KitchenLaundry & Cleaning

10 Best Dishwasher Detergents You Should Try

Dishwashers were designed to take the burden of washing the dishes off of the homemaker and make their life more convenient. And for the most part, that’s exactly what these machines do. However, if you’ve ever used an inferior dishwasher detergent, then you probably already know that these machines can make these machines your worst enemy. The quality of the detergent determines just how well your machine works and rather you’re going to have to rewash the dishes by hand.

I’ll even take it a little bit further. The quality of the dishwasher detergent not only has a direct relationship with how well the dishes are cleaned, but it can also help the dishwasher last longer. That’s because when you use a good quality detergent, you only have to run your dishwasher one time. And all of that is precisely why I’ve decided to review what I feel are the ten best dishwasher detergents currently available.

My Picks for The 10 Best Dishwasher Detergents

#10 Grab Green Automatic Detergent Pods


Regardless of whether these pods are used for standard American machines or are used in the more expensive European models, one thing is for absolute certain. These pods are going to do a decent job at getting the dishes clean. They simply get the job done plain and simple.

And they do it without using some of the harmful chemicals used by other detergents. It doesn’t contain phosphates, dyes, or chlorine in its formula, but instead uses a combination of minerals and plant-based cleaners to get your dishes clean. It’s not only safe for the whole household to use but is also friendly to the planet, too.

Why I Like It: I like the fact that this detergent uses natural ingredients and is free of many of the harmful chemicals other detergents may use in their formulas.

#9 Grab Green Automatic Dishwashing Powder


This dishwashing powder is made from natural ingredients that make it not only chlorine-free but is also free of dyes and other toxic chemicals normally found in dishwashing pods. Although it’s not as easy-to-use as a pod, it can still be used rather quickly and provides great results. It never leaves a powdery residue, yet is capable of really getting dishes clean.

And it doesn’t matter if the dishwasher is stuffed full or only partially full, it will always do the job and leave the dishes with a nice grapefruit scent to it. All of this ensures that this product remains relevant to anyone looking to keep their dishes clean but do it without the use of toxic chemicals.

Why I Like It: The one thing that I really like about this product is that it rinses cleanly and leaves the dishes with a nice, light grapefruit scent.

#8 Ecover Automatic Dishwasher Tablets


These high-quality dishwasher soap tablets are designed to get your dishes as clean as possible and do it without using a whole list of horrible chemicals. These tablets are never made with chlorine and have never been tested on animals. They also have a very minimal impact on aquatic wildlife when used in accordance with the label.

This product is very eco-friendly and contains no artificial fragrances. It’s very safe for all septic systems and leaves the dishes with a faint citrus scent. Overall, these tablets are easy-to-use, Earth-friendly and get the job done fast.

Why I Like It: What makes this product great is that it uses natural ingredients and has a pleasant scent to it.

#7 Cascade Complete Dishwasher Powder


Cascade is a product that’s been around for quite some time and is known for making high-quality products. And after using this product, I understand why it’s so popular. This product may not be as easy-to-use as a pod, but it’s more than effective as a dishwashing powder. Even if food is stuck-on the plates, this soap will help to remove it.

I also like how this product is made with a formula that’s completely phosphate-free. Another positive feature this product provides is that it never spots or leaves a film on dishes like other powders have been known to do. The dishes are just clean, smooth and shiny.

Why I Like It: What makes this product a pretty good dishwasher powder is that it rinses cleanly, doesn’t leave spots and is a phosphate-free formula.

#6 OxiClean Dishwasher Detergent


Many people get frustrated by the performance of their dishwasher when it’s really their detergent that’s failing them. People who use this product should understand this all too well. These concentrated crystals not only get dishes clean, but it does it without leaving the dishes cloudy, spotty or with streaks.

And this goes for not only plates, bowls and pans, but also for glasses and silverware, too. This detergent also allows the user to do less scraping and rinsing than they may do with other detergents. That’s because this formulation goes hard to work to remove stuck-on grease and food.

Why I Like It: The main reason I enjoy using this product is that it always leaves glasses shiny and doesn’t ever leave them cloudy.

