10 Best Dishwasher Detergents 2020

Many of us live in high-paced lives. We want all the creature comforts life has to offer, but don’t necessarily want all the resultant consequences. Add to that the cost of all the devices we collect and the cost of keeping those devices running optimally. Using the wrong detergent in your dishwasher could result in damage to the dishwasher. Use the right product and your machine could be protected from a build-up of limescale which could lead to blocked, corroded pipes and ultimately the death of the dishwasher. The following top ten dishwasher detergents available on market have earned five-star reviews locally and internationally. Always read your dishwasher’s instructions manual before using any dishwasher detergent in it. Some machines are not compatible with all detergents.

Best Dishwasher Detergents

How to Choose the Best Dishwasher Detergents

To keep your machine running at maximum capability you should make sure that the salt tray is always full, use a detergent that is compatible with the machine, and clean and de-limescale (it is recommended that you use a detergent that prevents limescale from forming) the machine regularly.

I always advise people to read reviews left by other users before making any purchase – especially one that could have dire consequences on their pockets.

Reading through the comments and reviews on a product will provide a good idea of how products interact with specific brand name appliances.

As the environment is struggling more and more to cope with the increasing load of people Something else to keep in mind while you search is that the market is steadily filling up with eco-friendly detergent options that will keep both your utensils and the environment clean and healthy. These products can significantly improve the environment without leaving you with dirty, grimy dishes.

Without further ado, here are ten quality products that will leave you with pristine dishes.

Top 10 Best Dishwasher Detergents

ModelRating
Cascade Platinum Dishwasher Pods, Actionpacs Dishwasher Detergent, Fresh Scent, 62 Count4.9
Great Value Automatic Dishwasher Gel, Lemon Scent4.7
Finish - Quantum - 36ct - Dishwasher Detergent4.7
Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Automatic Dish Packs, Basil, 20 ct, 3 un4.8
Finish Max in 1 Dishwasher Detergent Concentrated Gel4.9
Lemi Shine Booster Dishwasher Detergent Additive 3-Pack 12 oz ea4.8
Member's Mark Ultimate Clean Automatic Dishwasher Pacs (105 ct.) AS4.7
Miele Dishwasher Tabs - 20 per box 3X20 (60 counts)4.8
Bubble Bandit Dishwasher Detergent with Natural Phosphates 4.9
LIFEKIND Natural Super Concentrated Automatic Dishwasher Detergent Powder4.8 - Editor's Pick

1. Cascade Platinum Dishwasher Pods, Actionpacs Dishwasher Detergent, Fresh Scent, 62 Count

Cascade is a well-known, popular brand used by happy customers internationally, Cascade Platinum dishwasher pods dissolve quickly in water and remove all the oily residue from your dishes; leaving them nice and clean.

Your dishes will be spotlessly clean and the dishwasher itself will be protected from lime buildup, grease and/or nasty odors without needing a prewash.

Cascade Platinum has a great lemon scent. One container has 62 cleaning tablets in it, so you will get 62 loads per container.

Pros

  • High in sodium
  • Easy to use
  • Dissolves quickly
  • Doesn’t require a prewash
  • Refreshing scent
  • Biodegradable

Cons

  • A bit more expensive
  • May cause skin irritation
  • May be harmful if swallowed
  • Could be harmful to children and/or pets
  • One-size-fits-all amount of detergent released by washing tablet

2. Great Value Automatic Dishwasher Gel, Lemon Scent

Great Value Automatic Dishwasher Gel has a fresh lemon scent to freshen your kitchen with each wash.

This dishwasher gel even cleans dishes that have food stuck on them for 24 hours spotlessly.

The phosphate-free formula is great for quick wash cycles leaving your dishes shining.

It works very well on its own, but it is even better alongside Great Value Dishwasher Rinse Aid.

It is an affordable, high-quality item.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Dissolves quickly
  • Doesn’t require a prewash
  • Refreshing scent
  • Not expensive
  • You can adjust how much you use (normally you would fill both the prewash and the wash cups for a wash)

Cons

  • May cause skin irritation
  • May be harmful if swallowed
  • Could be harmful to children and/or pets

3. Finish – Quantum – 36ct – Dishwasher Detergent

Finish is the world’s number one recommended brand. There are thirty-six capsules in this box, there are packages that have more or less in them.

