Powder or liquid dish detergent

Table of Contents

Dishwasher detergents refer to water-soluble cleaning products. There are currently three common forms of dishwasher detergents on our supermarket shelves, including tablets, powders and gels. Here are the many differences between them in how they work and a guide to which you should use.

Dishwasher Tablets

Dishwasher tablets generally come in the form of small bricks of concentrated dishwashing powder, however some may be half or even completely comprised of dishwashing gel, as opposed to powder. They can be placed in the dispenser or simply thrown into the main area of the dishwasher.

Benefits of dishwasher tablets

When it comes to using dishwasher tablets, there is a lot more convenience compared to powders and gels. Dishwasher tablets deliver a precise detergent dosage and are less likely to spill everywhere. In the situation where too much detergent is used, it can generate excess foam inside the dishwasher, which may cause leaks or even reduce the life of your dishwasher. With a precise dosage of tablets, it may save you on repairs in the future.

Another benefit of dishwasher tablets is that they often contain not just detergent, but rinse aids and other additives that can drastically improve the quality of the clean done by your dishwasher. The famous red ‘Powerball’ in dishwashing tablets is a rinse aid. It aims to help remove detergent residue from your dishes for that sparkly clean finish we’re all looking for. Dishwashing tablets can also combine tasks like pre-wash and de-greasing so that you can spend less time soaking and scrubbing. There are even dishwasher tablets that aim to clean your dishwasher.

You may also find that there is a variety of fragrance options for dishwasher tablets available. If you’re looking for more than just a clean, but a fresh smell when you open up your dishwasher, you may like to consider the tablets range.

Cost of dishwasher tablets

Dishwasher tablets tend to be more expensive than other forms of dishwasher detergents. When you have a different dishwasher load each time, you may find that there is less flexibility with tablets compared to powders or gels, as it only comes in one size. Some dishwasher tablets may tend to also need longer rinsing cycles in order to remove mineral deposits.

Dishwasher Powder

As the name implies, this type of detergent is a powder that is either poured or scooped into the dispenser in your dishwasher. It may be preferred for homes with smaller washing requirements that may not need to use a full dishwasher tablet. Traditional powders are still a viable option for stain removal and easy rinsing. Although it may be abrasive for delicate tableware including glasses, you may like to consider it as an option for pots and pans to remove burnt-on stains.

Benefits of dishwasher powder

Dishwasher powder is generally the cheapest form of dishwasher detergent and tends to last for a long time before it needs to be replaced. You also have greater flexibility with being able to pour as much or as little as you need for your specific dishwashing load.

Cost of dishwasher powder

Dishwasher powder can be messy to pour and if you over-use, which is a very easy mistake to make, your dishes may be left with powdery residue on them – not a good look. On the other hand, if you under use, also a mistake just as easy to do, your dishes won’t be cleaned properly. You may find powder spills easily to other areas of the dishwasher and is a hassle to clean up. If you have inquisitive kids or pets, loose powder in a box could also be a hazard for them to access.

Dishwasher Reviews & Ratings


Dishwasher Gel

Dishwashing gel is similar to the washing up liquid used for handwashing dishes. Like powder, it is poured into the dispenser in your dishwasher. It tends to sit in the middle in terms of price between powder and tablets.

Benefits of dishwasher gel

Dishwasher gel may be preferred for homes with specific washing requirements. Compared to powder, slow-pouring dishwasher gel gives you more control to measure enough detergent for your specific load or wash cycle. You may find it also a little easier to pour and wipe away if you do spill some when pouring.

The water-based composition helps it to be less abrasive on delicate tableware. As mentioned earlier, dishwashing gel does also come in a tablet form. This will be more expensive, but can help provide a consistent measured dose.

Cost of dishwasher gel

There isn’t a lot of variety of dishwasher gels available and this may be due to confusion between dishwasher gel and handwashing liquid. Hand washing liquid should not be used in dishwashers.

Although gel is more likely to dissolve than dishwashing powder, it is possible for dishwashing gel to not dissolve completely. If this happens, it could leave water spots or a thin film on your dishes.

Dishwasher gels may be more expensive than pre-measured dishwasher tablets in the long run due to the inconsistency when pouring. Also be sure to check if your dishwasher is suitable for dishwashing gel – not all types are.

What type of dishwasher detergent should I choose?

When choosing which dishwasher detergent to use, it’s important to consider the prices of the different detergents, along with which one will work best with your dishwasher. You may be able to find this information online, or in the user manual or guide for your dishwasher.

With more and more dishwashing tablets on the market, it could indicate an increasing popularity because of their convenience and efficiency. The price, however, may have others lean towards another option. Powder is certainly the cheapest.

You may like to consider buying more than one detergent as it may help if you have a variety of tableware and dishwashing loads. Give yourself an option for any occasion! There are online ratings – such as ours – that you may like to use to help you compare dishwasher detergent brands and see how other Aussies rate the products they use.

