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Table of Contents

Breaking Down Dishwasher Detergents

Liquid or Gel Dishwasher Detergents

Picking the Right Dishwasher Detergent

How to Use Dishwasher Detergents Correctly

Understanding Dishwasher Detergent Ingredients

Keeping Your Dishwasher in Top Shape

Schedule your dishwasher maintenance now!

Call (213) 596-2538
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Finding the Best Dishwasher Detergent: What You Need to Know

9 min readUpdated Mar. 13, 2024Lyle WeischwillDishwasher
Image of woman finding the best dishwasher detergent

Are you trying to figure out the best kind of dishwasher detergent to use? You've come to the right spot. In this article, we'll break down everything you need to know about dishwasher detergents, from the various types available to how to pick the right one for your needs.

We'll also go over how to use dishwasher detergents properly, and highlight some common ingredients that you'll find in these products. On top of that, we'll give you some handy tips on how to keep your dishwasher running smoothly for optimal cleaning results.


  • There are 4 different types of dishwasher detergents—liquid, tablets, pods and powder.
  • Choosing the right type of dishwasher detergent will help your dishwasher clean dishes better.
  • Use the type of dishwasher that you choose correctly so your dishes will come out sparkling clean.

At Sears Home Services, we understand the importance of a clean and efficient dishwasher, and that's why we offer this expert advice for a variety of dishwasher detergents designed to deliver outstanding results. So let's dive in and find the best dishwasher detergent for you!

Breaking Down Dishwasher Detergents

When it comes to picking the best dishwasher detergent, you've got several types to choose from: liquid, tablet, pod, and powder. Each type of detergent has its own unique features and benefits, so let's take a closer look at how they work and the pros and cons of each.

Liquid or Gel Dishwasher Detergents

Liquid and gel dishwasher detergents are quite popular thanks to their convenience. They come in a liquid form that's easy to pour into your dishwasher's detergent dispenser. They're known for their ability to dissolve quickly and provide effective cleaning power. Plus, they're versatile and can be used for a variety of dishwasher cycles and water hardness levels. However, one downside of liquid detergents is that they can sometimes leave behind residue on dishes if not properly measured or if the dishwasher's performance is compromised.

Dishwasher Detergent Tablets

Tablet dishwasher detergents are another option that offer convenience and precise dosage for some dishwashers. These compact tablets contain a pre-measured amount of detergent, ensuring consistent cleaning results. The tablets often come with multiple compartments that include ingredients like bleach or rinse aid for enhanced performance. Tablet detergents are easy to use; just place them in the detergent dispenser or directly in the dishwasher tub. However, they might not be suitable for all dishwasher models, and some users have reported issues with tablets not dissolving completely.

Dishwasher Detergent Pods

Using dishwasher detergent pods comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Pods are pre-measured, which means you don't have to measure out liquid or powder detergent each time you run a dishwasher cycle. This makes them easy and quick to use. On the other hand, pods can be more expensive per wash than their liquid or powder counterparts. Over time, this cost difference can add up. Also, the colorful and small size of detergent pods can pose a poisoning risk to small children and pets if they are mistaken for candy or toys.

Powder Dishwasher Detergents

Powder dishwasher detergents have been a trusted choice for many years. They typically come in a granulated form and are known for their strong cleaning power. Powder detergents are effective in removing tough stains and grease, and they are often more affordable compared to other types. However, using powder detergents may require pre-rinsing dishes and measuring the right amount of detergent for each load. Also, powder detergents may leave residue or white spots on glassware if not rinsed properly.

In conclusion, the best type of dishwasher detergent depends on your specific needs and preferences. Liquid detergents offer convenience, tablet detergents provide precise dosage, and powder detergents offer powerful cleaning. Consider factors such as dishwasher compatibility, water hardness, and desired cleaning results when choosing the right detergent for your dishwasher.

Picking the Right Dishwasher Detergent

If you want your dishes to come out sparkling clean, choosing the right dishwasher detergent is essential. With so many options available on the market, it can be overwhelming to figure out which one is the best for your needs.

Look for a detergent that has powerful cleaning agents that can tackle tough stains and remove stuck-on food particles. Read customer reviews and check for product certifications to give you an idea of how well a detergent performs in this regard.

Another important consideration is whether the dishwasher detergent is compatible with your specific dishwasher model. While most detergents are designed to work with a wide range of dishwashers, it's still a good idea to check the manufacturer's recommendations to ensure compatibility. Using a detergent that isn't suitable for your dishwasher model could result in subpar cleaning performance or even damage to the appliance.

Remember, choosing the right dishwasher detergent is crucial for achieving spotless dishes and prolonging the lifespan of your dishwasher. Consider the effectiveness in removing grease and food residue, as well as compatibility with your dishwasher model, to make an informed decision. Select the type of dishwasher detergent that will fit the water conditions in your home and the type of dishwasher that you have

How to Use Dishwasher Detergents Correctly

When it comes to achieving spotless dishes, using dishwasher detergents correctly is crucial. Here are some dos and don'ts to keep in mind.


