I’m Proud to Announce . . . My New Addition!

Our miracle baby requires no diaper changes, doesn’t cry, and doesn’t throw tantrums.  Instead of keeping us up all night with shrieking, our newest family member gets to work. That’s right—after going my entire adult life hand-washing dishes, we’re proud to introduce . . . our dishwasher! My life has officially changed forever.

stainless steel dishwasher
My adorable stainless steel dishwasher (or one pretty much like it)

All right, so it isn’t as cute and cuddly as those other “new additions” some of you are bragging about. But I’m still excited to own an appliance that is supposed to save water and energy—not to mention time. (Side note: I don’t actually consider buying a dishwasher an entirely “green” decision. Sure, it conserves water, but the energy used to create a new appliance is considerable!)

Some of our readers may remember my obsessive dishwashing posts of the past.  Now that I have a new method for washing up, I have a whole new set of concerns. What’s the best eco-friendly detergent for dishwashers? What, exactly, is in Jet Dry—and what are some natural alternatives? Or can I go without a rinse agent altogether?

If you have any product recommendations or special dishwasher tricks, please let me know!


  1. Personally, I think JetDry is a waste of money. If your dishwasher does its job and you just wash your dishes with basic soap (there are tons of green products out there – I usually went with what was on sale and don’t have a fave), your dishes will come out clean. If your water is hard you may still find mineral residue spots on glassware, but if you just hand dry these items the spots will disappear. (This was never a huge concern for me, and our ‘nice’ glasses – wine glasses – I never put in the washer anyway.) Vinegar might work in place of jet dry – I know it is awesome in the rinse cycle of laundry.

  2. Carol Kelley says

    Congratulations! I have found Biokleen to be the best auto dishwashing soap. Before we switched to it we were having lots of problems and I thought it was the dishwasher. I have had the small canister for quite a while and I like that the container is small and it doesn’t take much powder per load.

  3. My favorite soap is 7th Gen but you will likely have to try a few to find whats right for you because everyone has different water and different ones work better for different water.

    For Jet Dry just use plain old white vinegar.

  4. You can add a small amount of white vinegar to your load if you end up with spots on your glasses. It softens the water (I think). Or you could just deal with spots. I usually do. 🙂

  5. I also use 7th generation, it works best with our dishwasher and local water, it also helps that it is one of the lesser expensive options at our co-op.

    Don’t waste your money on rinse aids. I’ve tried the eco-friendly versions (I think ecover makes one) but plain white vinegar is just as effective, and much more cost effective. I put it in the same place the rinse aid normally goes and refill it as needed.

    Another way to “green” your dishwasher, besides making sure each load is full before you run it, is to turn off the heated dry option. Most models allow you to do this, and the heated dry is where most of the energy is consumed. The dishes are already on a handy drying rack, so they don’t take long to dry on their own with the door cracked open, or if you’re impatient, you could just towel-dry them.

    With a toddler underfoot and another one due in April, I definitely appreciate my dishwasher and wouldn’t want to go without it. Congratualtions on your new addition.

  6. Oh what a beautiful new addition so cute and cuddly – ok well maybe not cuddly but stainless steel appliances are pretty spiffy. 🙂

    I hadn’t heard that about vinegar I’ll have to try that. I have used an eco-friendly drying agent called Lemi Shine that works great. Right now I am using Smarty Dish for my dishwasher detergent which is great and non toxic. I did a post on the toxicity of dishwasher detergents awhile back – that was very eye opening research. http://earthfriendlygoodies.com/164/benzine-cloud-terrorizes-households-around-the-world

  7. i found both 7th generation powder and liquid for dishwashers to be junk, but i love ecostore’s (that i got on special). when that runs out, i’m trying homemade. i think you can make it with borax, washing soda, and citric acid…

    i’ve never used a rinse aid. vinegar will do the trick, but i hardly use that either.

  8. Thank you, everyone! I am glad to hear that so many of you are skipping the rinse aid with no ill effects. I did buy the Biokleen detergent. I’ve run one big load and everything came out nice and clean.

    Dorothy–I did turn off the heat dry cycle and it worked fine. It does seem like a waste of energy.

  9. I’m assuming that your dishwasher is a higher end model due to the stainless steel – dishwasher effectiveness is definitely a ‘get what you pay for’ situation. Try using the light wash function if you’re dishwasher has the option. It uses less water and time, but cleans just as well (at least, that what I’ve found). Also, you dont’ have to pre-rinse your dishes, just use a credit card or plastic scraper to get the major crud off. Dishwashers take care of the rest just fine (more green that way too). Just remember to keep your water heater turned up to at least 120’F (even 125’F, though that’s a scald concern for parents) for the dishwasher to properly rinse detergent residue out – major cause of dishwasher pump failures. If you’re dishwasher has an internal water heater, that may not be necessary, however the
    light wash function may not use it. Lastly, dishwasher performance is quite dependent on dish placement – make sure no dish is blocked from the sprayers and try to face all dishes toward the center. Happy dishwashing!

  10. the best detergent that I have found is from Melaleuca. I love it.

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