Thread Number: 78689  /  Tag: Modern Dishwashers
The “Woolite” of Dishwasher detergents
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Post# 1026870   3/12/2019 at 09:06 by sarahperdue (Alabama)        

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My Bosch dishwasher has a gentle cycle. Are there any gentle dishwasher detergents out there to go with it? I have gold trimmed china and crystal and sterling silver that I never use... the ability to put these items in the dishwasher would be a game changer.


Post# 1026875 , Reply# 1   3/12/2019 at 10:11 by marky_mark (Sitges, Barcelona)        

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This is a good question and I'll be interested to hear what others have to say.

Before we talk about detergents, from what I've read, it's important that the items be loaded in such a way that they don't touch each other as it is said that this can cause abrasion and damage. To avoid tarnishing, your sterling silver shouldn't touch other metals. It's also a good idea to let the items cool down completely before unloading the dishwasher for two reasons: they are apparently more prone to damage and chipping when they are hot and also I've heard that the gold trim that you mention can be rubbed off more easily or worn away more if handled or wiped when hot. They should also dry to a better finish if allowed to dry slowly in the machine with fewer water marks and spots than if removed soon after the cycle ends.

As for the detergent, this is an interesting one. Logic suggests to me that my Woolite of dishwasher detergents is to use an enzyme-containing liquid detergent such as Cascade Complete liquid/gel (dark-green bottle). This detergent has no bleach. I would expect it to dissolve quickly and clean a lightly-soiled load well using the delicate cycle at low temperatures. However in this scenario it may not remove tea/coffee stains. If that is a problem, use a chlorine-based liquid detergent such as Cascade Gel (light-green bottle) or Palmolive gel, or a pac containing oxygen bleach.

Using a rinse aid should also help to improve the appearance of the items (fewer water marks, spots etc.) and improve drying -- especially important as the delicate cycle's final rinse temperature is likely to be lower. The use of rinse aid is said to protect glassware against corrosion (etching) by not only neutralizing the alkalinity of the detergent but also by promoting better draining of the dishes leading to less residue on their surfaces. Apparently it is thought that etching actually occurs after rinsing during drying -- but with the cause being what has already happened during the wash and a lack of thorough rinsing. It's also recommended that you not rinse your dishes before loading the dishwasher -- they should go in dirty.

Does your machine have a built-in water softener, or do you have a whole-house softener, or do you live in a soft water area? If so, any detergent should leave dishes looking good. If not, you might have to use something like Cascade Platinum pacs to avoid horrible build ups of film, clouding, spots, white marks and streaks etc.

If you can, you may wish to start by experimenting with just one plate and one glass. Try leaving them in the dishwasher for several cycles along with your regular dishes and monitor their appearance to see if there is any change or effect. Any potential change should be obvious when that piece is compared to the rest of the set.

Fine china companies have an approved list of detergents. Surprisingly, they have typically suggested that customers use liquid detergents (containing chlorine bleach). Here's a typical list from Waterford.


Post# 1026882 , Reply# 2   3/12/2019 at 11:38 by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, the Netherlands)        

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I've washed my grandparent's china in the dishwasher with Somat (made by Henkel) a few times. The gold trim didn't come off, but if I would do it more often I bet it would disappear in the end. Dishwasher detergents are way more agressive than laundry detergents. Every decor that is applied over the glaze will disappear in the end, but not by the first few times is my experience. But YMMV!

Post# 1026892 , Reply# 3   3/12/2019 at 16:16 by sarahperdue (Alabama)        
dawn...and rinsing

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It has occurred to me to wash the delicates with a tsp of regular Dawn instead of dishwasher detergent. Thoughts?

I've also checked the link and might try some of the recommended liquid detergents for the US.

We had an elderly GE contractor grade dishwasher for almost 15 years--it was already old when we bought the house. It was basically a rinse and dry machine. We had to pre rinse everything. Now with the Bosch, I find that the dishes are cleaner when I don't rinse them, but DH insists on rinsing...

We've been using Sam's, Cascade and Finish pods. I can't remember what made Bruce decide to go for the name brand detergent--maybe because our Tervis tumblers get cloudy...

Here's the Bosh. I went all high end with the third tier silverware rack and love it.

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 2         View Full Size
Post# 1026893 , Reply# 4   3/12/2019 at 16:22 by jkbff (Happy Rock, ND)        

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Melaleuca Diamond Brite is what I use when I don't want something harsh. It doesn't tarnish aluminum so I use it for all of my sheet pans.

I know Noritake says that most of their glazings were dishwasher safe.

The lady that got me started on Diamond Brite uses it exclusively and washes her china, crystal and silver in her Miele that she's had for 19 years.

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Post# 1026896 , Reply# 5   3/12/2019 at 17:05 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
A Teaspoon of Dawn

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Or any other hand washing dish detergent isn't going to do much in a dishwasher other than create tons of froth.

