Thursday, June 30, 2016

Trader Joe's Automatic Dishwashing Detergent

The primary criterion on which dishwasher detergent must be judged is whether it gets the dishes clean. Sadly, the answer for this product is no better than a "sometimes," or "maybe," or "conditionally."

Specifically, it does OK for ordinary dishes on ordinary days. But pots and pans are another matter entirely. They are usually left with food residue on them after the cycle. Even when they get clean, I feel the need to rinse them under the faucet before putting them away, because there is a white, soapy residue left behind that I really don't want cooking into my food with the next use.

Even ordinary utensils are subject to poor cleaning if they have substantial dried-on food residue. And running them through a second or even third cycle doesn't improve matters--I've tried.

On two occasions I had a pot or pan with a lot of food residue caked on, and the load of dishes came out with little bits of that residue stuck on everything. It wasn't enough that I could see it, but when putting them away, I noticed what felt like grains of sand all over everything. It took me a while to figure out what was causing this. Both times, I basically ended up putting everything back in the dishwasher, and running it a second time with another brand of detergent.

I have half of the box left, and I'm giving up on using it for every dishwasher run. I'm going to change back to my Finish brand powder capsules whenever there's anything potentially challenging to be washed, and save this TJ's stuff exclusively for times when there is nothing heavily soiled in the machine.

Will I buy it again? 

That kind of conditional use is not fun or practical in the long run, so no. I'll do it until this box is gone, but then not again. Even though this detergent is dirt-cheap, its severe limitations make it a poor choice, in my view.

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