#5 Finish Quantum Detergent


It really doesn’t matter if food has been stuck to your dishes for the entire day because this product is designed to clean them no matter what. It’s made with scrubbing micro-beads that really do a good job removing stuck on foods such as burnt cheese or lasagna, and it has bleach granules that are designed to pull out tough tea and coffee stains from dishes.

It’s a powerful combination of ingredients that work together to ensure truly clean dishes. And since this product also has a rinse agent that helps avoid cloudiness and streaking, it’s easy to see why this detergent is so far up on this list.

Why I Like It: What really makes this detergent a strong challenger to other detergents is that it uses scrubbing microbeads and bleach granules to get dishes really clean.

#4 Finish Quantum Max Powerball


Anyone who thought that Finish Quantum detergent was great will absolutely love this super-charged formula. This product can get rid of dried on and burnt on foods, get rid of greasy residue and leave dishes looking clean and shiny. All without the user having to use additional products to ensure that their dishes are really clean.

What I really like about this product isn’t the way it powers through tough stains, however. No, what I really like are the way it leaves dishes and silverware. This product not only cleans glasses but does so without leaving them to feel gritty, looking cloudy or looking like it has a ton of streaks.

Why I Like It: I like this detergent because it leaves glasses shiny and prevents them from being cloudy or streaky.

#3 Cascade Actionpacs Detergent


Four times more concentrated than regular Cascade powdered detergent, this product can really handle some of the toughest messes imaginable. It’s formulated with Dawn, a dish detergent that’s known for combating greasy messes. Grease isn’t the only mess it can handle though. It can also power through stuck-on messes and leave dishes not only clean but shiny and smooth, too.

The final thing worth mentioning is that this detergent also has a rinse aid in it that helps to keep dishes as streak-free as possible. And all of this for an affordable price that makes this product one of the more economical ones available.

Why I Like It: This detergent not only does a great job of cleaning dishes but it’s more affordable than many of the other detergents available.

#2 Cascade Platinum ActionPacs Detergent


Cascade Platinum Action Packs offer the same cleaning power than their regular formulation of dishwasher detergent but does it with a super-charged formula that’s designed to specifically deal with burnt-on foods. It doesn’t matter if your pans have burnt-on cheese, baked on lasagna, or broiled on BBQ sauce, these detergent pods will help your dishwasher remove it.

It contains the grease-fighting power of Dawn dish soap and is also infused with a rinse-aid that leaves glasses streak-free. When using this product, the user never has to worry about hard water films or cloudy glasses.

Why I Like It: One of the main reasons I really like this product is that it helps eliminate hard water films and does a great job cleaning.

#1 OxiClean Extreme Power Crystals


Oxi Clean Concentrated Crystals harness the power of oxygen to really power through even some of the most disgusting dish messes imaginable. This concentrated formula cuts through baked-on messes and also is capable of powering through greasy messes.

It will even remove foods that have been stuck-on dishes for over a day. It can remove grease even from glasses and will always leave the dishes sparkling clean and streak-free. All of which has enabled this dishwasher detergent to garner quite the fan base. I know that after I used it, I just about fell in love with it. It does a really good job.

Why I Like It: This product is capable of dealing with stuck-on foods and greasy dishes and do it without leaving streaks.

More products also worth checking out:

Getting the Most Out of Your Dishwasher

Although the dishwasher detergent you choose can have a dramatic impact on how well your dishwasher performs, it’s not the only thing to think consider when doing dishes. The quality of your water supply, how the dishwasher is loaded and how the dishwasher is actually used can also dramatically influence the performance of your dishwasher. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to use the best practices possible when you’re using your machine.

While I understand that some people simply want to throw their dishes in their dishwasher, turn it off and forget about it, there actually has to be a little bit more to the process. After all, dishwashers are designed to help alleviate the work required to get dishes clean and not get rid of all effort. With that in mind, I’ve listed the following tips for getting the most out of your dishwasher.

Scrape Don’t Rinse

The first thing that you’ll want to make sure is that you scrape off all of your dishes. While it’s true that many detergents claim to clean dishes even without scraping, the fact of the matter is that your machine will do a better job if you scrape your dishes first. It only takes a few minutes and really improves results.

