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What’s The Best Dishwasher Detergent

Hard Water Vs Soft Water

GoPro Inside a Dishwasher

The relative hardness or softness of water is a measurement of the liquids concentration of various minerals and metals such as calcium chloride, calcium sulfate, magnesium chloride, and magnesium sulfate.

Water that contains elevated concentrations is considered hard, while water that has low concentrations is considered soft water.

Mrs Meyers Clean Day Automatic Dishwasher Pods

These dishwasher pods come in several scents, including lemon verbena, basil, lavender, honeysuckle, and geranium. Theyre made with essential oils, sodium percarbonate, and soil removing enzymes. They dont have any parabens or phthalates, chlorine, or artificial colors.

This product gets quite a few four and five-star ratings from Amazon customers. However, it also received some lower ratings.

People who gave this product lower ratings said the dishes didnt come out as clean as with other brands. One person claimed the product didnt dissolve.


  • No parabens, phthalates, chlorine, or artificial colors


Best Natural Dishwasher Detergent

I tested 7 brands of natural dishwasher detergent. I scored them on product scent, scent of the dishes after being washed, detergent residue left over after washing, whether there was any lingering taste from the detergent, cleaning power, cost, and other factors that came up during my review.

For each factor, I scored each product on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the best, and 5 being the worst. I then added the points together to give an objective comparison of performance between brands, and added my own subjective opinion based on dozens of hours of personally testing each product.

For a detailed overview of my methodology, Ive outlined it later in this post.

As you read through my tests, comparisons, notes, and reviews, however, remember that a lower numerical score is better than a higher score .

Here are the brands I purchased and tested:

Just 1 scoopful of Nellies helps the dishes get clean

Nellies is my hands down winner, which surprised me.

Weve been using a combination of Ecover and Nature Clean for the past year, and have been mostly happy with both. Although we use Nellies Laundry Soda for our laundry, for some reason Id never thought to try the dishwasher powder.

However, when I actually got down to it and ran an objective performance test to compare natural dishwasher detergent brands, Nellies blew all the others out of the water.

This stuff is GOOD!

Nellies did a great job at cleaning:

The dirty dishes used to test Nellies Dishwasher PowderBefore

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The Dirty Dishes Test

It probably goes without saying, but my main criteria for evaluating these dishwasher detergents and comparing them is performance.

Any by performance, I mean do they live up to all the buzz words you hear in dishwasher detergent commercials.

Are they grease fighting, powerful cleaning, stuck on food residue dissolving? Does it get rid of stains?

And do they leave my dishes spotless and my stainless steel cutlery sparkling clean, without pre-rinsing, even when cleaning big messes?

To test this, I did my best to run an apples to apples or food to food comparison, running a load through my dishwasher with each of the following food residues, without doing any pre-rinsing dishwashing, and without the help of rinse aid.

  • Caked on, dried pasta sauce smeared on a side plate. I then microwaved to ensure it was really baked on and didnt attempt to rinse.
  • Fork used to mash avocado on a bagel, with bits of avocado left on the fork and dried on .
  • Peanut butter and honey smeared and drizzled on a plate . Again, I didnt rinse.
  • Cream cheese on a knife that I didnt rinse.

Best Dishwasher Detergents by Cleaning Power

Nellies, Better Life, Ecover, Finish, and Method were the best dishwasher detergents in my cleaning performance test, and left my dishes spotless and free of stains.

Based on cleaning performance alone, Nellies would win best powder, Better Life best liquid, and Ecover, Finish Powerball, and Method would tie for best dishwashing detergent pods.

Types Of Dishwasher Detergents

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The three common types of dishwasher detergent are powder, gel, and pods. Lets take a look at how each formula works and its pros and cons.


