Dishwashing Detergents Are NOT All Made Equally...

Sparkling Clean... But At What Cost?

The hard choices... part of our mission is to reduce waste and to tread lightly on the planet. Along the way, we make a lot of hard choices in our sourcing practices as a business — striving to do so with our values top of mind. We can’t always be perfect, but we are working hard to do our best and to continually improve : )

Along those lines, out of caution for environmental biodegradability and microplastics, we have recently switched our automatic Dishwashing Powder at the shop. Sadly, some of the ingredients in products like conventional dishwasher powder that make those dishes *sparkling* clean are the ones that are the worst for human health, animal health, and environmental health. The biggest concerns with the dishwasher detergent are toxic additives and microplastics, causing serious health problems.

So, although conventional dishwasher detergents (and even some claiming to be eco-friendly) might work great in terms of getting those dishes looking all fresh and clean, they leave chemical nastiness behind on the dishes, in our bodies, and in our waterways.

The idea that 'truly clean' dishes must be *sparkling* and streak-free is untrue. A dishwasher works with two cleaning mechanisms... firstly, the detergent and rinse aid, and then, secondly, the real cleaning is done by the dishwasher itself, power washing the detergent onto the dishes with ultra hot water, then further steam sanitizing them. Regardless of dish appearance at the end of the cycle, the dishwasher, when operated correctly, has removed bacteria from the dishes.

So here are some tips and tricks to make our new, earth-friendly Dishwasher Powder perform at its best : ) And... we are working with the manufacturer to continue to improve the product formula. We hope you'll stick with it!
  • Follow your dishwasher manufacturer recommendations. Most dishwashers require a full, well-stacked load to run in ideal conditions. Most dishwashers also generally want the detergent receptacle full or filled all the way to the fill line.
  • Not all dishwashers are made equally, some are more powerful than others, and some require a decent food rinse-off prior to loading the machine.
  • Play around with different cycles, run times, and temperatures. If the earth-friendly detergent is not performing as well on the mode you are used to running it on, give the 'heavy duty' or the 'pot and pans' setting a go.
  • If you happen to have hard water, it may be advisable to use the pre-wash detergent receptacle if your machine has one, or even throw a bit of detergent directly in with the dishes if you don't.
  • Dishwashers are designed to use a tiny bit of rinse aid with every load. The rinse aid is the major player in making the dishes *shiny*. It’s not going to help with getting crusty food off your dishes, but will aid in a shinier finish. We recommend an earth-friendly rinse aid like the one we carry as, sadly, generic rinse aids tend to be toxic.
Learn more about microplastics... Here is some info on the 500 known microplastic ingredients! It's time to better understand our concerns as an environmental business in our sourcing practices.

Below is a cheat sheet of the common red flag ingredients that leach microplastics into our waterways, ending up accumulating in animals, humans, and the environment...
  • Acrylates Copolymer
  • Acrylates Crosspolymer
  • Butylene
  • Carbomer
  • Dimethicone
  • Ethylene
  • Methacrylate Copolymer
  • Methacrylate Crosspolymer
  • Methyl Methacrylate Copolymer
  • Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer
  • Nylon
  • Polyacrylamide
  • Polyacrylate
  • Polypropylene
  • Polyurethane
  • Polyvinyl
  • Propylene Copolymer or Polypropylene
  • PVP
  • Styrene Copolymer
  • Tetrafluoroethylene
  • Vinyl Acetate Copolymer
  • VP / VA Copolymer