Dishwasher Detergent Allergic Reaction

Did you know that you can be poisoned by dishwasher detergent? Neither did I. But I was. Sigh.

After reading a book about environmental issues, I decided that it was high time I stopped killing the earth with my dishwasher soap. I marched into Target determined to pay whatever I needed to pay to use biodegradable dishwasher detergent.

And then, I walked out of the isle, overwhelmed and shocked at the prices.
(When our daughter was little, she was fascinated by the dishwasher!)

But, I returned, because my tree-hugger-self just couldn't ignore my irresponsible use of toxic soaps.

And so, I read labels, compared prices, and decided to try Seventh Generation's powder dishwasher detergent. Unfortunately, it left a nasty brown residue on my dishes. Back to Target I went to return it and try again.

The second try I bought Method dishwasher detergent in the little prepackaged pods.

Fast forward about two weeks. I suddenly realized that I felt more like my old-self than I've felt in a long time. I began assessing what had changed in my life, and the only thing I could come up with was changing the detergent. This idea seemed ridiculous to me, though, so I kept the idea to myself for a little bit longer while I waited to see if I kept feeling better.

Fast forward another week. A friend of mine came over to my house for the kids to play, and I told her about my crazy notion that the dishwasher soap had been making me sick. Without missing a beat, she told me she didn't doubt it. WHAT?!!?

Come to find out, her child's asthma specialist advised her to use an all-natural dishwasher soap because traditional soaps are major irritants to asthma patients. According to her, the steam released during the washing releases a whole mixture of toxic chemicals into our houses....and, additionally, we eat the chemical residue left on our plates!

Shocked, I did a little research on the Internet, and I discovered that the Environmental Working Group has rated household cleaners based on the ingredients used in dishwashing detergent (among other cleaners) in the categories of:
- Asthma/Respiratory
- Skin allergies & irritations
- Developmental & reproductive toxicity
- Cancer
- Environment

Unfortunately, the Method dishwasher packs are still not rated great, but I'm feeling better which has taught me that I'm sensitive to dishwasher soaps. I am very grateful to have learned how dangerous dishwasher detergent can be since I was clueless!!! I will continue my quest to find a top-rated soap that's safe for me and the earth!


DandW said...

"new and improved" isn't always what it seems! Little did we know what we were doing to our children.

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Anonymous said...

Yes, I also have developed a horrible allergic skin reaction to dishwahsing detergent. Especially the Cascade pods. It started as a rash on my face above my mouth and migrated all the way around my mouth to the other side. Then it went on both sides of my nose and on one upper eyelid. It has been very painfu, red bumps, almost blistery and itchy. I suspected the dishwasher detergent after eliminating dairy and grains with no relief. The only thing that makes me feel better and clears it up is Benedryl, but it was only temproary. A doctor says it is definately systemic by observing the rash, meaning it is something i am ingesting, not anything topical I am applying, btw which I also eliminated completely just to be sure. Last night I was removing all of my tupperware, noticing the smell of the dishwashing detergent intelsely, and just the residue started making me itch on my face immediately after a rash-free day. I had the rash-free day because I rewashed all of my other dishes with plain old liquid dish soap (a small squirt in my dishwasher). But the contact with the tupperware that had cascade residue INSTANTLY caused a flare-up. Now I have to clean my cabinets and the liners to get rid of all of the residue from my tupperware. I think I may also throw out all of my tupperware and start new. NEVER AGAIN using dishwasher detergent, but again, the liquid such as dawn works great in a dishwasher, just be careful only to use a tiny tad. The heat of the dishwasher will clean and sanitize just fine. What a nightmare. Dishwashing detergent is POISON.

Maria said...

Hi, I stumbled across your article and I believe the same was happening to me. Took me over a year to figure out what was going on. I am now wondering if you had the same symptoms as me.

HopefulOne said...

I am convinced. And if your dishwasher isn't washing or rinsing effectively, you may be ingesting the soap.I am getting my dishwasher fixed or replaced,then i will use just a tiny bit of Dawn and see what happens. I use cascade dishwasher gel and i guess it is a problem for skin reactions.

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