(WXYZ) - Phosphates help everyday cleaners get out the dirt. But when they reach fresh water, they're harmful to fish and plant life. More than a dozen new state laws sharply limit phosphorus in dishwasher detergents. Consumer Reports just tested the greener cleaners.
Consumer Reports subjects the cleaners to some tough tests—a lot tougher than your daily dishes face. Testers apply an extra sticky mix made with 17 foods, including peanut butter and Cheez Whiz. Then the dishes are microwaved to make the goo stick. Pots are coated with macaroni and cheese.
The same number of dishes is washed per load. Each detergent is tested not just once, but three times.
The worst performer left a lot of food. But overall, the new generation of green cleaners did much better than in the past.
In the end, Consumer Reports named Finish Powerball Tabs a Best Buy. It did an excellent job cleaning dishes and pots at a great price.
Consumer Reports also gave high marks to Finish Quantum tablets, Cascade Complete All in 1 and Cascade with Dawn ActionPacs.
Consumer Reports also tested Martha Stewart Clean liquid dishwasher detergent. It was the poorest performer in the group, but the company says a revised formulation will be on shelves this fall.