Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Review: Cascade Complete Gel

I loved my dishwasher even before Alex was born, but ever since he arrived, I have really loved my dishwasher. I use it every day. I have even been known to run it when it's not full. I feel somewhat bad about this, but one reason I use my dishwasher constantly is that the super hot water sterilizes all the baby and toddler-related items. (However, I never use the drying cycle, which saves tremendously on electricity.) Because I have such a strong bond with my dishwasher, I was happy to receive bottles of Cascade Complete Gel and Electrasol Advanced Gel to compare. I really wanted to be able to say that the Cascade worked a zillion times better, since it was their PR firm that sent me the bottles. But I honestly didn't notice that much of a difference at first.

Then I read at An Island Review that Kailani also didn't notice much difference until she put the dishes in without rinsing them off. Cascade got all of the food off, while the other brand left tiny bits. So I gave it a try and noticed the same thing. Cascade gel consistently got dishes with leftover bits on them clean while Electrasol and even Cascade Complete Powder (which is what I normally use) didn't.

Another difference between the detergents is smell. The Cascade gel is a little perfume-y, but the Electrasol is downright unpleasant. It's bad when it's coming from the bottle, but much worse when it hits you as you open the dishwasher.

One important note: All detergents performed best when the cups were only half-full. The directions all say to fill all cups completely, but I have found that with filling them all the way leaves a filmy residue. Filling them halfway works perfectly.

Cascade Complete Gel is $5.34 for a 75-ounce bottle at my local Target. I use about 2.5 ounces per load, so that's 30 loads per bottle, which works out to 17.8 cents per load.

Cascade Complete Powder is also $5.34 for a 75-ounce box, and I use about 1.5 ounces per load, which gives me 50 loads per box. That works out to 10.7 cents per load.

Electrasol Advanced Gel is $2.99 for a 75-ounce bottle at Target. I use about 2.5 ounces per load, so that's 30 loads per bottle, which works out to 10 cents per load.

As you can see, the Electrasol is cheapest. So I think my new strategy will be to use Cascade Powder when I rinse all of the dishes and don't have any dried food bits (I frequently have 25-cent Cascade coupons and I will pay a little extra to avoid the Electrasol smell). But I now plan on keeping Cascade Complete Gel on hand for those times when I don't thoroughly rinse all of my dishes.

Cross-posted at CFO.


  1. We love the good value or whatever the walmart brand powder is called. I think it was the consumers report best buy a few years back and its fabulous. Nearly always gets everything clean. We used melaleuca stuff for years b/c my husband got it free at work but we finally got sick of rewashing things and started looking around. I'd give it a shot too and would be interested to see how they compare.

  2. Thanks, Angela! There isn't a convenient Wal-Mart near me but you reminded me that I should look for store brands, so thanks!


Thank you for sharing your thoughts - I really enjoy reading them. (However, I will delete any spammy or offensive comments at my discretion.)

If you've enjoyed this post, you may want to get regular updates by subscribing to CFO by RSS or email.