What’s in Cascade Automatic Dish Detergent?

July 25, 2017

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Have you ever wondered what is in your automatic dish washing powder? 

Not a lot of great things. Yes, the detergent becomes diluted and washed away but I urge you to think further. Where does that dirty water and detergent go? Out of sight and out of mind for us but some of the ingredients in mainstream automatic dishwashing detergents are extremely hazardous to aquatic life. 

Hydrozincite and Alcohol Alkoxylate are in Cascade detergent and have devastating, long lasting negative effects on aquatic life. 

Cascade Powder Automatic Dishwashing Detergent:

  • Sodium Silicate: a “water glass ” or “liquid glass” sealant made by combining water and soda ash (sodium carbonate) at a high temperature. Health concerns: Diluted solutions of sodium silicate are strong alkaline irritants and solid sodium silicate is corrosive. Exposure to alkaline corrosives could result in severe burns. EWG rating 3.
  • Sodium Percarbonate: (AKA: solid hydrogen peroxide). Sodium percarbonate is used as an activated oxygen component in detergents and cleaning aids. It is considered to be an effective and environmentally safe disinfecting and bleaching agent 1. Health concerns: virtually no toxicity concerns, local irritation is possible. EWG rating 2.
  • Modified Polyacrylate: used as an antiredeposition agent (keeps fine particles from settling back on clean dishes) in dish detergent. Health concerns: more information is needed. EWG rating D.
  • Alcohol Alkoxylate: used as an emulsifier, wetting agent, and antifoam agent. Health concerns: skin irritant and considered highly toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects.  2 EWG rating not available.
  • Polyethylene Glycol (PEG): used as a moisturizer, solvent and processing aid. PEGs are at risk for being contaminated with carcinogenic 1,4-dioxane. Health concerns: skin irritation and carcinogenic effects from contamination. EWG rating 3. 

  • Hydrozincite: used as an etching inhibitor in automatic dish detergents. Hydrozincite is a naturally occurring mineral known as zinc bloom. Health concerns: skin and eye irritant. Very toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects.  3 EWG rating F.
  • Amine Cobalt Salt: used as a bleach catalyst. (amine=organic derivative of ammonia) More information is needed. Ewg rating C.
  • Protease Enzyme: used as a cleaning agent and breaks down proteins. EWG rating 1.
  • Amylase Enzyme: used as a cleaning agent and breaks down starches. EWG rating not available.
  • Perfumes: can contain an array of ingredients ranging from plant oils to contaminated and carcinogenic synthetics. Here is a list of Proctor and Gamble’s fragrances


What should you do? 

Ditch the Cascade. I suggest finding an automatic dish detergent with more natural ingredients. At the very least, find one without Alcohol Alkoxylate and Hydrozincite. My favorite automatic dishwashing detergent costs about the same as Cascade and it is all natural! Check out, Better Life Naturally Crumb Crushing Dishwasher Gel.



For more of my approved products, click here.

Poly-ether-what? Check out my Ingredients Defined page.



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