Best Dishwashing Detergent Buying Guide

If you have a dishwasher there’s no doubt that choosing the best dishwashing detergent can be a daunting task. The reason behind this is the many innovations that have been developed in designing and manufacturing energy-efficient dishwashers.

Before, there was only the choice of powdered brands to choose from. Not long after that, gels and liquids quickly became the popular choice. Currently, detergent manufacturers are developing single-dose detergents that come in pods or packs.

What makes pods and packs so attractive to consumers is that you don’t have to waste your time measuring the correct quantity, just throw them in the washer and walk away. Another trend starting to emerge is store brand detergents are rivaling name-brands in terms of quality.

Which is good news since store brands offer their detergents for a great deal less, which means the cost of you doing dishes could go way down without compromising on cleaning power.

But that depends on whether you are using your washer and dish detergent properly. Below are some things you can do to ensure your dish detergent is effective in getting your dishes nice and clean.

Check out the video below to learn more…

Dishwashing Detergent Dos and Don’ts

Dishwasher detergents clean much better if you remove any dried-on food before you load them into the dishwasher.

 You’ll get better results if you rinse them first, plus you’ll save on energy and water. In addition, you should fill your dishwasher with the larger items on the sides and back of the rack so that the water and detergent are not blocked.

Also, when loading your dishwasher ensure the side with the most dirt faces the center of the washer, and don’t let the utensils or dishes get stacked up against each other.

Additionally, you’ll want to put heavily soiled pots and pans face-down towards the spray arms.

Make sure you put your glasses face down in the dish rack to be sure they do not fill up with water. Lastly, place all dishwasher-safe as well as plastics and knives in the top rack.

Dishwasher detergents and the hot water found in a dishwasher can be rough on silver, fine glassware, brass, bronze, iron pans, plastics, gold-painted flatware, gold-painted china, hollowed-handle knives, pewter, tin, anything made of wood or with a wood handle, and possibly other kitchenware. Hand-wash items that have value to you.

If it’s no big deal, then drive on.

In Hot Water with Hard Water?

Hard water diminishes cleaning performance. If your dishes are not getting cleaned, consider reaching out to your water company and have them test the hardness of your water.

You can use a home testing kit to test your water if you don’t use municipal water. You might also consider adding a water softener if testing reveals you have elevated levels of calcium, magnesium or other harsh minerals.

To lower the chances of spotty dishes and help dry your dishes quickly, many dishwasher manufacturers recommend using a rinse aid in addition to dish detergents. Refer to your owner’s manual for details.

Ironically, many manufacturers recommending using more detergent to solve this issue.

If your water is hard, look for the instructions on your dishwasher detergent package or in your dishwasher’s manual.

Pods, Powders, Gels and More


Dishwashing detergent comes in a variety of forms however, no one particular brand has shown a greater propensity to clean better than the rest.

Depending on who is doing the testing, pods and tablets did a lot better that gels, but this could change with improvements in research and development.


These are solid cakes that are premeasured to deliver the appropriate cleaning solution for your dishes.


These also deliver a conveniently premeasured amount of detergent, but in packets that dissolve in the water.


Unlike pods and tablets, liquids have to be measured and poured into the dispenser.


Gel dish detergent is like liquid, but thicker.


It comes in a box. As with liquid and gel, you have to measure out the proper amount for each load.

How Dish Detergent Additives Stack Up

Most dishwashing detergents contain phosphates as the active ingredient, but there are other additives added as well.


Products containing bleach have been found not to be any better at removing baked-on soils, although they may be more effective on tea or similar stains., but this is not really necessary for a countertop dishwasher.


Enzymes aid in breaking up stubborn food particles for easier cleaning. These too, are not necessary for a countertop dishwasher.

Rinse Aids

These help to prevent spotting, especially with hard water.


Hopefully, you have a better idea of things to look for when buying dishwashing detergent for your washer. While there are no hard-fast rules, it’s best to consult the owner’s manual for the recommended dish detergent.

Happy Washing!


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