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What Makes Cascade Work

This is a partnered post. As always, all opinions are my own. Find out what makes Cascade work in an easy to understand way.

I look at my life and realize just how privileged I am. Not in like a I’m rich or I’m special kind of way (’cause I’m definitely not either of those), but that I live in a time of such extraordinary technology. My Granny tells me stories of her childhood growing up on a farm where they only ate what their land or animals provided. They hand washed clothes with a washboard and pail of water. They lined-dried all their clothes. They hand washed all the dishes.

And here I am living in the 2000’s with all the latest technology in my home, never living without a dishwasher, and never knowing what it’s like to have to line-dry our clothes.

Regardless of the amount of money in our accounts, or the size of the home we live in, or the make and model of our vehicles, I know I’m privileged to live in such a time as this.

But did you know that the first dishwasher was created by a woman in 1886?

True story, y’all. But it wasn’t until the 1950’s when dishwashers were affordable enough to start making their way into American homes. And so in 1955, Cascade introduced their first detergent for automatic dishwashers.

With a big family, we need a dish detergent that works as hard as we do. Find out what makes Cascade work in an easy to understand way.

I imagine women across the country were excited for this new way to wash dishes!

In 1986 Cascade introduced their first liquid detergent and in 2003 introduced their first Action Pacs, which is now the largest seller.

I Want Clean Dishes!

There are several factors that come in to play in determining the success of any given load of dishes that go through your dishwasher. The short answer is the detergent, the dishwasher, and YOU all contribute to the success of the load!

Key condition-related factors for cleaning and shine are:

  • Time (longer is better)
  • Temperature (higher is better)
  • Hardness (less is better)

While working with Cascade, I’ve learned that a lot of us complicate the process more than it needs to be. It can be as simple as clearing the table, getting off the big chunks, placing the dishes in the dishwasher correctly, running the dishwasher, and putting the dishes away.

But I’m guessing your routine probably more resembles clearing the table, sorting dishes, soaking, scrubbing, or rinsing dishes, loading dishes, running the dishwasher, inspecting the dishes, wiping or redoing dishes with spots, and putting away.

So what is the difference in the two examples?

Us! Dishwashers and dish detergents are designed to work with minimal human involvement. That means that by soaking or pre-rinsing dishes before putting them into the dishwasher, we are actually negatively affecting the success of each load.

Newer dishwashers are made to be able to “see” how dirty the water is in the dishwasher. If the water is not dirty because you’ve already soaked and pre-rinsed all the dishes, the dishwasher will not perform to its full ability. By just removing the large chunks of food, you are allowing the dishwasher to work the way it was designed to work giving you clean, sparkling dishes, if you use Cascade, of course!

With a big family, we need a dish detergent that works as hard as we do. Find out what makes Cascade work in an easy to understand way.

So, What Makes Cascade Work?

In order to clean a dish you need…

  • Chelants: Think of chelants like a strong octopus wrapping its tentacles around the calcium ions in your dishwasher. While calcium is good for your bones, it’s like kryptonite to your dishwasher. No one has a stronger chelant than Cascade. Because of patents that were filed and tests that were done, we know that competitors are using a chelant that is 8x weaker than the one Cascade uses. Try fighting calcium with a 1 armed octopus!
  • Surfactant: Think of surfactants like a school of fish working in your dishwasher, jetting through the water to the dirty dish surface, trapping little balls of grease and locking it in a soluble formation so that it can easily go down the drain and not redeposit on your dishes. Surfactants also flatten water spots, so that water sheets off your glasses for a beautiful, virtually spotless finish.
  • Enzymes: Cascade contains two enzymes; an amylase for sticky starches like potatoes, rice, gravy, and a protease for problem proteins like eggs, meat, and cheese. Enzymes are a tough food’s worst nightmare. Think of enzymes like a wrecking crew, attacking those tough foods at specific points and breaking big foods into tiny pieces. They are able to lock on to tough soils the way a puzzle piece fits into the right spot. They are very specific in the way they work, so you only need a little to get a big benefit.
  • Polymers: With all the wrecking and demolition done by the enzymes, polymers act as the big, bulky clean up crew that comes in and sweeps through the water picking up whatever they find. When you have a good chelant like Cascade does, the polymer will find the little bits of food that the enzymes have broken apart and take them down the drain. If the dish detergent doesn’t have a good chelant, you’ll likely be left with an insoluble film on your dishes.
  • Bleach: Lastly, the bleach works to decolorize all stains left behind by food and drinks. Cascade pacs use an oxygen bleach that produces peroxide. The formation of peroxide is a SLOW snail-like reaction, so Cascade has a catalyst that turns slow moving peroxide snails into super speedy peroxide snails. These super speedy snails are strong enough to fight the tough tea and coffee stains that can leave consumers frustrated.