Compare Dishwasher Detergents

Dishwasher tablets and dishwasher gel detergent have risen in popularity as alternatives to traditional washing powder for dishwashers. What makes these alternatives so attractive is their greater convenience, ease of measurement, and the reduced risk of spills. When you buy dishwasher gel or tablets from a reputable brand, both offer comparable cleaning power – but there are some situations that can make each option preferable.

Dishwasher Gel Detergent

Dishwashing gel is specially formulated to operate in dishwashers, unlike washing up liquid that should never be used in machines as it can cause excess suds to form, and damage dishwashers permanently. Confusion between hand washing liquid and liquid soap for dishwashers may be one reason why this type of detergent is not as common as powder-based products.

Dishwasher gel detergent does have unique benefits over powder and tablets. Its water-based composition means it’s less abrasive on delicate tableware such as glasses and decorative dishes. Add a rinse aid along with the liquid gel for a drier shinier finish.

Dishwashing tablets

Premeasured dishwasher tablets take the hassle out of measuring and loading washing powder into machines, as these convenient powder or gel-based tablets can simply be inserted into the designated compartment. There are more reasons to consider dishwashing tablets than just their ease of use though, as they can also deliver greater performance when removing stubborn stains. Tablets can also feature Powerballs and gel inserts that perform a range of additional functions, from degreasing to cleaning the dishwasher.

Compared to liquid gel and regular detergent, dishwashing tablets are usually more expensive and can require a longer rinsing cycle to remove mineral deposits. They also offer less flexibility than liquid gel and powder as they cannot be precisely measured for different sizes of dishwasher load.

Dishwashing powder

Traditional powder detergent shouldn’t be overlooked as a viable option. Modern dishwashing powder now offers comparable cleaning performance and stain removal, as well as an easy rinse. The abrasive nature of these detergents can make powder less suitable for delicate tableware, but it can be the best option for removing burnt-on stains from pots and pans.

If you have a wide variety of tableware, you could consider buying more than one detergent to make sure you’re prepared for every occasion – buy the same brand to avoid compatibility problems.

Liquid dishwasher detergents started appearing on the shelves two years ago. Now, all the big-name brands – Electrasol, Cascade, Palmolive and, most recently, Sunlight – come in liquid form.

Liquid detergents were introduced to solve all those pesky powder problems – they supposedly wouldn’t cake up in the box, create geological formations in the machine’s dispenser cup, or sling grit all over the dishes. But do they get dishes as clean as powdered versions do?

The answer is no, according to Consumer Reports’ chemists, who recently tested four liquid dishwasher detergents along with 19 powdered ones. The liquids also proved less convenient than they first seemed.


Unlike dishwashing liquids sold for washing dishes by hand, “liquid” dishwasher detergents aren’t really liquid. If they were, they would seep out of the dispenser cup and wash away before the dishwasher had finished the first cycle. The new products are actually gels that contain a lot of fine, powdered clay and other suspended solids.

Despite that innovative form, the new liquids closely resemble the old powders in substance. All dishwasher detergents use chemicals called surfactants to loosen dirt and disperse fats. Other substances called builders (usually phosphates) cope with hard-water minerals. Most products also contain bleach to break down proteins, remove stains and keep dishes free of film and water spots.

A detergent’s cleaning power depends on more than its formulation, though. Soft water, a good dishwasher and thoroughly rinsed dishes can make any detergent look good.

In Consumer Reports’ tests, the best performers were powders: Electrasol topped the list, followed by the two “flavors” – lemon and regular – of Cascade, and Safeway’s store brand White Magic. In general, name-brand products cleaned better than store brands and were less likely to leave glass plates and tumblers clouded or spotty.

The liquid detergents cleaned fairly well, but none was as good as the best powders at keeping glasses free of water spots and food debris. Powder users who hope a liquid will eliminate detergent left on their glasses may find themselves trading grit for film. Liquid Electrasol was the worst offender: The film it left on glasses was probably due to the fine clays used to thicken the gel.


While advertising for the new liquids focuses on their convenience, liquids introduce a few inconveniences of their own. They tend to separate, leaving a watery layer on top, so you have to give them a good shake before using them. And detergent bottles aren’t like toothpaste tubes: When you run low, you can’t squeeze the last bit of gel out of the container. Many times you’ll be unable to extract the last few ounces or so, even by shaking for a few minutes or by keeping the bottle upside down between uses.

Liquids are more expensive to use than powders – a fact not readily apparent from the packaging. A 50-ounce jug of liquid detergent costs about the same as a 50-ounce box of a name-brand powder; both types are sold by weight. But the liquid is denser than the powder, so you’ll use more of it each time you fill the dispenser cup.

If you have a good dishwasher, soft water and if you rinse your dishes before loading the machine, chances are you’ll be satisfied with using the cheapest product you can find. If your detergent has more work to do, try one of the top-rated powders mentioned above.

