OxiClean for the Dishwasher

I remember a conversation I had years ago, when I was the mom of two baby boys (both younger than two) and was struggling to keep my head above water.

A conversation with a friend who was in a very different stage of life.

She said something along the lines of, “If I EVER find myself talking about the price of a gallon of milk . . . I’ll know that my life is officially over.”

I half-smiled, widened my eyes and hoped that she couldn’t see inside my brain and know that I’d just had a conversation about the price of milk earlier that very week.

I mean . . . can you believe how much the price of milk has fluctuated over the past ten years?

Anyway, I thought of this about six months ago when I found myself talking to two different people at two different times about how our dishes weren’t coming out of the dishwasher very clean.

Yes, stuff like that comes up among moms.  A lot.

And the truth was, both dishwasher-conversations centered around how we were baffled at why suddenly . . . our dishwashing detergent was no longer working as well as it always had.

So . . . when I received an email about OxiClean’s new Dishwashing Booster, that actually explained the Great Suddenly-Lame-Dishwasher-Detergent Mystery, I was excited to not only try out the new product, but to share with you the truly fascinating information in that email.  (Besides, I LOVE their laundry products, and wanted to see how their new dishwashing product worked!)

Are you ready? I’m about to share some top-secret (not really) information (provided by OxiClean) that made me say, “Oooohhhh, that’s why!”

“In July 2010, a ban on phosphates required the reformulation of dishwasher detergents. Since then,
consumers have noticed that their dishes are just not as clean as they used to be. In fact, many
experience a cloudy film on their glasses and dishes that can build up over time. Some consumers may
have even considered replacing their dishwasher to try and resolve the problem….but it’s not the
dishwasher’s fault !”

Here are the results of a recent survey done by OxiClean:

  • 69% of respondents either do not know what phosphates are (14%) or that they were banned from dishwashing detergents (55%)
  • 49% feel frustrated because they don’t know what’s causing the spots on dishes
  • Top three things that consumers believe cause the spots/cloudy dishes are dishwashing detergent (50%), hard water (34%), dishwasher not working well (30%)
  • Over half (56%) have switched their detergent 2-5 times
  • 88% agree or strongly agree that it is embarrassing to serve on dishes that have spots or are cloudy
  • Almost 1 in 3 (32%) say their biggest kitchen challenge is achieving sparkly dishes; 30% say spots on dishes are their biggest kitchen complaint

I cannot express how relieved I felt for this mystery to be solved.

So, did the OxiClean Dishwashing Booster solve all of my spotty-dish problems?  Honestly, I didn’t see a drastic improvement.  My glass and ceramic dishes looked nice, but the clear plastic serving tray that they sent me to test . . . got spotty.  Now, in my experience, plastic dishes tend to get the spottiest, so it was a pretty tough thing to use for the test.

I washed the clear plastic tray once after adding the OxiClean Dishwashing Booster to my dishwasher, and there were minor spots left on it.  Not enough to drive me batty, but they were there.  I then squirted two squirts into the bottom of the dishwasher in addition to what was in the Rinse-Agent spot.  (This was suggested on the bottle’s instructions.)  There really wasn’t any noticable difference after that on the tray, but the inside of my dishwasher looks cleaner and fresher than it has in a long time!


I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of OxiClean and received a product sample and serving tray to facilitate my review, and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.




  1. 1

    OH!!! My husband and I complain ALL THE TIME about how (we thought) our dishwasher is not cleaning dishes like we think it should (especially considering it’s new within the last couple years. I’m always blaming the dishwasher and getting mad because our old one used to do so much better. It never OCCURRED to me that the detergent might be the issue! Thanks for clearing that up. Is this oxyclean booster different than, say, Jet Dry?

  2. 3

    We knew it was the phosphate thing all along… We noticed a difference immediately!
    Sometimes it just seems easier to wash by hand than have to rewash all the filmy plastic ware.I want my phosphates back!!!

    • 4

      I have always used powder dishwasher detergent to get grass stains out of clothes and to whiten whites since it was the last cleaning product with phosphates. Rats! Will have to find something else to use

  3. 5

    Thanks for the info. Very interesting. I add Lemishine to my loads. It helps a lot. I did find that you sometimes have to use it for several uses (if you haven’t been using it) to clean out the machine fully before you can really see a difference.

  4. 6

    I too had been having problems with the spotty dishes and film. I thought it was because I moved into a new city that is known for hard water. I finally solved the problem when I started putting white vinegar directly into my rinse aid container instead of Jet Dry. Works great and is pretty cheap.

  5. 7

    We had been experiancing a thick yucky film on all our plastic containers. Finally put jet dry in the rinse aid spot does much better now. Thank you for the info about the new formula of dishwashing detergent.

  6. 8

    I think this is the reason grease never comes out of my clothes in the washer too! I have been puzzling over this because it seems like my clothes are just ruined if any grease gets on them, I keep a bottle of regular dish soap to put on the spots first in hopes this breaks down the grease. Everything used to come out so clean with minimal fuss. Now I use tons more soap and a whole scoop of Oxi-clean in every load, even the darks. I usually pre wash then wash with presoak cycle then I do an extra rinse to get out all the soap. So how is that good for the environment now that I use waaaaay more water soap, laundry boosters and spot sprays just to wash a little bit dirty laundry? Super irritating.

