The 9 Best Dishwasher Cleaners of 2021

Your dishwasher cleans your dishes, but what cleans your dishwasher?

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As the only EPA-registered cleaner and disinfectant, it works double-time to clean while killing bacteria and viruses.
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Best for Hard Water:
XROM Dishwasher Pro at Amazon
The safe yet powerful formula gets rid of hard water stains, grease, food residue, and unpleasant odors.
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Use this liquid formula once a month to remove limescale from your dishwasher and prevent it from returning.
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These eco-friendly tablets remove soap and food residues while eliminating unpleasant smells.
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You can use these tablets on an empty dishwasher cycle or run one through with a load of dishes.
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These single-use pods remove grease, limescale, mineral deposits, food residue, and bad odors.
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Get a squeaky-clean, disinfected dishwasher from this liquid cleaner, which leaves behind a refreshing citrus scent.
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You'll be left with an ultra-clean dishwasher and an invigorating lemon fragrance.
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The odor-eliminating formula dissolves smelly residues in the door gaskets of your dishwasher.
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When you deep clean your kitchen, you probably aren't thinking about how to get your dishwasher clean—but you should be. Grease, grime, bits of food, and hard water residue build up over time. This can lead to unpleasant odors and clogging, which might make your dishwasher run less efficiently. The good news is that, with the right product, it's actually really easy to keep it clean, fresh, and in tip-top shape.

Here are the best dishwasher cleaners available today.

Best Overall: Summit Brands Glisten Dishwasher Magic Machine Cleaner

Glisten Dishwasher Cleaner & Disinfectant

Glisten Dishwasher Magic is a tried-and-true cleaner and disinfectant. The powerful liquid formula gets rid of grease, breaks down food remnants, and removes soap residue, hard water, and rust. Additionally, it dissolves all buildup clogging the jets, pipes, and tubes, so your dishwasher runs as efficiently as possible.

But that's not all. This EPA-registered solution disinfects your appliance, killing bacteria, salmonella, and E-coli to make sure they don't touch your clean dishes. Glisten ensures a clean, fresh dishwasher for 30 days, so you'll get the best results with monthly use.

Best for Hard Water: XROM Dishwasher Pro Cleaner Tablets

 XROM High Efficiency Natural Dishwasher Cleaner

XROM is great to have on hand if you have hard water. These three-in-one tablets clean, degrease, and descale your dishwasher in one cycle. A single use effectively dissolves and removes limescale while getting rid of detergent buildup, hard water stains, and odors.

You can count on XROM to clean every internal part of your appliance, including the pump, filter, and spray arm. You can use this cleaner during its own cleaning cycle or just add it to a full load of dishes to cut down on the number of times you're running your appliances.

Best for Limescale: Finish Dual Action Dishwasher Cleaner

 Finish Dual Action Dishwasher Cleaner

If you're looking to remove and prevent limescale, we suggest Finish Dishwasher Cleaner. It breaks down and effectively dissolves limescale, grease accumulation, and detergent buildup while cleaning all interior components of your dishwasher.

Using it once a month will help you keep limescale at bay and ensure your appliance remains clean and smelling fresh. This formula should be used in an otherwise empty dishwasher, and one bottle is used per cycle.

Best Eco-Friendly: Eco-Gals Eco Scrubz Eco-Friendly Dishwasher Cleaner

Eco-Gals Eco Scrubz Deep Dishwasher Machine Cleaner Unscented

If you prefer green cleaning products, Eco-Galz Eco Scrubz is an excellent choice. These environmentally-friendly tablets have a special foaming formula that cleans your dishwasher and eliminates funky smells without any strong fragrances.

Baking soda and natural disinfecting ingredients remove grime, soap residue, odor-causing food remnants, and hard water buildup while freshening up all internal components. Just place a tablet in your empty dishwasher and run a cleaning cycle—it's as easy as that!

Best Tablets: Affresh Dishwasher Cleaner Tablets

Affresh Dishwasher Cleaner, 6 Tablet

Affresh is formulated to break down limescale and mineral buildup in stainless steel and plastic-tub dishwashers. The EPA recognizes the septic-approved tablets as safe for both your home and the environment.

You can use Affresh to clean your dishwasher on an empty cycle or run a tablet through with a full load to descale your dishes and glasses. Either way, you can expect a sparkly clean finish.

Best Pods: Cascade Platinum Dishwasher Cleaner Pods

Cascade dishwasher cleaner

Cascade Platinum Dishwasher Cleaner comes in single-use pods. Just toss one into your empty dishwasher and run a cleaning cycle. When you open it back up, the walls, pipes, and spray arm will be free of limescale, grease, mineral deposits, and food residues.

Not only that, but you can count on a fresh-smelling dishwasher. For best results, run a pod through once a month to keep odors at bay and maintain an ultra-clean dishwasher.

Best Liquid: Oh Yuk Dishwasher Cleaner

Oh Yuk Dishwasher Cleaner and Descaler For All Brands and Models

The best liquid dishwasher cleaner is Oh Yuk. This dishwasher cleaner is formulated to keep your appliance clean and smelling fresh. It also works to remove contaminants, bacteria, and odor-causing residues.

With a squeaky-clean, disinfected dishwasher, you can count on it to safely clean your dishes. Plus, it'll run more efficiently and help prevent issues that require repairs. Oh Yuk also has a yummy citrus scent that'll enhance the ambiance of your entire kitchen. Each bottle has enough cleaner for four wash cycles.

Best for Smell: Plink Washer & Dishwasher Freshener & Cleaner Tabs

 Plink-9024 Summit Brands Washer and Dishwasher Freshener Cleaner

Speaking of refreshing scents, Plink tabs are made to clean your dishwasher while working double-time to deodorize it. The innovative formula contains powerful effervescent enzymes that create a powerful fizz to break down grease, food, and other buildup.

This formula is septic-safe and cleanses every internal component without any bleach or phosphates. Just place a tablet in your empty appliance and run it on a hot-water cycle. You'll be left with a super-clean dishwasher and an invigorating lemon fragrance in your kitchen. You can use the same tablets in your washing machine if that appliance needs a deep clean as well!

Best Deodorizer: Lemi Shine Dishwasher Cleaner With Powerful Citric Extracts

Lemi Shine Dishwasher Cleaner

If you want to get serious about deodorizing your dishwasher, we recommend Lemi Shine. It's formulated to clean the machine that cleans your dishes, but its work doesn't end there. The pods dissolve odor-causing residues, bacteria, and other buildup on the walls and door gaskets.

This green product is safe and effective with a vibrant—but not overpowering—lemon scent. Your dishwasher will be clean and sanitized, and your entire kitchen will smell fresh as can be.

Final Verdict

Glisten Dishwasher Magic Machine Cleaner (available at Amazon) is the best dishwasher cleaner overall. We appreciate that it's an EPA-registered product that works to cleanse and sanitize the interiors of your appliance. However, if you're looking for a green cleaning solution, we suggest Eco-Gals Eco Scrubz Dishwasher Cleaner (available at Amazon). The septic-friendly formula removes food buildup and detergent residues while eliminating unpleasant smells.

Why Trust The Spruce?

This guide was written by Theresa Holland, a professional writer with significant experience researching, reviewing, and writing about home goods, organization materials, and cleaning products. She also contributes regularly to Byrdie and MyDomaine.

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