The Lemi Shine machine cleaner uses natural ingredients to do a fantastic job of removing detergent build-up, banishing mineral deposits, removing stains, and eliminating odors.
Not all of its "secret" ingredients are revealed, but it does seem to be one of the more environmentally friendly and safer products on the market for this purpose.
Lemi Shine Appliance Cleaner is billed as a cleaner for dishwashers, garbage disposals, and washing machines. Its price varies, but generally, you can get it for less than $10. According to the packaging, it is made with real fruit acids, natural citrus oils, and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Lemi Shine is a family-owned company that has a full line of household cleaning products.
This product is effective in that it gets the job done and it has many functions by servicing many types of machines around the house. It cleans and eliminates odors very well. It comes in recyclable packaging, is economically priced, and its listed ingredients are plant- and mineral-based. This product achieved the Environmental Protection Agency's Safer Choice certification in 2018.
There are a couple of issues with this product—although minor. First, not all ingredients are fully revealed, so company transparency is lacking. There is only one size available, 7.5 ounces. It has three 2.5-ounce pouches enclosed. Also, according to the Material Safety Data Sheet, the product can cause irritation of the skin and eyes when in direct contact.
Health and Safety
According to the ingredients listed on the product label, this product appears to be completely natural and derived from plants and minerals. It is also free of petroleum-derived chemicals, synthetic dyes, and bleach. The manufacturer divulges that baking soda is one of its ingredients, which is generally regarded as safe but isn't transparent about the "real fruit acids" and "natural citrus oils" it contains. Most fruit acids, such as citric acid, are generally regarded as safe with most normal household usage. Also, if the "natural citrus oils" refer to essential oils, those are generally safe as well.
The label warns to keep the product out of the reach of children. It also cautions that the product should not be mixed with chlorine bleach. First-aid measures include flushing the eyes well with water if contact occurs and drinking plenty of water if swallowed. If irritation develops, it is recommended to contact a doctor.
The product packaging is made with 85 percent post-consumer content and is fully recyclable. Baking soda is a green ingredient, but the environmental effects of its other ingredients are difficult to assess due to the lack of full ingredient disclosure.
How It Is Used
It has different instructions for use depending on the machine that you plan to clean.
- Dishwasher: To initially clean your dishwasher, pour the entire contents of one package in the bottom of your dishwasher, allow the cycle to run for a few minutes, and then pause it. Let it soak for four hours and then resume the cycle. For regular dishwasher maintenance, pour the package in the bottom of your dishwasher and then run a cycle.
- Garbage disposal: To clean your garbage disposal, pour a package in with two cups of water. Let it dissolve. Then turn on your garbage disposal and let the water run through it for five seconds.
- Washing machine: To initially clean your washing machine, use up to two packages. Let the cycle run for a few minutes and then pause it and let it soak for four hours. Then resume and finish the cycle. For regular washing machine maintenance, pour a package in the detergent dispenser cup or in the bottom of the machine. Then start a wash cycle using warm water.
I had a chance to test this product in my dishwasher, which happened to have a really bad odor. I followed the initial treatment instructions and it worked well, but there was still a slight odor left behind. So I gave it another shot and it took care of the odor completely. I also tested it in my garbage disposal. As far as I could tell, it worked like a charm.
The bottom line is this product definitely worked well. This lack of transparency about the ingredients does not make the company appear very green. But, the new EPA certification goes a long way to make it seem safe. Compared to other brands, Lemi Shine is more upfront about the kinds of ingredients it does use, so it may very well be one of the better choices.
More About the Company
Envirocon Technologies, Inc., manufactures Lemi Shine products, which include a rinse-aid, detergent booster, and machine cleaner. Owned and operated by the Eggemeyer family, Lemi Shine says it follows the precautionary principle that "if it isn't safe, we don't go near it."
"Our 11 newly certified products bring us one step closer to achieving our goal of having all eligible Lemi Shine products Safer Choice certified by 2020." —CEO Curtis Eggemeyer.