The 5 Best Dishwasher Detergents You Should Be Using

Did you know that dishwashers are among the least-used appliances in American homes?

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That’s a real shame because with the best dishwasher detergents, using a dishwasher can save a lot of time. Instead of scrubbing plates all evening after dinner, you can work on a hobby instead. Or you can spend that time with your family or loved ones.

But some people feel that their dishwasher doesn’t get the dishes clean as it should. Sometimes this is because of an old or damaged dishwasher, but often it’s the detergents to blame. If you’re using a poor-quality detergent, you could end up spending more time getting dishes clean after they’ve been through the dishwasher.

Fortunately, it’s not difficult to find high-quality dishwasher detergents for your household. Here we’ve gathered some of the best dishwasher detergents for 2021. Keep reading to find out what they are now.

Types of Dishwasher Detergents

Before you go crawling through various dishwasher detergent reviews, it’s helpful to know about the different types of detergents out there. In a nutshell, they are gels, powders, and single-dose units.

Gel detergents are typically the least expensive option, often adding up to just 5-11 cents per load. They’re the kind you see in big plastic bottles in the cleaning section at the store. They do a decent job at getting things clean, but they’re less powerful than single-dose units.

Powders come in boxes instead of bottles. They can be more effective (and somewhat more expensive) than gel detergents, but even they aren’t as effective as single-dose units often are. Still, if you find a good one it can work wonders for your household.

Last, single-dose units are the trendiest (and most expensive) option for getting your dishes clean. Also known as packs and tablets, these are individual units that contain a pre-measured amount of detergent. They dissolve in the dishwasher to release the powerful detergent.

Best Dishwasher Detergents

Single-dose units usually seem to be most effective, and that’s what we’ll be focusing on here. However, don’t be afraid to try other types of detergents, as you may find another kind you like better.

Don’t forget that your particular dishwasher can play a big role in how often dishes come out clean. The best commercial under bench dishwashers are ideal for using with these highly-rated detergents.

Cascade Platinum ActionPacs With Dawn

Cascade is a popular brand, and you’ve most likely seen it around your local supermarket. This reputation may be well-deserved, as their ActionPacs receive the number-one spot on our list.

Cascade Platinum ActionPacs With Dawn have powerful cleaning capabilities. They leave dishes sparkling, without any water spots that can sometimes occur with other detergents.

If you look at your local store’s dishwasher detergent selection, you’ll find that Cascade makes detergents in gel and powdered form as well. However, none of them quite come close to their ActionPacs with Dawn.

Cascade Free & Clear ActionPacs

Cascade Platinum ActionPacs may get the best quality rating, but some people are wary of the strong chemicals used in popular detergents. If you have young children or family members who already have poor health, this is especially concerning.

Fortunately, Cascade is back with a more health-conscious option: Free & Clear ActionPacs.

These single-dose units are manufactured without nasty chlorine bleach, dyes, or heavy perfumes. Thankfully, it seems these additives aren’t typically necessary for getting the job done, as Free & Clear ActionPacs have excellent ratings. For families that like to avoid chemicals as often as possible, this could be the best choice.

Finish Powerball Quantum

Powerball by Finish is another popular brand you’re likely to find at the supermarket. Unlike Cascade, however, not all of their products are particularly effective. In fact, after testing several of their products, this is the only one recommended by Consumer Reports.

Don’t let that cloud your opinion of the Powerball Quantum tablets, though. They’re surprisingly effective, and they’re even resistant to water spots. It’s a good product to try alongside some of the others on this list, in case it works best for your particular dishwasher.

Seventh Generation Ultra Power Plus Packs

Although not nearly as well-known as Cascade or Finish, Seventh Generation has developed an impressive reputation for high-quality products without chemicals. Their detergent packs are free of dyes, fragrances, and chlorine bleach.

Although they work well for cleaning dishes while preventing water spots or film, they may struggle with baked-on food. You might have better luck with these if you carefully scrape everything off your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.

Ecover Dishwasher Tablets

This is another natural dishwasher detergent for health-conscious families. Not only are they free of dyes, chlorine, and fragrances, but they’re also biodegradable, with plant- and mineral-based ingredients.

You might find Ecover tablets to be slightly less effective than some of the other options on this list. However, they’re one of the most healthy and planet-friendly options out there.

Making Your Choice

Keep in mind that choosing the best dishwasher detergents isn’t just about getting dishes clean. If you have a family or children, they’re going to be eating from the dishes you clean in the dishwasher. So the detergent you use is a choice you’re making for your family.

Hopefully, this list of top dishwasher detergents has been helpful to you. For more ideas about optimizing your home, keep reading in our Home Improvement section.