  TSP replaces the phosphates that were removed by the EPA.  Phosphates get things clean much better than the current substitutes.  I add a quarter teaspoon when the dishes have a lot of residue and have been sitting for awhile.

Kitchen knives do not belong in the dishwasher.  The knives from your stainless set of eating utensils are fine.  Never put silver in the dishwasher.

Load dishes so nothing is blocked and the spray can reach everything.  I use air dry to save energy. 

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #25 on: November 12, 2016, 05:30:43 PM »
I only really get good results from Cascade. Sometimes I mix it with a more natural brand.

Re: pre-rinsing: YMMV but my last dishwasher was prone to getting filthy in the bottom filter. I had to use a special star-shaped screwdriver to disassemble and clean it like every few months. (I hear newer dishwasher have filters that are easier to remove and clean.) Rinsing didn't actually seem to help that much with the problem but just something to be on the lookout for!

Sibley

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #26 on: November 14, 2016, 08:40:24 AM »
I like Aldi's detergent. Cheaper, and the dishes come out clean.

Another Reader

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #27 on: November 14, 2016, 11:42:57 AM »
I only really get good results from Cascade. Sometimes I mix it with a more natural brand./quote]

Before the phosphates were removed, Cascade was the best.  Now it is as bad as the rest.  Buy the cheapest powder and add a little TSP as needed.

Cadman

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #28 on: November 14, 2016, 01:02:07 PM »
Not TSP, STPP is what you want. The other stuff is for washing down walls and driveways and not something you want in your dishwasher.

The Cascade Boil-out I mentioned above is equivalent to the old Cascade with phosphates. Don't need to add anything to it. -C

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #29 on: November 14, 2016, 01:15:27 PM »
Not TSP, STPP is what you want. The other stuff is for washing down walls and driveways and not something you want in your dishwasher.

The Cascade Boil-out I mentioned above is equivalent to the old Cascade with phosphates. Don't need to add anything to it. -C
I've heard the STPP is for laundry and the TSP is for dishes.  I don't know enough of the chemistry to know what makes each better for which application.  STPP also needs to be kept in an airtight container to avoid moisture.

Cadman

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #30 on: November 14, 2016, 01:30:50 PM »
The problem with TSP is that it creates an insoluble particulate that STPP won't. Probably not the best for long term machine health. The popular thing is to order the STPP in bulk and put the plastic bag in a 5 gal (or smaller) bucket. Just close it up with a twist-tie and snap on the lid. And like you mention, it sure goes a long way with laundry as well.

Another Reader

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #31 on: November 14, 2016, 02:21:11 PM »
The advice I received was to use TSP in the dishwasher and STPP in laundry as well.  The boil out price seemed high, but if takes a lot less to get the dishes clean, the price per load might be acceptable.  The boil out phosphates are safe around food, the contaminants in TSP might not be.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #32 on: November 14, 2016, 03:05:25 PM »
Wow. I had no idea dish soap was so contentious! Weren't phosphates taken out for environmental reasons though? I'm disinclined to add them back, if so.

GuitarStv

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #33 on: November 14, 2016, 03:19:16 PM »
Wow. I had no idea dish soap was so contentious! Weren't phosphates taken out for environmental reasons though? I'm disinclined to add them back, if so.

Yes, they're not great for the environment.

Canada has had a ban on phosphates in dishwashing detergent since 2011.  We've never had a problem with whatever the cheapest soap at the store on sale is.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #34 on: November 14, 2016, 03:22:36 PM »
Wow. I had no idea dish soap was so contentious! Weren't phosphates taken out for environmental reasons though? I'm disinclined to add them back, if so.
Yes, that was the reasoning, but the actual regulation was...less than effective, because it exempted restaurants (that's the Fryer Boil Out stuff), and ignored fertilizer(!). So consumers got shafted, with negligible real-world environmental benefit.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #35 on: November 14, 2016, 03:27:44 PM »
Wow. I had no idea dish soap was so contentious! Weren't phosphates taken out for environmental reasons though? I'm disinclined to add them back, if so.
Yes, that was the reasoning, but the actual regulation was...less than effective, because it exempted restaurants (that's the Fryer Boil Out stuff), and ignored fertilizer(!). So consumers got shafted, with negligible real-world environmental benefit.

Ugh. Like oh so many things. Oh well- much like every $10 I save leads me to my (hopefully) (future) fortune, I'll do my little bits I can for the environment =) Especially since I don't have a point of comparison, so the dishwasher seems like a miracle to me already- even without any phosphates being added!

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Dishwashing Detergent- how much? What type?
« Reply #36 on: November 14, 2016, 04:00:32 PM »
Not TSP, STPP is what you want. The other stuff is for washing down walls and driveways and not something you want in your dishwasher.

The Cascade Boil-out I mentioned above is equivalent to the old Cascade with phosphates. Don't need to add anything to it. -C
We've actually used it before, but now restockit is stricter WRT selling to consumers.

No worries, though:  Amazon has you covered:
https://www.amazon.com/Pack-Cascade-Phosphates-Professional-Fryer/dp/B00PT0324C/ref=sr_1_1_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1479164227&sr=8-1&keywords=fryer+boilout