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Cascade Complete vs. Platinum: What’s the Difference?

What’s the difference between Cascade Complete and Platinum dishwasher detergent? Is Platinum worth the higher cost?

In this comparison of Cascade Complete vs. Platinum, I answer these questions.

You’ll learn how these detergents compare in terms of performance, ingredients, scents, price, and more.

I’ll also tell you what the experts at Procter & Gamble (owner of Cascade) have to say about Cascade Complete and Platinum.


Use the links below to navigate the comparison:


What’s the Difference Between Cascade Complete and Platinum? The Short Answer

Cascade Platinum is more expensive than Complete, but it is a stronger, more effective formula containing 50% more active cleaning ingredients.

With Cascade Platinum, you won’t need to pre-wash dishes or soak them in water before placing them in the dishwasher. With Cascade Complete, you may need to soak or scrub stubborn bits of burnt or “sticky” food before putting it through a cycle.

However, an upside of Cascade Complete is that it comes in three different forms: ActionPacs, gel, and powder. Platinum is only sold as an ActionPac.

Difference 1: Ingredients

The ingredients in Cascade Complete and Platinum detergents are similar, but the amounts used in each formula differ.

The basic ingredients in both detergents are:

  • Sodium Carbonate (pH balancer)
  • Sodium Sulfate (pH balancer)
  • Trisodium Dicarboxymethyl Alaninate (active cleaning agent)
  • Sodium Carbonate Peroxide (bleach)
  • Copolymer Of Acrylic And Sulphonic Acids (shine booster)
  • Polyvinyl Alcohol Polymer (soluble film, ActionPacs only)
  • Isotridecanol Ethoxylated (active cleaning agent)
  • Copolymer Of Acrylic Maleic And Sulphonic Acids (shine booster, Complete only)
  • PEG/PPG/Propylheptyl Ether (active cleaning agent)
  • Dipropylene Glycol (active cleaning agent)
  • Water
  • Sodium Silicate (active cleaning agent, mineral-based, Complete only)
  • Fragrances
  • Subtilisin (active cleaning agent)
  • Glycerin (solvent)
  • Amylase Enzyme (active cleaning agent)
  • Transitional Metal Catalyst (activator for other ingredients)
  • Colorants

On the product labels, ingredients are listed in descending order based on the quantity found in the detergent (i.e., the first listed ingredient is also the one used in the greatest proportion within the formula).

Since the main difference between Cascade Complete and Platinum is the proportion of each ingredient (not the actual ingredients), I’ve created this comparison chart to show these proportions side-by-side.

As you can see in the chart, Cascade Platinum lists active cleaning agents further up on the label, indicating that this detergent includes more of these agents than Cascade Complete.

*Active cleaning agents.

IngredientsCascade CompleteCascade Platinum
Sodium Carbonate1st1st
Sodium Sulfate2nd4th
*Trisodium Dicarboxymethyl Alaninate3rd2nd
Sodium Carbonate Peroxide4th3rd
Copolymer Of Acrylic And Sulphonic Acids5th5th
Polyvinyl Alcohol Polymer6th8th
*Isotridecanol Ethoxylated7th6th
Copolymer Of Acrylic Maleic And Sulphonic Acids8thNA
*PEG/PPG/Propylheptyl Ether9th7th
*Dipropylene Glycol10th9th
Water11th10th
*Sodium Silicate12thNA
Fragrances13th12th
*Subtilisin14th11th
Glycerin15th13th
*Amylase Enzyme16th14th
Transitional Metal Catalyst17th15th
Colorants18th-20th16th-19th

Difference 2: Strength

Cascade is a top-selling dish detergent brand for a reason, and both Platinum and Complete detergents are highly rated. Both are effective –– however, Cascade Platinum is more effective thanks to its greater concentration of cleaning agents.

In fact, Cascade claims that Platinum has 50% more cleaning power (i.e., cleaning ingredients) than Complete.

Cascade Platinum cleaning power compared to Cascade Complete
Cascade Platinum cleaning power compared to Cascade Complete

Here’s what prominent outlets have to say about each option after testing Cascade Complete and Platinum against other top-rated detergents. Both get high marks overall, but Platinum is praised more often.

Cascade Platinum received Excellent ratings from Consumer Reports. They called out its ability to leave dishes sparkling clean and free of water spots. They also mentioned its ability to remove burnt-on food. Cascade Complete was not included in the review.

Good Housekeeping praised both detergents in an article listing the “6 Best Dishwasher Detergents.” Cascade Platinum earned the number one spot, but Cascade Complete was ranked the “best gel dishwasher detergent.” They specifically named the bleach-added version of the original formula.

Taste of Home reviewed Cascade Platinum and gave it the title, “Best [Detergent] for a Spotless Clean.” The reviewers specifically noted how effective this detergent was at removing hard water spots from glassware.

Popular Mechanics ranked Cascade Complete Gel + Oxi at number four on their list of the “10 Best Dishwasher Detergents for a Sparkling Clean Every Time.” Reviewers labeled it the “most effective gel” and noted that it was effective and cost-efficient.