As for the rest there is "fine china" and there is fine china.

If we're talking about something produced rather recently, say on or after the 1990's then with proper precautions automatic dishwashing may be fine. OTOH fine china from say before 1950's or even earlier such as going back decades before, I wouldn't trust them to anything else than careful hand washing. More so if the pattern is obsolete and thus any damaged pieces cannot be replaced.

On the brighter side modern dishwashers are far less aggressive than in past. My vintage GE Mobile Maid has ruined two sets of every day dishes, Corelle coffee mugs, and countless glassware. Everything comes out etched and or otherwise marked from the forces they are subjected. So far only Ikea dishware seems to hold up.

Automatic dishwasher detergents by nature are a rather caustic brew of chemicals. That is what it takes to break down and emulsify fats, oils, grease and other muck commonly found on dishes. One would think enzyme based formulas are somewhat milder, but they often contain oxygen bleach. That substance can be just as damaging to certain fine china as chlorine bleach.

Post# 1026897 , Reply# 6   3/12/2019 at 17:05 by Supersuds (Knoxville, Tenn.)        

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I would suspect even a small amount of regular Dawn in a dishwasher would cause major oversudsing.

Years ago (1987 or so) I tried to use Fulsol, a degreaser put out by the Fuller Brush Company, in a Hotpoint dishwasher and it was a near disaster.

Post# 1026899 , Reply# 7   3/12/2019 at 17:19 by sarahperdue (Alabama)        

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I appreciate all of the suggestions and think I'm going to find some Diamond Brite and give it a go. After all, what good are they if they just stay in the china cabinet?

Post# 1026914 , Reply# 8   3/12/2019 at 21:12 by fisherpaykel (BC Canada)        
Glass etching and protection

Finish Quantum and Quantum Max have an anti etch ingredient. Still I would use your delicate/china cycle without any high temp wash or rinse/dry option. I presume the china won't be used daily but if so hopefully the pattern is under the glaze, perhaps use a few pieces for a time and compare with those in the cupboard. I take your point what is the good of having it if it is never used. A former long time poster cautioned re hollow handle sterling dinner knives being glued and possibly coming loose. Maybe it depends on how old the sterling is, I  have always washed for the past  20 and 30 years my stainless steel hollow handle knives in the dishwasher -both Oneida and Heritage Silversmiths/1867 Rogers- without any apparent damage so far, as others have said just don't have the sterling contact any other metal items.

Post# 1026929 , Reply# 9   3/13/2019 at 03:49 by MattL (Flushing, MI)        

I run all my silver (plate...) through the dishwasher whenever it's used.  I just am careful - and have trained my helpful guests- not to mix stainless with sliver.  My mother bought china with a silver rim and these have been through 6 different dishwashers over 50 years and all are fine.  I'd guess gold would not survive that.  Personally I 'm not a fan of that china, but have an 18 place setting service and all of it gets used plus a fair amount of another set of dishes when I have folks over for the holidays.  Just not worth replacing.

Post# 1027244 , Reply# 10   3/16/2019 at 21:52 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

With the 18 Superba, KA instructed that the Short Cycle was to be used for fine china & crystal. It begins with the 3rd water fill for a 7 minute pre-rinse and no detergent is to be added, although the enzyme stuff in use now probably could be added. The main wash is shortened to 3 minutes so exposure to detergent is minimized and the temperature is held down by eliminating the first two fills. I have used it, but even with rinse fluid, I find it is better to hand polish the silver dry to eliminate spots than to let it go through the dry cycle. It is clearly a cycle meant for light, fresh soil.

I use the first two fills of this cycle when I wash my Veg-O-Matic in it to keep the temperature down, but I add detergent to the first fill and use the second fill for the rinse.

Post# 1027331 , Reply# 11   3/17/2019 at 16:24 by jerrod6 (United States of America)        

I have some china from my grandmother. There are silver rimed plates as well as silver on some wine glasses. These I always hand wash. For another set that is not nearly so dear but is still nice, I wash in the DW on the china/crystal cycle with whatever detergent I am using at the time. The china/crystal cycle is sensor controlled so it only does as much as it has to to get the dishes clean. For me, I don't want to put silver or gold-rimmed stuff in a dishwasher.

Post# 1027343 , Reply# 12   3/17/2019 at 18:47 by appnut (TX)        

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My 1-hour wash cycle is faster than even my China/Gentle cycle and if I had china I was most concerned about, I'd use that.  The main wash is only like 18 minutes long.  

Post# 1027386 , Reply# 13   3/18/2019 at 08:02 by logixx (Germany)        

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I have been using a teaspoon of washing-up liquid for many years in the prewash of our Bosch dishwashers - never an issue. However, I must say that these were always greasy loads and I have not tried this with a basically clean load of china and crystal.

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