Print this article

High-performance phosphate alternatives for automatic dishwashing


1. Corinna Boehme, Marketing Home Care, BASF Personal Care and Nutrition GmbH, Rheinpromenade 1, Monheim, Germany
2. Global Development Home Care, BASF SE, Carl-Bosch Straße 38, Ludwigshafen, Germany


The most important criteria of automatic dishwashing (ADW) detergents, according to consumer reports, are cleaning, filming, rinsing, and drying of cutlery and tableware. Today, there are many kinds of products on the market at a high-performance level fulfilling all those needs of the end-consumer. But these products are based on phosphate, which will be limited in 2017 by EU legislation. Methylglycinediacetic acid (MGDA), a strong and efficient chelating agent, offers properties to close the performance gap when replacing phosphates. MGDA (available under the trade name Trilon® M) secures today’s established performance levels and supports the sustainable positioning of premium products.

In 2017, an EU-wide phosphorous limitation of maximum 0.3 g per washing will be implemented. This means that 120,000 tonnes of phosphate need to be replaced by efficient alternatives. Classic detergents will switch to mainly citrate-based formulations, but multifunctional tablets, which represent the leading category in the ADW detergent segment, will need stronger chelating agents to overcome performance gaps compared with products containing phosphate.
The limitation of phosphate in the United States in 2010 has already shown that replacing phosphate with weak chelating agents results in less effective detergents. Many consumers experienced poor and significantly reduced washing and rinsing performance on their dis