While many of us have resorted to dishwashers to bypass the hassle of washing dishes by hand, having an ineffective dishwasher detergent can be as much of a headache. The best dishwasher detergents are effective in getting rid of the most stubborn, dried stains without leaving residue on the dishes.
To help you choose the best dishwasher detergent for your home, we have compiled an unbiased list of our top recommendations, which are effective, affordable and (in most cases) eco-friendly. Depending on what you’re looking for, our list offers a variety of products that are natural, cheap, suitable for hard water, or unscented.
Additionally, we have included a buying guide which goes over some of the factors that you should consider when choosing the ideal dishwasher detergent for your household.
- Best Overall: Puracy Natural Dishwasher Detergent Packs
- Best for Hard Water: Frosch Baking Soda All-in-One Dishwasher Tablets
- Top Unscented Product: Ecover Automatic Dishwasher Soap Tablets, Zero
- Best On A Budget: Cascade Complete Powder Dishwasher Detergent
- Best Gel: Palmolive Eco Gel Dishwasher Detergent
In This Guide
- 1. Best Overall: Puracy Natural Dishwasher Detergent Packs
- 2. Best for Hard Water: Frosch Baking Soda All-in-One Dishwasher Tablets
- 3. Top Unscented Product: Ecover Automatic Dishwasher Soap Tablets, Zero
- 4. Best On A Budget: Cascade Complete Powder Dishwasher Detergent
- 5. Best Gel: Palmolive Eco Gel Dishwasher Detergent
- Buying guide
- What’s Next?
1. Best Overall: Puracy Natural Dishwasher Detergent Packs
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The Puracy Natural Dishwasher Detergent Packs are our favorite recommendation because while they clean all dishwasher-safe items without residue (even with hard water), their natural formula makes them eco-friendly and biodegradable. The plant-and-mineral-based ingredients of Puracy make it a great choice for families with children, individuals with sensitivities to harsh chemicals, and the environmentally conscious. It’s also a very time-efficient choice, as these detergent packs do not require that you pre-soak or pre-rinse the dishes.
This product is in its third generation. The company has improved the formula of the detergent packs in response to any customer complaints or issues that have risen in the past. This is great because it shows that the producers are responsive to the needs of the customers and are on the lookout for improving the product’s quality.
One of the best features of this product is that it is very effective and simple to use. Without pre-rinsing or pre-soaking (just scraping) the dishes, it cleans all dishwasher-safe items (including ceramic, baby bottles, casserole dishes, glass, plastic, silicone, crystal, porcelain, metals). Customers have reported that there is no leftover residue from even the most hard-to-wash food residue, such as burns. Additionally, the presence of minerals in the formula makes washing with hard water simple, as the ingredients keep the dishes free from any limescale stains.
Our favorite thing about this product is that it is very eco-friendly. Its functionality does not come at the price of the environment – it’s cruelty-free, non-toxic, hypoallergenic, and biodegradable.
Additionally, it has a great price-quality ratio.
Last but not least, the product gets rid of any smell from the dirty dishes.
Although the first and second generations of this product had some issues with foaming in the dishwashers, the third generation’s formula (since March 2019) was modified to fix this.
2. Best for Hard Water: Frosch Baking Soda All-in-One Dishwasher Tablets
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The Frosch Baking Soda All-in-One Dishwasher Tablets are an eco-friendly and economical solution to hard water problems. Based on a natural formula and using baking soda as the main reactant, these tablets will easily get rid of the marks left behind by hard water. They are recommended for homes located in areas with hard water, families with children, families that run the dishwasher frequently, and the environmentally conscious.
One of the best features of this product is that the baking powder and salt in the formula prevent the build-up of limescale, both on the dishes and inside the dishwasher. This means that not only will your glasses come out spotless, but also that the lifespan of your dishwasher will be extended.
Another thing to love about Frosch is that all their products, including this one, are natural, vegan, biodegradable, and free from harmful chemicals and preservatives. This makes their dishwasher tablets great for families with children, individuals sensitive to chemicals, and the environment.
Another thing that makes this choice great for families with children is that the formula can get rid of the most stubborn, dried stains from eggs, meat, or oatmeal.
Additionally, the tablets work quite well at low-degree temperature wash cycles, so you won’t need to worry about the electricity bill even if you have to run the dishwasher frequently. As well as low energy consumption, these tablets do not require dishwasher additives, which makes them even more economical.
Some customers have found that the baking soda in the tablets can leave a gritty residue on the outside of the glasses.
Additionally, sometimes users may experience a faint residue of food smell.
3. Top Unscented Product: Ecover Automatic Dishwasher Soap Tablets, Zero
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The Ecover Automatic Dishwasher Soap Tablets are yet another effective, eco-friendly alternative. The Ecover tablets are unscented, which makes them ideal for families with children, as well as people with allergies, sinus problems, and similar flare-ups caused by strong detergent smells. It is recommended to use these tablets along with the Ecover Rinse Aid for the best, spotless results.
One of the best features of this product is its natural (plant-and-mineral-based), biodegradable, phosphate-free formula. Satisfied customers claim that the natural components do not come at the cost of efficiency, as the dishes come out clean. Additionally, the product has not been tested on animals.