Using powder dishwasher detergent requires careful measuring because the wrong amount can leave you with partially cleaned dishes or glassware and flatware streaked with residue. Its very easy to underfill or overfill your dispenser when using powder, and it doesnt take much to spill it. Powder is also a poor choice for heavy-duty cleaning of pots and pans. Its the least expensive dishwasher detergent option, though, and it is best for those with hard water since you can adjust the amount. Using more detergent helps prevent mineral deposits from heavy tap water.

Gel dishwasher detergent is easy to confuse with dishwashing liquid. Be careful when making your selection. Like powder, gel must be measured out. Thankfully, its thick consistency makes it tougher to spill. Unfortunately, gel formulas often dont perform as well as other detergent options. Gel doesnt always dissolve properly, which can leave residue. Gel formulations also lack the enzymes that eat away at stuck-on food particles. The upside to gel? Its less abrasive than powder on delicate items like glassware.

Pods and tablets

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Cascade Complete Dishwasher Pods Actionpacs Dishwasher Detergent Lemon Scent 78 Count

If getting the simplest possible clean for your familys dishes during a convenient, easy-to-use pod is on the highest of your priority list, Cascade Complete Dishwasher Pods is a top choice.

Why Cascade Complete Dishwasher Pods?

Quick, Mess-free process:

Cascade Complete Dishwasher Pods has several mighty cleaning ingredients all bound up in an easy-to-use pod. With Cascade CompleteDishwasher Pods, theres no worry about the additional processes which powders require such as measuring the amount pouring, & also reading the mess! Cascade pods contain a measured amount of detergent.

Powerful Cleaning:

This product has strong cleansing elements to remove oily, scorched, or sticky food parts. They pull them off from your dishes. This product uses Cascades most powerful detergent to give a glossy finish to your dishes, cutlery, and even your dishwasher machine.

Nature Friendly:

No pre-wash is needed even for dishes left unrinsed for a whole day.Thats why pod-based washing saves a large amount of water compared to powder one. Besides this, these pods are phosphate-free.

Aid to Deep Cleaning:

These pods contain chemical agents, degreasers, and rinse aides along with the detergent compound to increase deep cleaning in each round without the help of other products. These packs also wash away stubborn coffee and tea stains & return the sparkle of your favorite mugs. This product has won the great Housekeeping Seal of approval.


Does Dishwasher Detergent Expire

Most cleaning products have long shelf lives , but it’s important to know that they can lose their effectiveness over time. Dishwashing pods can last up to 18 months, so they’re generally safe to buy in bulk. But for other types of dishwasher detergents, Chiu says you’re better off replacing the bottle after about three months.

“Dishwasher detergents are made with enzymes and chemicals that help soften the water, break down grease and grime, and eliminate bacteria,” says Chiu. “These properties will not be as effective in cleaning and sanitizing your dishes if you use expired dishwasher detergent.”

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What Is The Best Dishwasher Detergent For Hard Water

When shopping for a dishwasher detergent for hard water, you should look for one that contains a sodium-based chemical as the main ingredient. This is because it will act as a water softener by creating a reaction with sodium ions that ultimately reduce buildup that lingers on dishes. Essentially, it turns hard water soft.

From the detergents I listed, Nellies Dishwasher Powder is the best for hard water because sodium chloride and sodium carbonate are the two first ingredients in it.

How Dishwashing Detergents Work

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But first, let’s discuss a few basics about dishwashing detergent. The American Cleaning Institute explains that dishwasher detergents are made of surfactants, builders, corrosion inhibitors, chlorine compounds and perfumes.

“Surfactants,” explains Cascade senior scientist Morgan Eberhard, “remove grease at the molecular level by attaching part of themselves to water molecules and part of themselves to food soils, lifting the grease off your dishes.”

The builders or chelants prevent spots and film on dishes, while corrosion inhibitors prevent materials like metals from, well, corrosion. Chlorine compounds aid in sanitizing dishes and removing things like coffee and tea stains. All of these are what make dishwasher detergent so different from your standard dish soap. If you’ve ever used dish soap in your dishwasher in a pinch, you know it produces way too many suds that overflow and make a huge mess. But those suds also “smother” the water required to clean the dishes inside.

