Sick of spots, bits of food and other grime on your dishes? Don’t put all the blame on your dishwasher! It could be your detergent. Consumer Reports testers clean hundreds of dirty dishes to reveal the best dishwasher detergents.
Consumer Reports tests dishes by first coating them with a mixture of peanut butter, egg yolk, and other sticky foods. It's smeared onto glass dishes, baked on then loaded into dishwashers. All to find out which detergents tackle the mess the best.
The best detergents will remove the soil completely, there will be no food deposits on the plates and there won’t be any water spots. Among the recommended detergents - familiar names like these Finish Powerball Tabs as well as CascadeComplete ActionPacs with Dawn. Both are excellent for removing caked-on foods.
However, Consumer Reports says you can actually get even cleaner while also saving money. The top-performing detergent wasn’t a name brand. It was Kirkland Signature’s Dishwasher Pacs from Costco for less than half the cost per pod as the Finish or Cascade detergents. And if you’re a Sam’s Club member, the Member’s Mark Ultimate Clean Dishwasher Pacs are excellent for cleaning dishes. Plus, testers found if you have hard water they’re also great for resisting water spots.
Consumer Reports says if you’re still pre-rinsing your dishes - stop! Many of today’s dishwashers have soil sensors so they actually perform better if you leave the food on and let the machine and your detergent do their jobs.
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