additives to dishwashing detergent

illinigirlNovember 12, 2011

Just got my new Bosch d/w installed yesterday, love it so far! I have been researching some additives people sometimes use to help get the best results. One thing I came across was the addition of 1-2 drops of Dawn to the detergent, and I know that some of the prepackaged tablets say they have Dawn in them. Is there any reason I shouldn't add a drop of Dawn in with my regular detergent? Can it do any damage?

Next, the tsp vs STPP confusion. I have and use STPP in my washing machine, but I also have TSP (the real stuff) and have found that some people add that to their dishwasher detergent. Now I did read on a thread here that tsp forms a precipitate in water and I don't understand that because I find tsp to be very soluble in water...I make a solution to clean walls, etc in our house. So can someone give me the reasoning behind the precipitate? Anyone adding either TSP or STPP in their dishwasher can you tell me about how much you are adding, or if their is any possibility of damage to the stainless tub?

Next, bleach- I find some people are adding a little (couple Tablespoons I guess) to their dishwasher detergent. Can that damage the stainless steel interior?

Lastly, what rinse agent should I use? I quit using rinse agent in my old dishwasher because I found it was leaving quite a residue...enough that when I filled a glass with water I would get soapy bubbles that did not dissipate, and I didn't want to be drinking that! I did add the sample of jet dry to my Bosch and set it to the lowest setting (1) because I understand it helps with the drying. So far my glasses don't seem to have excess rinse agent in them so when I fill them with drinking water it is not making soapy bubbles like with my old dishwasher.

My water is hard water, around 10 grains...comes from Lake Michigan. However, I have never seen any kind of cloudy mineral buildup on my glasses even without any special treatments added to detergent.

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Regular dishwashing liquid would generate sudsing in a dishwasher, same as it does when handwashing in a sink. Sudsing causes serious problems in a dishwasher such as leaking and impeding rotation of the spray arm. Whether 1 to 2 drops is enough to cause trouble depends on water conditions and probably the soil level of the load, but I surely wouldn't risk it.

Chlorine bleach deactivates enzymes so do not add bleach if you are using an enzyme detergent. Dishwasher detergents that contain bleach do not have have enzymes, and vice versa. You could perhaps add bleach to the START of the cycle if your machine runs a prewash and prerinse so that it's flushed away before detergent dispenses in the main wash.

I premix one part STPP to three parts detergent in a separate airtight storage container. There's no risk to damaging a stainless steel dishwasher tank.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 10:58AM
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Powders work better than gels. General agreement on the forum is that with the elimination of phosphates, Miele, Smarty, Cascade Complete, and Finish/Finish Powerball work the best, no additives necessary.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 8:23PM
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I do not understand why you need to add anything at all. Can you explain? Is your Bosch dishwasher leaving dishes dirty? You said you "love it so far". But nevertheless you want to add bleach to your dishes? Most people are turned off by the bleach smell on their dishes. As to adding your own phosphates, there is a reason why they were banned, as they are destroying our lakes/rivers/aquifers. If your dishwasher won't get dishes clean without them, check the DW water temperature, or try a different detergent.

The general consensus on this forum is that how well your dishwasher detergent works is a function of a number of variables individual to the user - your water hardness/softness, your DW itself, how dirty your dishes are, how fully loaded your DW is, how hot your water can get. There have been a number of threads where the top choices seem to be Finish Powerball tabs, Method Smarty tabs and Miele tabs. Out of those, you should experiment and see which one works best for you. As to rinse-aid, good ol' Jet Dry works great.

I myself am a big fan of Method Smarty Tabs Unscented. No smell, no bleach, minimal sudsing, gets everything spotless. With a smaller load I break them in half. A little pricey compared to my next favorite choice, Finish Powerball All-in-1 tabs available at Costco in a huge box for not a lot of money. But not nearly as pricey as the Miele tabs.

Here is a link that might be useful: One of Several Threads about DW Detergent

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 9:57AM
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I bought a supply of Cascade institutional detergent, has chlorine bleach and still has phosphates. The bleach content is fantastic for dealing with tea, coffee, or tomato-based stains on plastic items. There is no residual bleach odor on the dishware.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 10:26AM
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I have a question about this, too. I currently have a five-year old basic Kenmore that the PO put in when I was renting. I'm pretty sure it's a Bosch. The manual definitely says to use a rinse aid, but I haven't found any that don't leave a residue with the water here, so I mostly don't.

I've seen a suggestion to put a little vinegar in the rinse aid compartment instead of one of the commercial products. Would there be there anything harmful in that? (I'm thinking primarily of the problem we have here with glass eventually streaking/clouding from the water.)

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 12:19PM
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The main point of rinse aid is to assist with drying performance by promoting water evaporation. Vinegar won't do anything in that regard. If you don't have a problem with unsatisfactory drying performance, then no need to change anything about your current usage habits.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 1:14PM
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I was concerned when they dropped phosphates but I switched to Finish Quantum and everything cleans just fine - don't need any additional additives. I do use Jet Dry as a rinse aid and have never noticed any residue.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 1:38PM
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Thanks, dadoes.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 5:45PM
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Dadoes,which version do you think cleans best, the bleach powder one with phosphate OR the phosphate free that you mix and add the STPP to? I have thought about getting some of the bleach powder too, I just hate to buy so much at one time. Is there a "for sure" good way to keep it fresh? I have also seem a product on line called "bubble bandit" with phosphate that is supposed to be good?? Have you heard anything about that one?

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 2:54PM
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Both have their uses. Bleach formulation doesn't have enzymes (enzymes are not compatible with chlorine bleach). Last year I found four boxes of Cascade Complete "old" formula with phosphates. I use the bleach product on loads that involve stained plastic (ice tea maker pitcher & funnel, plastic storage bowls, etc.), enzyme formula on other loads. Sometimes bleach product in the prewash and enzymes in the main wash depending on cycle selection (if there's a rinse after the prewash), and the prewash on shorter cycles isn't long enough to have much bleaching effect.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 4:05PM
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not all bleach has chlorine - the Finish Quantum tabs have enzymes and oxygenated bleach, I believe.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 8:32PM
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Tabs are not workable in my DishDrawer. And I did reference chlorine bleach. :-)

I ran my grandmother's horribly stained Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker pitcher through just once with the institutional Cascade and it came out completely stain-free.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 9:55PM
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I've use Lemi Shine along with a tab for a good six months now and it works great. Found it at Target after researching this vexing problem.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 5:26PM
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