As for liquids, you might want to try one if you find the powdered products cake up in the humidity or if the powdered detergent doesn’t dissolve completely in your machine. Of the liquids tested, Palmolive cleaned best and was the cheapest to use.

Finish And Cascade Sink The Competition In Consumer Reports Tests Of Dishwasher Detergents

In new hard-water performance tests, some left glass covered with white film

YONKERS, N.Y., May 17, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — When it comes to dishwasher detergents, few leave dishware sparkling according to Consumer Reports latest tests. Finish Powerball Tabs and Cascade Complete All In 1 ActionPacs earned the highest marks in CR’s Ratings of nonphosphate gels, liquids, packs, pods, powders and tablets. Finish Quantum, top-rated in the last round of tests, slipped to third place because of its performance in CR’s new hard-water tests.

The report is available online now at www.ConsumerReports.org and in the July 2012 issue of Consumer Reports, which goes on sale Tuesday, June 5.

In tests, many dishwasher detergents left food stuck to plates or pots. Finish Powerball Tabs, the only CR Best Buy at 21 cents per load, and Cascade Complete All In 1 ActionPacs, a CR Recommended product that costs 29 cents per load, both cleaned dishes and pots well and dishware washed in these detergents didn’t have water spots, white film, or discolored aluminum.

Detergents from Great Value (Walmart), 8 cents per load, and Kirkland Signature (Costco), 7 cents per load, are cheaper and sold in a hefty size but didn’t clean very well in Consumer Reports’ tests.

In its latest tests, Consumer Reports added hard-water performance to the Ratings of models first reported on in October 2011. CR began this test last year in response to readers comments about a white film or cloudy buildup on dishware. Laws in several states removed phosphates from dishwasher detergents a few years ago and phosphates can be used to address some cleaning challenges due to hard water

Consumer Reports found several products that allowed glassware to be covered with a frosty-white film-a residue of minerals-to varying degrees in just 20 washes using very hard water. The Laundress and Method Smarty Dish earned the lowest marks for film and discoloring.

And, while no type of detergent was best overall, liquids and gels tended to fall towards the bottom of Consumer Reports’ Ratings. Whatever the detergent, consumers can get cleaner dishes by adding a rinse agent, making sure the water is hot (120 degrees), separating flatware, and facing dirty dishes towards water jets.

Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website and other publications. Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.

MAY 2012

The material above is intended for legitimate news entities only; it may not be used for advertising or promotional purposes. Consumer Reports® is an expert, independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves. We accept no advertising and pay for all the products we test. We are not beholden to any commercial interest. Our income is derived from the sale of Consumer Reports®, ConsumerReports.org® and our other publications and information products, services, fees, and noncommercial contributions and grants. Our Ratings and reports are intended solely for the use of our readers. Neither the Ratings nor the reports may be used in advertising or for any other commercial purpose without our permission. Consumer Reports will take all steps open to it to prevent commercial use of its materials, its name, or the name of Consumer Reports®.

SOURCE Consumer Reports

Miele UltraTabs Multi Dishwasher Detergent 120 Tabs 10245660 (2 packs)

Miele Dishwasher Tabs (120 Tabs) | Keeping your dishwasher safe, effective and clean is never impossible. The Miele Dishwasher Tabs feature a powerful enzyme formula and a three-layer construction that deliver superior wash results. This product can be used with any brand of dishwasher. Individually sealed in a water-soluble wrapper to prevent physical contact with ingredients, these dishwasher tablets are safe, easy and convenient to use. The tablets do not dissolve in the water during the cycle if the plastic around the tab is not removed.Size:120 Tabs Size:120 Pieces Have a Miele dishwasher? Using Cascade or some other grocery sold detergent? I used to, but no more. Just bought my first box of Miele Dishwasher Tabs on Amazon, which I did reluctantly because of the price, but what a difference these tabs make to the way the machine cleans dishes. I can’t believe how many years I have owned a Miele dishwasher (this is our third), but I never wanted to spend what it cost to use Miele products in it. I figured all detergents were created equal. WRONG. I also bought the Miele rinse aid at the same time, and the combination of the two is really maximizing the machine’s performance – plus, they have completely eliminated the awful streaking on the interior door that other detergents eventually left. So not only are my dishes cleaner, so is the inside of my dishwasher. I highly recommend this product. It is worth the price. | Dishwasher detergent tabs are created with high quality formula that disseminates any mess inside the dishwasher | Affordable, effective, and safe to use – ensure your dishes are clean and bacteria-free when you keep your dishwasher super clean | Individually sealed in a water soluble wrapper to prevent physical contact with ingredients. | Each tablet features a powerful enzyme formula and a three-layer construction that delivers superior wash results.

Many people don’t give dishwasher detergents the seriousness they deserve. Many buy any item as long as it is a detergent; others have stick to a brand just because it has been used in the family for decades, while others look for the cheapest one. The kind of product you select determines how clean, safe, and sparkly the dishes will be. It also influences how long the dishes, as well as the dishwasher, will last. Some products, although very effective, are known to contain too much color or bleach which is harmful. Others have too much fragrance or aren’t very effective in eliminating dirt, bacteria, and germs. A look at the current markets shows the following are the best dishwasher detergents.


