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Your dishwasher detergent CPL (Cost Per Load)


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16 replies to this topic

#1 Fat Guy

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 05:39 PM

I'm trying to figure this out for myself but I can't even figure out how much detergent I use per load in order to divide that into the total container size and price. But I'm going to try to figure it out. Maybe next time I run a load I'll measure. How about you all? What's your CPL and the underlying computation?

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#2 MSRadell

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 05:52 PM

We have found that Finish Ultimate tablets seem to do a much better job cleaning our dishes than anything else. Obviously calculating the CPL would be extremely easy if we wanted to do it. The CPL however in our opinion is certainly not the determining factor when selecting a dishwashing detergent. How clean the dishes come out of the dishwasher is a much more important factor so we haven't ever calculated the CPL nor do we ever intend to. What types of z
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#3 weinoo

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 06:33 PM

I use Cascade powder very sparingly. I decant it into a 6 cup Tupperware container which I keep under the sink and use a measured coffee scoop full or so per load, a bit more if the dishes are really dirty. I mostly don't rinse my dishes either - just scrape them off, per the instructions...if they're got something like avocado or peanut butter on them, then I might rinse.

No etching so far (7 years) and my dishes come out totally clean.

That said, I find a 4.5 lb. box lasts me months and months, and if I spend more than $15 or $20 a year on dishwashing soap, I'd be surprised.

Which is a long-winded way of saying I have no idea what the CPL is :cool: .
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#4 Lisa Shock

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 11:59 PM

For those using a powder or liquid, the good ol' kitchen scale could give you the answer. For powder, just use the weight indicated on the box, and divide by the weight of the amount you use per load. For liquid, since I have no idea of the specific gravity, weigh an empty bottle and the new one you have purchased to replace it then subtract the bottle weight and divide the resulting number by the weight of one load's worth.

#5 GlorifiedRice

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 04:14 AM

I buy 2 cases of Restaurant Quality Cascade that still contains Phosphates.
It lasts me 1 year
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#6 MelissaH

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 04:30 AM

I actually did the calculation once. However, I don't remember what the results were, largely because as MSRadell said, what's far more important to me is that the dishes get clean. I wasn't happy with the Cascade powder I'd used, and didn't think the Cascade pouches were any better. However, the Finish tablets do a great job---and there's nothing like your local warehouse store having a special offer: BOGO, with a coupon for an additional $2 or $3 off. The only thing that would make the tablets better would be a wrapping that was easier to open, or that dissolved.

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#7 SylviaLovegren

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 05:38 AM

I agree, clean is what matters and different detergents are really different. Liquids don't work at all. In powders only Finish really does the job for me -- Cascade and supermarket brands just don't cut it.

But water hardness really makes a difference in amounts used. In northern NJ, we had to use double the recommended amount to get the job done. In Toronto, we're down to the "normal amount". When in the Seattle area, we use about half the recommended amount.

#8 kaszeta

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 05:46 AM

I actually know the answer to this one:

1. I use Seventh Generation dishwasher detergent, since I really despise the odor of most detergents, and I'm on a septic system. I usually buy the large box at Target, $8 for 75 oz.

2. I fill the dispenser in my Bosch dishwasher to the first line (and my experience with this washer is that adding more detergent makes it clean worse, not better), which is around 3/4 oz of detergent per load.

3. That almost exactly 100 loads per box, so around 8 cents per load. That matches up with my bulk observation, which is that I seem to buy detergent about 3x a year.

Honestly, I think I actually spend more money on the rinse agent.

#9 abadoozy

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 11:22 AM

I'm another one who uses the Finish Gelpacs; depending on how good of a sale I buy them on, it's between about 20 and 30 cents per load.

I'm not particularly excited about that, but they're the only things that actually wash my dishes. I hate my dishwasher; it's a Kitchenaid that we dropped about $1K for several years ago, and without the Gelpacs AND rinse agent, it cleans nothing. With both of them, it does an OK job if I pack it correctly. And there's definitely an art to packing it; there are places where I can prove get absolutely no water coverage.