Finish Quantum has three chambers that have three different power actions that break down and lift the toughest messes, degrease, and make your dishes shine:

  • Powder scrubs and removes food that is stuck to the dishes
  • Gel degreases
  • Liquid power ball to dry and make your dishes shine

The formula removes residue food that has been on the dishes for more than twenty-four hours.

The Shine Protect action will make your cookware shine.

Each tablet is pre-measured, which means you don’t have to fret over measuring out anything, it does not require a prewash, and it is safe for septic systems.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Dissolves quickly
  • Doesn’t require a prewash
  • Refreshing scent
  • Not expensive
  • Safe for septic systems

Cons

  • May cause skin irritation
  • May be harmful if swallowed
  • Could be harmful to children and/or pets

4. Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Automatic Dish Packs, Basil, 20 ct, 3 un

Mrs. Meyers Clean Day Automatic Dish Packs is the perfect product for those who love the environment and naturopathy. Mrs. Meyer’s products are all inspired by nature.

This detergent cleans, shines, and freshens with a blend of plants used in aromatherapy.

It does not contain toxic chemicals and has not been tested on animals. It is phosphate-free and chlorine-free.

The detergent pods will leave your dishes shining, leave the environment smiling, and is safe for use in all dishwashing machines.

This product is scented with basil, which is used in aromatherapy to uplift and to bring peace. Mrs. Meyer’s has the same quality product in lavender, lemon verbena, and geranium if you don’t like the smell of basil.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Dissolves quickly
  • Doesn’t require a prewash
  • Refreshing scent
  • Not expensive
  • Safe for septic systems
  • Non-toxic
  • Phosphate-free
  • Chlorine-free
  • Environmentally-friendly
  • Cruelty-free testing

Cons

  • May cause skin irritation
  • May be harmful if swallowed
  • Could be harmful to children and/or pets

5. Finish Max in 1 Dishwasher Detergent Concentrated Gel

Another quality detergent from Finish is Finish Max in 1 Dishwasher Detergent Concentrated Gel.

Finish Max in 1 Dishwasher Detergent Concentrated Gel has an advanced formula for deep cleaning power. It cleans and shines without missing anything and without leaving any greasy marks or film on your dishes.

While it is effective on its own, adding Finish Jet-Dry Rinse Aid blasts glassware dry leaving no streak or watermarks.

The lemon & orange scented dishwasher detergent is safe septic systems.

This detergent protects your dishwasher from harmful limescale.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Dissolves quickly
  • Doesn’t require a prewash
  • Refreshing scent
  • Not expensive
  • Safe for septic systems
  • Environmentally-friendly
  • Protects dishwasher from limescale
  • Eliminates spots and film associated with hard water
  • Scrubs toughest stains first time
  • Cleans in short cycles
  • Glass protection
  • Removes tough stains

Cons

  • May cause skin irritation
  • May be harmful if swallowed
  • Could be harmful to children and/or pets

6. Lemi Shine Booster Dishwasher Detergent Additive 3-Pack 12 oz ea

Lemi Shine Booster Dishwasher Detergent is a booster that helps detergent fight even the toughest stains.

The natural ingredients, including citric acid, remove stains and protects dishwashers from the harmful effects of hard water, film, lime, calcium, iron, and other mineral deposits.

The fresh deodorized tablets are completely free of toxin so there is no danger to children or pets. It is EPA Safer Choice Certified for human health and the environment.

It is non-toxic; made with no phosphates or chlorine and is biodegradable.

It is a very popular choice because of its ability to remove food deposits, the ability to remove hard water spots and film and leave dishes clean and shiny.