List of Top Best Dishwasher Detergent in 2020

#9 Cascade Complete Gel Dishwasher Detergent, 75 Oz, Fresh Scent

By: Cascade

The Cascade brand has for many years dominated the dishwashing detergent market. This Fresh Scent variety is a popular choice and comes in a decent capacity to provide many washing cycles. Like other best dishwasher detergents. It easily cleans the dishes, eliminates any grease, and doesn’t need pre-washing. In addition to cleaning, it leaves your dishes smelling better and looking shiny and hygienic.

Reasons To Buy This:

  • Powerful formulation easily eliminates stuck food
  • Gel formula for fighting grease and oil
  • Pure Rinse Formula for easy rinsing
  • Fresh Scent leaves your dishes smelling nice

#8 Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Gel Soap, 42 Oz Bottles

By: Seventh Generation

Coming in a pack of 6, this dishwasher detergent gel soap will clean any dishes easily. It is one of the safest products on the market. The plant-based gel doesn’t contain harmful compounds that may affect your health. Instead, it’s based on safe and proven ingredients that are as effective as petroleum-derived compounds. It also doesn’t contain any scents or fragrances and you are assured of clean and safe dishes. It’s also environmentally friendly and comes in a clear solution, and only a small amount is required for cleaning the dishes.

Reasons To Buy This:

  • Advanced plant-derived soap for effective cleaning dirty dishes
  • Active ingredients for sparkling clean and streak-free dishes
  • Derived from plants and not petroleum for safety and hygiene
  • 96% Biogases formula certified by the USDA
  • Fragrance-free unscented formula for improved safety

#7 Cascade Complete ActionPacs Dishwasher Detergent, Fresh Scent, 78 Count

By: Cascade

This is one of the best dishwashing detergent. It is from Cascade which features a powerful formulation for cutting through grease, washing off stuck-on food, and also protecting the dishes. The fast-acting mechanism doesn’t require pre-washing but will deliver good results. Other than being effective it’s also very safe for the utensils, user, as well as the environment. It doesn’t contain any harmful compounds such as phosphate and comes with a mild fresh scent. The 78 count provides many washing cycles before a new pack is needed.

Reasons To Buy This:

  • No pre-wash required
  • Powerful Active formulation for eliminating grease
  • Rinse aid action for effective rinsing
  • Complete ActionPacs soap for getting rid of stuck-on food

#6 Finish Max in 1 Powerball, Dishwasher Detergent Tablets, 67 ct

By: Finish

Coming in user-friendly tablets, this dishwasher detergent is what will make your dishes look cleaner and shinier. It’s based on a superior cleaning technology that quickly cuts through the grease, eliminates the dried-on food; and also gets rid of the burnt food as well as the burnt smell. Thanks to the premeasured quantity, you are less likely to use too much or too little. The product also provides added protection to the dishes, which makes it harder for food to stick to the surfaces.

Reasons To Buy This:

  • No need to pre-soak or pre-rinse
  • Advanced technology for preventing redeposit’s
  • Detergent provides glass protection
  • Bleach in the powder for eliminating different kinds of stains
  • Easy-to-use design for time-saving and improved efficiency
  • Pre-measured capsules for added convenience

#5 Finish All-in-1 Powerball Fresh Dishwasher Detergent, 90 Tablets

By: Finish

Why struggle cleaning the dried-on food or use lots of effort in cleaning the grease from the utensils: With this best dishwasher detergent, not only will you eliminate the grease, dried-on food, and burnt food stains, but will also use lesser effort. The product is based on a cutting-edge formulation that will get rid of the food, burnt smell, and other things and doesn’t need presoaking the dishes. You also don’t have to pre-rinse the utensils, and this saves you time and energy as well. According to consumers, the dishes and utensils become cleaner and also sparkle better.

  • See More: Top Rated Mini Washing Machines | Best Electric Pressure Washers In The Market

Reasons To Buy This:

  • 90 tablets for many washing cycles
  • Fast penetration for quick breakdown of dried food and grease
  • Quick dissolving Power Gel for easy cleaning
  • Pre-soak or Pre-rinse not necessary
  • Advanced formulation for scrubbing away burnt food, cutting through grease & dealing with dried-on food
  • 3X concentrated power of regular finish powder for better results bad faster action

#4 Finish Quantum Max Powerball, Dishwasher Detergent Tablets, and 64ct

By: Finish

Coming in the form of tablets, this dishwasher detergent will make washing dishes much easier. The product works on any dishes and acts very fast. You also don’t have to first soak them before cleaning or pre-rinse. Although mild, the detergent is very effective and fast-acting. You also are assured of super clean plates, saucers and other utensils courtesy of the proven performance. Other than eliminating the grease, food, dirt, and bacteria, the product also provides additional protection to the dishes. The shinier surfaces make it harder for food to adhere to the surface and this makes cleaning easier.

