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Monday Mission: Use Your Dishwasher Wisely

Natural dishwasher detergents

Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to focus on being master of your dishwasher: getting it to do its best to serve you with clean dishes and serve the environment by using the least energy and resources possible.

1. Cut down on the detergent you use. (click to skip down)

2. Exchange your Jet Dry for a white vinegar rinse. (click to skip down)

3. Rinse your dishes with pre-used water. (click to skip down)

4. Only run the dishwasher FULL. (click to skip down)

5. Challenge your dishwasher: can it go no pre-rinse or no heated dry? (click to skip down)

6. Purchase greener dishwasher detergent. (click to skip down)

Choose just one or two of the above, depending on the habits you already have with your dishwasher.

In case you’ve been on the edge of your seat since reading about the cost of running kitchen appliances, it turns out that statistically, running a dishwasher uses only 50% of the energy and a small fraction of the water that hand dishes do, along with less soap (source). Unless you have an ancient dishwasher or run it half full, you would have to be extremely careful to use less water to hand wash your dishes.

There are a lot of theories about dishwasher use. I have friends on opposite ends of the spectrum.

One friend seeks simplicity and the solidarity of the manual art of doing dishes. It is a spiritual choice for their family and one they feel strongly about. I used to feel guilty that I used my dishwasher, but I realized not everyone is called to do the same thing. I am called to go overboard making homemade food for my family, and I would be a very crabby person if I had to do MORE handwash dishes. There are a lot of things already that I don’t put in the dishwasher.

Another friend literally puts EVERYTHING in the dishwasher – from pots and pans to measuring cups, cheese grater…my jaw hit the floor watching her throw every last dish from dinner in the dishwasher. I was afraid the cat might be next! Their machine runs twice a day for a family of four, and we run ours about every other day but do hand dishes every day, too. So it’s a tradeoff.

While I know people at both extremes, I’m a middler (although some would call my penchant to pre-rinse NOTHING a bit extreme. But hey – my dishwasher can handle it. I’m going to put it through the steps.) You have to find what works for you. Here are some ideas:

1. Cut down on the detergent you use.

Most of us use more than the necessary amount of detergent in our dishwashers. Of course, the dishwasher companies tell you to put in a full cup (or even more than that). They get along quite well with the companies that sell the detergent. Too much detergent can leave a film on your dishes (enter Jet Dry, see below).

Test out what your dishwasher can handle. I can get away easily with half the recommended amount. My grandma only uses a few teaspoons. We never fill the extra cup. Testing this out won’t cost any time or money, and will only save money and “stuff” going into the environment. If you’re worried about baked on food, run the cycle without the heated dry.

2. Exchange your Jet Dry for a white vinegar rinse.

Jet Dry is deemed “necessary” for most new dishwashers. Mine even came with a sample and coupons. Jet Dry is also a chemical that remains on your dishes (it’s added during the rinse cycle), and it’s certainly on the expensive end of cleaning products. If you use it, try plain white vinegar in your Jet Dry dispenser instead. Coupled with using the proper amount of detergent, you should be pleased with the results.

3. Rinse your dishes with pre-used water.

This is another easy one. You just have to change your habit: put your dishes, either from dinner prep, baking, or clearing the table, into your sink as you continue working. The act of washing your hands or getting a washcloth wet to wipe the table down will provide water enough to do a fairly good job of loosening the gunk (or creating an environment to soak pots) without wasting a drop. I am not successful at doing this every time I clean up, but when I do, I am grateful for that much less water wasted.

4. Only run the dishwasher FULL.

Apparently, only about 2/3 of us in America do this. I am almost militant about having a FULL – and I mean FULL – have you noticed the capital letters here? – dishwasher every time it’s run. Does this look full?

Get your dishwasher to do its best to serve you with clean dishes and serve the environment by using the least energy and resources possible.
Get your dishwasher to do its best to serve you with clean dishes and serve the environment by using the least energy and resources possible.

It’s not. We lasted two more meals, breakfast and lunch, before I ran it:

Get your dishwasher to do its best to serve you with clean dishes and serve the environment by using the least energy and resources possible.
Get your dishwasher to do its best to serve you with clean dishes and serve the environment by using the least energy and resources possible.

If you’re from my generation or thereabouts, you’re familiar with the old video game Tetris. Use those skills to load your dishwasher!

