Thursday, September 15, 2011

Color Me Convinced! Cascade 2-in-1 Apple Cinnamon Spice ActionPacs Work!

The Good: Decent scent, Ridiculously easy to use, Actually cleans
The Bad: Scent does not endure, Cost/Benefit
The Basics: While Cascade 2-in-1 Apple Cinnamon Spice ActionPac smells wonderfully like it is supposed to and cleans dishes, it seems a bit pricey and high concept for a simple task.

I have never written a review for a dishwashing detergent before and I think I might have picked the worst possible one to start with. After all, when the product is designed to be so easy a monkey could use it*, it seems like there would be far less to write about. In truth, I've pretty studiously avoided reviewing dishwashing detergents because I have a pretty incredible dishwasher. My Fridigaire stainless steel dishwasher (reviewed here!) is a true dishwasher; I put detergent in and it will get virtually anything off any cooking surface I've yet attempted to get clean. I think I could put sand in instead of detergent and my dishwasher and it would find a way to clean the dishes with it!**

I'll admit that I was too skeptical when I encountered the Cascade 2-in-1 Cinnamon Apple Spice ActionPac. And now that I've tried them, I felt I ought to review them.

The Cascade 2-in-1 Dishwasher Detergent ActionPacs are small, concentrated plastic bags that contain a block of preformed, premeasured Cascade Dishwashing detergent and a discrete amount of Dawn dish soap. The pack is about 3/4 solid detergent, 1/4 liquid/gel detergent. The premeasured packs have a thin, but strangely durable, plastic bubble that surrounds them. There are twenty of these pillow packs in a bag. The bags seem to be popping up at about $6.00 in retail outlets. That means for $6.00, one is getting 20 loads of dishes washed, as compared to $3.50 for 30+ loads from a standard box of dishwashing detergent.

The scent is actually pretty wonderful. While setting the dishes up to be washed, the pack smells deliciously and authentically like Cinnamon Apple Spice. The scent is very much all-encompassing and it's pretty impressive how much the packs smell given how small they are. One of these does the work of the average candle in seconds! But even better, the scent endures. I have taken to setting the next ActionPac that I intend to use into the dishwasher's dispenser so that every time I open the dishwasher, I get a nice smell of apples and cinnamon, as opposed to the scent of unclean dishes.

The ActionPac is ridiculously easy to use. Remove the ActionPac from the bag of ActionPacs and place in the primary wash detergent dispenser in your dishwasher. The primary wash is the one that usually has the little flip door that you close after putting detergent in. Put one ActionPac in there and close it. It does not get much easier than that!

It is worthwhile and important to not that the detergent is not removed from the ActionPac when it is put into the dishwasher. No, the plastic bags are not supposed to be cut open before the ActionPac's contents are put in the dishwasher detergent dispenser. The ActionPac is designed to go in intact. Put it in and run your dishwasher as you normally would.

And the dishes come out clean. Perfectly clean. I have no idea how it works, but it does. The plastic bag that surrounds the ActionPac completely dissolves. Where does it go? I have no idea. I have checked every part of my dishwasher (I even disassembled the pieces around the drain assembly); no plastic. It quite effectively dissolved and washed away without a trace!

Over several uses, I decided to make an effort to see what these little packs could do. And they delivered. They were effective at getting off all levels of food matter that had been left on silverware, plastic cookware, and all manner of ceramic dishes and glasses. I put in every combination of cookware, flatware and dishware coated with food, dirt, coffee stains, grease and sauces that I could think of. ALL of the dishes came out clean and clear every time. Not one piece I put in needed so much as a touch up or polishing.

So, the Cinnamon Apple Spice ActionPacs work! They cleaned my dishes beautifully under all conditions I contrived.

I did notice that the scent does not survive the washing. So, for example, I sent the coffee pot and basket from my coffee maker through the dishwasher when I used one of the ActionPacs. The basket has a strong coffee smell (which makes sense). After the washing, it had no scent, not coffee, not cinnamon apple spice, nothing. The ActionPac is very effective in that regard, it seems.

So, I will admit, this product is simple to use and it works. It might well be ideal for people who have trouble with motor control and might otherwise spill dishwashing detergent when trying to load a dishwasher or those who have trouble judging how much to use. The premeasured packets are very efficient in that regard.

But it's an expensive service for so little benefit. The product works, the scent is wonderful, but the cost seems disproportionate to the benefit to me. Most adults I know are not so lacking in time that the time it takes to fill the detergent tray and put the box of detergent back is what is keeping them from their goals. Moreover, they are able to judge things like how much to use. Therefore, I'm not sure who this would truly appeal to.

It's a good product, just an overly conceived product for a very simple task.

*Not recommended for use by monkeys.
** Do not replace electric washer detergent with sand.

For other dish cleaning-related and other cleanser reviews, please be sure to visit my reviews of:
Jet Dry Green Apple Vinegar Rinse Agent
Lysol All Purpose Cleaner With Bleach
Renuzit Aroma Adjustables Apple & Cinnamon


For other home and garden product reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2007 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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