Reasons To Buy This:

  • 64ct pack for many washing phases
  • No need for Pre-soak or Pre-rinse saves time and effort
  • Advanced powder with bleach for eliminating stains caused by coffee, tea, and other foods
  • Pre-measured capsules for improved performance and cost saving

#3 Cascade ActionPacs Dishwashing Detergent, Fresh Scent, 60 Count

By: Cascade

Coming in a 60-count, this detergent will offer many washing phases. It’s regarded as one of the best dishwasher detergents from Cascade and in the market as well. Similar to the leading types from the firm, it boasts of a superior formulation for removing grease and stuck food. It comes with a concentration 4X the normal types meaning it not only cleans faster, but you also need a smaller quantity. Thanks to not having harmful compounds, your silverware and other utensils won’t be harmed.

Reasons To Buy This:

  • Powerful action for fast elimination of grease
  • 4X concentration for faster and improved cleaning
  • Rinse aid action for easy rinsing
  • Shine Shield formula for leaving the sparkle

#2 Cascade Platinum ActionPacs Dishwasher Detergent, Fresh Scent, 34.5 Ounce

By: Cascade

If you wish to skip the pre-washing but still get amazing results, then you should think of this detergent from Cascade. It’s among the most popular dishwashing detergents in the market and is revered for its quick and effective cleaning. The Platinum ActionPacs is also safe and doesn’t contain bleach or toxic chemicals that may damage your utensils. Other than just getting rid of the food particles, it also eliminates any food or burnt food odors.

Reasons To Buy This:

  • 34.5-ounce capacity for many washing cycles
  • ActionPacs are formulated for fighting grease
  • Triple chamber Action Pac for effective clang without pre-washing.
  • Powerful action leaves your dishes and the dishwasher clean and sparkling

#1 Cascade Platinum Dishwasher Detergent, Fresh Scent

By: Cascade

This Fresh Scented detergent is one the best from the Cascade brand. It comes with a powerful formulation for dealing with food remains, stains, greases, germs, bacteria and more. The fast-acting formulation doesn’t need pre-washing and easily acts on stuck food remnants. Despite it being fast and effective, it’s one of the safest detergents on the market. It doesn’t contain any phosphate and can be used on any kind of dishes or utensils. The excellent packaging will provide many washing cycles while the lovely scent makes the dishes smell fantastic.

Reasons To Buy This:

  • No pre-wash required
  • Active formulation for dealing with stick food
  • Phosphate-free for keeping you healthy
  • Powerful gel formulation for combating grease
  • Pure Rinse Formula for effective rinsing
  • Fresh Scent for nice smelling dishes
  • Articles you might like: List Of Recommended Countertop Dishwashers

Final Thoughts

It’s true that dishwasher detergent is one of the basic things we use in our lives. However, it plays a big role in how your dishes look like, and how long they will last. The detergents also influence the lifespan of the dishwasher as well as your health. Poorly made or low-quality products may contain lots of bleach or color which may stain or affect the structural integrity. Some will have too much fragrance which may have negative effects while some products won’t bring the sparkle to the dishes. Thankfully, you can own the best dishwasher detergents today.

Sharing is caring!

We can all agree that in order get the job done right the first time, a dishwasher detergent needs to tackle tough jobs, be cost efficient, and should be easy to use.

These were our top criteria when we selected our best dishwasher detergent.

If you are ready to get loaded up and start washing, Cascade Platinum scored high marks in every category and is our top pick for sparkling clean dishes.

Dishwasher Detergent Reviews

One of the costs of a delicious, home-cooked meal is the pile of dirty dishes and pots that go along with it. The longer the dirty dishes sit, the harder it can be to get them clean – unless you have a strong, good-quality dishwasher detergent.

With the large selection of choices on the market, deciding which one to use may seem like guesswork, but this is not true. There is a difference between dish washing detergents, and if you know what to look for, you can choose the one that will get your dishes sparkling clean while saving you time and money too.

10 mins to read
51 products considered
14 products reviewed
30 hours reviewing

Top 10 Dishwasher Detergents

See also on
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1. Cascade Platinum

Best Overall Dishwasher Detergent

5/5 Product Rating You will get more value every time you do the dishes when you use Cascade Platinum Actionpacs. There are 65 pods in this package, providing 65 loads of dishes that can be washed with one purchase.

These platinum actionpacs have 15x more film-fighting power to get your dishes sparkling clean. These pacs have been formulated with Dawn which is a well-known grease fighter so your dishes come out grease-free and clean.

