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Jan 29, 2006 12:58 AM

unscented dishwasher detergent?

  • h

I am having trouble finding a detergent for my dishwasher that really gets things clean yet does not impart a scent to my dishes. Consumer Reports steered me toward Trader Joe's powder (ineffective), Cascade (scented) and Electrasol (scented). The natural brands at my local store haven't worked well. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

(OTOH, how long are dishwashers supposed to last? Should I be blaming Kenmore rather than what's in these boxes?)

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  1. Dishwashers last about 10-12 years if you are lucky. I use Cascade and the heated wash and rinse options and rarely has anything failed to come clean. I don't bother with the heated dry option, the dishes etc.are hot enough to dry quickly from the wash and rinse.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Candy

      But I'm finding that the Cascade scent is lingering on my dishes and especially in my plastics. It's really gross to pour a glass of water, or fill my kid's sippy cup, and get a whiff of detergent.

      1. re: heidipie

        Your rinse cycle may not be working well. That used to happen with my old dishwasher, but I get no odor of scents, or anything, with my new one.

        Or your problem may be you may be using too much detergent. New dishwashing detergents are much stronger and efficient than they used to be. You only need to fill the detergent cups 1/2 way with detergent nowadays. Also by using less you will stop detergent etching and clouding of glass.

        1. re: JMF

          I don't think it is the dishwasher. I hate those scented dishwasher detergents too. When we replaced our old washer with the new washer, we still had the scent.

          That is a good idea about using half the detergent.

          1. re: Mary Hopkins

            We used to used an unscented powder that also claimed to contain no dyes, I believe it was ALL. They stopped making it about three or four years ago. We tried other name brand detergents but as one other chowhound said here we could smell them on "clean glasses." We've been using Trader Joes since then.

            1. re: Mary Hopkins

              Yes, half the detergent is plenty. I find that when the dishes aren't clean, it isn't that they are still greasy, as if there wasn't enough detergent or it was poor quality. It is that there are bits of crud or film where the water spray could not get, which is a matter of how the dishes are facing, whether a large item is blocking the spray, or if the machine is overloaded. I notice an overwhelming scent when hubby does the dishes cuz' he thinks more is better, and no scent whatsoever when I do.

            2. re: JMF

              Yes and has anybody noticed that detergents are also more scented than they used to be. Heidipie is looking for an UNSCENTED DETERGENT. So am I.

            3. re: heidipie
              Eldon Kreider

              Note that Cascade powder comes in three scents: original, lemon and orchard fresh. The orchard fresh smells to me more like a pile of rotting windfall apples, pears, peaches etc. and is really revolting. I bought a box once by accident and have been meticulous in checking ever since. The original rinses off quite well provided we fill the cup a little less than half full and use a rinse agent. As noted elsewhere in this thread, the smaller amount of detergent is quite adequate for washing, is less likely to leave an odor and is much less likely to etch glassware. Chicago's water is borderline hard, so the rinse agent is important in avoiding spotting on glassware.

          2. Make sure you buy the original lemon Cascade in the green bottle. I will not use the more premium Cascades because of this very issue.

            The original is scented, but it isn't overpowering when it is running. Most importantly it does not cling to your dishs the way the other does.

            It drives me crazy. Who wants to smell that and taste it on your dishes.

            1. I seldom notice a "scent," as in soapy or perfumey, but find that glasses in particular (probably because they end up much closer to one's nose) have a bleach or Comet-like odor. This has been true of every dishwasher I've had in various kitchens. Quite a few years ago, I started adding white vinegar to the dishwasher and find that it helps to neutralize the odor.

              1. I despise scented dish detergent. I like Trader Joe's "auto liquid soap". It's a thick liquid in a plastic bottle. It has a natural lemon oil scent, and I don't notice any scent on the clean dishes.

                1. how about ecover?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: hobokeg

                    I was going to mention this. It comes in individually-wrapped cubes and, when I looked into enviro-friendly detergents, seemed to get a very high rating. Works well for me.

                    1. re: hobokeg

                      It has quite a strong scent right out of the wrapping. If you are scent-sensitive, it is not a good choice. But, it does do a nice job on the dishes.