How to Choose the Best Dishwasher Detergent

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

If you have a dishwasher in your home you know how convenient these appliances can be. Instead of toiling over the sink scrubbing dishes and irritating your hands, you can simply load the dishes in the dishwasher, add the detergent, and turn on the power. When you open the door of the dishwasher after the final cycle, are your dishes as clean as they could be? Selecting the right dishwasher detergent can make an enormous difference in how your dishes look after they emerge from dishwasher. Here’s how to select the best dishwasher detergents to make your dishes sparkle:

Best dishwasher detergents: Powder or gel?

The most commonly used type of dishwasher detergent is the powdered form. The powder form of dishwater detergent tends to be less expensive than its gel counterpart but a bit messier as it can spill when poured into the detergent dispenser. The powdered form also needs to dissolve in water from the dishwasher before it can exert its cleaning action which means it doesn’t start to clean as quickly as the gel. Interestingly, Consumer Report conducted a study in 2005 that showed that powdered forms of dishwater detergent outperformed gels as far as cleansing powder in every category tested. They also showed superior results when it came to preventing spotting on glassware. Another expensive form of dishwasher detergent is the tablet detergent which some people prefer because of its convenience and lack of mess.

Best dishwasher detergents: The green factor

With increasing concern about the environment, you naturally want to make the greenest selection. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to determine the most environmentally friendly dishwasher detergent since a complete list of ingredients isn’t always included on dishwasher detergent packets. One area of concern is detergents that contain phosphates which are often added to soften the water. Phosphates that end up in the lakes and other bodies of water can potentially have severe environmental consequences. One solution is to buy a detergent that’s phosphate free. These can be found at most local natural food markets. One example is Seventh Generation dishwasher powder which contains no phosphates, chlorines, or other toxic substances. It’s also not tested on animals.

Best dishwasher detergents: Can you make your own?

The least expensive solution for dishwasher detergent is to make your own. This is as simple as mixing equal parts borax and baking soda and adding it to your dishwasher. To make your dishes smell fresh, add a small amount of lemon juice to the rinse bowl. This is a great way to get the dishes clean in a pinch.

As you can see, there are a variety of detergent options for getting your dishes clean quickly. Which one is right for you?


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