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Seventh Generation Free & Clear Dishwasher Detergent Pods

The Seventh Generation Free & Clear Dishwasher Detergent Pods offer a USDA-approved plant-based formula that effectively cleans food residue off of dishes. On the whole, this pod works just as well as other all-powder products. We like that the smell when opening the bag is pretty mild as far as dishwasher detergents go.

We found this pod did not work quite as effectively, specifically on dried condiments and sauces. It also does not contain any additional rinse aids or degreasers, so heavily soiled dishes will need a rinse before loading them into the dishwasher. However, if using a more environmentally friendly detergent is important to you, then this is a great pod to have around.

The Cascade Complete ActionPacs is a high-quality option for spot-free dishes. The dissolvable pack is easy to use, and we found that it deployed consistently and dissolved completely each time. These pods deliver a high-quality clean, typically at a below-average price per pod. The detergent formula is effective, and the dual-action gels complement the powder with a water softener and rinse aid.

Why Switch To Natural Dishwasher Detergents

About a year ago, my 2-year-old took a sip from her straw bottle and informed me her water was yucky. This was the first indication I needed to up my dishwasher detergent game.

Honestly, I suspected this moment was coming.

For a few weeks in a row, Id been pulling her water bottle out of the dishwasher each morning, only to discover it stank like fragrance and chemicals.

Ive since switched her to a mix of stainless steel straw bottles and glass, which helps a lot. But even the stainless steel takes on some of the dishwasher detergent smell and taste when I use mainstream dishwasher soap brands.

And chemical taste isnt exactly what I like to hear in connection with my daughters dishes, bottles, spoons, sippy cups, or even her laundry, if you know what I mean?

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The 5 Best Dishwasher Detergents

Dishwasher detergents come in powder, gel, liquid, and tablet forms, but they all strive to leave your dishware looking clean and fresh. In this review, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the best dishwasher detergents on Amazon to help you find the product thats right for you. The products included in this article are available at various retail stores, local home centers, and online retailers like Amazon.

After washing your dishes overnight, you dont want to open your dishwasher the next morning to see that your dishes are still partially dirty. To prevent washing them by hand or running them through another cycle, find an effective detergent. To help you sort through the options, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the best dishwasher detergents on Amazon. Here are our top five recommendations.

Ingredients That Youll Want To Avoid

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I already touched a bit on this a bit, but there are a few more ingredients you should try to avoid when deciding on a detergent. These ingredients might help with the overall washing process, but they tend to do more harm than good in terms of health and environmental impact.


Phthalates are common in many home and personal products, including cosmetics, plastic products, and detergents. These chemicals are typically used for the softening of plastic to make it more pliable, but in detergents, they are used as an artificial fragrance.

Phthalates have been linked with health problems like endocrine disruption, cancer, and reproductive issues.


Commercial use of polyacrylates is universal it can be found in commercial and residential-grade dishwashing detergents. says that it acts by combining with dissolved substances in water and binding them together, allowing detergent surfactants to act effectively.

However, it has the potential to cause harm when not handled properly. Although a lot of sources deem it as non-toxic, it can cause irritation when coming in contact with the eyes or skin.

Ingesting it can cause severe sickness and even be fatal if swallowed in large quantities. If you have little kids roaming around the house, it is best to avoid a product that contains polyacrylates of any kind.


It also has some adverse environmental effects and is harmful to marine organisms that are exposed to it.


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Is Liquid Powder Or Pods Best For Your Dishwasher

Whats best for your dishwasher can vary depending on what youre looking for. If your goal is to completely avoid packaging, tablets and powders may be your best bet.

However, if you want to ensure less of a mess, pods may be a better choice. Gel and tab detergents are good options for those who want the most concentrated cleaning power.