#10 GlowingGhoul

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 11:44 AM

The Kitchenaid (Whirlpool) washers are excellent, albeit noisy, machines in my experience.

If you're finding that food residue is left on your dishes after working well initially, odds are the macerator (food grinder) is broken or clogged.

It's relatively easy to clean and/or replace for anyone who's handy with tools, but any appliance repair person can do it.

I use a single Finish tablet, and everything comes out spotless. We do several loads a day, and I never pre-rinse.

When I started seeing food residue, my research turned up the macerator as the most common cause. In my case, there was a lot of "junk" (cherry pits, other hard things) preventing the blades from turning. Once that was cleaned up, it went back to performing flawlessly.

#11 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 12:21 PM

I'm strictly a hand-washer; a tub of Lava or Axxion (diswashing creme soap) lasts me about 2 months (so, let's say 120 loads give or take, since I generally do dishes twice a day) and costs $1.25. That leaves me with a CPL of about $0.0104. I'm happy with that.
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#12 chriscook

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 05:35 PM

Cascade ActionPacs gel packs from Amazon are about 17 cents per load.

#13 Fat Guy

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 06:54 AM

Okay I just did my first load of dishes since returning home from our trip. I've figured out our CPL on the detergent side. Filling to the first line uses almost exactly 1 fluid ounce of detergent, maybe a little less but call it an ounce. We're buying Cascade Advanced Power Auto Dish Detergent at Costco where a 125 fluid ounce container costs $9.49. 9.49 / 125 = 0.07592, so call it 8 cents per load for the detergent. I'm not quite sure how to approach measuring the cost per load for rinse aid. I guess I'll have to wait until I start a new bottle, then see how many loads it lasts and divide.

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#14 weinoo

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 07:05 AM

I'm not quite sure how to approach measuring the cost per load for rinse aid. I guess I'll have to wait until I start a new bottle, then see how many loads it lasts and divide.

My dishwasher has an adjustable rinse aid dispenser. Since our water here is so soft, I set it on the lowest possible dispensing number. I probably fill the dispenser twice a year, so that cost is also pretty darn low.
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#15 Fat Guy

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 07:36 AM

Same here. I think I filled mine three times since moving in here, and a few years ago we hit our one-year anniversary. Still, it must add some cost per load. I'm interested to know what that is.

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#16 abadoozy

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 09:32 AM

The Kitchenaid (Whirlpool) washers are excellent, albeit noisy, machines in my experience.

If you're finding that food residue is left on your dishes after working well initially, odds are the macerator (food grinder) is broken or clogged.

It's relatively easy to clean and/or replace for anyone who's handy with tools, but any appliance repair person can do it.

I use a single Finish tablet, and everything comes out spotless. We do several loads a day, and I never pre-rinse.

When I started seeing food residue, my research turned up the macerator as the most common cause. In my case, there was a lot of "junk" (cherry pits, other hard things) preventing the blades from turning. Once that was cleaned up, it went back to performing flawlessly.


I bought the KitchenAid because of all the good reviews. I don't know if I got a bad one or what, but it's definitely the dishwasher itself, and not because it's broken. I've had it professionally serviced more than once; there's nothing wrong with it. It's just a piece of sh$$.

It's quiet, though! No problems there. And if you put things in the right places, it works. And if you put next to no dishes in it, it mostly works, if you avoid the spots where water never gets to.

Try to load it anywhere full, or put things in the dead zone, or use something other than the stupidly expensive GelPacs? It doesn't work.

#17 DMS

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 09:40 AM

Has anyone tried making their own dishwashing detergent? This is a sample recipe. I make my own laundry detergent which works fantastic, but I still have quite a stock of detergent to use before I would try making my own. That would get your CPL down quite low.