    I thought phospahtes were only banned in some states, so I was going to stock up while I was in Idaho on the good stuff. It sounds like they are banned everywhere?

    • 9

      Ok I just looked this up and it is by state. No wonder my clothes are so much cleaner when I am on vacation!

      They are a lot of suggestions for the dish problem in some of the comments I read, apparently it is worse if you have hard water. A lot of suggestions for vinegar during the wash, or Tang or citric acid. I have personally used and entire container of Tang or Gatorade before to clean out the hard water deposits clogging the dishwasher when I lived in Idaho (hard water), I just never knew you could put it right in with the dishes. The vinegar seems wierd since I use it to rinse soap residue out of clothes, wouldn’t it counteract the dish soap?

      Thanks Nony for the dish conversation, I already knew my “life was over!” (super dramatic, first world problem voice, hand clutching a big fancy coffee drink, fancy expensive shoes, sunglasses etc.)

      All I can say is, after life is “over” it gets so much better doesn’t it?

      • 10

        Shanna, I LOVE your comment! I laughed out loud at the first line, and then was a little weepy over the last line! And yes, it does get so much better!

      • 11

        That last part is sweet, Shanna. There is so much in life that we have to give up on in order to have the things that really count, isn’t there?

        Reminds me of something that Jesus Christ said: For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. Mark 8:35

      • 12

        Shanna a few people have told me to put baking soda directly on grease spots as soon as you get them. Of course as a slob I have never remembered to do this immediately.

  7. 13
    Jenifer says:

    I saw a story on the dishwasher thing some time ago and the guy same to put 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in the soap dispenser with the soap and the acid would take the place of the phosphate. It really helps big time so I always put the lemon juice in along with the soap and the “dryer” solution and I haven’t had a problem since. Oxy is great!

  8. 14

    Yeah, uncle banned phosphates in home dishwashing detergent (in some states but it was going to go national so the companies voluntarily took the phosphates out) but NOT in commercial nor in any agricultural use. Lobbiest anyone? It causes algea plumes in the waterways — or so they say. Did you know that the ‘damage’ that the phosphates in dw detergent cause isn’t nearly as damaging as they first thought? But they didn’t unban it, they kept it out of the detergent and are now introducing yet another product to replace it. Did the cost of dw detergent come down when they took it out? No and now we’re suppose to pay more money for additional products.

    This is what I did. Filled the sink with HOT water and vinegar, soaked all the glasses and cloudy stuff for awhile, scrubbed the film off with a Scotch Brite heavy duty scrubby (green/yellow sponge), loaded the dishwasher and ran it on extra hot but added Glass Magic (follow the directions on the box). Glasses are clean, sparkly, no spots and they feel right. I add a tspn of Glass Magic to each load I run and I also switched to vinegar in the rinse dispenser. What’s in Glass Magic? 21% phosphate — which is 3 times more than what was in dw detergent. Oh, I also bagged Cascade and went with Finish dw detergent (just the liquid, no gels packs or whatever) — half the price of Cascade.

  9. 15

    I always dump about 1/4 – 1/3 cup of white vinegar straight in the bottom of my dishwasher before each load and my dishes come out sparkling! And we even have hard water! I found that I have to put it in the bottom instead of in the rinse agent holder or it won’t do a good job. I also recently tried some generic detergent and it did a terrible job (even with the addition of vinegar) so no more generic for me. 🙂

  10. 16

    Ah ha! Well, I think I’ll try to white vinegar solution that Erin suggests first and see if that works. If not I may give the OxiClean a try. Thanks for the information! This does help clear up a mystery here too! 🙂

  11. 17
    Stephanie says:

    The best thing I’ve found, and I just did it last week, was putting a packet of unsweetend Lemon flavored kool aid in the detergent spot and running the dishwasher empty. It helps with everything, even hard water buildup!

  12. 18

    I just went to Lowes and bought phosphates. It’s powdered form and it’s called TSP. I just put a couple of t’s in the dw with the soap tablet and it has made a difference, but still not as good as the old dw soap was. At least you didn’t go out and buy a new dishwasher like some folks did.

  13. 19
    Jack Clemes says:

    Where can you purchase the oxi clean dishwasher booster? oxi clean web site does not list it!

  14. 21

    Well, this totally explains why I felt like the cascade complete suddenly stopped working. I switched to more earth friendly and find they mostly work well. I have been putting vinegar as the rinse aid but am going to try right in the bottom. Thank Nony & readers for all the tips.

  15. 22

    Has anyone found that after using the Oxi Booster it leaves a chalky film on the plastic handles of cooking utensils? I may have to switch to vinegar, the Oxi does keep the glasses and plates nice and clean but the chalky feel is driving me crazy. Thanks everyone for the tips.

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