Over at The Spruce, Cascade Complete gel and ActionPacs earned accolades. They were each ranked number one in their category and were praised for removing difficult stains.

TheKitchn.com was a big fan of Cascade Platinum. The reviewers asked plumbers to name their favorite dishwasher detergents, and Cascade Platinum won out over all the other options. Experts noted that these packs help avoid clogs, food poisoning, and poor stain removal problems.

Difference 3: Formulas

Cascade Complete comes in three formats: gel, ActionPac, and powder.

Alternatively, Cascade Platinum only comes as a detergent pack.

Both Cascade Complete and Platinum are available in four formulas.

Cascade Complete offers:

  • Complete ActionPacs
  • Complete Gel
  • Complete Gel + Oxy
  • Complete Powder

Cascade Platinum offers:

  • Platinum ActionPacs
  • Platinum ActionPacs + Dishwasher Cleaner
  • Platinum ActionPacs + Oxi
  • Platinum Power Dry (to speed up drying time)

The “+ OXI” formulas include sodium carbonate peroxide (the main ingredient in OxiClean) to boost cleaning power and stain removal.

Difference 4: Scents

Cascade Complete comes in three scent options:

  • Lemon Scent
  • Fresh Scent
  • Citrus Breeze Scent

The Cascade Platinum comes in two scent options:

  • Lemon Scent
  • Fresh Scent

Difference 5: Price

Cascade Platinum detergent is about 40% more expensive than Cascade Complete, but the exact price depends on the product type and formula.

For example, the formulas that contain OXI or dishwasher cleaner are typically more expensive than the standard formulas.

When it comes to dishwasher detergent, always compare the cost per load (not the overall cost of the pack/bottle).

Both options are available on Amazon and Walmart.com, so compare prices before buying.

To help, I put together the chart below, which shows the current prices of Cascade Complete and Platinum on Amazon.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

What Procter & Gamble Says About Cascade Complete vs. Platinum

I called Procter & Gamble, the company that owns Cascade, to get its expert opinion on Cascade Complete vs. Platinum.

When I spoke to the product specialist, I asked one simple question: “What’s the difference between Cascade Complete and Platinum?”

She said, “Both are enzyme-based and highly-rated. The biggest difference is that Platinum is the top-performing product. With Platinum, you don’t need to pre-wash dishes or cookware. It contains ingredients that prevent hard-water film. In addition to cleaning your dishes, it also cleans the inside of your dishwasher.” She said, “Complete is slightly cheaper, but the concentration of cleaning ingredients is lower.”

When I asked if Platinum is worth the higher price, she said: “Most customers prefer Platinum. If you don’t want to waste time pre-scrubbing stuck-on food, go with Platinum. In most cases, you won’t need to pre-wash when using Complete, but sometimes you will.”

Bottom Line: Should You Use Cascade Complete or Platinum?

Cascade is a great brand, and choosing between Cascade Complete vs. Platinum comes down to the details. Before I give you my recommendation, let’s recap the differences.

  • Cascade Platinum is stronger and more effective thanks to its higher concentration of cleaning agents.
  • Cascade Complete comes in three forms (gel, packs, and powder), whereas Platinum is only available as ActionPacs.
  • Cascade complete comes in three scents (citrus breeze, fresh scent, and lemon), and Platinum comes in two (fresh scent and lemon).
  • Cascade Platinum is about 40% more expensive than Complete.
  • The Procter & Gamble product specialist recommends Cascade Platinum over Complete, but both are highly rated and popular among consumers.

Bottom line — Cascade Platinum is more effective and requires less effort (i.e., pre-washing) on your part to get the job done, but Cascade Complete comes in more product formats (ActionPacs, gels, powders) and is cheaper.

If you’re looking to save money or want gel or powder dish detergent, go with Cascade Complete. If you prefer detergent packs, don’t want to pre-wash dishes, and have the budget, Cascade Platinum is worth the money.

If you’re still unsure, try Cascade Complete and see how it works for you. Every dishwasher cleans differently, and if you’re satisfied with the results, there’s no need to spend more on Platinum. But if you find yourself washing “clean” dishes after the cycle completes, Platinum is the better option.

Both are available on Amazon and Walmart.com, where you can compare prices and read dozens of reviews.

Andrew Palermo Founder of Prudent Reviews

Andrew Palermo - About the Author

Andrew is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Prudent Reviews. He’s studied consumer buying behavior for 10+ years and has managed marketing campaigns for over a dozen Fortune 500 brands. When he’s not testing the latest home products, he’s spending time with his family, cooking, and doing house projects. Connect with Andrew via emailLinkedIn, or the Prudent Reviews YouTube channel.

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2 thoughts on “Cascade Complete vs. Platinum: What’s the Difference?”

  1. Good commentary about Cascade. The packs do not specifically say anything about the difference between the two. This article was a huge help.

    Reply

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