Best Dishwasher Tablets

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Best Dishwasher Tablets

Dishwashers are amazing things, removing the hassle of one of the most dreaded household chores! If your house is anything like mine, then it doesn’t matter how many times you do the dishes in one day – there will always be more there, lined up and ready to go. A dishwasher will save you time and hassle, keeps the pots hidden away until you are ready to do them, saves you from chapped hands from the washing water, and can also save you money as many dishwashers will actually use less water than you will washing up! 

But, there is nothing more frustrating than coming to your dishwasher after it has finished its cycle to find that your dishes are still dirty inside. You’ve done everything right – rinsed the dishes first, put the dishwasher tablet in the right place, selected the right cycle, and yet you still find yourself having to wash those same pots that have just been washed! Chances are, if this has happened to you, then you aren’t using the right dishwasher tablets! 

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This article hopes to save you from ever being in that situation again, by telling you exactly what to look for when purchasing dishwasher tablets in the future! 

The Science Behind Dishwasher Tablets 

Dishwasher tablets work because of the two enzymes that are built into them – proteases (there to remove things such as milk, cheese and meat) and amylases (there to attack the carbohydrates that have been on your plates, such as potato and pasta). 

These two enzymes, along with other chemicals that you would expect to find, like bleach, all work together to break down and ultimately remove the dirt and grease from your plates, glasses and cutlery. 

This clever design, coupled with your water jet spraying dishwasher, will work together to clean your dishes in a more economical, but also more hygenic way! No more leaving your pots sat in dirty water! 

Things to Consider When Purchasing the Best Dishwasher Tablets 

There are some main things that you need to think about to help you purchase the best dishwasher tablets not just for you, but also for your dishwasher! We have detailed these below.

Hard Tablets or Liquid Capsules?

As a general rule, hard tablets tend to be cheaper than liquid capsules and will also be longer lasting, meaning that you can buy on bulk without worrying about them becoming effective. However, we do tend to find that liquid capsules will leave a better finish on the wash that you are completing as hard tablets can sometimes fail to dissolve fully in shorter or cooler washes, meaning that they can leave a residue on your dishes and glassware. 

It is worth mentioning that most hard tablets will come in individual plastic wrappers. We understand that this might not sound like a big deal but it can be SO fiddly trying to open these wrappers every time you want to use your dishwasher (let alone the effect on the environment with this single-use plastic). Liquid capsules will have “layers” that dissolve when in the dishwasher so there is much less faff! 

All-in-One Dishwasher Tablets

All-in-One dishwasher tablets can be a bit mind blowing if you don’t know what they mean! So many people question what the “all-in-one” actually is! All-in-one dishwasher tablets will have the salt and rinse aid included in them, so you will do one wash cycle, with one tablet or capsule, and your dishes, glassware and cutlery will come out sparkling clean. If your tablets are not all-in-one then you will need to add other products to your wash if you are wanting your dishes to be properly clean at the end of the cycle! 


It is well worth considering whether you want scented dishwasher tablets. This is really down to personal preference – some people love the smell of lemons coming from their dishes whereas for other people this can be rather off-putting when they then have to use the dishes or glasses afterwards! 

Cycle Length 

Some dishwasher tablets will be better suited to different cycle lengths so this is worth checking for. All dishwashers will offer different cycle lengths so in theory you can just select the cycle best suited to the dishwasher tablet, but if you like to save electricity and stick to shorter cycles then you are going to need a dishwasher tablet that can work quickly and dissolve even quicker! 


With the same idea as cycle length – different dishwasher tablets will work best at different temperatures. In fact, some dishwasher tablets will contain chemicals that won’t even activate until they reach 50℃, when some dishwashers have a cold or 30℃ cycle as their primary function. A dishwasher tablet that will work in a colder temperature is going to save you money on your electricity bill, but you will tend to find that dishwasher tablets that need a higher temperature are more effective in removing more stubborn dirt. 

TOP TIP: It is well worth having two types of dishwasher tablets stored in your cupboard – one for those every day, normal cycles and then one for when you know that your dishes are going to need a more heavy-duty wash (such as after that Sunday Roast!). 

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Make sure to check the chemicals that come in your dishwasher tablets before just throwing them in with all our precious dishes. Some will have particular chemicals in that, although makes them great for cleaning, means that they can damage the dishes that you are expecting them to clean (even if the dishes are advertised as dishwasher friendly). For example, some dishwasher tablets have been known to corrode glassware, whereas others have removed the “non-stick” feature from pans! 

Eco Friendly 

Everyone is now (rightly!) much more conscious of being eco friendly, and the same applies to dishwasher tablets. It is worth considering how the dishwasher tablets have been produced and also the packaging. Many will come in non-recyclable plastic, so if you are aiming to be environmentally friendly then these are worth avoiding! Equally, many dishwasher tablets now avoid testing on animals and are free from chlorine, palm oil and phosphates. 

Powders and Gels 

Although tablets and capsules are the most common type of dishwasher cleaners found on the market, there are also powders and gels that can be used. These have the benefit of having less packaging  (so tend to be better for the environment) so can be better value for money. However, they do have the added faff of you having to measure out the amount that you need each time, and research tends to suggest that they aren’t quite as effective in cleaning as dishwasher tablets are. 

How To Get The Most From Your Dishwasher

Now you have an idea of which dishwasher tablet is going to be best for you, it’s important to know how to get the best from your dishwasher, so you are never left with dirty dishes again! 

  • Clean the filter of your dishwasher regularly and give it a deep clean treatment every few months. This will help it to always perform at its best. 
  • To pre-rinse or not to pre-rinse? This depends on the quality and age of your dishwasher. Newer, higher spec dishwashers actually scan the dishes to work out how much dirt is on them and therefore how much water etc to use, so if you rinse them it could do a lighter, less effective cycle. However, if your dishwasher is older we would always recommend a good rinse first. 
  • Follow the manual for how to load your dishwasher correctly. You may think this sounds obvious but so many people load their dishwashers incorrectly and then wonder why they still have dirty dishes. Most dirty items towards the middle of the dishwasher and on the bottom rack, with glasses and more delicate items on the top shelf. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I keep my dishwasher in good condition?

There are specific dishwasher cleaners that can be purchased and used on a cycle to remove any limescale or built up grime from your dishwasher. These will also work to clean the inbuilt filters that are hard to reach otherwise. It is worth considering that some dishwasher tablets will actually have a certain level of these chemicals built in, so they are not only washing your pots but also protecting your dishwasher.

Can I purchase vegan friendly dishwasher tablets?

Yes! There are now particular brands on the market that have released vegan friendly dishwasher tablets. They do tend to be slightly more expensive, but are well worth that extra cost for the guilt-free dish washing that you get to enjoy!

How can I spot a good dishwasher tablet?

A dishwasher tablet that is good quality and not going to damage your dishwasher will usually be approved by big dishwasher manufacturers (such as Siemens or Bosch). If this is the case then it will usually be advertised on the box of the tablets. This is well worth looking out for if you want your dishwasher tablets to not only do a good job but also help your dishwasher to stand the test of time.

About Chris Sharples 68 Articles
I love a good gadget! Whether it's something that makes my home smart, saves me time or just looks great. I blog about gadgets and technology in and around the home. Follow me on my journey to avoid the pitfalls and find the best.

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