Lemi Shine is septic system friendly.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Dissolves quickly
  • Doesn’t require a prewash
  • Refreshing scent
  • Safe for septic systems
  • Environmentally-friendly
  • Protects dishwasher from limescale
  • Eliminates spots and film associated with hard water
  • Scrubs toughest stains first time
  • Cleans in short cycles
  • Glass protection
  • Removes tough stains
  • Very effective
  • EPA Safer Choice Certified
  • Phosphate-free
  • Chlorine-free
  • Non-toxic
  • Biodegradable
  • No artificial fillers or dyes
  • Eliminates odors
  • Cleans dishwasher by removing mineral build-up
  • Safe for use around children and pets
  • Cleans and shines beautifully

Cons

  • Should be used with another detergent
  • May cause skin irritation
  • May be harmful if swallowed
  • Could be harmful to children and/or pets
  • Expensive

7. Member’s Mark Ultimate Clean Automatic Dishwasher Pacs (105 ct.) AS

There are 105 tablets in this tub of detergent, which means 105 loads of perfectly clean and shiny dishes.

The potent formula cleans food that has dried onto dishes without the need for pre-washing.

The crystals remove filming associated with hard water.

One product scrubs, cleans, rinses, and shines all-in-one.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Dissolves quickly
  • Doesn’t require a prewash
  • Refreshing scent
  • Safe for septic systems
  • Protects dishwasher from limescale
  • Eliminates spots and film associated with hard water
  • Scrubs toughest stains first time

Cons

  • May cause skin irritation
  • May be harmful if swallowed
  • Could be harmful to children and/or pets

8. Miele Dishwasher Tabs – 20 per box 3X20 (60 counts)

The Miele Dishwasher tablets come in three boxes with twenty tablets per box.

Originally designed for Miele dishwashers, these tablets can now be safely used in any dishwasher.

Each tablet is individually wrapped in a dissolvable wrapper.

Miele Dishwasher tablets have a three-layer construction to cut through the toughest stains, grease, and grime leaving your kitchenware sparkling. For more heavily soiled loads, you can use two tablets.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Dissolves quickly
  • Doesn’t require a prewash
  • Refreshing scent
  • Eliminates spots and film associated with hard water
  • Removes tough stains

Cons

  • May cause skin irritation
  • May be harmful if swallowed
  • Could be harmful to children and/or pets

9. Bubble Bandit Dishwasher Detergent with Natural Phosphates

Bubble Bandits Dishwasher Detergents contain no dyes and uses natural phosphates to break through the toughest grime.

This detergent removes limescale and film protecting your dishwasher and prolonging its life. I suggest that you run the dishwasher without a load as it will take a few washes to clear out the built-up limescale until the limescale has been cleared out your dishes will come out dirtier because of the limescale being loosened up.

You will get 50 sachets per box, meaning 50 loads per box.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Dissolves quickly
  • Doesn’t require a prewash
  • Eliminates spots and film associated with hard water
  • Removes tough stains

Cons

  • May cause skin irritation
  • May be harmful if swallowed
  • Could be harmful to children and/or pets

10. LIFEKIND Natural Super Concentrated Automatic Dishwasher Detergent Powder

LIFEKIND specializes in all-organic, environmentally-friendly products, LIFEKIND is formulated from water conditioners, grapefruit seed extract, and detergent boosters.

This eco-friendly option is nontoxic and noncaustic.

All-natural ingredients that include grapefruit seed, orange peel extracts, vegetable fiber, anti-corrosives, and natural oxygen bleach, ensure clean and shiny dishes in just one wash.

LIfeKind’s dishwasher detergent is biodegradable and suitable for hard or soft water.

Pros

  • High in sodium
  • Easy to use
  • Affordable
  • Dissolves quickly
  • No toxic chemicals
  • Safe around children and pets
  • Doesn’t require a prewash
  • Refreshing scent
  • Control how much detergent you use
  • Biodegradable

Cons

  • May cause skin irritation
  • May be harmful if swallowed
  • Could be harmful to children and/or pets

Best Dishwasher Detergents

FAQs

Which is better to use: tablets or gel detergents?

There is a lot to be said for both, ultimately how clean your dishes get is dependent on the type of dishwasher you own, the quality of water, and the compatibility of the detergent with your machine. Tablets take the guesswork out of how much to use, one tablet equals one load. The gel can be adjusted depending on how heavy a load is. There is, unfortunately, no right or wrong answer.

What is the difference between natural oxygen bleach and regular chlorine bleach?

There are a few differences. First, oxygen bleach is a powder that can be mixed with other cleaners; which is not possible with chlorine bleach (which is a liquid-based). Second, oxygen bleach is eco-friendly, releasing oxygen to break down dirt and stains when it comes into contact with water. Chlorine bleach is more corrosive.