The Shine Shield that is also included in the ingredients of the actionpacs are an excellent rinse aid to ensure the removal of any residue so the dishes come out crystal clear and free of clouding, left over grime, grease, or food particles. The cleaning power of one Cascade Platinum pac is equal to 6 pacs of the national bargain brand detergents. This dishwasher detergent works in 4 ways:

  • Eliminates stuck-on food in one wash
  • ActionPacs have the grease-fighting power of Dawn, a well-known grease fighter
  • The Rinse-aid with Shine Shield ensures crystal clear results
  • Has 15x the power, eliminating annoying film that makes dishes look dirty.

Cascade Platinum Actionpacs are available in many fresh scents and a choice of package sizes as well. Customers can subscribe to have these excellent dishwasher detergent pacs delivered right to their door and not have to worry about running out of them.

– Sarah Lytle

See also on
Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca

2. Cascade Complete

Best Overall Dishwasher Detergent – Runner Up

4.6/5 Product Rating These pacs from Cascade will scrub away food that has been stuck onto the dishes for 24-hours and you won’t need to pre-rinse. The all-in-one cleaning action will dissolve foods, fight any stains, and will deliver a brilliant shine you will be proud of. Each pac is formulated with the well-known Dawn grease fighter.

These powerful cleaning pacs are available in Fresh Scent, Lemon and Citrus scents. You can choose from a variety of sizes as well. This is the #1-recommended brand that adds more value per dish washing load than the competition provides. Just one Cascade pac is equal to using 6 pacs of some of the national bargain brands.

Using this product will ensure that you never have to set the table only to find dishes with leftover dried food on them. The ingredients in the pacs dissolve baked-on as well as burnt-on foods, even from the corners and edges of your dishes. You won’t need to bother with additives because the Rinse-aid is right in the pac.

– Sarah Lytle

See also on
Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca

3. Finish Powerball

Best Budget Dishwasher Detergent

4.3/5 Product Rating You will get an amazing clean and finish when you use Finish Powerball Dishwasher Detergent tabs to do your dishes each night.

These tabs have 3x the concentrated cleaning power of the regular Finish powder and the results speak for themselves. This package has 90 Powerball dishwasher tablets that will provide you with 90 wash loads.

The easy to use, pre-measured tablets have a wonderful clean, fresh scent. The Jet Dry rinse-aid gets rid of any spots and cloudiness for sparkling shine every time.

The Pre-soaking Powerball will get rid of any food residue so the dishes come out super clean in only one wash. You will never have to re-wash the dishes when you use Finish Powerball Dishwasher Detergent which will save you time and money.

Each tablet is individually wrapped and they are biodegradable and safe for all septic systems. All users need to do is unwrap one tablet and place it into the dispenser. If it doesn’t fit into the dispenser, check the manual to see what it recommends.

All you will need is one tablet per wash load. The best temperature is between 125-140 degrees. The tablet will completely dissolve during the wash cycle. These powerful cleaners will remove tough coffee stains, baked on foods and more.

– Sarah Lytle

Summary of Our Top Picks
One of the biggest complaints of using a dishwasher is the cloudy film and remnants of food that is left on the dishes after the wash cycle has finished. The quality of the dishwasher detergent you choose is what is responsible for these annoyances. Using a good quality dishwasher detergent will prevent your dishes from having to be rewashed.

The top choices that we have featured above won out over other brands of dishwasher detergent based on results, performance, ease of use, scent, value and other factors as well. Customers will get the benefits of the tough cleaning power any of these choices above provide.

Read our buyer’s guide below to learn even more about choosing the right dishwasher detergent so your dishes always come out sparkling, clean and grease free.

4. Affresh

6. Finish Quantum

8. Seventh

10. Finish Max

Dishwasher Detergent Comparison

Scent Fresh Fresh Fresh Lemon Zero Fresh Lemon Zero Fresh Zero
Power Best Better Good Better Good Best Good Good Good Better
Count 62 78 85 6 25 64 45 73 105 67
Type Sachets Sachets Tablets Tablets Tablets Capsules Sachets Sachets Sachets Tablets
34.50 40.90 55.30 4.20 17.60 37.40 25.40 46.24 57.00 43.80

Dishwasher Detergent Buying Guide

What is a Dishwasher Detergent?

Dishwasher detergent is cleaning liquid that is specifically for use in the dishwasher. Dishwasher detergent comes in many different forms so there are several methods you can choose from.

Regardless of the detergent you choose if you scrape of the large leftovers from the dishwashers before loading them into the dishwasher the detergent will work better. You don’t need to pre-rinse the dishes in most cases, thanks to the powerful cleaning agents in the detergents. Not having to do this step will save you time and money.

Not ALL Items can be Washed in a Dishwasher

The chemicals in dishwasher detergent and hot water can be really bad for items like silver, fine glassware, bronze, brass, cast iron, gold colored flatware, hollow handle knives, pewter, tin, anything that is made of wood or utensils with wood handles, and disposable plastics. Avoid washing these items in the dishwasher so they don’t get ruined. Anything that has a lot of value to you should be washed by hand.

What to Consider before Purchasing Dishwasher Detergent

There are many different types and brands of dishwasher detergent on the market. Before you choose one there are some things that you should think about so you make the right decision that will meet your needs.


