Cascade Dishwasher Detergent Problems

Cascade Problems?

From what we understand, Cascade has had to change their formula so that there are no phosphates. This is not by their choice as we see it but by laws being passed by individual states. The laws aim to keep phosphates out of anything that ends up in the waste water or any water that could end up in lakes. The phosphate makes the algae grow, which takes oxygen out of the water and supposedly suffocates aquatic life.

In turn, not having any phosphates in soaps like dishwashing detergent makes them not as effective – to the point where dishes don’t even get clean. Dishes in dishwashers aren’t getting cleaned as well as they used to be. This makes people angry for good reason. It seems that companies like Cascade and other “green” cleaning companies are struggling to find a suitable replacement for phosphate.

Some people are buying Cascade with phosphorus online and having it shipped to them from other states, it seems.

Cascade Complete PacsSo that’s the situation. Feel free to continue the discussion here. There are several solutions being listed and Finish detergent seems to be working well for people. That’s what I use. It gets dishes in the dishwasher clean in states that have banned phosphorus in the detergent. Alternatively, you can add the phosphate back in.

Possible Solutions Being Offered

What Dishwasher Detergent Still Has Phosphates?

During the discussion here, we want to keep every up to date on possible solutions so that your dishes come out cleaner and do not get ruined. Here they are:

  • Some people want to get a class action suit against Cascade. It’s not Cascade’s fault – check your local government and find out whey they are banning phosphorus.
  • Add 1 cup of vinegar to the wash cycle once the initial fill up begins. Do this along with using your dishwasher detergent. This seems to do the trick.


  • Stacy p says:
    Have struggled with cloudy dishes, both glass &plastic. To rid the cloudy film adding 2 cups of vinegar works. Then switched to cascade liquid & it was better but not great. Then tried the cascade pods with dawn. First wash everything was completely white. Took it off in a cycle with 2 cups of vinegar. Now looking for a total solution, one where I don’t need additives or vinegar. Why do some soaps work while others do not?

    Why do consumers have to be the scientists to experiment? where is the Cascade science team on this? Ad don’t ask me if my water is hot, if the filter is clean or if I have cleaned out hard water with vinegar. Why do my dishes cloud with your pods?

  • From Shana:
    I am writing today to express how disappointed I am that I used Cascade Complete Citrus Breeze Scent on my Rubbermaid Tupperware and my childs sippy cups and your product has died everything orange.Something I feel you should know because something should be done about that. I now have to replace items that I had no intention of doing so because some new others were still good. I will no longer be purchasing your product again.

  • “I have used your product and I am so disappointed on how it left my dishes. It ruined my stainless steel bowls with white spots on them, he glasses have white stains on them and also my dishes. This is so disappointing that I am looking and going to try another product. I have over 3/4 of a bottle left and don’t want to use any more. Is there anyway I can get a refund on this? So frustrated.”

  • From: julie heisey
    Subject: Farberware pots and pans

    I did not see this particular problem sited. My 30 year old Farberware pans (and my dishes and glassware spotless ) have been washed with Cascade for decades. Recently I purchased a box of Cascade Advanced Power and it took some of the aluminum coating off the bottoms of the pans and now they are rough and I have a glass top stove. Farberware is clueless. This didn’t happen with the old regular Cascade. Do you think that my 5 pans are ruined? Better find out. Please don’t say switch to the gel, I am 76 years old and can’t squeeze those bottles.

  • I noticed I have white residue on all my dishes when I use cascade products. I know its not my dishwasher because its a brand new dishwasher. I use finish rinseaid but it does not help. What happened to Cascade products? They used to work. What’s the option?

    Thank You,
    Chrystal Craig

  • Susan Caputo says:

    I have now tried two brands of your Cascade Dishwashing Pacs and I’m still having the same problem and I have been having to put in warm water first before pouring the soap into my dishwasher. The pacs are NOT breaking down and I have been finding them in the bottom of my dishwasher after it’s finished, making me have to re-wash my dishes over again. I have taken photo’s and if you would like to see what they look like, feel free to email me. I am not happy and didn’t have issues before. Because the pacs not breaking down, my dishes aren’t getting clean…. I have used the Cascade 85 and Cascade Complete 44 is what I just bought and it’s still happening.. I think someone should look into the wrapping …. very unhappy homemaker…..

  • From: marcea wolfe
    Subject: bad dishwasher deterg.

    Message Body:
    I’ve been having problems with your products for some time now.
    First I bought your new improved liquid and it turned to sand and could not be used. Next I bought it again, and it was like water.
    Next I bought your powdered version and it turned to a rock- I use it but need to chop it apart to use-go fiigure.
    I have used cascade for years and I never before had these kind of problems…
    Whats up? Did you change your product that much?

  • From: Shannon N.
    Subject: dishwasher detergent

    I’m filing a complaint about the dishwasher detergent. I’ve bought so many bags of it, and they all stick together. I’ve put them in a dry place and it seems that doesn’t help. Please contact me about this.

    [Admin:] If you have a complaint about a certain brand, maybe contact the manufacturer of it. There’s nothing we can do to help you, sorry. Maybe try putting it into an air-tight container. Good luck!

  • From: Lynne S.
    Subject: Not Complaint

    I was really wrong, I have bought Cascade for years (since it first came out) I lost my job so trying to save money I bought Finish which is on sale a lot. I heard nothing but complaints about things being greasy and water stained. I was so annoyed with Finish and wanted to scream over the glasses and dishes. I went shopping again and bought my Cascade again. I’ve learned the hard way. I had problems with Soap but it’s not Cascades fault. Thank You!!

  • Robert says:

    I have used cascade gell for a number of years, the last container I bought it seems to foam up I the dish washer and leaks through the door I keep using less and less of it so it won’t foam and leak out the door. It seems as if you changed the solution to foam more. If you don’t solution I will be forced to use a different product.