How To Use A Dishwasher Detergent

Despite the one you choose, for it to work excellently, you have to scrape the substantial leftovers from the dishes before loading them into the dishwasher to avoid the dishes coming out cloudy and greasy.

Some detergents dont need you to pre-rinse while some do in most cases. Its worthy to note also that not all items can be washed in a dishwasher.

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Choosing The Best Dishwasher Detergent

Are you stressed out by finding the perfect dishwasher detergent? When considering the purchase of dishwasher detergent in general, have you ever felt uncertain about what model to select?

You dont have to worry about being alone sometimes just knowing that you arent. The perfect dishwasher detergent can be hard to find for many people. That is why were here to assist!

This page is obviously regarding Cheap dishwasher detergent Reviews which is why youve come here. Before committing, locate a source with a variety of options to make an informed decision.

Obtaining information can be done in several ways using online buying guides, independent product reviews you find across the internet, word-of-mouth recommendations, forums where users share their experiences, and even YouTube channels. It is only through thorough research that one can come across the best products.

Correct? Does it always seem too hard to accomplish that? For that reason, we have gathered a list of the top dishwasher detergent products on the market, for your convenience.

Our list was compiled based on what led us to do so? How did we come up with this guide?

We first gathered product information from reliable sources using the algorithms we had created.

Various methods for verification of collected data were used, including artificial intelligence and big data sets.

Our products arent chosen randomly. We take several factors into consideration before putting together a list. Among them are:

Here Are Our Top 8 Picks For Best Dishwasher Detergent:

Cleaning Your Dishwasher Interior

After testing different dishwasher soaps to find and compare the best dishwasher detergent in 2022 that will give your dishes a sparkly clean wash thats also great value for your money, weve taken time to also show you the important factors you need to consider in the purchase of dishwasher detergents. This top list has been carefully researched and reviewed so you will find it well researched and in accordance with the latest trends.

Are you looking for a detergent that would give you the value for your money while washing your dishes? Cascade Platinum Actionpacs would be your best bet. The platinum actionpacs comes with a 15x film fighting power to get your dishes sparkling clean as nothing is more refreshing as entering a kitchen with its plates twinkling like stars. This makes for a happy home.

The pacs in the cascade platinum is formulated with Dawn which is a well-known grease fighting agent, in turn making your dishes grease free and clean. A shine shield is also included in the ingredients of the Actionpacs, which is an excellent aid that ensures the removal of any so the dishes can come out crystal clear after washing and free from clouding, leftover food grime and grease or food particles.

The cleaning power contained in one cascade platinum package has been found out to be equal to 6 packs of another detergent with the national bargain brand.

How to use

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Grab Green Natural Automatic Dishwashing Detergent Powder

This dishwashing detergent powder doesnt have any parabens, phosphate, chlorine, dyes, or fragrances. Despite that, its still very effective at cleaning dishes with hard water because it has several sodium-based ingredients.

The manufacturer suggests that people with hard water use an entire scoop of the detergent instead of just a half-cup scoop.

Its also a budget-friendly choice because theres enough detergent in one bag for 80 cycles.

People who gave this product positive reviews said that it cleaned all their dishes, including their tea and coffee mugs. Another customer said they didnt have to use as much of the Grab Green Powder as they did of the previous powder they had been using.

People who gave the product negative reviews said that it left a chalky residue or powdery film, and another person claimed it ruined their dishes, pots, and silverware when they used it with hard water.


  • It doesnt contain any parabens, phosphates, chlorine, dyes, or fragrances.
  • It still cleans dishes with hard water effectively because it has several sodium-based ingredients.
  • Theres enough detergent in one bag for 80 cycles.
  • One person claimed it cleaned all their dishes, including tea and coffee mugs.
  • Another said they didnt have to use as much of this product as they did their previous product.


  • Some people said it left a powdery residue or chalky film.
  • Another person said it ruined their dishes, pots, and silverware when they used it with hard water.

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