Keep in mind “The average dishwasher uses 6 gallons of water per cycle; the average Energy Star-rated dishwasher uses 4 gallons per cycle, and their energy use ranges from 1.59 kWh per load down to 0.87 kWh per load.”  (source)  That’s not much, so use it to your advantage.

5. Challenge your dishwasher: can it go no pre-rinse or no heated dry?

This step is “Making Strides” because there’s some trial and error involved, and you may have to (gasp!) re-wash some dishes. However, I believe in making my appliances work hard for me, so I want to challenge you to see what yours can do. The dishwasher that came with my house did a fairly good job: I learned that it couldn’t really handle melted cheese, eggs, or potatoes. Pretty typical. When it died and we had to purchase a new one, I was determined to run it through its paces. I announced that no dish was to be rinsed – not even a little! – for the first week of our new dishwasher’s term. I wanted to see what it could do.

My friend watched me loading once and said, “I should take a picture! That’s like a commercial.” That pretty much says it all. We don’t rinse at our house. Not even a little. My dishwasher rocks! It can handle anything, even ground flax seed. It is not even close to a top-of-the-line model, in case you’re getting envious. It’s about second from the bottom at Sears. So challenge your dishwasher! See what it can do without you.

I recently tested running the thing without heated dry, and I was shocked. I don’t know how, I don’t know why, but Golly Gump, it was all still dry! So we’re saving a few cents a load and some carbon emissions now, 15 percent on total dishwasher energy use  or up to $20 a year. We don’t do heated dry anymore. What can your dishwasher do? If you’re really committed to this but your machine isn’t tough enough to dry without you, just prop the door open overnight or while you’re at work and let everything air dry.

6. Purchase greener dishwasher detergent.

Most dish soap has toxic antibacterial properties, and an open dishwasher door is right down where my babies crawl and explore, so I made a huge time investment looking for a safer alternative that will still clean the dishes and won’t break the bank. I first tried equal parts Borax and baking soda, and it resulted in too much food left on the dishes and truly AWFUL cloudiness on the glasses, many of which only had water in them to begin with. It was unacceptable. Adding vinegar to the rinse cycle made a huge improvement, but we still weren’t thrilled with the cleaning results. Then I read this about Borax (read under “risks) and decided it might not be a safer (or much more frugal) alternative anyway! Bummer.

We’ve also used Shaklee dishwasher detergent, which works fine, but it’s so much more expensive than the store-bought stuff.

After much more trial and error I’ve compiled all my results into one post for you to help you choose a natural detergent that will work for your family.

You might also like to read about my favorite natural and non-toxic household cleaners.

Read about the peanut on the floor. Your consciousness will thank you.

Need More Baby Steps?

Monday Missions Baby Steps Back to Basics

Here at Kitchen Stewardship, we’ve always been all about the baby steps. But if you’re just starting your real food and natural living journey, sifting through all that we’ve shared here over the years can be totally overwhelming.

That’s why we took the best 10 rookie “Monday Missions” that used to post once a week and got them all spruced up to send to your inbox – once a week on Mondays, so you can learn to be a kitchen steward one baby step at a time, in a doable sequence.

Sign up to get weekly challenges and teaching on key topics like meal planning, homemade foods that save the budget (and don’t take too much time), what to cut out of your pantry, and more.

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

53 thoughts on “Monday Mission: Use Your Dishwasher Wisely”

  1. Concerning the detergent part – I get the Kirkland Signature dishwasher pacs at Costco. They are obligatorily phosphate-free (it’s the law here, we had a terrible province-wide blue algae infestation a few years back) and I’ve always been very happy with it. It’s really inexpensive, too.

  2. Wow if I stack my dishes like that nothing would get clean. I never use the heated dry cycle, it doesn’t work anyway I still have to hand dry anything with a ‘lip’ cups, glasses, pyrex, whatever. Mine also takes about 4 hours to run I have no clue how old it use but the kitchen was remodeled before I moved in and they didn’t update the dishwasher or the ovens, which match, and the ovens are from the mid 90’s so I’m guessing the dishwasher is pretty old too.

  3. I know this post is over three years old but I don’t even let my “drying cycle run. I don’t know if my dish washer is “sub par” or whatever but it only half was drys them anyway. When I don’t hear the white noise hum anymore I open the door to the dishwasher (watch out for steam) and pull the racks out all the way and let them air dry just like those strainer baskets we use to put next to the sink 🙂 Works great! Once you have the night mare experience of a FIRE with the heat dry cycle you get a whole new perspective on it.

