When Consumer Reports rated dishwasher detergents, it found that the ecologically-sound brands (some good ones are Seventh Generation and Eco) actually work better than familiar national brands like Cascade because they contain naturally-occurring enzymes which literally digest the food off the plates and work better than harsh chemicals. Not to mention wash away cleanly without leaving a residue and are disposed of without contaminating our water supply.
Here’s what my enameled cast iron Dutch oven looked like after I reheated some squash soup in it and left it on the stove too long. Oops! Those cast iron pots heat up so quickly!
After the pot cooled down, I filled it with hot water, sprinkled a layer of dishwasher detergent on the base and let it sit for a few hours while the enzymes did their stuff. When I came back to it, it easily wiped clean with a sponge and now it is as good as new (sorry I don’t have the after photo — you’ll just have to trust me on this!).
Better for you, better for the environment, and better performing, it pays to switch to an ecologically-sound dishwasher detergent. Give it a try and see for yourself.