Which detergent cleans best in the dishwasher? | Tech Reddy


A woman loading a dishwasher

A woman loading a dishwasher

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CONTENTS

  1. On this page

    • Dishwashers, explained

    • Detergent ingredients

    • When to use each detergent

After cooking and enjoying a meal with your loved ones, staring at the dishes in the sink at the end of the night takes away some of your joy. That’s why we value our dishwashers: with the push of a button, you can easily clean all those dishes, wine glasses and (some) pans again.

This process goes even smoother if you use the right detergent, which usually comes in tablet, powder, or liquid form. But which one is the best? We called in a few cleaning and appliance experts to explain more about these cleaner varieties and to determine if one of them outshines the rest.

Related: The Best Way to Load and Use Your Dishwasher

Dishwashers, explained

There are three different types of dishwasher detergents available on the market: tablets, powders, and liquids. Your choice will depend on budget, convenience and personal values, says Jessica Petrino, an educator and technology expert at AJ Madison.

Trying to decide between dishwashing tablets, powder or liquid?

Trying to decide between dishwashing tablets, powder or liquid?

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Tablets

If you’re looking for a convenient and mess-free detergent, tablets are a safe choice. These are pre-measured with cleaning ingredients, so you can easily add them to your dishwasher before starting the cycle without spilling, says Molly Maid, Neighborly President Vera Peterson. According to the Association for Ethical Consumer Research, tablets are also compact, meaning less carbon emissions from shipping them.

Within the category, you’ll often find powders called liquitabs. These are also compact and small enough to store under your sink or other safe area in your kitchen. Importing this smaller iteration of detergents reduces their carbon footprint, both tablets and liquitabs have a lot of packaging, which isn’t ideal from an environmental perspective. They are also more expensive than other detergents.

Pour the washing powder into the dishwasher

Pour the washing powder into the dishwasher

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Powder

Some people prefer the powder because it is more sustainable and environmentally friendly thanks to its recyclable cardboard packaging. It’s also a cheaper buy. However, the Association for Ethical Consumer Research notes that because powders are bulkier than pills, transport emissions may be higher. Plus, it’s easy to use (and therefore wasteful) because it’s not pre-measured.

Pour dishwashing liquid into the dishwasher

Pour dishwashing liquid into the dishwasher

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Liquid

You’ll often find that liquid detergents are the least expensive option of the three varieties, says Peterson. There are some environmental downsides: they are often packaged in large, bulky plastic bottles, which can lead to more waste if not handled properly. These bottles are the heaviest of all detergents because they are mostly water; This leads to increased transportation emissions and reduced storage space in your cleaning closet, according to the Association for Ethical Consumer Research.

Detergent ingredients

The components of each detergent allow you to safely and effectively remove the toughest dirt from your dishes. “In terms of active ingredients, most detergents use a combination of grease-cutting bleach, enzymes, oxy bleach, and rinse aid to keep dishes clean, clear, and shiny,” says Petrino.

Tablets

Tablets usually come in two parts: one for the enzyme-based detergent and one for the bleaching agent. Petrino likes Miele’s dual-strip cleaning detergent (“This AJ Madison is a favorite among our team members online,” he says), and the company says, “The powder and (dry) tabs dissolve well in water and are easy to carry throughout the cycle.” In some cases, the pills will have other ingredients, such as a rinse aid or additional enzymes.

Powder

Tablet and powder detergents are most similar in terms of ingredients: “Powder and powder-based detergents often contain a bleach-type agent and enzymes,” says Petrino. It notes that bleach fights stains and that enzymes break down proteins and solids.

Liquid

Liquid formulas, on the other hand, usually do not contain bleaching agents. These cleansers are mostly loaded with enzymes. “Liquid bleach kills enzymes when mixed (just like laundry detergents),” says Petrino.

When to use each detergent

Even if these are detergents do it they have their differences, and there is no clear winner. The only way to tell which one will work best in your machine is to see how it reacts to your water, says Ron Shimek, president of Neighborly’s Mr. Appliance. “First of all, you need to check the water or [check] To find out if your city report is hard or soft,” he says. “Secondly, you should [determine] The temperature of the water entering your dishwasher.”

While some high-end dishwashers have water softeners, a tank that adds dishwasher salts that neutralize the hardness of the water, Petrino says it’s best to choose the right detergent for the water type and temperature. And always read the detergent label for the brand’s advice on how to get the most effective results.

Powder

Shimek explains that powder detergents work best with hard water. Because these detergents do not dissolve well in cold water, we recommend using this variety only at hot temperatures.

Liquid

Liquid detergents work best with soft water. This variety is compatible with hot or cold water, Shimek explains.

Tablets

Tablets and powders come in powder, liquid, or hybrid form, depending on the brand — so you’ll want to better understand your water before choosing an iteration. “Once you know whether a powder or liquid works best for you, you can think about which type of powder to use [is better,]” says Shimek.



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