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The Final Answer: How Does Biokleen Dishwasher Detergent Work? (And Their Other Stuff Too?)


It was a Sunday morning when I opened the dishwasher. Appropriately, I woke husband up singing the Hallelujah chorus when I saw the job Biokleen dishwasher detergent did.

Clear glasses?


Cut the grease?


Zero food residue?


100% success, zero rejections?


It even cleaned my yogurt jar, which I’ve found, since having to handwash them for two weeks, have little spots of cultured milk all over that are incredibly hard to get off. I had to wash some of them three times by hand. Biokleen handled it in one go.


My marriage is back in order, the dishes are not longer stressful, and all is well in the Kimball household. I’ve found my new dishwasher detergent!

How many of you have been counting on me to be your guinea pig for dishwasher detergent? It’s been a bit of a saga, with the white film on the dishes here, a little success here and the just-not-clean-dishes in so many ways here and the disgruntled husband everywhere.  Is anyone else waiting for me to finally have some success so they know what to buy (other than my friend Mary, who got a sneak preview!)?

UPDATE, spring and summer 2011: I have terrible news! For some reason, the Biokleen just stopped working. It felt very sudden – we now have minions of rejected dishes, terrible white film on anything plastic (like lids) and really, really cloudy glasses. It’s awful! I’ve tried and tried to troubleshoot the problem, but the only thing it keeps coming back to is the Biokleen. I’m perplexed!

UPDATE, fall 2011: We’re in our new home, with another dishwasher, and the same thing is happening with Biokleen powder. In fact, it’s quite common for glasses that only contained water to come out with food glued on inside. It’s like we have a dish-dirtier instead of a dish-washer. Other detergents haven’t been perfect, but Biokleen has proven itself to be by far, the worst. Seventh Generation gel is acceptable, with a few rejects per load, and 7th Gen powder single-use packets are doing quite well, but they’re pricey. I’m on the hunt for a new detergent AGAIN! Watch for updates into spring/summer 2012 if I find anything passable…

I did! (Phew!) HERE are my top recommendations!

I’ve given up on homemade detergent, and I’ve noticed in the comments that Lindsay at Passionate Homemaking has too. I don’t want to spend a ton of money getting my dishes clean…but I can’t handle doing them all by hand. Dishwasher detergent is one of the more toxic cleaners in your home because many still use phosphates, which are pretty tough on the earth.

But I’m sitting here happy tonight.

Biokleen is my new best friend.

Not only is their automatic dish powder gentle on the environment, and I don’t have to worry (as much) about my toddler getting into the open dishwasher (like a moth to the flame, I’m telling you!).

I know. You all want to know how well it really works, or if I’ve just got lower standards after all my lousy experimenting. I just noticed it’s not even called “detergent” – so does it work as well as one?

See for yourself:

Can your dishwasher handle this? Mine can. *sigh* I love my dishwasher! Biokleen handled it, too!
Can your dishwasher handle this? Mine can. *sigh* I love my dishwasher! Biokleen handled it, too!
Can it cut grease? How about butter-covered blender? Check.
Can it cut grease? How about butter-covered blender? Check.
Dried-on the utensils caddy? Handled!
Dried-on oatmeal…in the utensils caddy? Handled!
Strange film from homemade yogurt? (It usually takes 3 HANDwashing to get rid of this.) Handled!
Strange film from homemade yogurt? (It usually takes 3 HANDwashing to get rid of this.) Handled!
Nooo, not cheesy eggs! Katie, at least rinse off the cheesy eggs on glass! It's okay...Biokleen can handle it. :)
Nooo, not cheesy eggs! Katie, at least rinse off the cheesy eggs on glass! It’s okay…Biokleen can handle it. 🙂
Oven-baked-on leftovers? Welllll...5 out of 6 isn't bad. This dish was ALMOST but not quite handled. You gotta have some rejects when you ask too much of a machine!
Oven-baked-on leftovers? Welllll…5 out of 6 isn’t bad. This dish was ALMOST but not quite handled. You gotta have some rejects when you ask too much of a machine!

Oh, yes. Happy Katie.

Even better:  I use less than half of the recommended amount!

Take a minute to check out how well Biokleen’s produce wash works as well. I was skeptical at first, but as you’ll see, this product merited an entire post about washing apples 8 different ways. I was shocked with some of my results!

Biokleen Rocks Out in the Laundry Room, Too

I first met Biokleen when a dear friend sent me some Bac-Out as a laundry pre-treater when I was expecting Lovey Girl. What can I say? I loved it! I dilute it 1/3 with water to make it stretch. It smells like limes, I don’t feel like I’m going to poison my kiddos if I stain-treat their laundry while they’re in the bath, and it gets strawberries and blood out with just scrubbing, before I even wash. Solid stuff.

I love to find products that are earth-friendly, made from natural ingredients, safe for my kids and my air quality…and don’t break the bank.

Bac-Out can’t handle tomato-based stains very well, and really ground in mud and grass are a challenge. That’s when I use Biokleen’s Oxygen Bleach in water for a good soak. This is the active ingredient in the famous OxyClean without all the other fillers. (There are off-brand oxygen bleaches, too.)  You can soak colors even overnight without problem, unless they’re touching whites. We only get a few stains a year that a good oxygen-bleach-soak can’t handle!

