© 2015 American Physical Society. We examine the consequences of the effective field theory (EFT) of dark matter-nucleon scattering for current and proposed direct detection experiments. Exclusion limits on EFT coupling constants computed using the optimum interval method are presented for SuperCDMS Soudan, CDMS II, and LUX, and the necessity of combining results from multiple experiments in order to determine dark matter parameters is discussed. We demonstrate that spectral differences between the standard dark matter model and a general EFT interaction can produce a bias when calculating exclusion limits and when developing signal models for likelihood and machine learning techniques. We also discuss the implications of the EFT for the next-generation (G2) direct detection experiments and point out regions of complementarity in the EFT parameter space.