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Brittany,
      Without Jet Dry, our DW won’t dry either (it’s brand new in a new house as I write this), so we skip that completely, too. I do exactly what you say except that I never remember to listen, I just do it when I think of it. Thanks! 🙂 Katie

  4. My boys take turns cooking the main meal of the day, & despite my efforts & example of cleaning up as you go, they don’t do it. So soaking in the cleaning-up water doesn’t work for them. What I’ve taught them to do is stack the dishes with just a small layer of water in between & put the cutlery in a jar of water with a drop or 2 of soap & enough water to cover the dirty ends. Takes way less water than filling the sink to soak them & works very well. When we’re in drought conditions I hand wash using plastic dish pans in my sink. After the water cool I pour it into my watering can & use it to water.

  5. Wow, your dishwasher Tetris is impressive. I was like that with our previous washer, but now we’re in a rental with an ancient (but not ancient enough to be rad) DW that does NOT get stuff clean if you don’t rinse. Yet when it was busted I was GOING OUT OF MY MIND trying to keep up with dishes for a family of 6 (4 kids under 6) by hand, while actually cooking. Your leave the sink plugged and rinse with it is a GREAT idea, thanks.

  6. Pingback: Liebster Blog Award: 5 Great Blogs! « The Earthling's Handbook

  7. My husband is an appliance technician here in Central CA and we use Lemi Shine as a main wash. It does a great job fixing the “cloudy” problem. Also it is “an all natural product composed of natural fruit oils and acids and contains no phosphates” (quote from their website www.lemishine.com). The one thing I do know is that it does work, and I would imagine together with vinegar rinse it would be even better. Also in general powder is better as detergent than gel/liquid. Take a glass of cold water and compare dissolving a tsp of sugar versus a tsp of honey – the same kind of principle.

    1. Iryna,
      Thank you! I have been needing to look into lemishine for a few weeks, since our dishwasher started treating me not-so-well even though I’m still using the same old Biokleen I always have. 🙂 Katie

    2. At my previous house my drain kept getting clogged & a plumber told me that powdered detergent (including laundry) tends to clog drains so I switched to liquid. I don’t know if that is true or not, but it might be worth checking into.

      My dishwasher (10 years old) has started leaving food debris all over my dishes. I used to only quickly rinse the bigger loose food off, now I have to make sure the dishes don’t have food residue & it still leaves debris. We were told the disposal part doesn’t work like they claim it does. I know you probably wouldn’t agree, but I have had to use CLR (without the dishes) to try to clean it out. It was either tha or get a new dishwasher. I have used it a couple times and it has helped a lot, but it still needs more help. I’m adding about 1/2c vinegar in the bottom after it finishes filling with water for the first cycle. This seems to be helping some also. I tried to clean out the bottom where the grinder is, but I haven’t figured out how to get the cover off to make it easier to do yet. I’m hoping that if I can get that part cleaned I won’t need to use CLR anymore. Right now we practically have to wash the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. I don’t like having to do that. Since DH has retired, we don’t really have the money for a new machine, so I desperate to salvage this one.

      1. There is also a good product called Dishwasher Magic. Or try to get something similar for cleaning out the dishwasher periodically. It gets rid of the soap residues and keeps the inside of the drain lines clean, preventing blockage. Also try to use less detergent if you are experiencing build up. Try scraping your dishes instead of rinsing them, so as to leave something for the soap to do. If the dishes are too clean before you even start the cycle, the soap will just suds up, drain and stick to the drain line. Hope this helps =)

  8. I have a energy saver DW that is probably 6-7 years old. It worked fine until they changed the formula on the Cascade powder that I had used forever. And I was a believer in no pre-rinse. I began to get a white film on my dishes, also brownish/black spots on the walls of my DW. Nothing worked, not running white vinegar, not running bleach. It would scrub away but then come back. After some online research, I determined I needed to clean the drain. Most disgusting job, ever!!! I am not kidding. I had maybe 1/2 inch of black/gray/reddish crud coating everything under there. Took me hours to remove, clean, etc. Down by the grater/chopper was fairly clean, but between that and the bottom of my washer, tons of grime was getting trapped, and molding. Ick, ick, ick! Needless to say, I am now a HUGE fan of prewashing. I do not want to have to clean that ever again!!!

