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What is the Best Dishwasher Detergent? The Dish Soap Brands that Delivered Spotless Kitchen Utensils all the Time

After you’ve selected the best dishwasher for your home the next step is to find a dishwashing soap to use in the machine to get all the crap off your utensils. What could be easier you might say? Welcome, to the journey of determining which of the major brand of dishwasher detergents actually deliver cleaner plates, spoons, forks, pots, and pans, after every washing cycle.

I used to be in the same predicament of how to find the best dishwasher detergent that is powerful enough to get rid of all the sauce, grease, and caked on ingredients, but also affordable.

In my search for the top rated brands I have tried almost all the different types of dishwasher detergents and I can confirm some are not as effective as the television commercials will lead you to believe.

Keep in mind that the product you choose to buy to clean your dishes will be influenced by the way your dishwasher is designed to work. I changed my dishwasher once to a more powerful brand I soon discovered my detergent for cleaning the dishes also needed to be changed.

This dishwasher detergent reviews will be detailed and lengthy, so if you find that you’re in a rush you can just click on the link below the images and go through all the popular brands to make your selection.

If on the other hand, you want to learn a little bit more about the different types of dishwashing soaps and things you should know before picking a brand, this article will be educational and enlightening.

What is the Best Dishwasher Detergent

What is the Deal with Hard Water?

The problem with scientists is that sometimes they provide too much information that fumbles the meaning of what they’re trying to convey. Some have said the hardness of the water coming out of your kitchen faucet or pipe can cause problems with cleaning your dishes in the dishwasher.

To further add to the confusion, there are now water softeners pedaled as the cure for hard water so that your dishes can come out cleaner and spotless. I do not use water softeners in my dishwasher, but what I do have, is a powerful water filtration system that removes more junk than I care to mention.

This water purification system is installed in the basement right at the pipe where the city water enters my home. I urge you to consider using a water filtration system and it will not be for the benefit of your dishwasher but for your health.

Before installing my water purification system my dishwasher worked fine at removing all the stuff from my dishes, so the issue of hard water is an overkill in my opinion.

Based on my years of experience, your dishwasher and the type of detergent you’re using are the determining factors in how cleans your kitchen utensils will be afterward.

Cold or Hot Water, Which is Better?

Again, your results will be greatly determined by the detergent and the power of your dishwasher, but hot or warm water is able to eliminate more of the hard stuff on your dishes. I only use hot water when cleaning my pots and pans, but never on my fine chinaware, silverware, or glassware.

My delicate utensils I mostly wash using very lukewarm water or cold water setting on my dishwasher. After many years of using dishwashers, I have discovered that the temperature of the water can affect the quality of high-end dishes negatively.

I remember an occasion when my kid used hot water setting to wash my very expensive champagne glasses and small cracks appeared in some of them. Hot water might come with the illusion of being more powerful, but I have found that cold water can be just as effective at removing dirt from your dishes.

Types of Dishwasher Detergent

In your search for the best dishwasher soap, you’ll come across different types of products all claiming to be the most effective at removing gunk from your plates and pans. Detergents for use inside of a dishwasher can be classified into powders, gels, suds, Pods, liquids, and hybrids.

For brevity sake, I will only be discussing the types that are commonly found on your supermarket shelves or can be purchased online at Amazon.com.

Dishwasher Pod/Tab/Tablet Detergents

In my opinion, dishwashing detergents called pods, tabs, or tablets are all designed to work the same way, so, ignore the clever marketing to extract more money from you, but concentrate on the performance metrics.

Both will come with a pre-measured amount of detergent, one in a solid state and the other in a liquid state. The solid tablet dishwasher detergent is formulated to slowly disintegrate as your dishes are cleaned inside the machine.

While the pods in a dissolving plastic pouch will break open once water hits it to use the detergent embedded within to get your dishes clean. I have tried both, and the convenience they provide cannot justify the higher price tag in my humble opinion.

But they do reduce the chances of creating a mess as compared to using powered or liquid dishwashing detergents. I have no issue with how they perform at getting dishes cleaned in my dishwasher, but they did not last as long as compared to my being responsible for measuring the quantity used in each dishwashing cycle.

The Best Dishwasher Pod/Tab/Tablet Detergents

Sometimes they’re also called pacs. The brands of tablet and pod dishwashing detergents that I have tried in the past and found to be effective at getting your dishes clean are:

1 – Finish All in 1 Powerball Fresh Tabs Review

Finish All in 1 Powerball Fresh Tabs Review

This brand has come a long way and they now have dozens of different variations of detergents for your dish washing machine. While the tabs come in only one size, there are eleven different packaging sizes, which can help reduce the unit cost of each tab.

Is it the best automatic dishwasher detergent tablets? Most of the current users certainly believe it should be included in any top 10 list of the most effective detergents for dishwashers.

The manufacturer claims these tablet soaps come with concentrated power and you do not even have to use the pre-rinse cycle of your dishwasher to get fabulous clean results. {1}

They did a decent job, but I bought them for the claim that it is safer for septic systems. The unique formulation of this detergent makes it biodegradable, but it does contain bleach, which is why it can be very effective at removing tough stains from coffee, tea, and other food ingredients.

This is the detergent I use for my dishware and expensive China glassware. As you might have guessed, I usually have several brands at hand at the same time, but this I reserve for my expensive utensils.

2 – Ecover Naturally Derived Automatic Dishwasher Tablets Review

Ecover Naturally Derived Automatic Dishwasher Tablets Review

A fairly new entrant into this lucrative niche market is from an outfit called Ecover. Its biggest claim to fame is that it is formulated with zero amount of chlorine, dyes, and fragrance. It is said to be a phosphate-free formula dishwasher detergent that is also biodegradable.

