Kitchen Tip: Dishwasher Detergent

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I recently bought new liquid dishwasher detergent.  I buy a large jug of Cascade Complete at BJ’s.  I noticed when I started using the new jug that the dishes, while clean, felt like they had a film on them.  I remembered noticing that previously, but it had been a while.cascade complete

Then it dawned on me that maybe it happens when I first start using a new jug of dishwasher detergent.  I decided to try something.  I shook the jug well before adding the detergent to the dishwasher.

Guess what?  The dishes didn’t have that filmy feeling.

We shake so many other things before using them, why shouldn’t we have to shake dishwasher detergent?  The need for shaking might vary depending on the type of detergent.  My rinse aid dispense is broken which is why I use the “Complete” variety.  It could be that’s where the problem lies.

question markHave you ever noticed your dishes feeling like they have a film on them?

About Linda Etherton

Linda has been gluten free since 2000 when I was diagnosed with celiac disease which propelled me into the world of gluten-free cooking and baking. I am convinced that gluten-free food can and should be delicious, and I never apologize for serving it.
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  1. Sherron says:

    Yes! I have noticed a film on my dishes (the glasses looked terrible). For my dishes, it happened when the detergents went phosphate free. I tried a variety of things but found that Lemi Shine worked the best for making my dishes sparkle again.

  2. It is my understanding that the film of which you speak is a chemical mix that you really don’t want. I’ve been very pleased with Ecover brand dishwasher tablets which are: “plant based ingredients, phosphate free, quick and complete biodegradability, minimum impact on aquatic life, no animal testing, safe for septic tanks”

    • Is the Ecover brand easy to find? We live in a small town and I haven’t seen this brand in the store here. I also have a septic tank and would like to find something safer for our environment.

      • I get it at our health food store. (We live in a small town, but are in a metro area a couple of days a week.) You could probably order it online.

        Ecover does a great job of cleaning even the dirtiest dishes. And i never see any spots/hard water marks either.

        I kind of have a pet peeve about washing the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher (which my MIL does). I don’t see any reason to run the dishwasher in that case! So we tried putting the dishes in dirty, tho loose food, etc., was scraped off. It gets 90% of my dishes sparkling clean and the ones that don’t get entirely clean, mostly pots/pans, are much easier to wash by hand – less elbow grease – after being run thru the dishwasher.

  3. I have had the same problem with Cascade brand. I also use Lemi Shine and I now use Finish tablets, the ones with the power ball. We live in Arizona and our area has very hard water.

  4. Actually, the reason the film is left behind is because government regulations have removed the phosphates from dish and laundry soap (the most effective rinsing agent). The argument was that phosphates were causing oxygen depletion problems in the ocean, but the bigger problem is actually fertilizer, which still contains phosphates and still causes oxygen depletion. Removing the phosphates from our dish soap hasn’t changed a thing in the environment, other than to make our dishes dirtier. If you want to add it back, go buy a box of TSP from a hardware store and add 1/4 to 1/2 cup to a load of laundry and 1 tablespoon to your dishwasher cycle. You’ll be amazed at the difference. More info here:

    • I definitely noticed a difference when the detergents went phosphate free. Thankfully, my film problem was solved by shaking the jug. I think it this case it may be the rinse aid causing the problem. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Cyndi in BC says:

    I didn’t like the film that used to be on my dishes so a friend told me to try vinegar in the last rinse. So now I use a cup of vinegar in my last rinse and the dishes don’t have a film on them, no little dried bits or water spots. :) I just stop the dishwasher at the beginning of the last rinse (or just run the rinse cycle again if I forget), pour in the cup of vinegar, close the door and complete the cycle. HTH.

    • That’s a good idea. I’m sure vinegar does help. The problem is I usually run my dishwasher when I got to bed at night and by morning they are dry. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  6. I had a free coupon for Finish Quantumatic Automatic deterent dispenser and of course if its free I have to try it. It is a dispenser that you put in the dishwasher and you get 12 washes out of it…what a great idea I thought…but after awhile I noticed that the dishes had a “fishy” I won’t be using it anymore..

  7. In the rinse aid compartment I add white vinegar instead of some other rise aid. Also, I use the powder Cascade and have found that I no longer have the film on dishes.

  8. Teresa says:

    I don’t just have film, but I also have big globs of dish detergent left on my dishes, I will try the shaking. Hope it helps.

    Thank you !


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