What type of dishwasher detergent can you use?

Dishwashing detergent currently comes in three common forms: tablets, powder and gel. But are there any differences in how they work, or even in the quality of the wash they give? Here’s a quick summary of the three.

Dishwashing tablets

Dishwasher tabletThese generally come in the form of small bricks of concentrated dishwashing powder, however some may be half or even completely comprised of dishwashing gel as opposed to powder. They can be placed in the dispenser but can also just be thrown into the main area of the dishwasher.

An increasingly common form of dishwasher detergent, dishwasher tablets are attractive for a number of reasons; one of the main ones being that they come in a pre-measured dosage. They’re also less likely to spill everywhere!

While dishwashing tablets can be more expensive than other forms of dishwasher detergent, they often contain not just detergent, but rinse aids and other additives that can drastically improve the quality of the clean done by your dishwasher.

Dishwashing powder

This form of detergent is what the name implies: a powder similar to laundry powder that is poured or scooped into the dispenser in your dishwasher. It’s generally the cheapest form of dishwasher detergent but it can be messy to pour, and if you over-pour (an easy mistake) then your dishes may be left with powdery residue on them. On the other hand, under-pour (also an easy mistake), and your dishes won’t be cleaned properly.

If you have inquisitive kids or pets, loose powder in a box could also be an easier hazard for them to access.

Dishwashing gel

Dishwashing gel is similar to the washing up liquid used to hand-wash dishes. Like powder, it is poured into the dispenser in your dishwasher. It’s generally in the middle in terms of price, costing more than powder but less than tablets.

While it presents similar problems to powder in terms of the potential to over or under-pour, due to its thickness it’s a little easier to pour and less likely to spill. While gel is more likely to dissolve than dishwashing powder, it is possible for dishwashing gel to not dissolve completely. If this happens, it can leave water spots or a thin film on your dishes.

It’s worth noting that as mentioned above, dishwashing gel can be bought in tablet form, although this will be more expensive, and the only advantage this provides is a consistent measured dose.

When picking a type of dishwasher detergent to use, it’s important to consider the prices of the different detergents, along with which one will work best with your dishwasher. You may be able to find this information online, or in the user manual/user guide for your dishwasher.

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