The 6 Best Dishwasher Detergents

Choose a Cleanser Based on Convenience, Scent, or Environmental Standards

Hands washing a plate
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Regular dish soap and dish detergent made specifically for your dishwasher can make all the difference in how effectively your dishes get cleaned. For example, dish soap shouldn't be used in the dishwasher, because it tends to create a large amount of foamy suds, which can then overflow onto...MORE the floor, wasting your money, time, and water. While dish soap works well for cleaning dishes in the sink, it doesn't work well for cleaning the dishwasher itself.

Dish detergent is created with a specific formula that results in no suds, sparkling dishes, and a great dishwasher cycle. While you can make your own dishwasher detergent on a budget, there are several top brands that have created a formula that fits everyone. Whether you are eco-friendly, looking for a wonderful scent, or simply wanting a convenient cleansing agent, the following dishwasher detergents are worth looking into.

  • Cascade Complete Dishwasher Detergent

    Best Overall: Cascade Complete All-In-One Packs

    As the rules on allowing phosphates in dishwater change, it's helpful to know that Cascade has a Complete All-In-One Pack that is entirely phosphate free and is still highly effective. This dishwasher detergent powers away 48-hour food that gets stuck, fights grease and residue and leaves a brilliant shine with a fresh scent.

    Cascade Complete Packs are gel based and easy to use. Simply grab one gel pack and toss it into the designated detergent area on your dishwasher. It's important to be careful when using this product, as using gel packs has its own set of rules when it comes to water. For example, if you reach into the container of gel packs with wet hands, you run the risk of accidentally dissolving some of your gel packs. It's encouraged to use only dry hands to retrieve the gel packs.

  • Quantum Finish Powerball

    Best Powder Tab: Finish Quantum

    Finish Quantum Tabs is a powder-based tab made up of three different parts: scrubbing microbeads, bleach particles, and a rinse agent. Scrubbing microbeads are designed to soften burnt-on food particles from your dishes, while the bleach particles attack tough stains like coffee and tea. Finally, the rinse agent designed to leave your dishes sparkling and shiny.

    Finish Quantum Tabs are sold in several different sized packages with one Finish Tab equalling one load of dishes in the dishwasher. The downside to this product is the price, as it's is more expensive per load than many other powder and gel packs. However, it's likely that you won't need an additional rinse agent since Finish Quantum has one built right in.

    With over six different brands from Finish, you will be able to find a cleanser that attacks areas that meet your specific needs. This includes grease, leftover residue, glass protection, water stains, and more.

  • Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Packs

    Best Eco Friendly: Seventh Generation Auto Dish Packs

    For a long time, Seventh Generation has been making real products that work, while reducing the negative impact on our planet and its environment. Seventh Generation Auto Dish Packs are no different, and they do not disappoint.

    Seventh Generation Free and Clear dish packs are scent and dye free, and they come in packs of 20 loads. These dish packs use a premium enzyme system to remove dirt and residue without phosphates, chlorine, or synthetic fragrances. The packs also use a large amount of plant-based formula to leave dishes streak free.

    Even people using hard water are surprised by how effective these dish packs are at cleaning without leaving a film on dishes. Although it can be a little more difficult to find locally, it's readily available online.

  • Smarty Dish Dishwasher Detergent Packs

    Best Eco Friendly: Method Smarty Dish Tabs

    Method Smarty Dish Tabs are available in 20 or 45 individual packs that are naturally derived. The biodegradable product is never tested on animals, uses safe and green products, and dedicates itself to the environment. The Go Naked variety is dye and scent free, while the Pink Grapefruit comes in a pink dye and is scented lightly. 

    Each dish tab packs a powerful punch, despite the fact that they are phosphate and bleach free, and has a triple-action cleaning powder that dissolves fast. Stains are targeted through a mineral based power green technology that leaves dishes spotless. This brand also uses super compact packaging to reduce waste and trash.

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  • Cascade Complete Dishwasher Detergent

    Best Powder: Cascade Complete

    If you like a good and old-fashioned dishwasher detergent powder, Cascade Complete is the way to go. Many people prefer powder so that they can control the amount of soap, while others appreciate the gentle scrubbing action that powder puts on their dishes and in their dishwasher.

    Most of these powder dishwasher detergent formulas can be found phosphate free, and the added boost of Dawn dish soap helps to cut down on grease and tough dirt. Try the Cascade Lemon Scent powder for gloriously shiny dishes.

  • Best Deep Clean: Finish Quantum 68ct Dishwasher Detergent Tabs

    If you typically wash heavily soiled items like, pots and pans you might want to look for a formula that packs a big punch. This bestseller from Amazon "scrubs", degreases and shines all your dishes leaving you with like new china. The packs are formulated with three different formulas — a powder scrubs, a gel degreaser and then a liquid that dries and shines everything in the dishwasher. 

    Reviewer's love how these clean with one even mentioning that a service technician mentioned this formula to them. Some comment the scent can be overpowering in the box but it doesn't linger on clean dishes.