Should I unwrap the pods before loading?

Unwrapping the pods before use is not a good idea. In addition to the harm the chemicals would do to your skin, you run the risk of getting some of the soap and chemicals in your eyes which could damage them; this is particularly true if you are allergic to something in the pod’s ingredients. The most unwrapping that should be done is to the bag holding the pods, it is better to leave the plastic film exactly where it is.

What is a detergent booster?

A detergent booster is a product that you can add to your regular detergent – typically through a second dispenser on your machine – to increase the cleaning power of whatever detergent you’re using.

What are some of the benefits and/or drawbacks of using a detergent booster?

Detergent boosters are primarily meant to improve the cleaning power of your detergent without raising the pH level of the water. Boosters also act as a softener and prevent soap residue stains from damaging your dishes or clothing (if you’re using it in your laundry). They reduce deposits left by hard water and aid in the removal of residues that build up in your dishwasher. Lastly, they minimize rust stains which means your cutlery won’t be damaged in the wash.

I have seen that certain items like baking soda may increase the pH of the water and make it harder. Another minor problem that comes with using a booster has to do with the physical form of the booster in question: is it liquid or powder? If it is a liquid then you’ve typically got a big bottle of the stuff taking up space and it is very easy to accidentally overdo it and put too much of the boosting agent into your detergent. This is less often the case with powder-type boosters which typically have smaller containers and specific measurements.

What are some benefits and drawbacks of hard water?

Hard water is used as drinking water, for hygiene purposes. With that said, hard water can make even the most basic tasks difficult. It leaves spots and stains on your glassware and wastes soaps and detergents. Bathing, while not harmful, is sometimes uncomfortable as hard water will leave a light film on your hair and skin – leaving it feeling decidedly grimy. On a related note, hard water tends to leave very ugly soap scum rings or stains in your bathtub and sometimes it will build up deposits and clog your pipes. This is why choosing a product that is high in sodium is important as sodium breaks through limescale protecting your machine.

What are some of the benefits and/or drawbacks of soft water?

Soft water leaves your skin and hair feeling much cleaner than hard water. It uses less soap and reduces housework by making the cleaning easier. Anything cleaned with soft water looks shinier and/or cleaner.

Soft often has an unpleasant salty flavor and is not suitable for drinking. As there is no calcium in the water, it does nothing to strengthen our teeth and bones. The biggest disadvantage of soft water is the danger of lead poisoning. Soft water absorbs lead very easily, this is especially true if it is being transferred through and/or stored in lead containers.

What are some of the drawbacks of using a water softener?

Water softeners waste a lot of water and they do, in some cases, contain chlorine as one of their ingredients. As it is a corrosive substance, chlorine can do some very meaningful damage to your copper pipes – particularly if there is no lime buildup to prevent it. Thankfully, there are filters available that you can purchase and install to prevent the corroding copper and chlorine from making its way into your drinking water and your appliances. There are also serious environmental concerns to consider; these softeners increase the natural sodium level in the water. If they were to come into contact with plants, they would increase the level of acidity in the soil – thereby making it harder for plants to thrive and grow in those places.

What are some of the effects that solvent-based detergents will have on me?

Effects may vary but in the case of a chlorine-based detergent, contact with your skin may cause it to become dry and itchy. In some cases, a rash may develop, you may experience irritation in your eyes and/or some breathing issues.

Conclusion

In terms of which detergent I would use, I’m always looking for ways to keep the environment clean and safe for future generations. With that in mind, I would use  LifeKind Natural Concentrate Detergent; simply because it is the most eco-friendly option.

If a bulk option for one of these two eco-friendly detergents were available I’d grab a few packs so that I’d have extra detergent if I need it. It is always a good idea to have that extra little bit for emergencies.

If need be you can add a booster to your detergent and get the shiniest dishes you could ever want; just make sure you follow the handling instructions.

Check out as many reviews as you can and decide which one works best for you and your needs and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

If you are working with hard water, consider adding a softener to prevent limescale development.

I hope you found this list informative and that you have gained some insight into what you should look for to protect your dishwasher and get your dishes shiny and clean.

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