Dishwasher Detergents: Are They Harmful?
Dishwasher detergents are an inevitable part of our kitchen hygiene. It is unavoidable whether the dishes are washed in a dishwasher or by hand.
We use detergents to clean our dishes, but are they really doing their job? Have we ever thought about the ingredients in these detergents? Are there any side effects when using them? Now, with a heightened awareness of the health hazards of household items, questions are being raised about their toxicity.
When dishes are washed with detergents, some of them leave a residue on the surface of the dishes, which is consumed when used next time. Some of these detergents have strong disinfectants, which are harmful to the skin. Others emit gases that cause allergies and respiratory problems.
The detergents we use to clean our dishes flow down the drain after their supposed use. They undergo chemical treatment in wastewater treatment plants, before being discharged into waterways. During this treatment, most of the toxic chemicals are neutralized and rendered harmless. But some of them still remain, causing environmental pollution.
To analyze the effects of detergents, we need to know more about the common ingredients of commercial dishwasher detergents on the market. These include phosphates, chlorine, and petroleum-based ingredients.
Phosphates are common additives in detergents to soften hard water. It improves the cleaning power of detergents, which is very useful to increase their popularity and during marketing. However, it causes health problems and serious environmental hazards. Phosphate residues on the surface of the plate can cause nausea, diarrhea, and skin irritations. Phosphates are still active after wastewater treatment. When they enter waterways, they act as fertilizers and encourage excessive algae growth, leading to a drastic reduction of oxygen in the water. This results in the depletion of other living organisms such as fish in bodies of water.
Chlorine bleach is added to detergents for its sanitizing properties. As it is highly corrosive, it causes many health disorders such as respiratory tract skin irritations and stomach disorders. When combined with other cleaners, it produces toxic fumes, which have been shown to be carcinogenic and pollute the environment.
Petroleum-based ingredients pose problems in two ways: for health and for the environment. They contain toxins that create unnecessary health problems. Also, while producing these petroleum products, the environment is polluted.
The residue that forms on dishes cleaned with detergent may be too insignificant. But every time we use a plate, these toxins are absorbed into our system. This is most true when eating hot foods. Over a period of time, these toxins build up in our bodies causing a variety of serious diseases such as cancer, infertility, and birth defects.
The next step is how to avoid these life-threatening cleaners and find a safe and environmentally friendly dishwasher detergent. There are many detergents available on the market that satisfy the above conditions. However, finding them is not that easy in this world full of cheaters and scammers. So follow these simple rules to focus on a safe brand.
While shopping, don’t be fooled by labels like ‘green’, ‘natural’ and ‘eco-friendly’. Those with specific statements like ‘Chlorine Free’ or ‘Phosphate Free’ are more reliable. Still, it is advisable to read the ingredients to find out if they contain any of the harmful chemicals mentioned above. Avoid detergents that contain triclosan and petroleum products.
In case you come across ingredients with long and complicated names, please contact the manufacturer for clarification. If you get a convincing answer, go ahead and use it. Otherwise, you may be another fraudster.
We use dishwasher detergents to clean dishes and not to poison and make us sick. Be very careful when selecting the correct one.