    1. Chantel,
      TONS of people are having troubles with their dishwashers since many states just banned phosphates and all the big detergents changed their formulas. You’ve got me thinking, as my DW is suddenly rebelling against me, too, and I cleaned the bottom out (yes, gross) and it didn’t help much. 🙁 Katie

  9. OK so I took you up on this mission (was not hard cuz I was already doing part of it). I did not rinse my dishes for the first time and some sat in there for a couple of days (got a bit worried on some of them) but I wanted to make sure it was really loaded. Then I only filled the soap holder only 1/2 full and added Vinegar in the pre-wash part (never did these two before). Then ran it with out the heat dry(this I do all the time) and the dishes were cleaner then they have ever been. Must be the pre-wash part. wow will do this again and again. Thanks so much for sharing

  10. I use Melaleuca dishwasher soap, a small amount and squirt a little of castille soap. Castille soap works wonders. I use it to make my own hand soap, body wash for my and my baby. I also use it to clean with. It is awesome stuff.

  11. Thanks for the tips! I will have to try the no-heat dry. My dishwasher is below the bottom of the line (it’s what comes with the apartment we live in), and can’t handle ANY solids of any kind, phooey. Can’t wait to get a real dishwasher one day! I will try the vinegar rinse, too. I have tried 7th Gen dishwasher detergent and was incredibly disappointed. My dishes were not even close to being cleaned, very frustrating. I also have not had success with homemade concoctions.

    1. Anne,
      I think dishwashers are the hardest for homemade! I couldn’t find a winner, either! 🙂 Katie

  12. I got the Biokleen idea from you, and it works great. Last time I went to the store when I was out they didn’t have any and I got Ecover. The stuff is not that great. You have to use the full amount, and sometimes part of the detergent forms a gunky little cake in half of the cup and doesn’t get used! I really don’t recommend it.

  13. Mrs. Meyers gel pacs work as well as cascade! I tried their other dishwasher products and they weren’t as good.

    1. All of the Mrs. Meyers products are SUPER expensive here. It’s interesting how one brand is cheaper here and more expensive there, and visa versa.

  14. I’d just love a dishwasher……. 😀

    I’m going to have to retrain my hubby when we eventually move and have a dishwasher. He’s a pre-rinse with SOAP kinda guy. If you are going to use soap to rinse, you might as well just finish the job and set it in the rack!

  15. I love Ecover dishwasher tabs for getting the dishes sparkling clean! These have the best cleaning power of any natural dishwasher detergents I have tried, but they are a bit pricey, so right now we’re using Wave Auto Dishwasher Gel from Costco, which comes in a three-pack and costs just over $8 for 3×40 fl. oz. bottles. It is 100% natural and seems to work well, although I still prefer the tabs. I’ve used Seventh Generation powder and it’s ok but tends to leave residue on the dishes. I also use white vinegar to rinse. I think this is an area that price has to be sacrificed a bit, as nearly all natural detergents are more pricey than the “unnatural” ones.

  16. We finally got our new dishwasher from Sears today and your post caught my eye. I loved the last Kenmore we had (which came with the house) and was really sad when it died in December.

    I’ve used the phosphate free detergent by Palmolive:

    http://www.colgate.com/app/Palmolive/US/EN/HomePage.cwsp#DishwashingDetergent

    I like it. Some people don’t. For the price compared to Seventh Generation at my Target store (one of only a handful in my area to offer eco friendly cleaners), I’ve been very happy with it.

  17. Katie, I just wanted to let you know how useful your series of dishwasher articles was in my recent dishwasher buying process! I linked to your articles in my “dishwasher vs. environment” article. Thanks!

    1. Becca – Awesome! Glad I could help! Believe it or not, my DW is suddenly putting white dust on the outside of all my glasses. 🙁 Maybe it’s tired?

  18. I use this dishwasher detergent: http://www.ecos.com/wave.html

    I found a bottle of natural rinse agent on clearance at the health food store once, but I don’t really think it’s doing any more than plain vinegar.

    1. AmandaonMaui,
      Welcome! Looks like you’re browsing the archives…I sure love to have readers around with helpful advice. Thanks for enhancing the value of these posts! 🙂 Katie

      1. I am definitely running through your archives. Your site is brilliant and extremely useful for me. I’ve been meal planning for over two years now, but I am still struggling a bit with budget and I’d also like to build up an emergency food stock. I just have to let go of old habits and learn some new ones!
        .-= AmandaonMaui´s last blog ..First Food I Ever Cooked =-.