  • Ray Hasse says:

    I have been using Cascade Complete. It leaves a thick blue coating in the soap dispenser. My dishwasher started to not drain properly. Excess water would remain after the cycle completed. Water began discharging on to the floor. This happened a few times. I stopped using the washer and called a repairman. He started the washer and it ran OK. Cost – $139.63. I resumed using the dishwasher. It ran OK two times and then started accumulating water again. I then experimented by running the dishwasher with no soap. In this mode it runs OK. I can only assume that Cascade Complete is clogging my drain line. The residue it leaves in the soap dispenser lends credence to that suspicion. I am now using the dishwasher with no soap and everything is fine. I’m hoping the hot water and drying cycle will kill and germs.

  • Christine McCombs says:

    It clogged up my pipes. Won’t be using it anymore. Was like cement in them, it came out in dried up chunks.

    Subject: cascade with bleach

    these do not clean good unless u wash the dishes first and that defeats the purpose of having a dishwasher we bought 2 packsa changing from finish because we belived that no washing before was needed and now i am diappointed.

  • Buying Cascade Dish Detergent WITH phosphate
    From: Bert M

    I have gone to many of your websites, but cannot identify the Cascade dishwashing detergent that I had been using, about 4 or 6 boxes in one big box and still with phosphate in it. Powder, not tabs. What is the specific product and where can I buy it? I can no longer find it on amazon.

  • Hi Bert,

    Cascade with phosphate has been banned in most states, so it’s difficult to get anywhere. You can either add it yourself (TSP) or else switch to a different brand that works better. Personally, I use Finish and I get great results.

  • From: Bonnie Hendrix
    Subject: cacade vs finish

    I am out of Finish—borrowed some Cascade—from son. Dishwasher 8mos. old, am now REWASHING 1-plate, 1-4oz cup, and 1-coffee cup. Do not drive, and now do not borrow Cascade!!!!!! SORRY!

  • Bob says:

    The last year or so, the inside of our cheesy GE dishwasher has become coated with white residue that will not come off. It also collected on the bottom of glasses that held water after the load was done. It was mainly a cosmetic, we thought, until recently. Now, the inside of our glasses are coated with a lot of food particles.
    I took the bottom rack out and the screen that covers the bottom of the machine was almost completely clogged with a layer of this thin cement-like material. One corner of it was chipped away, so at least some water is circulating.
    I can’t believe Cascade is selling this junk that is ruining our machine. What detergent should I switch to?

  • Subject: Orange stain from Complete

    I have bought Cascade Complete for years and have been very satisfied. I just tried the Citrus Breeze and it turned my dishwasher orange. How do I fix that? Also, please send me a replacement for the orange-the complete is fine, the orange is not. Why would you sell something that does that?

    Bests, Susan

  • From: Al
    Subject: cascade comercials

    Hi ,just a note ,I would rather hang my dishes in a wind storm than use a product that employees the “stupid husband smart wife” style that you use. if telling the public and kids that all dads are stupid to sell your product and presumably get even for past man oriented advertising is all you can come up with its time to fire your team. I choose to use your competition and publicly talk against your product. Al.

  • Thank you for the comments, everyone.

    We’d just like to remind everyone that this is not the official Cascade detergent website. It’s just a forum.


  • From: Mary hill

    My cascade liquid has turned Brown . Is it still Good to use it?

    Hi Mary! No, it should not be brown. We’ve never heard of that but we think it has gone bad. Don’t use it.

  • From: Anne S
    Subject: Cascada complete

    I have been as a customer big fan of Cascada, been very disappointed in the last one i just brought with dawn in it. NOT GOOD AT ALL ANYMORE is leaving scum on dishwasher and I have noticed it is not cleaning my dishes as good as it use to.
    Customer not happy with Cascade complete

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    • Roni
    • May 28, 2018

    I’ve been using Cascade since my first dishwasher in 1959. In the last for many months the top of my dishwasher did not clean anything. We have a Top of the line Kitchen Aid Dishwasher. Finally,
    My husband took the dishwasher apart with the instructions from the internet on U-TUBE.
    It took him most of the day. It now works and he dishes are clean But, the white film/clogging is starting again. I started a new Cascade 75oz. bottle today . If I get the same results I will be done with Cascade.
    I’m thinking that maybe I need to change to a different brand.
    Are you having any of these problems?

    • Lynn
    • April 21, 2020

    I have a friend who lives in Colorado and her dishes were so cloudy that she planned to buy a new dishwasher. Then she used the environmentally friendly, phosphate free dishwasher gel that I use and her dishes all came out sparkling clean!

    • Jeffrey Vail
    • May 30, 2020

    My Cascade Complete has also turned brown. Very disappointing, as it is a brand new bottle.

  1. The last month the smell has been all over my tuperware- like imbedded into it. Then if I heat it up the food tastes like soap. The smell has been extra strong too, burns my nose. Even after the dishes are done 3 days later open the dishwasher to put a dish in and it smells like chemicals. Not sure what you all did but it doesn’t seem safe. I use the pods.

    • Enid Hall
    • December 1, 2022

    Baught a 4.68 lbs of cascade dishwasher, has dawn on it, got home and noticed it was not sealed, should it be sealed.

    • Sandra
    • July 22, 2023

    Local stores, including WM are no longer stocking Cascade Complete with Dawn. They have the pods and a liquid, which are not desirable or practical. I hope it is not being discontinued.

    • DW Bielski
    • November 2, 2023

    Used Cascade for many years and noticed my dishes were not even clean anymore. Thought it was something I did but after several washes, it wasn’t me. Cascade not worth the $7 for a small bag of tabs anymore. I’m done. Will try to find something else.

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