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Top-cleaning dishwasher detergents with low phosphates 8/10
(This article is adapted from the September 2010 Consumer Reports magazine.)

Recently manufacturers have reformulated their dishwasher detergents to meet new federal regulations requiring much lower allowable amounts of phosphates.

The environmental impact of phosphates has been a concern for decades because they increase the growth of algae in freshwater, threatening aquatic and plant life. (Limits on phosphorous levels in laundry detergents have existed since 1994.)

The good news is that the low-phosphate products Consumer Reports tested this year performed much better than the ones in the 2009 tests, which were low-rated.

24 low-phosphate brands were put through their paces—including dispenser products, gels, liquids, pacs, powders, and tablets from brands including Cascade, Ecover, Finish, Method, Seventh Generation, Trader Joe's, and Palmolive.

Among the top cleaners, in alphabetical order, are: Cascade Complete All In 1 pacs (28 cents per load), Ecover tablets (27 cents), Finish Powerball Tabs tablets (22 cents), and Method Smarty Dish tablets (21 cents).

Related links
To help your dishwasher perform at its best, remember hard water can affect how well your dishwasher cleans.
Find more dishwashing tips on our Home and Garden Blog.

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