  19. Great topic & discussion here. For those in the market for a dishwasher, I suggest you look for dual spray arms (one for top rack and one for bottom rack) and a food disposal grinder at the bottom. The grinders aren’t heavy duty like a garbage disposal but they keep those soggy nooodles and carrot shreds from being spread back over your dishes during the rinse cycle WITHOUT PRERINSING. At our old house I had a <$400 GE with those features and I miss it so much! Family of four, I run the dishwasher once or twice a day without any guilt what so ever because even washing out one sippy cup or coffee mug could use 1/2 gallon of water for that item alone, instead 8 to 12 times the water for 30-40 times the items! For times that I do let the dishes sit I find that running the rinse cycle first gets them much cleaner (ie no funky smell) better than the extra hot or sanitize cycle does.

    1. Alison,
      Welcome to KS! Excellent tips for DW shopping. My new DW must have all that, b/c I just love it. Thanks for breaking it down for us. 🙂 Katie

  20. Musings of a Housewife

    I’m using the Sun & Earth dishwashing stuff now and I am very happy with it! No phosphates. 🙂

  21. Thank you for your visit. I read over the articles and they were of great help! Thank you so much. I wonder if it would still be cheaper to use the dishwasher even if you only use a small amount of water to wash by hand. I put a small container on each side of the sink and fill them with water. I try not to use more. I save the water from the rinse to throw on my potted plants. Do you think it’s still cheaper to use my dishwasher? I do have an Energy Star dishwasher. I really like your website.

    1. With that conservatism with water, I bet you’re doing the right thing to handwash. There have actually been studies that show which is more frugal, and you get about a cup of water per place setting to match handwashing to dishwashing. The dishwasher takes a lot of energy! Good work saving all that water!

  22. I’ve been using Biokleen and found it works well. I had been using Seventh Generation, and it worked well, but it isn’t biodegradable.

    A recommendation for buying it is to go to Amazon.com and sign-up for a “subscription” (which costs nothing and really just means it will automatically ship to you on a schedule that you set) which gets you 15% off and free shipping. You’ll get 12 canisters which each do 64 loads for $68.42 – including the free shipping. My wife and I have “subscriptions” on Amazon for diapers, wipes, toilet paper (all Seventh Generation), dishwasher detergent (Biokleen), baby food (Earth’s Best), and laundry detergent (Seventh Generation liquid now but switching to powder).

    1. I should be getting a review sample of Biokleen any day now, and I have another homemade recipe to try. I have fallen in love with Soapnuts for laundry – a giveaway coming in late September so you can try them, too!

  23. Someone made the comment that Shaklee dishwasher detergent allowed mold to grow in the bottom of the dishwasher. Vinegar will kill mold. Likewise, if you have sour, mildewy clothes, rinse them in vinegar before you wash them. It kills the mold!
    Blessings!

  24. Please try Ecover tabs. In my grocery store they are actually cheaper than the Cascase tab-style detergents. Still not highly budget friendly though obviously. The best part is that they work better than any other detergent we’ve used (other tabs, other liquid detergents, etc). As soon as we run out of our current supply of jet dry, we’ll be trying out a vinegar rise. I’ve just started using straight vinegar for soap residue in the shower and I’ve been amazed. I’m really enjoying your blog.

  25. As it turns out they have online coupons. Every little bit helps. I may have to try their laundry detergent too.

  26. Michele @ Frugal Granola

    Popping back in… 🙂 You can get Citric Acid Powder from Mountain Rose Herbs, if that’s what you’re looking for.

    I have loved Biokleen’s detergent in the past, although it was fairly spendy for our limited budget.
    Blessings,
    Michele

  27. Stephanie and others who think their dishwashers do poor jobs: I was thinking today (go figure, if you’ve read my essay on Conscious Thought) while loading my dishwasher. I’ve just recently figured out that there are a few “dead spots” where the water almost doesn’t hit at all, at least not straight up. Right in the middle of both top and bottom (the pivot point for the spraying windmill thingy has no water coming out of it) and at the very far corners. If I put something like a jar or glass there, it’s like it never went in the DW. Plates get hit with residual spray, I think. Maybe all DWs have dead zones and we don’t realize it and just think the whole thing is sub-par. Worth an analysis!

  28. I forgot all about Method (one of my favorite brands!)! In this woman’s review – she liked Method and Seventh Generation the best:
    http://ecochildsplay.com/2008/12/02/do-natural-dishwasher-detergents-actually-work/

    Mrs.Meyers also has a phosphate and chlorine free dishwashing detergent (though reviews are mixed on it’s effectiveness), and so does Trader Joe’s (also mixed reviews – it appears that both of these work better with softer water rather than hard)!