There are three basic types of dishwasher detergent available to choose from:

  • Gel Detergents – Gel dishwasher detergent has a consistency that is similar to regular dish liquid. It is thicker and more gel like and it comes in a bottle that you can squeeze to get the amount you want into the dispenser.

    Gel detergents are more concentrated than dish liquid and dissolve fast in water. You won’t have to worry about white residue ending up on the dishes because the detergent dissolves so fast. The drawback to gel detergents is that they dissolve too fast and can end up totally dissolved before the dishes are washed.

  • Powder Detergents – Powdered dishwasher detergent is slower to dissolve and sticks around during the washing cycle longer. Powder detergent is not as popular as a choice due to the grit and white residue that can frequently end up on the dishes if the wash and rinse cycles are not long enough.
  • Tablets and pods – This form of dishwasher detergent is the most popular. It is convenient and easy to pop one pac into the dispenser and that’s all there is to it. No spills, no mess, and no guessing how much to use. Depending on the tablet, it may contain a rinse-aid as part of the ingredients to help with ensuring that the dishes are super clean. White residue is still possible with these tablets or pods if the cycle is not long enough or the strength of the dishwasher is not that strong.

Additional Ingredients Added to the Detergent

Dishwasher detergents usually contain some kind of additional additives to the main cleaning ingredients. These additives are designed and added to the detergent to increase cleaning power and provide even better results. We’ve listed some of the more common and popular additives that are used.

  • Bleach – Detergents that contain bleach additives are very effective in removing baked and burned on foods and are also better at removing tea and coffee stains.
  • Enzymes – Enzymes that are added to detergents help break up the food into smaller particles that are easier to remove during the wash cycle.
  • Rinse-Aids – This is a very popular additive that is added to many detergents. Rinse-aids help prevent spotting and the white film that ruins the look of washed dishes and makes them look like they need another wash. Rinse-aids are very good when hard water is present.

Popular Ingredients in Detergent

The purpose of dishwasher detergent is to break the bonds between food, grease and your dishes. The different detergents have different formulas and methods to achieve the same result, which is a dishwasher full of sparkling, crystal clear dishes. There are different ingredients that are present in most detergents. Some of the most common ingredients are:

  1. Phosphates
  2. Bleaches
  3. Chlorine
  4. Plant based materials

There is a difference between phosphate based, chemical detergents and natural, plant based detergents. With the phosphate detergents, you will notice more occurrences of white residue being left due to short washing cycles. The issue with the natural based detergents is that they have been frequently found to be ineffective at getting the dishes cleaned, especially if they have not been pre-rinsed.

What is the White Residue?

While the white residue that shows up often on freshly washed dishes is annoying and unattractive, it is harmless. The culprit causing these white spots and cloudy finishes is hard water. Calcium that is present in the water will get distributed on the dishes during the drying portion of the cycle.

If you’re having a problem with white residue being present on your dishes there are a few things that you can try. The tips below should help you resolve your white residue problem.

  • Test for hard water unless you already know you have it
  • See if the dishwasher detergent you are using has phosphates. If it does not, the white residue is from the lack of phosphates. They are responsible for bonding to the calcium deposits to help prevent hard water during the dishwashing cycle.
  • Increase the length of your dishwashing cycle. This can also resolve the problem of hard water causing issues.
  • Wash fewer dishes at a time. A crammed full dishwasher will not get the benefit of the dishwasher detergent as much as a lighter load will.

Other Dishwasher Products

There are a few other products that are used in dishwashers along with the detergent. These are sometimes included in with the dishwasher ingredients; others can be added as additions. There are three basic additional products that people use to help get their dishes as clean as possible.

  • Dishwasher Cleaner – even if your dishwasher looks clean at first glance, grease and lime scale can build up in the places you don’t see including the filters, spray arms, pipes, water pump and the drains. Using a dishwasher cleaner on a regular basis according to the bottle instructions and needs of your dishwasher, all of the internal parts will remain clean as well.
  • Rinse Aids – Rinse aids are added to the dishwasher and work during the rinse cycle to get rid of detergent and food residues. They can also help prevent that cloudiness that the glasses can get. The result of using rinse aids is t hat your dishes will be crystal clear and shiny.
  • Fresheners – With use, you may notice that your dishwasher has developed an unpleasant odor. Fresheners will help get rid of that bad odor. You can also use a squeezed lemon half that you have put in the cutlery tray.


Dishwashers can be a great way to wash dishes when they are combined with the right dishwasher detergent and the cycle is long enough to get the dishes really clean. With all of the choices in dishwasher detergent available, you can find the right one for your preferences.

Choosing a good quality dishwasher detergent ensures that your dishes have that shiny, sparkling clean look that you want without having to wash the dishes multiple times. The information we’ve provided will help you make an informed decision that you will be pleased with and continue to use to get great results.


