All dishwasher detergents work in the same way, but each will have different effects on how well the dishes and utensils get cleaned.
Many people want their dishes not only clean but also disinfected so they wonder if bleach can play a role in it. Others are concerned about the health or environmental impacts of using bleach in dishwashers.
Read on to find out if your dishwasher detergent contains bleach. This article also reviews both Finish and Cascade, the trouble with using bleach, and other alternatives available.
Does Finish Powerball or Cascade Platinum Contain Bleach?
Finish Powerball Quantum contains bleach (which is also known as Sodium Percarbonate or Oxygen bleach) and certain enzymes which eliminate the need for a pre-rinse. Cascade Platinum also contains bleach.
These brands, among others, use bleach to make the particles look colorless or white. Additionally, bleach can kill bacteria, which thrive in a hot, moist environment like that of a dishwasher. The bleach acts on and removes tough tea and coffee stains.
However, both brands offer bleach-free products which are a safer alternative.
2 Types of Bleach
Bleach is not a cleaner, but a stain remover and it also kills bacteria and viruses. Types of bleach:
1- Chlorine bleach: The active agent in chlorine bleach contains sodium hypochlorite. It is available as a liquid.
2- Oxygen bleach: Oxygen bleach is eco-friendly and the active agent in it is sodium percarbonate. (Source) This is available in powder form.
Bleach is added to dishwasher detergents to sterilize dishes and utensils, by killing viruses and bacteria. It is always recommended to check the back of the product to see if there is bleach added to the components.
Is it Safe to Mix Bleach and Dishwasher Detergent?
It is very unsafe to mix Chlorine bleach with any kind of dishwasher detergent. However, oxygen bleach can be used in dishwashers to clean dishes as well as the dishwasher itself.
The following are reasons why chlorine bleach should not be mixed with detergents:
1- Bleach will irritate your skin and cause watery eyes.
2- Bleach can cause headaches and chemical burns as well.
Mixing bleach with dishwasher detergents can produce toxic fumes that can cause nausea, coughing, and irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat. (Source)
Dishwasher detergents contain specific enzymes, which, when combined with hot water, effectively kill bacteria and viruses.
Chlorine Bleach can only be safely mixed with water and laundry detergents but not any other cleaning detergents. (Source)
The Effects of Using Bleach
Eco-friendly products are now increasing in usage and popularity. Stated below are the negative effects of using bleach:
1- It is toxic to the environment and animals. The various ecosystems are already at risk as bleach is used by different industries. Homeowners can use safer alternatives.
2- It is risky to keep bleach at home, especially if there are children and pets. Exposure to bleach will have adverse effects on both young children and pets.
3- If bleach comes into contact accidentally with ammonia, it will form chlorine gas which damages the lungs.
Alternatives to bleach are baking soda, vinegar, lemon, and even tea-tree oil.
Hot water and dish soap are equally effective in cleaning and sanitizing dishes and utensils.
How to Use the Finish Dishwasher Cleaner Tablets
Dishwashers are not self-cleaning appliances, and grime and grease do build up in them. The cleaning tablets are specially made to work in 2 ways:
1- The tablets remove the grime left by food residue
2- The tablets break down the limescale residue caused by hard water
There are 2 types of cleaning products that Finish offers. One is a cleaner liquid, and the other is a cleaning tablet. Both are equally efficient.
The following steps will guide you in using the Finish in-wash dishwasher cleaner tablets:
STEP 1: Load the dishwasher as normal.
STEP 2: Put the chosen detergent in the detergent dispenser.
STEP 3: Place the dishwasher cleaner tablet on the bottom of the dishwasher.
STEP 4: Run the cycle as normal.
Store the tablets in a container that can be tightly closed and away from moisture.
How to Use the Cascade Platinum Dishwasher Pods
Cascade Platinum Dishwasher Pods are highly powerful in cleaning off food that has been stuck to plates and utensils for 24 hours. These pods dissolve fast and are easy to use:
STEP 1: Ensure your hands are dried before you touch them. Do not unwrap the pods.
STEP 2: Put one pod in the dishwasher dispenser and close the dispenser.
STEP 3: Run the cycle as normal.
One pod per cycle is enough for a thorough wash. Using excessive dishwasher detergent may result in the detergent not completely getting washed from the dishes. Also, using more dishwasher detergent may clog the drain pipes. The pods should be kept in a moist-free place.
Do not place dishwasher pods on the bottom of the dishwasher as they may dissolve faster in the pre-wash and there may be nothing left for the main wash cycle.
Other Dishwasher Detergents with Bleach
There are dishwasher detergents that contain bleach:
1- Biokleen Free & Clear
This contains oxygen bleach which is a safer alternative to chlorine bleach. This product is eco-friendly and contains no artificial colors, brighteners, or fragrances. It is free of ammonia and phosphates.
2- Finish Scent Liquid Gel, Orange
This has a deep cleaning power and gets rid of tough stains from the dishes.
3- Cascade Complete ActionPac
These are easy to use as no measuring is required. No pre-wash is needed either. For best results, use Cascade Rinse Aid.
Does Finish Powerball Contain Citric Acid?
Yes, the Finish Powerball dishwashing pods contain citric acid. The effect of citric acid on dishes is that it softens the hard water and gives extra cleaning strength to the Finish Powerball.
Does Cascade Platinum Contain Citric Acid?
Yes, the Cascade Platinum contains citric acid. Apart from balancing the pH levels to soften the hard water, citric acid also kills mold, bacteria, and mildew.
Difference Between Finish Powerball & Cascade Platinum
Both Finish and Cascade have a variety of products to choose from. Here are the differences:
1- Product type: Cascade has detergents in gel, powder, additive, and pod forms. They also have fragrance-free products and eco-friendly products as well.
The Finish brand has 4 products – detergents, dishwasher cleaners, booster agents (removes film caused by hard water), and rinse aids (this helps dishes dry faster). The dishwasher detergents are liquid, a mix of powder, gel, and liquid, or powder and liquid forms.
2- Product ingredients: Most Cascade and Finish products contain bleach, such as Cascade Gel and Finish Gel.
Certain Cascade products such as Free & Clear do not contain bleach.
3- Pricing: It is similar for both, but it narrows down to the products and quantities you choose.
4- Eco-friendly: More eco-friendly products are available in the market than both Finish and Cascade.
Research shows that Cascade is more popular with users; however, Finish has a wider variety of products than Cascade.
While there are various brands of dishwasher detergents available, opt for the one you find effective and gives you value for money. Several eco-friendly brands are available, which do an equally effective job cleaning dishes as an ordinary detergent and do not harm the environment.
Always check the back of the products for more information and do not mix other substances with the detergent as it can become toxic.
When running a cycle, use the dishwashing detergents as per instruction, using the correct amount and placing it in the correct place in the dishwasher.