    I did find a “homemade” dishwasher soap recipe without Borax!
    http://www.naturemoms.com/natural-dishwasher-soap-recipe.html

    I haven’t tried it, but it just might work!

    Best,
    Sarah

  29. Great post – and comments! I’ve gotten a bunch of ideas from both! Dishwasher, dish soap and laundry detergent are the two things that I’ve yet to go completely “natural” on but I’m hoping to branch into that this year! I’ve been considering going the BioKleen route (I’ve heard BioKleen BacOut’s amazing for laundry) and also love Shaklee, though Seventh Generation can be found almost anywhere, so that is certainly an “easy” stepping stone!

    Also, thanks for the vinegar rinse aid advice! I can’t wait to try that out! I imagine that since it aids in making glass windows shiny and clean, it will probably keep glasses free of cloudiness in the dishwasher!

    Best,
    Sarah

  30. I’ve tried the Palmolive liquid phosphate free formula and was highly dissatisfied. It left a visual cloudy residue on the glasses and smelled like bleach. I’ve also used Shaklee which smells nice and cleans well but anytime I use it my dishwasher starts growing mold in the bottom. DISCLAIMER: I never use the heated dry or any rinsing agents like jet-dry or vinegar.

    Thanks for the idea to rinse the dishes in “old” dishwater. Due to minimal counter space I am generally a wash as I go chef and use large pots (after washing them) to hold rinse water so I’m not constantly running the tap.

  31. Georgia, Thank you! That’s good to know about the Palmolive. Now I wonder if it would be worth a try with the vinegar rinse aid…or not. I price checked the citric acid at the local health foods store, and it was $5 for a small bottle, like the size of a 100-pill vitamin bottle. I just googled for a recipe, and I couldn’t find anything that didn’t also use borax. Frugal Granola? Do you know the amounts? I’m glad I didn’t buy the citric acid powder yet — all the recipes I found for DW detergent using it call for 1/4 cup or a 1/2 cup, probably the whole $5 bottle, and they usually only made 2 c. or less detergent. So this may not be very cost effective. ??

  32. Michele @ Frugal Granola

    Have you tried Citric Acid Powder + Washing Soda (not baking soda)? We haven’t had a dishwasher to try it, but a friend of mine says it works well. 🙂

    Sorry I haven’t been able to take part in your recipe carnival, with all my moving/sick kiddo busyness!

    Blessings,
    Michele

  33. Great post on the merits of using your dishwasher full. As for dishwasher detergent have you tried homemade? Try 1 tablespoon of Borax and 1 Tablespoon of baking soda. It’s a very frugal recipe. I’ve got some other frugal ideas on my blog, feel free to check them out. Again, great post!
    http://jessiedog.wordpress.com

  34. I see Stephanie affirms 7th Gen, so maybe I’ll try that too. I have even seen big-name brands like Palmolive selling “phosphate free” detergents. I can’t remember if it was also not made from petroleum products, but if it is, maybe I’ll accept that as a step in the right direction. My box of DW detergent is almost empty too, so it’s time to find something! Have fun with your new dishwasher! It really is exciting to stop rinsing everything…

  35. Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home

    I, too, use a vinegar rinse and am militant about running the dishwasher full. I love the challenge of cramming in every little dish I can get in there!

    The one area I’m really bad about is rinsing under running water, instead of just filling a sink for soaking, so thanks for the reminder in that area. Unfortunately, my dishwasher is awful and does just the worst job, so I rinse absolutely everything and still end up with dirty dishes. Ugh.

    As for detergent, I use Seventh Generation or BioKleen and am quite happy with both of those.

    Great post!

  36. I recently started using white vinegar as a rinse aid, and I think it works great! I can definitely tell the difference if I forget to use it.

    I will start running the dishwasher only when it is completely full…when I get a new dishwasher. If I did that now I would still end up hand washing everything. My dishwasher is OLD and I think on the verge of death. I didn’t think I’d ever be so excited to buy a new appliance.

    I’m also on the lookout for a greener dishwasher detergent. I am down to only a few more Electrasol tabs, so I need to find something new soon. Have you tried Seventh Generation gel or powder? That’s the only one I have seen where I live.

    1. Costco has a large phosphate free (Kirland brand) granule dishwasher soap. I like it quite well.

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