  • Read the manufacturer's instructions: Different dishwasher detergents may have specific usage instructions, so it's important to read and follow them carefully.
  • Use the correct amount: Using too much detergent can leave residue on your dishes, while using too little may result in ineffective cleaning. Follow the recommended dosage for optimal results. If pods or tablets don’t provide the right detergent dosing, use a liquid, gel or powdered detergent in your dishwasher.
  • Load the dishwasher properly: Arrange your dishes in a way that allows the water and detergent to reach all surfaces. Avoid overcrowding, as it can hinder proper cleaning.
  • Choose the right cycle: Most dishwashers offer different cycles for various levels of cleaning. Select the appropriate cycle based on the level of soiling on your dishes.


  • Pre-rinse excessively: While it's necessary to remove large food particles, pre-rinsing every dish can actually reduce the effectiveness of dishwasher detergents. Scrape off excess food instead.
  • Overload the dishwasher: Overloading the dishwasher can prevent proper water circulation, leading to poor cleaning results. Give your dishes enough space to ensure thorough cleaning.

Dishwasher Usage Tips

Here are some tips to maximize detergent performance and ensure your dishes come out of the dishwasher looking their best:

  • Check hot water temperature: Hot water aids in dissolving detergent efficiently, resulting in better cleaning. Measure hot water temperature and adjust your water heater to provide the dishwasher with 120-degree water.
  • Measure water hardness: If your water is particularly hard, consider using a liquid, gel or powdered detergent specifically formulated for hard water to prevent mineral deposits on your dishes. You may need to use more detergent than tablets or pod provide when you have extremely hard water. Conversely, when you have a water softener, you may need to use less detergent than pods or tablets provide.
  • Regularly clean your dishwasher: Build-up of detergent residue or mineral deposits can affect dishwasher performance. Clean your dishwasher regularly according to the manufacturer's recommendations.

By following these dos and don'ts, and by implementing tips for maximizing detergent performance, you can avoid residue and spots on your dishes, ensuring they come out of the dishwasher looking their best.

Understanding Dishwasher Detergent Ingredients

When choosing the best type of dishwasher detergent, it's important to understand the common ingredients found in these cleaning products. By knowing what each ingredient does, you can make an informed decision and get the best results for your dishes.

Most dishwasher detergents contain a mix of enzymes, surfactants, and bleach. Enzymes are proteins that help break down food particles and stains, making it easier for the detergent to remove them from your dishes. Surfactants, meanwhile, are responsible for reducing the surface tension of water, allowing it to spread and penetrate more effectively. This helps the detergent reach all areas of your dishwasher and ensures a thorough clean.

Bleach is another common ingredient found in dishwasher detergents. It acts as a powerful disinfectant, killing bacteria and sanitizing your dishes. However, it's important to note that excessive use of bleach can cause damage to certain materials, so it's best to follow the manufacturer's instructions when using detergent with bleach.

If you're concerned about the environment or have sensitivities to fragrances, you might want to consider eco-friendly and fragrance-free dishwasher detergents. These options are designed to minimize their impact on the environment while still delivering effective cleaning results. Eco-friendly detergents often use plant-based ingredients and avoid harsh chemicals, making them a popular choice for those looking for more sustainable options.

When choosing the best dishwasher detergent for your needs, consider factors like cleaning performance, eco-friendliness, fragrance, and any specific requirements you may have. By understanding the common detergent ingredients and their roles, you can make an informed decision and ensure your dishes come out sparkling clean every time.

Keeping Your Dishwasher in Top Shape

Keeping your dishwasher clean and descaled on a regular basis is crucial for ensuring optimal cleaning performance. Over time, mineral deposits, food particles, and soap residue can build up inside your dishwasher, impacting its efficiency and leaving your dishes less than sparkling clean.

To clean your dishwasher, start by removing any leftover food debris from the filter and spray arms. Then, wipe down the interior of the dishwasher with a damp cloth or sponge. You can also use a dishwasher cleaner additive specifically designed to remove limescale and grease buildup. These additives help break down residue and eliminate unpleasant odors, leaving your dishwasher fresh and clean.

Another crucial aspect of dishwasher maintenance is preventing clogs and ensuring proper water flow. Clogs in the drain hose or spray arms can hinder the dishwasher's performance and lead to dirty dishes. Regularly check the drain hose for any obstructions and clean the spray arms to remove any debris that might be blocking the water flow.

If your dishwasher has trouble cleaning the dishes and you’re at a loss to figure out why, follow the expert troubleshooting tips in this video to fix the problem:

Remember to follow the manufacturer's instructions when using dishwasher cleaner additives and always choose products that are compatible with your dishwasher. By maintaining your dishwasher regularly and using the right cleaning products, you can keep it running smoothly and ensure spotless dishes every time.

For best dishwashing results, Schedule professional cleaning and maintenance of your dishwasher yearly. A Sears Home Services technician will visit your home to thoroughly clean and maintain the dishwasher. The dishwasher won’t just clean better, it will also last longer when professionally maintained.

Schedule your dishwasher maintenance now!

Regular dishwasher maintenance can help prevent costly breakdowns, reduce energy costs and extend the life of your appliance.

Call (213) 596-2538 or schedule online now.

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