The one thing that shouldn’t be done, however, is to rinse the dishes before placing them in the dishwasher. Although this may sound counter-intuitive, the fact of the matter is the dishwasher detergent will do a good job of removing the food from your dishes. No rinses are ever necessary.

Use the Proper Amount of Detergent

If a little bit of dishwasher detergent is good, then a whole lot if better, right? Well, in all reality, that isn’t true. If you add too much detergent to your dishwasher, then it will result in dishes that weren’t as clean as they would’ve been if you had just used the recommended amount. That’s because there’s no room for the particles to do their job. Therefore, always make sure you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Load Your Dishwasher Properly

The next thing that should be kept in mind is that if the dishwasher is overcrowded, then it’s less likely to deliver great results than if it’s properly loaded. What’s a properly loaded machine? The machine should have enough dishes in it to make it economical to run, but you want to make sure that none of them are touching.

It also means placing the more durable dishes on the bottom rack and the more delicate dishes on the upper rack. Also make sure that you stagger your silverware so that some of the forks, knives, and spoons are placed in the bin handle up, and others are not. Doing it in this way will ensure that water can get to each individual piece of silverware.

This is also a good time to see where the water sprayer is on the unit. If you have extremely soiled items, then face these dishes with the soiled surface towards the sprayer. This will enable it to be hit with full-force as the dishwasher runs.

Run Your Faucet First

A really handy trick for getting the most from your dishwasher is to turn on the hot water faucet closest to your dishwasher until the water runs hot. What does this do? This ensures that the first water your dishwasher uses is as hot as possible. This enables your dishwasher to get right to work getting rid of grease and stuck on food residue.

Test Your Water

Depending on where you live, it might be advantageous to install a water filter on the line running to your dishwasher. That’s because hard water can really make it hard for your dishwasher to accomplish even simple cleaning tasks. Hard water testing kits are relatively inexpensive and can tell you whether you need to install a hard water filter or not.

Keep Your Dishwasher Filter Clean

All dishwashers are equipped with a filter that’s designed to capture food particles. If this filter clogs, this can result in dishwasher problems and not just poor performance. Most manufacturers recommend checking and cleaning your dishwasher’s filter on a regular basis, so follow these recommendations to ensure that your dishwasher runs as well as it can.

Spray Super Dirty Dishes With a Detergent Solution

Another trick for getting those super dirty dishes cleaner is by making a special spray that can be applied to the dishes before you load them into the washer. You can make this spray by placing dishwasher detergent in a spray bottle and mixing it with some distilled water. When you encounter a super dirty pot or pan, you can then spray this solution on the dishes to give the detergent a head start in removing the food residue.

Use Hydrogen Peroxide to Super Charge Your Detergent

If you need a little bit of extra power, then you may want to add a little bit of hydrogen peroxide to your dishwasher, along with your regular detergent. Hydrogen peroxide will not only kill germs, but it will help remove stuck-on messes and will leave your glasses nice and shiny. All you have to do is place 2 to 3-ounces of hydrogen peroxide in with your dishwasher detergent. It will then do the rest.

Be Careful Washing Plastic Utensils

If you wash your plastic utensils in your dishwasher, then you are going to want to make sure that they’re properly secured. If you don’t, then they can be knocked into the dishwasher’s heating element and end up melting.

Clean Your Dishwasher on a Regular Basis

The last tip to keep in mind is to make sure that your dishwasher is as clean as possible. Over time, dishwashers can begin to harbor all kinds of nasty bacterial agents and fungi, so it’s always a good idea to clean them out on a regular basis to ensure that they’re as clean and fresh as possible.

You can easily clean your dishwasher by running an empty cycle every once in a while with nothing but a cup of white vinegar on the bottom rack. The vinegar will help clean and disinfect the washer and keep nasties from growing in it.

You can also freshen up the dishwasher every once in a while by using a lemon wedge in the detergent compartment and running it through an empty cycle. Also, make sure that the dishwasher dries out in between cycles for best results. Doing all of this will ensure that the dishwasher is ready for your toughest messes.