Wednesday, September 21, 2011

An Overconceived Product That Gets The Job Done Fails To Sell Me: Citrus Breeze ActionPacs

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

A few months ago, I first encountered the Cascade 2-in-1 Dishwasher Detergent ActionPacs. I found the Apple Cinnamon scented ones (reviewed here!) and I discovered I was pleasantly surprised by the execution of what seemed to me to be a pointless concept. Despite my hemming and hawing, though, I had to admit the product worked beautifully and I had no complaints. So, when I was going through the clearance aisle of my local supermarket and I saw the Citrus Breeze scented ActionPacs, I thought this might be a good opportunity to pick them up and give them a try.

After all, after years of hearing of the cleaning power of citrus, Citrus Breeze ActionPacs seemed like they would be even better than the apple cinnamon ones! I bought the Citrus Breeze, took them home, popped one in my Fridigaire stainless steel dishwasher (reviewed here!) . . . and ended up disappointed.

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. I managed to find the Citrus Breeze pack of twenty on clearance for $4.50 and I had a coupon which lowered the price even more. I might not have overpaid, but it did not yield the results I had hoped for.

The scent is actually only all right. While setting the dishes up to be washed, the pack smells vaguely like oranges and peaches. The scent is not all-encompassing, like the Apple Cinnamon ones were. Within minutes of taking the Citrus Breeze ActionPac out of the package, the "breeze" part of the ActionPac seemed to have worked; the scent was more or less gone! There's something humiliating about bending down into a dishwasher and sniffing one of these packs to see if it is still scented, yet for my review blog I did that! The scent is there, but it is very faint and it dissipates very quickly. Any residue left on dishes that might smell will overpower the citrus scent of these ActionPacs.

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 the Citrus Breeze ones did pretty much the bare minimum; they cleaned my dishes. Well, normal dishwashing detergent cleans my dishes as well and for a lot less money. 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, despite my grumblings, the Citrus Breeze ActionPacs work! They cleaned my dishes beautifully under all conditions I contrived.

I did notice that the scent did not survive the washing. Whereas the Cinnamon Apple ActionPacs put out a scent on the steam from my dishwasher, the Citrus Breeze ones did not. It seems they only smell in the bag and for a few minutes outside it.

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 all right while it lasts, 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.

For other cleaner reviews, please visit my reviews of:
Jet Dry Green Apple Vinegar Rinse Agent
Jet Dry Turbo Rinse Agent
Speedy White Ceramic Glass Cleaner


For other household product reviews, please check out my index page on the subject by clicking here!

© 2011, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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