Cascade 2-in-1 Action Packs

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Cascade 2-in-1 Action Packs - Work great, but the cost....

May 17, 2006 (Updated May 17, 2006)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Dishes come out clean and spot free

Cons:They don't smell clean, left a little residual orange in the soap cup, frightfully expensive

The Bottom Line: The Cascade 2-in-1 Action Packs work exceptionally well. But so did my previous detergent and the minimal convenience is not worth the price.


Americans are some of the laziest people on earth.

I'm sorry if this is offensive, but I say this as one of those lazy Americans who like modern conveniences. But sometimes we can get carried away. Take washing dishes, for example. We don't have to pump water out of a well. We don't have to boil the water to heat it up. We don't have to scrub the dishes by hand and then dry them with towel. All we have to do is load them into a machine that does every single bit of that for us. And still we buy things like the Cascade 2-in-1 Action Packs, because god forbid, we should actually have to exert some effort and squeeze the soap out of a plastic bottle into the dispenser.

I say this as someone who actually bought the Cascade 2-in-1 Action Packs. I am a lazy American.

That rant aside, do the Cascade 2-in-1 Action Packs work as well as my normal dishwasher soap?

Read on, dear reader...

•• What it is ••
Cascade 2-in-1 Action Packs are individual packets of pre-measured dishwasher soap that also contain about a half teaspoon of Dawn dish washing liquid.

•• Features and Commentary ••
The Cascade 2-in-1 Action Packs come in a pouch of 20 individual packets. These packets are actually some sort of water soluble cellulose which are sealed up and contain about 2 tablespoons of Cascade powder and a half teaspoon of Dawn. When the water hits them, the packaging dissolves, releasing the soap.

Usage is stupidly easy as you simply pop one of the little packets into the soap dispenser, close it and wash as normal. As the directions say, make sure you have dry hands as the packet dissolves quite easily and very quickly. I tested one out and found that even with only slightly damp hands, the packaging was starting to dissolve.

Upon opening the dishwasher after the cycle, I pulled out a glass. No spots whatsoever. I checked some Tupperware plastic items. Squeaky clean. I had made bacon in the microwave the other day and didn't use a plate. Instead I just nuked it on a paper towel on the glass carousel. Yeah I know, my wife made fun of me too. When that got the glass plate covered in bacon grease, I didn't even bother trying to rinse it. I just put it on the bottom shelf of the dishwasher. It came out sparkling clean, with no residual grease. And this thing was nasty! So far so good.

The Cascade 2-in-1 Action Packs come it two types. We used the packets that smell like orange and have Dawn that is also orange in scent and color. When I looked closer at the soap dispenser, I noticed some orange residue. Very odd. And clearly left over from the packet. I inspected all the other dishes as well, but found no orange residue anywhere else. As I said, the dishes came out very clean. Just the soap cup had a tiny bit of orange colored residue. But it does make one wonder...

The Cascade powder they use contains Shine Shield which is some sort of rinse agent. Indeed, the dishes dried much faster and left no spots. We don't use our dishwasher on heated dry because it has a tendency to melt the kids plasticware. So most of the time, stuff comes out very wet. Being lazy Americans, we shake it off and put it away. With the gel packs, we found less water on the dishes which resulted in less shaking of dishes. As well, there was nary a spot. Even on the glass objects, they were perfectly clean.

This second washing introduced me to another small complaint: The dishes don't smell orange clean. Usually when I open the dishwasher, I get a nice clean, soapy scent bursting forth. This is often how we tell if the dishwasher is full of clean or dirty dishes. If it smells soapy, it's clean. If it smells like rancid milk, not so clean. When I opened it this time, I couldn't smell anything at all. Perhaps not having a scent is a good thing which means the dishes rinsed clean. But there is something pleasant about the smell of clean dishes. Even up close, the dishes had no smell of cleanliness.

Now the big complaint: These things are frightfully expensive. How expensive? Let's do the math: A normal bottle of cascade gel has 86 oz. My soap cup holds 2 oz (I measured). That means a normal bottle of cascade gel at $4.00 will yield 43 washes. The Cascade 2-in-1 Action Packs are priced the same, but only have 20 packets/washes. This means the gel packets are more than twice the price! And for what? A little bit of Dawn mixed in to cut the initial grease? If this is a crucial feature, why not just add a few drops of your favorite dish liquid with your favorite detergent? The effect should be the same.

•• Conclusion ••
The Cascade 2-in-1 Action Packs work exceptionally well. But so did my previous detergent and the minimal convenience is not worth the price.


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