Note:  Oxygen bleach is not chlorine bleach. It is friendly to the environment and doesn’t have noxious fumes. Someday I’ll do more research and post in depth on this. For now, I’m trusting other people and companies to tell me it’s okay! (Why no bleach in my house?)

A reader commented at the produce wash post that Bac-Out is her favorite cleaner ever. Now I’m excited to try it on my carpet and other places, too!

Between the Bac-Out for pre-treating, oxygen bleach for the soak, and my soap nuts for the wash, I’ve FINALLY “greened up” my laundry room. *sigh of contentment*

Dishsoap: Biokleen vs. Mrs. Meyer’s

I challenged two brands of natural dishsoap in a head-to-head competition, and the results were quite clear. (I reviewed Mrs. Meyer’s here. You can buy it here.)  I’m sad to announce that Biokleen’s dishsoap was not the winner. *cringe*  I feel like I just told a dear friend that I hated her new outfit! I’ve got to be an honest blogger, though, and tell you what I think of the product. Biokleen just didn’t measure up:

  • Had to use more soap to get suds
  • Grease-cutting power was fine at first, but didn’t last, even on not-so-dirty dishes
  • Bottle was larger than Mrs. Meyer’s but seemed to disappear fast. The large hole encourages me to use more, and yet I never found myself with a sink full of extra suds after doing dishes.
  • Free and Clear version smelled…not exactly like nothing. It smelled odd, but at least it was a “light” smelling odd. You just can’t take all the scent out of something and call it “nothing”, I guess.

Honestly, there are a lot of effective, natural dish soaps. I’ve been happy with our local store brand, Meijer. So I probably won’t be purchasing either Mrs. Meyer’s or Biokleen for hand washing my dishes. I still have this failed dishwasher detergent with Sal Suds to use up as dishsoap anway!

Where to Find Biokleen

I have seen Biokleen products at my local health foods store, priced similarly to what I’m listing here online. Find a store near you with the store locator.


I’m well known for honest, thorough product reviews…

reviewed and recommended

…and you can always tell a real family has run these products through the gauntlet.

When I review a type of item, I try to review a LOT of different brands! From over a dozen reusable sandwich bags to over 120 natural mineral sunscreens, I’m your girl for straight-up info about natural, real foodie items you’re considering buying.

Click here to see more product reviews and you’ll also love my resources page, with REAL products that have passed my rigorous testing enough to be “regulars” in the Kimball household, plus some other comprehensive reviews. Updated at least once a year to boot the losers and add new gems!

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

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4 thoughts on “The Final Answer: How Does Biokleen Dishwasher Detergent Work? (And Their Other Stuff Too?)”

  1. Denise Merrell

    Wow! Your story sound so familiar. My husband has been fed up with my experiments as well. I finally resorted to taking straight distilled white vinegar – about 3 cups, adding a few drops of Biokleen Dishwash Liquid – (no this does not cause a landslide of bubble to ooze out the door :D), this is optional, but a couple drops of lemon essential oil makes it smell nice. About 10 min into the cycle, I shake up the solution and add a 1/2 c in the bottom of the dishwasher. Viola! Beautiful, sparkling clean dishes.
    It’s kind of a pain to have to wait the 10 min, but my dishwasher does a quick rinse and then drains in that first 10 min, so I want the longer wash to have the solution in it.
    So far, this has been the best solution for green dishwashing.

  2. I have had multiple appliance repairmen tell me over the years that the biggest crime we commit against our mechanical household helpers is the use of too much soap or detergent. So I reduced all the way round. It helped. But I guess it’s our water or something because I always found some items to rewash in the dishwasher. I don’t know about you but I use this machine to save me time and so starting my day by rewashing the dishes was distressing. Thus when the dishwasher broke for good 9 or more months ago I told my not to rush to replace it. The younger of our 7 children had never washed dishes before and if we were rewashing why not just skip the machine pre-wash. Call me crazy but it is working and when we are in a hurry paper plates are ok. I used to use biokleen or 7th generation detergent because they are less toxic. I prefer Biokleen dish detergent for hand washing because I don’t break out with it. True it does not suds as much as others but here is a secret. Bubbles don’t affect cleaning they just make us happy, especially my husband and kids. I learned this when I learned to make soap. Here’s a link to a short video that explains how soap works
    As far as bubbles go certain fatty acids (fats) used in soap making create more bubbles than others but that’s not what makes soap do what it does. So I am happy using my BioKleen. It also makes a very safe bubble bath and it will really bubble up if added in a thin stream under the running water!

  3. “Dish-dirtier” made me laugh out loud! I seem to have one of those too! I recently found a homemade recipe using dr bronners, vinegar, lemon juice, water and tea tree oil that seems to work better than any natural brand. Plus it’s easy to make and costs less. Although I am still doing more pre-washing than I would prefer…

  4. I’ve seen things about soap nuts for laundry and dishwashing detergent too…if you try that, I’d LOVE to read about it! 🙂

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