Another reason to choose this product is that it is unscented. Many of the chemical detergents come with a strong fragrance which can irritate the sinuses and cause allergy flare-ups.
One other thing that’s great about these tablets is that they are quite affordable. Considering the eco-friendly, effective formula, this product is an inexpensive choice.
One of the issues that environmentalists have with this product is that the tablets are individually wrapped in plastic. Even though the plastic is recyclable, some may find it wasteful.
Another potential problem is that when dealing with hard water, users prefer to additionally use the rinse aid we recommended. This may lead to increased spending.
4. Best On A Budget: Cascade Complete Powder Dishwasher Detergent
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A powder is generally the cheapest option among dishwasher detergents. Our top budget recommendation is the Cascade Complete Powder Dishwasher Detergent for its great cleaning power that comes at a low price. The detergent also works well with dried food stains, which, paired with its cost, makes it a good choice for large families who have to frequently run the dishwasher.
One of the best features of Cascade is that it’s great for cleaning dried food stains, and it does not require pre-washing.
Satisfied customers have reported that it cleans glasses quite well, while some even use it to clean their windows, as it doesn’t leave any marks.
Another reason to choose this detergent is that it’s a cheap alternative for frequent users and can be bought in bulk.
This detergent does not always work great with hard water and may leave a filmy residue on glasses. In such a case, you would need to additionally purchase rinse aid.
Another issue with powder detergents is that they lose their potency when exposed to moisture. Make sure to keep this product away from water, in an airtight container to extend its shelf life.
Additionally, Cascade’s chemical formula makes it bad for the environment.
5. Best Gel: Palmolive Eco Gel Dishwasher Detergent
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Gel dishwasher detergents are a good choice if you want to control the amount of detergent you use, in the case of lightly soiled dishes or a smaller load. The best choice of dishwasher gel detergent is the Palmolive Eco Gel Dishwasher Detergent. This phosphate-free option has a fresh citrus smell and is good for cutting through grease.
One of the best features of this product is that you can adjust the amount of detergent you use depending on the size of the load or how soiled the dishes are. Additionally, the gel comes at a very low price. The price and the control you’ll have over how much of the gel you use make it a great low budget choice.
Another great feature of this product is that it’s phosphate-free, which makes it more eco-friendly than some other gel alternatives.
Lastly, it has a fresh citrus scent which gets rid of the smell of food.
This detergent does not work very well on heavily-soiled pans and pots.
Additionally, some customers have reported that this gel leaves a white film on the glasses.
Overall, this option is best used for not-so-dirty, lighter loads.
After looking at our top recommendations, let us circle back to which dishwasher detergent is the best option for you. Our best overall pick is the Puracy Natural Dishwasher Detergent Packs for their combination of efficiency and eco-friendliness. Although they are not the cheapest option, they are still quite affordable, while the natural ingredients make them an ideal choice for families with children, individuals with sensitivities to chemicals, and the environment. Similarly, the Frosch Baking Soda Dishwasher Tablets are eco-friendly and almost as effective, but they are a better option for hard water stains, thanks to the salt and baking soda in their formula.
The Ecover Automatic Dishwasher Soap Tablets are yet another plant-based product. They are the best choice for individuals with allergies, sinus problems, and other sensitivities to smell, as they are unscented. Additionally, the Ecover tablets are an inexpensive natural alternative, so they are also recommended to frequent dishwasher users. Our top budget pick is the Cascade Complete Powder Dishwasher Detergent. The low price of this product is undefeated, without compromising the cleanliness of the dishes. Still, this product is not the best option for hard water or the environment.
Lastly, the Palmolive Eco Gel Dishwasher Detergent is the ideal choice for anyone who runs the dishwasher with lighter loads or lightly soiled dishes. As you can use less of the product in such cases, this gel can be a good alternative in your kitchen to another, more potent detergent.
To help you in your decision, read on to our buying guide for the different factors you may consider when choosing the best dishwasher detergent for your kitchen.
As you’ve seen, we have covered both eco-friendly and more chemical alternatives in our list. Natural ingredient-based products are recommended not only for the environment and people with allergies, but for everyone. Toxic chemicals can seep into our skin upon contact with the product, while the harmful ingredients that end up in the water, cycle back into our food supply. Yet, they may not match the low price of chemical alternatives.
There are detergent-packs, tablets, powders, and gels available on the dishwasher detergent market. While powders are usually the cheapest, they may suffer from water damage, or leave some residue on the dishes. Tablets, similarly, may leave some grit on glasses. If you notice residue, you may add rinse aid (or vinegar) to the dishwasher when you operate it. Detergent packs or gels are usually the least likely to leave residue, although gels are not as potent as the other options.
Some people prefer a citrusy smell on their dishes, while others are sensitive to scent. Keep this in mind when choosing whether you prefer a scented or unscented detergent.
While most of our recommendations are affordable, their price does vary. If you are on a tight budget or use the dishwasher more frequently, you may prefer to opt for a more economical purchase.
Hopefully, you found our review and buying guide of the best dishwasher detergents useful for choosing the best detergent for your home. By now, you should have a clearer idea of the features you are looking for in your ideal purchase, and which one of our recommendations matches them best.
To learn more about any of the products, you can click on the title links of the reviews to check current prices, compare full feature lists, and read up on some more customer reviews.
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