Is Finish Dishwasher Detergent Phosphate Free?

Dishwasher detergents are a staple in many modern households because they allow a labor free way to clean our dishes. Dishwasher detergents almost always contained phosphates prior to 2010, although phosphates have largely been phased out in the industry. However, one of the more popular brands of Dishwater detergent still contains phosphates. Finish uses phosphates in some of its’ products, you can find out which ones here.

What are Phosphates in Dish Detergent?

Phosphates are one of the compounds that used to be a staple in detergents (synthetically made cleaners). A phosphate is a molecule which contains at least one atom of phosphorous. Household detergents usually use a type of phosphate known as Orthophosphates, which has one molecule of phosphate. They are buffing agents, which means they make things shiny. In recent years, phosphates have replaced in most detergents.

Are Phosphates Bad for the Environment?

Phosphates were favored originally because they are food grade compounds safe for human consumption. Phosphorous is an important nutrient in many living things. However, phosphates are difficult to remove from wastewater, and can build up in the environment around cities if people use too much of them. This can contribute to harmful algae blooms because the algae eat the phosphorous. These algae blooms can poison wildlife, people, and pets.

Does Finish Quantum Have Phosphates?

Finish Quantum is a product which is only sold in some markets, precisely because it does contain phosphates. In fact, between 5 and 15% of the detergent is phosphates (a high number, even prior to the move away from phosphates). This gives it an arguably superior cleaning power at an environmental cost.

Does Finish Powerball Have Phosphates? Finish All In 1, Dishwasher Detergent - Powerball - Dishwashing Tablets - Dish Tabs, Fresh Scent, 94 Count Each - Packaging May Vary

Unlike Finish Quantum, Finish Powerball is free from phosphates. In fact, you can buy the Finish Powerball Green in many places, which is chlorine free as well as phosphate free.

Does Finish Rinse Aid Have Phosphates? Finish Jet-Dry Rinse Aid, Dishwasher Rinse Agent and Drying Agent, 23 fl oz, Packaging may vary

Finish Rinse Aid uses Citrex-S5 and Sulfates to prevent hard water deposits on your dishes and does not contain phosphates.

When Did Finish Detergent Remove Phosphates from their Products?

Finish Detergent began to phase phosphates out of their products around the same time as many of their competitors in 2013. This followed research about the dangers of phosphates overloading the water table. While they still use phosphates in a couple of their products, the majority are phosphate free.

Do Any Competitors Still Have Phosphates inside their Dish Detergents?

Finish is the largest brand to still use phosphates in some of its’ products. A couple other minor brands like Bubble Bandit and Diversey Mr. contain phosphates.

Read Related: Is Cascade Dishwasher Detergent Phosphate Free?

Final Thoughts

Phosphates, while not directly harmful to people, can cause an overgrowth of poisonous algae because they stay in the water supply. For this reason, governments and consumers have pressured companies to find alternative buffering agents.

Today, few dishwasher detergents contain phosphates, and most companies say that phosphates will eventually be entirely abandoned by the industry. Despite this, one of the largest dishwasher detergent brands, Finish, still uses phosphates in their Finish Quantum formula.

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