My first time seeing this product in action was at a friend’s pre-wedding celebration when I helped with the dishes. Not only where the dishes very clean, the lack of any scent was also refreshing. {2}

It is available for purchase in two scents citrus and one that is called zero, which means no type of smell after washing. As you can tell, my good friend who’s also an environmental “soldier” that pushes the merits of using this dish soap for the greater good of the earth.

The packaging cardboard that it comes in is also made from recyclable materials. The manufacturer claims it is made using plant based and natural mineral ingredients and the final product is never tested on animals.

3 – Cascade Complete ActionPacs Dishwasher Detergent Review

Cascade Complete ActionPacs Dishwasher Detergent Review

This is probably the most famous dishwasher detergent manufacturer in America due to its longevity, and the many products they manufacture to attack dirt on dishes in all kind of ways. The Cascade complete action pacs are designed to open up inside your dishwasher once the washing action commences.

When I occasionally buy packaged dishwasher detergents this is my preferred brand, simply because they’ve perfected the art of making soaps for washing dishes in both the machine and with hand.

The formulation used in making this product is quite good, but you might get an occasional detergent residue due to not enough rinsing action inside your dish washing machine. {3}

Depending on the quality of your utensils you should see a brilliant shine on them after the dishwasher has done its job. It is designed to work with all dishwasher brands sold within North America, and you can find it for sale in different packaged sizes.

Dishwasher Liquid/Gel Detergents

Another best type of dishwasher detergent will be the ones that come in liquid form. The only issue I have with liquid soaps for dish washing machines is the waste problem. No matter how careful you are, you tend to overuse or underuse this type of detergent.

It is true they’re the best form of dishwasher soaps when it comes to the faster dissolving of the detergent inside the machine since it is in a liquid form. Even the most powerful liquid detergent for machines that wash dishes will cost you just as much as the pod, tabs, pacs, tablets, detergents.

Lately, to further convince consumers to pay more for liquid dishwasher soaps they started referring to them as gels, which in my opinion is the same thing as the liquid version, but some might be slightly thicker.

Best Liquid Dishwasher Detergent

4 – Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Gel Soap Review

Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Gel Soap Review

Seventh Generation is another brand claiming to use a formulation that is only derived from plants with no addition of any petroleum ingredient. It is available for purchase in two packaging sizes, with three scent choices including free and clear, lemon, and fresh citrus.

My environmentally conscious friend gave me this for my birthday last year, and I still have a small quantity remaining to this day. After several uses I am yet to find any streaks in the dishes and trust me, I am fanatical in checking for those type of things. {4}

I never asked her what she paid for it, but the packaging came with six bottles, each containing about 42-ounce of liquid detergent. This is the type of gift that keeps giving, for every time I use it the thought of how she’s doing pops into my head.

If you want to encourage the manufacturing of products that are less destructive to the environment, buying this liquid detergent for your dishwasher would encourage that. Mine came with the lemon scent and it makes my kitchen smell wonderful whenever I use it.

5 – Cascade Gel Dishwasher Detergent Review

Cascade Gel Dishwasher Detergent Review

Like I said before, Cascade is a major player in this niche market and they have dozens of products, which helps them keep a larger share of the overall market for dishwasher detergents. It is a gel, which in my opinion is just a thicker liquid.

It is just as powerful as the Actionpacs dishwasher detergent made by the same company. If you just cooked with heavy grease and want your dishes sparkling clean and spotless, use this gel detergent from Cascade and let us know your results. {5}

Powder Dishwasher Detergent

This requires the right measurement of the quantity just like with the gel and liquid version. Truth be told, I prefer powdered detergent for my dish washing machine for several reasons.

From my years of experience using different brands of powdered dishwasher soaps, they tend to last longer because you’re able to measure the quantity you need. Now, if you’re clumsy with basic stuff like this you should just invest your money in a tablet or Pac dishwasher soap.

Unlike what some of you might think, I have found dishwasher detergents in powdered form to be just as quick dissolving as the other types. Cost wise, you might be able to get a good brand at a cheaper price.

Best Dishwasher Detergent Powder

6 – Finish Powder Automatic Dishwasher Detergent Review

Finish Powder Automatic Dishwasher Detergent Review

This is another brand with dozens of products in the marketplace with the aim of controlling major market share. It is marketed as being suitable for use in automatic dishwashing machines sold not only in North America but worldwide.

If you have burnt food residue on your pots and pans, this is the powdered dishwasher detergent to deploy. Not only is it powerful enough to do away with tough stains on your utensils it is also biodegradable, which makes it safer for septic tanks.

7 – Cascade Complete Powder Dishwasher Detergent Review

Cascade Complete Powder Dishwasher Detergent Review

It is quite fitting to give the final review to the dominant brand in this fast-growing niche market. The Cascade complete powder for dishwashing machines is just as powerful as the liquid version from the same company.

It is formulated without any phosphate ingredients and quite good at removing tough and stubborn food residues and stains from dishes of all types. If you follow the recommended measuring yardstick this detergent will last through many dishwasher cycles.

If you’re tired of pre-washing your dishes, give this product a try by skipping that step and see the awesome results. This is one of my favorite brands and they probably manufacture the best dishwasher soap one can find and buy online.

What is the Best Dishwasher Detergent?

While the products found in this dishwasher detergent reviews will do a good job at removing food residues and stains from your utensils you do need to read through the requirements of your dishwasher before making your final choice.

Whether you pick out gel, powder, gel, liquid, pacs, or other forms of dishwasher soaps you can get cleaner and spotless dishes provided you pay attention to what you’re doing.

The way you arrange the dishes, pots, and pans, will help determine how clean they will come out. So, in a nutshell, the best dishwasher detergent is the one that delivers spotless dishes and works well for your situation, period.

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