What makes Cascade work is each of these ingredients working together seamlessly to give the consumer clean, sparkling dishes each and every time.

With five people in our home we run our dishwasher at least every other day but most days it’s daily. Since the kids and I are home every day we go through a lot of dishes. It’s important that our dishes come out clean the first time around. I don’t any extra time to spend on dishes so it’s a high priority that we use a detergent that works as hard as we do.

About Crystal

Crystal Reagan, the owner and founder of SimplyBeingMommy.com lives in Small Town, Texas with her husband and 3 children. Crystal and her website have been featured on local and national news stations including Channel 2 Houston and ABC News. She has also appeared on BetterTV as a Mommy Expert for VTech.


  1. 1

    I love Cascade. I actually remember a lot of those old boxes. My grandmother used to use that stuff all the time.

  2. 2

    Cascade is great stuff. I’ve tried a lot of different dishwasher detergents, and none of them have ever worked as well as Cascade.

  3. 3

    I use Cascade. It really does seem to work better than the other dish detergents that I have tried in the past.

  4. 4

    I had no idea a woman invented the dishwasher. But it makes sense! Thank goodness for them! I do line dry my clothes sometimes though. 🙂

  5. 5

    This is so interesting. I will have to remember this when I get a new dishwasher.

  6. 6

    Well, I had no idea I was negatively impacting how my dishwasher works. I am a soaker and scrubber before loading. I’ll have to stop doing that. I do love Cascade. It never leaves spots on my dishes!

  7. 7

    I couldn’t live without my dishwasher. We run it about once a day as well, at lease. I always use Cascade, its my go-to because it always get the job done right,

  8. 8

    This is a very informative article. I did not know the dishwasher was invented by a woman in 1886, for example. Also, thanks for the chemistry information; I really like the way you related it by using metaphors to describe the dish cleaning process.

  9. 9

    This is a great read! I love Cascade but I didn’t know about these facts. Thanks for sharing this!

  10. 10
    Ourfamilyworld says:

    This is so useful! Cascade is better than other detergent cascade really helps you to your dishwasher. It’s really good ideas.

  11. 11

    When we had a dishwasher we swore by Cascade. It truly left our dishes sparkly clean!

  12. 12
    Ann Bacciaglia says:

    I have been using Cascade for years. It always does a great job.

  13. 13

    I love Cascade. I just recently switched to it and am never going back. It truly made a huge difference with my dishes.

  14. 14
    Christina Aliperti says:

    I also soak and scrub before loading the dishwasher and I had no idea I was sabotaging my dishes! I only will use Cascade because I get the best results.

  15. 15

    I was so shocked when I found out that it’s better to not clean the dishes before they go into the dishwasher! Love these old cascade boxes. What a blast from the past!!!!

  16. 16
    Neely (@Neelykins) says:

    My mom has only ever used Cascade! I can remember her singing its praises when I was little. Now we only use it!

  17. 17

    I’ve been really lucky to have a dishwasher in almost every home I’ve rented so far! I can’t imagine having to pre-wash dishes before putting them in the dishwasher or rewash them when they come out… seems to defeat the purpose of having the machine!

  18. 18

    So interesting! A lot more goes into those clean dishes than we think! And I complain about having to unload the thing– need to keep that in perspective. 🙂

  19. 19

    Yes, I too can’t believe life without technology….I am thankful to God that I born in this technologically advance Era. I heard a lot about Freedom, survival, and manual work, and I truly respect those who lived such a difficult life so amazingly. Talking about the dishwasher, we know who invented Bulb, who invented electricity, and we don’t know who invented dishwasher. I was not even acquainted with the invention behind miracle mop until I saw the movie “joy”. And now, i know who invented dishwasher because of this post (I googled it out of curiosity to know about Josephine Cochrane). All thanks to you.

  20. 20

    I’m hoping to add a dishwasher once we remodel our kitchen. It will definitely make my life easier and Cascade will get my dishes cleaner.

  21. 21
    CourtneyLynne says:

    Omg Cascade is one of my favorite brands!!! Such quality so you know your dishes are going to be sparkling!

  22. 22

    We used to use Cascade in our home in the states but now we use something more natural here in Norway and when I can get it I use Young Living’s dish soap. We have a dishwasher but I still wash a lot of dishes by hand. It is just easier. I used to love all the technology. But up until July I didn’t have a dryer so we would hang all of our clothes to dry. When summer returns I will continue to line dry clothes outside. There is something about it that I just love.

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