Best dishwasher detergents

Not all dishwasher detergents are created equal, so it's ideal to compare options. Start with this list of the best available.

dishwasher detergents
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With so many different dishwasher detergents to choose from, many families have their own specific preferences. Some people prefer gel, while others like powder or pods. And then there's powerful de-greasing versus all-natural sources. So how do you choose? You can start by comparing the options on this list of the best dishwasher detergents; we've laid out the pros and cons of each. 

All-in-one

Cascade Complete dishwasher pacs

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Cascade Complete dishwasher pods

Best overall

Cascade Complete is the standard that will best suit the average household. Each pod contains grease-fighting dish cleaner, rinse aid power-dry, and dishwasher cleaner for a spotless machine. 

Pros:

  • Most complete formula
  • Cleans grease and stains
  • Dries clear and spot-free

Cons:

  • Contains strong chemical cleansers

Cascade has gone hand-in-hand with dishwashers for well over 50 years. These Complete pods are their most effective and popular formula ever. Just pop in a pod and come back to sparkly, spotless dishes. 

Tough on crud

Finish Quantum Powerball detergent tablets

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Finish Quantum Powerball 82-count dishwasher detergent tablets

Best for busy bakers and cooks

For really tough, baked-on messes, Finish Quantum promises the most thorough clean. This three-in-one action packet can even clean up day-old casserole dishes. 

Pros:

  • Cleans tough, baked-on crud
  • Contains powder, gel, and liquid shine
  • Cuts through grease

Cons:

  • It's expensive

For families that like home-cooked meals but don't have time for all that scrubbing, let Finish do the dirty work. Even day-old dishes can be conquered by this strong three-in-one solution. It also contains a ball of liquid shine to help dishes dry spotless.

Best value

Amazon Brand - Solimo Dishwasher Detergent Pacs

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Solimo Dishwasher Detergent Pacs

More bang for your buck

Budget shoppers will appreciate the affordable price of this big box of 85 detergent pacs from Amazon. This formula may not be quite as strong as the previous examples, but the price is right. 

Pros:

  • Excellent low price
  • Large 85-pack
  • Fights grease and leaves no residue

Cons:

  • Formula packs less intense cleaning power

If you're running lots of dishes on a tight budget, then a value pack like this one from Amazon's Solimo brand will be just the thing. It offers 85 loads-worth of detergent, and the formula promises to fight grease with no residue. The only drawback is that it may not be as effective at cleaning caked-on messes. 

Gel solution

Cascade Complete gel two-pack

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Cascade Complete gel

Skip the pods and use gel

Using Cascade gel detergent is one way to make your dishwasher cleansing solution last longer. If you're running smaller loads, you can use less gel and create less needless waste. 

Pros:

  • Use less for small loads
  • Convenient gel formula
  • Excellent grease fighter
  • Two-pack

Cons:

  • Less scrubbing power

Make your detergent go further with this gel option. You can use less when needed instead of always using a whole pod at once. This method creates less waste, and the gel formula is an excellent grease-fighter. And, you get two bottles with this selection.

Natural choice

Seventh Generation natural dishwasher detergent

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Seventh Generation natural automatic dishwasher powder

Free and clear formula

This powder detergent from Seventh Generation is free from harsh chemicals like chlorine and phosphate, and it also uses no artificial dyes or fragrances. It's a great choice if you have allergies. 

Pros:

  • Free from harsh chemicals, artificial dyes, or fragrance
  • Gentle on skin and senses
  • Loose powder formula

Cons:

  • Less grease-fighting power

You don't have to worry about harsh additives with the free and clear formula from Seventh Generation. This detergent is plant-based and hypoallergenic. It also comes in a loose powder that has good scrubbing potential. 

Sweet scents

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day automatic dish pac

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Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day auto dishwasher packs

Best natural fragrances

Mrs. Meyer's is an increasingly popular brand in the cleaning sector that is known for using essential oils instead of artificial fragrances. These dish packs use unique ingredients that are gentle on homes and humans but tough on grime. 

Pros:

  • Pleasant, natural fragrances
  • Uses plant-based ingredients
  • Antiallergenic

Cons:

  • Only comes in small quantities

Enjoy natural fragrances like lavender without worrying about harmful artificial scents or ingredients. You may need to pre-rinse dishes due to the gentle ingredients; they are not as caustic as some other choices. Despite this, Mrs. Meyer's dish packs provide a thorough dishwashing and smell good doing it. 

The big one

Kirkland Signature Premium dishwasher detergent pacs

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Kirkland Signature Premium dishwasher detergent pacs

Best bulk detergent

For large families and bigger households, it's usually worth it to buy goods in bulk. Kirkland Signature offers this huge box of 115 detergent pacs at an attractive price point. 

Pros:

  • Huge box of 115 pacs
  • Lasts longer for large households
  • Attractive price point

Cons:

  • Has a strong artificial lemon smell

Large households can generate a ton of dishes, so buying a large box like this can prove more convenient over time. You'll save money by buying 115 dishwasher packs at once. Kirkland Signature's dishwasher detergent pacs also come with a degreasing agent and rinse aid built-in. 

Make the most out of that dishwasher

Even though choosing the best dishwasher detergents may seem like a simple concept, there are many factors to consider. Family size, lifestyle, and allergies can all play a part. For the most powerful and complete formula, Cascade Complete dishwasher pods are the most popular on the market. 

If you prefer a more natural, plant-based option, look into the Seventh Generation natural automatic dishwasher powder. This one is free from harmful chemicals and artificial fragrances, plus it comes in an eco-friendly loose powder form. Each choice has its advantages, so consider your own family's needs and habits before you decide.