I miss my toxic pouches (Day 14)…

Dishwasher Detergent

When it comes to eco-brand hierarchies, Seventh Generation is up there. It’s a bit like the financially-secure-but-Guatemalan-pants-wearing cousin of Proctor&Gamble — it may be based in perpetually inoffensive, NPR-loving Vermont, but it can also be found dominating the competition in the cleaning supplies aisle at every hippy store in North America.

If it weren’t such a wholesome company, it would probably be caught wearing an ironic T-shirt like this — in fact, it doesn’t wanna brag or anything, but one of its tissue boxes even scored a cameo in the upcoming Molly Shannon film Year of the Dog (IMDb forgot to list it in the credits, but that was probably just a technical glitch or something).

But while you can take Seventh Generation out of Vermont, it seems you can’t take the Vermont out of Seventh Generation. The company, which got its name from an Iroquois law, has a website that puts corporate press releases next to pictures of mothers holding babies, children holding puppies and seniors holding watering cans; you can either follow the link to supporting scientific data, or the link to a blog called The Inspired Protagonist, about “cutting the ties of negativity that bind us.”

But to the point: I needed some more dishwasher detergent, and figured I’d give this brand a try. Until now, I’ve been using these wicked gelatin pouches filled with neon goo and multi-coloured powder that really do the trick — they even come with extra bleach … and a “Fresh Rapids” scent! Still, I had high hopes for SG, because so far my green product switches have all been a success.

The final verdict — meh. It cleaned at least 90 to 95% of the dishes, but the almond butter residue on a few knives remained firmly in tact. Also, instead of that bleachy-clean smell that wafts up when you open the dishwasher door, there was more of a neutral-to-somewhat-stale-cheese odour. Maybe I just need to use more of it, but right now, I’m in phosphate withdrawal.

14 Responses to I miss my toxic pouches (Day 14)…

  1. river2sea72 says:

    Try Ecover automatic dishwasher powder. I was never a huge fan of Seventh Generation products (except for the 100% recycled 1000-sheet 1-ply toilet paper) but I’m a total convert to Ecover (it even has a lovely herbal scent).

  2. Lori V. says:

    Man, I’m getting here just after the punch on too many posts… I need to monitor your blod 24/7, Valerie! LOL! I, too, was going to suggest Ecover; I’ve not used the dishwashing tabs yet, as I am fully stocked up on those very same wicked gel pouches (I gave most of our other cleaning supplies to the neighbor’s maids when we switched to Method).

    If you haven’t looked into Ecover, they are like the financially-secure-fair-trade-chocolate-eating Belgian cousin of Seventh Generation! LOL! The bestest thing about them is that they have arguably the world’s ONLY truly ecological factories, HQ in Belgium. It has a grass roof, the bricks are made from the castoff debris from construction & mining(?) sites, and it runs on renewable energy! Way freakin’ cool!

  3. Lori V. says:

    On another Seventh Gen. note, however, I AM a fan of their feminine products; my family complains that their TP is like wiping with notebook paper, but I will still sneak in rolls of it every now & again. Keeps ’em on their… ummmm, toes! LOL!

  4. gettinggreen says:

    Haha — Lori, it’s VANESSA! Not Valerie 😉

    Thanks for the Ecover tip, guys. I’ve seen that brand around, so I’ll give it a shot when I run out of the Seventh Gen stuff. I wonder if there’s any kind of consumer review site for these eco products? Like an epinions.com thing, but specializing in green…

  5. Lori V. says:

    Well, crap on a cracker, I knew that! It’s too early for brain function on spring break, I guess! I purposely use your name in most of my posts, for the purpose of remembering (I was a waitress for 6 years, so names are not my forte, anyway) it… please forgive the ditziness! 😮

    As for opinions regarding green products, at drugstore dot com, when you view products, there are customer reviews for them, and they have a pretty big selection of green companies: Kiss My Face, Jason, Ecover, Seventh Gen, Druide, Aveda, and a bunch more!

  6. gettinggreen says:

    No problem — I’m the worst with names, too. That drugstore.com site is really great, thanks. Found lots of great review there.

    I wanna be on spring break!

  7. river2sea72 says:

    I’ve actually been thinking about starting up an eco-product review site. There aren’t any good ones that I’m aware of. Thinking about it, not necessarily doing anything about it, other than posting my own personal opinion.

  8. Morgan says:

    Dude…stick it out and/or switch to ecover, soon enough you won’t miss those crazy phosphates and that funky color hiding bleach…seriously, read how bleach actually works, it’s kind of freaky!

    Have you made the switch to a green tooth paste yet? My fiance didn’t like the texture and actually my green tooth paste is orange. I’ve been using Green Beaver brand and I’ve loved it. With it’s dash of tea-tree oil, I find my teeth stay cleaner (well feel cleaner) longer through out the day. It’s awesome!


    Sorry…about the ‘dude’ comment…I call everyone dude and NO it’s not a reflection on my vocabulary…and being from Regina, Saskatchewan it’s not a reflection of my environment either! LOL!

  9. Candice says:

    Hmm, I wonder if it’s the same Seventh Gen stuff I use? There’s only one on their Web site so I guess so. Well, to each their own, but I always thought it smelled kinda lemony and it dissolves much better than the toxic goo I was using before. Plus whenever I opened the door with the toxic stuff, the fumes made me start coughing. Every time. I never could use the pouches, they just don’t work right in my dishwasher.

    I haven’t tried them, but Method makes power-filled pouches.

    p.s. Found your blog via TreeHugger – fun.

  10. alison says:

    I don’t know about those eco-friendly ones… might try some of the suggestions above. But I do know that with regular dishwashing powders, you only need a fraction of what the manufacturer would like you to use.

    I have recently sworn off shopping for anything other than environmentally considerate products, but I still had a massive box of old style dishwasher powder. I wasn’t going to send it straight to land fill by throwing it out, and figured I might as well use it up before sending it into the environment (via waste water rather than the local tip). When I needed a new box, I’d switch.

    Then my friend told me to try using only a teaspoon. It basically just covers the bottom of the powder compartment. She says her dishwasher man (yes she has a dishwasher man) said that it”s all a big con, and a tiny amount works better.

    The good news is he’s right, it works. The bad news is that this particular box of toxic dishwashing powder will be still around at Christmastime.

    At least I am not buying multiple boxes of the stuff, which saves on packaging, and the same amount of toxic chemicals will last me 3 times longer than it used to.

  11. ECOinSF says:

    Here’s an eco-product (and service) review website: http://www.SustainLane.com

    They’re based out of San Francisco so they may not have reviews on the products you find in Canada.

  12. GreenYogini says:

    I’m a fan of Seventh Generation – dish soap, dishwasher detergent, feminine products, laundry detergent, paper towels, etc. (Of course, paper towels and detergents should be used sparingly anyway…) I have tried a few Ecover products and liked them, but for some reason I switched. Now I can’t remember why (perhaps price difference?), and I’m making a mental note to give them another try.

  13. Hippie Gal says:

    I’ve had good luck with Seventh Generation powder. But, I also add some Lemi Shine in with it on every load. No phosphates, it smells lemony and it makes your dishes very shiney with no residue! You can find it at most grocery stores.

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