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The 5 Best Dishwasher Detergents (2022 Review)

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 that’s right for you. The products included in this article are available at various retail stores, local home centers, and online retailers like Amazon.

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After washing your dishes overnight, you don’t 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.

Best Storage: Cascade Complete Dishwasher Pods

These dishwasher pods dissolve quickly to release grease-fighting power that can tackle 24-hour stuck-on grime without a prewash. They’re pre-measured and stored in a sealable tub for easy access and use.

Key Features

  • Tablet form
  • 78-pack
  • Fresh scent
  • Phosphate-free formula

What Customers Are Saying

Customers gave these dishwasher pods positive reviews for being simple to use, leaving a fresh scent, and working in a variety of dishwasher models and brands. However, some customers had issues getting the pods to dissolve properly, while others said that they contained too much soap.

Most Tablets: Finish Dishwasher Detergent Tabs

These 82 tablets each contain three chambers of detergent. The powder chamber scrubs grime, while the gel degreases dishes and the liquid shines them. Whether you just finished a meal or your dishes have been sitting for a day, the detergent in these pods can tackle any food residue.

Key Features

  • Tablet form
  • 82-pack
  • Three-part formula

What Customers Are Saying

Positive reviews pointed out that this dishwasher detergent was effective at leaving a variety of dishes sparkling clean. However, customers who left negative reviews for this product struggled to get all three chambers of the tablet to dissolve.

Most Bottles: Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Gel

This eco-friendly detergent is free of synthetic fragrance, chlorine, phosphate, and dye. It has a 65% bio-based formula that removes tough grease and grime stains from your dishes. If you have a large family, this is the pack for you, as it comes with six 42-ounce bottles of gel.

Key Features

  • Gel form
  • Six-pack of 42-ounce bottles
  • Lemon scent
  • Bio-based formula

What Customers Are Saying

Satisfied customers liked that the gel had a pleasant scent and worked in older dishwashers. They also appreciated how they could customize how much they used per load. However, negative reviews claimed that it sometimes left a cloudy residue or didn’t remove all of the grime.

Best Powder: Ecover Dishwasher Soap Powder

This powdered dishwasher soap is made from plant- and mineral-based ingredients to create a biodegradable formula that’s better for the environment. The detergent is also packaged in recycled cardboard to limit waste and free from phosphate to make waterways cleaner.

Key Features

  • Powder form
  • Eight-pack of 48-ounce containers
  • Citrus scent
  • Biodegradable formula

What Customers Are Saying

Customers who gave this product positive reviews said that it worked well on hard water stains and had a minimal smell. However, other customers were disappointed when it left a film instead of a sparkling shine on their dishes.

Largest Bottle: Palmolive Eco Dishwasher Detergent Gel

These 135 ounces of gel detergent across three bottles use a powerful formula to remove 24 hours’ worth of stuck-on stains. With a light lemon scent, the gel also fights odors to leave your dishware and kitchen smelling fresh.

Key Features

  • Gel form
  • Three-pack of 45-ounce bottles
  • Lemon scent
  • Phosphate-free formula

What Customers Are Saying

Happy customers liked that this dishwasher detergent was good for the environment and effective with hard water. They also mentioned how long the three large bottles lasted them. However, dissatisfied customers consistently said that it left residue on their dishes. A small group also mentioned the bottles being packaged poorly and leaking during transit.

Buyer’s Guide

From scent to amount, here are some of the top factors to consider as you’re searching for and purchasing dishwasher detergent.

Type

Dishwasher detergent comes in liquid, powder, gel, or tablet form. Tablets are pre-measured and ready to place in the detergent compartment of your dishwasher. While convenient, they’re more expensive than the other types. The remaining three each have their own benefit, with powder scrubbing, gel degreasing, and liquid shining your dishes.

Scent

Some detergents come with a fresh scent, such as lemon or citrus, to make your dishes smell clean when you pull them out. Others are unscented or chemical-smelling. If you’re sensitive to smells, opt for a detergent with a light scent or no scent.

Eco-Friendliness

Many dishwasher detergents are starting to use more eco-friendly ingredients. Using plant- or mineral-based formulas, they avoid phosphates, dyes, and other harsh chemicals. Some detergents are also packaged in recycled or recyclable materials, such as cardboard.

Amount

The number of tablets or the number of ounces of detergent you have determines how many times you can run your dishwasher. Most tablets come in packs between 50 and 100, while liquid, gel, and powder detergents typically come in bottles or packages that hold around 40 or 50 ounces. Sometimes multiple bottles are packaged together to give you more detergent at a more affordable per-ounce price.

Items You Shouldn’t Wash in a Dishwasher

We can all agree that washing dishes in a dishwasher is more convenient than doing it by hand, but there are certain items that aren’t safe for your dishwasher. Here are some items that you have to clean in your sink:

  • Nonstick pots and pans
  • China
  • Wooden dishes
  • Crystal dishes
  • Insulated glasses
  • Copper pots and pans
  • Aluminum cookware
  • Chef’s knives
  • Hand-painted dishes
  • Graters
  • Labeled or printed dishes

Frequently Asked Questions

How much dishwasher detergent do I need to use?

If you’re using tablets, use one per load. For gel, powder, or liquid detergent, measuring it can be more tricky. Typically, two or three tablespoons per load is sufficient, but you may need more or less depending on how many dishes you’re cleaning, what type of stains are on them, and how effective your dishwasher is.

Can I use dishwasher detergent to wash my dishes by hand?

No. Detergent doesn’t suds well, and it can irritate your skin. Conversely, you shouldn’t use dish soap as a replacement for detergent either, as it can overflow or flood your dishwasher.

Why aren’t my dishwasher pods dissolving fully?

There are several reasons your pods may not be dissolving, but two of the most common ones are that your dishwasher isn’t getting hot enough and that your detergent door is blocked. Both of these problems have easy fixes. You can change the wash cycle or rearrange the dishes, respectively.

Why Trust The This Old House Reviews Team

This Old House has empowered homeowners for more than four decades with top-notch home improvement content in the form of television programs, print media, and digital content on its website and social media platforms. The This Old House Reviews Team focuses on creating in-depth product and service review content to help inform your purchasing decision for just about any item or resource that you might need for your home. The This Old House Reviews Team has written over 1,000 reviews on products in the home space, from cordless drills to kitchen trash cans, lawn mowers, and dining room decorations.

We recommend products in each review using an intensive research process, spending hours combing through the best available models on Amazon. For a product to make our list of top picks, it must hold a solid sales record on Amazon, have consistently positive customer reviews, and offer unique features, among other factors. After narrowing down our list of recommendations, we conduct additional research and sometimes in-person testing to ensure that the products meet our standards. Once we conclude the research phase, we craft a well-rounded, user-friendly article that includes our recommended products and additional information to help homeowners like you make the right purchase.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.