  1. Cascade – http://cascadeclean.com/
  2. Finish – http://www.finishdishwashing.com/
  3. Cascade – http://cascadeclean.com/

How To Use Dishwasher pods

When the first dishwasher was invented in 1886 by Josephine Cochran, a new household convenience and commodity was born. They’re now a mainstay in most American homes and serve exactly the same function as way back then: clean dishes faster, easier, and more conveniently than people can do by hand. When dishwashing detergent pods were developed, an even greater commodity was born, making using a dishwashing machine oh-so-easy. However, as mainstream access to these dishwasher soap pods grew, so did consumers questions. How are these pods made? How do they work? How to use these dishwasher detergent pods? Do they clean better than regular dishwasher detergent? If you have some of these questions, do not fret. We have some answers.

First off, pods are small capsules that contain enough concentrated detergent for one wash cycle of, in this case, a dishwasher. These capsules are covered in a small dissolvable film that breaks apart and dissolves in water as soon as it comes into contact with it, freeing the detergent contained within and allowing for a successful and effective washing cycle. The detergent contained in most pods is more concentrated (I.E. contains less water) than that found in liquid or gel bottles, so it delivers a greater clean while using less product in each washing cycle.

Most mainstream detergent companies use Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) as the primary material for the protective film in pods. PVA is a water-soluble, shelf-stable, synthetic polymer. Creating a dishwasher pod’s outside coating out of this polymer allows the user to store in a pantry the detergent and use these convenient pods knowing that they’ll only dissolve the moment they come into contact with water.

Nowadays, dishwashing pods come in many different varieties for most consumer needs. There are many companies that manufacture regular detergent pods, which may or may not be safe for the environment. However, as consumer awareness and green brands and products began to gain popularity, natural pods for dishwashers, scent-free pods, eco-friendly pods, and many others became available.

But, how should we use these pods? Well, it’s easy! Just follow these 3 steps (How To Use Laundry Pods):

  1. Remove a single pod from the pouch. Careful! The pod dissolves upon contact with water, so make sure your hands are completely dry before handling them!
  2. Place the pod in your dishwasher’s “normal Wash” or “Main Wash” compartment and close the lid. There is no need to puncture or open the pouch, as it will dissolve once the cycle starts.
  3. Close the dishwasher lid and set the cycle to “Normal Wash” or “Light Wash,” along with any other desired settings. Press “Start.”

Before the introduction of dishwashing soap pods, this detergent was available in powder form, gel form and as detergent tabs. All three of these work effectively when cleaning dishes. But, powder may have a slight advantage over tabs or gel pacs in homes with hard water. Hard water causes limescale deposits, which create white spots, streaks, and cloudiness on glasses. Water hardness level directly impacts a dishwasher’s performance, and in extreme hard water areas, powder may provide improved performance because it allows the user to adjust the amount of detergent used.

However, the use of either powdered, gel or dishwashing detergent tabs has been recently replaced by pods, both for their convenience and effectiveness. Consumers prefer either gel or powdered pods to regular dishwashing detergent as they don’t have to measure the detergent and, in most cases, get a deeper and more effective clean when using a pod in their washing cycles.

We hope this has cleared some of your doubts, questions or concerns regarding dishwashing detergent pods. If you haven’t still made the change, try them out! Cleancult proudly recommends and stands behind the effectiveness and convenience of detergent pods. If you have any doubt as to how Cleancult’s pods are made or what is in them, Our Pacs and see for yourself!

Cascade Powder Dishwasher Detergent, Fresh Scent 75 Oz

75.0 OZ


1. For the best clean, fill both the pre-wash and the main wash cups completely. 2. Always load taller items away from the center spray arm to ensure the smaller items aren?t shielded from the cleansing. 3. For Best Results in hard water areas, overfill the pre-wash cup.

Marketing Description

Combine the outstanding cleaning of Cascade dishwasher detergent with the grease-fighting power of Dawn for clean dishes that are automatically clean every time. This automatic dishwasher detergent cleans so thoroughly virtually nothing is left behind but pure clean, pure shine. Available in Fresh and Lemon scents in assorted sizes.

Other Description

Powered by Cascade dishwasher detergent with the grease fighting power of Dawn. Dishwasher detergent rinses away residue, leaves dishes sparkling and clean. Our Shine Shield formula provides excellent shine for your dishes and glasses. Phosphate free dishwasher detergent.


Irritant. Harmful if swallowed. May irritate eyes or skin. Do not get in eyes. Do not get on skin or clothing. Keep out of reach of children. First Aid Treatment: Contains sodium carbonate, sodium silicate and enzymes. If swallowed, give a glassful of water and call a Poison Control Center or doctor immediately. Do not induce vomiting. If in eyes, rinse with water for 15 minutes. If on skin, rinse well with water.


Package Data

Length: 1.98 IN
Height: 10.9 IN
Width: 6.7 IN
Units In Package: 0
Package Type:
Package Size: 75.0 OZ