Best Dishwasher Detergents: A dishwasher detergent has a big job to do. He must cut and eliminate all types of baked and dried food in dishes, cutlery, and kitchen utensils while leaving delicate glasses without spots and without film. It must also work with different water hardness and be safe for your dishwasher and everything you put in it. Finding an excellent one can be the difference between getting flawless results the first time and having to relaunch it – or worse, rewash items by hand.
In our cleaning laboratory tests at the Good Housekeeping Institute, we found that the powders, gels, and tablets or packaging for dishwashers all work well. The form you choose depends roughly on your personal preferences and the amount you want to spend. Powders are generally the most economical, single-dose packaging or tablets are the most practical and therefore generally the most expensive, and liquids or gels fall somewhere in between. In our tests we see the biggest differences between brands, not shapes from the same brand, so if you find a brand that cleans your machine well and hardens water, any shape should work for you!
When we test dishwasher detergents in the GH cleaning lab, we apply our own mixture of greasy spinach to plates, bowls and cutlery. The glasses are covered with milk, the beaten egg yolk is brushed on the bowls and the plates and the edges of the coffee cups are “kissed” with lipstick. We cook macaroni and cheese and baked beans on casserole dishes, fry a hamburger in a pan and prepare a portion of oatmeal in a pan. Everything is dried or baked for two hours before loading the two identical dishwashers that we use for all of our detergent tests.
After cleaning, we visually check each item for untreated pieces of food and greasy residue and the glasses are carefully checked for stains and film residue in a special light box. Each detergent is tested in exactly the same way for more reliable results. Here are the best dishwasher detergents according to GH Cleaning Lab tests:
BEST GLOBAL DISHWASHER
Dishwasher detergent Platinum ActionPacs
HIGHER VALUE DISHWASHER
Automatic dishwasher powder
BEST VALUE DISHWASHER TABLET
Finish Quantum Dish Detergent Tablets
These tablets pack a powerful cleaning in just 20 cents per wash. Each Finish Quantum is a three-compartment tablet that cleans stuck food, whitens stains and rinses residue to leave everything shiny. In our cleaning lab tests, Finish was a high-performance detergent tablet that even zapped our hard-to-remove messes like dried red lipstick stains and burnt cheese.
BEST TABLET DETERGENT FOR DISHWASHER
Ultra Tabs multi-dishwasher detergent
From the company that makes our GH Seal star dishwashers, Miele Ultra Tabs Multi works in Miele or in any brand dishwasher. The solid powder detergent brick is easy to use and clean to store and completely dissolves – including its water-soluble packaging – once it is dispensed. Each tablet contains three layers of powerful cleaning ingredients which, in our tests erase the stuck grime and leave the kitchen utensils and the shiny stainless steel cutlery and the glassware perfectly clean.
BEST DETERGENT GEL FOR DISHWASHER
Complete detergent for dishwasher Gel + Oxi
BEST DETERGENT FOR PERFUMED DISHWASHER
Automatic Dish Pacs
BEST PLANT-BASED DISHWASHER
Ecover automatic dishwasher shelves
For those who prefer to use herbal cleansers, finding a good dishwasher detergent that tackles stubborn grime can be a challenge. Many are simply not up to the task. But Ecover is the exception. In our test, this biodegradable formula based on plants and minerals has cleaned our very dirty loads incredibly well while leaving our glassware virtually film and stain-free. Even the box is made from 94% recycled cardboard.
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