$4.88 ($0.58 / Ounce)
$8.99 ($1.50 / Count)
Did you know that your dishwasher is a hotspot for germs? Not just bacteria but fungi can also grow on the rubber seals. For example, it’s not uncommon for acinetobacter, escherichia, and pseudomonas, to be present. Chances are, if you’re on the search for the best dishwasher cleaner then you already know how dirty dishwashers can get.
The good news is that they won’t make you sick unless you’re actually licking the machine. Having said that, it’s still something that you want to avoid. After all, who wants to wash their dishes in a dirty machine? That’s not all, a filthy dishwasher can also cause a stench and that’s the last thing that you want in your kitchen.
Generally speaking, the more often you use the dishwasher, the more likely it is to harbor germs- mainly due to the increased moisture. Sure, the detergents, high temperatures, and jets of water help prevent bacteria and fungal growth but it’s not enough. At the end of the day, you still want to clean the appliance, ideally once a month.
For example, many people clean their dishwashers with distilled white vinegar. Simply pour it into a cup and place it on the top rack. Not only will it loosen soap scum but it’ll also help get rid of grease and food particles from the machine’s walls.
Keep in mind, however, that vinegar will probably not be enough to remove everything. Rather, you’ll want to use a cleaner that’s specifically formulated to clean dishwashers. That way, your dishes will come out sparkling clean each time.
In fact, there are several types of dishwasher cleaners to choose from. Which should you use? How are they different? For the answers, be sure to keep reading because that’s what we’ll be going over in our 2023 best dishwasher cleaner guide!
The Best Dishwasher Cleaners – Our Top Picks For 2023
Without further ado, here are the top ten best dishwasher cleaners based on affordability, effectiveness, and performance.
- ACTIVE Dishwasher Cleaner Tablets
- Tablets are convenient and easy to use
- Cost-effective as one pack comes with 24 tablets
- Effective at removing limescale deposits
- Lemon Scent Booster is great at removing odors
- Safe for the environment and septic systems
- Customers outside of the U.S. will have to pay extra for shipping
- Finish Dual Action Dishwasher Cleaner Liquid
- A good alternative to tablets and pods
- Good at removing limescale and grease buildups
- Strong fresh scent
- Each bottle can only be used once
- Can be costly in the long run
- Affresh Dishwasher Cleaner Tablets
- Effective at removing odors, grime, and hard water deposits
- Tablets are convenient to use
- Free of harmful chemicals
- Has a strong lemon scent
- One pack only comes with 6 tablets
- Finish Dishwasher Cleaner Tablets
- Easy and convenient to use
- Cleans visible and hidden areas of the dishwasher
- Must be used once a week
- Each tablet is individually wrapped
- Costs can add up
- Glisten Dishwasher Cleaner and Disinfectant
- Removes rust, mineral, and food deposits
- Results last for up to 30 days
- Mild, citrus scent
- One bottle is only good for one cleaning
- Can be expensive
- Lemi Shine Dishwasher Cleaner
- Pouches are convenient and easy to use
- All-natural; does not contain any chemicals
- Not the best for limescale stains
- More expensive than other options
- Eco-Gals Eco Scrubz Deep Dishwasher Cleaner
- Ingredients are eco-friendly
- One pack comes with a year's worth of tablets
- Each tablet is individually wrapped in plastic
- Not as effective compared to other cleaners
- Ahh!Some Dishwasher Cleaner and Deodorizer Gel
- Can be used for dishwashers and washing machines
- Features an active oxygen formula
- Scent is mild
- Gel must be measured with a spoon
- Cascade Platinum Dishwasher Pods
- Pods are easy and convenient to use
- One pack comes with 62 pods
- it's a 2-in-1 product
- Can be costly
- Pods can break and leak
- Not that effective at removing hard water stains
- Not a dedicated dishwasher cleaner
- Finally Fresh Dishwasher Cleaner Tablets
- Tablets are convenient to use
- Little to no scent
- One pack comes with 12 tablets
- Company is based in China
- Tablets are individually wrapped in plastic
- Not very effective at removing stains and residues
ACTIVE Dishwasher Cleaner is designed to work on any dishwasher, from commercial automatic machines to household machines.
Featuring a deep descaling formula, it will make your dishwasher shine by removing grime, limescale, grease, and other residues. In addition to that, it also comes with a fresh odor eliminator that will effectively remove all odors.
One package also comes with 24 tablets, which is more than enough for a year's supply. The box even comes with an easy-to-follow schedule that allows you to track your cleaning. That way, you won't have to worry about forgetting to clean your dishwasher.
Finish Dishwasher Cleaner is a liquid product that's designed to remove grease and limescale buildups, as well as odors. In addition to cleaning the inside of the machine, it'll also clean the spray arms, filters, pipes, heating elements, and other parts that you can't see.
Having said that, some individuals may find the scent to be a little strong. You also have to stick your head inside the dishwasher to place the bottle in the machine (it goes upside down on the bottom rack), which can be a little inconvenient.
Affresh Dishwasher Cleaner Tablets are designed to remove limescale and mineral buildups. Not only will it clean the interior but it'll also clean the areas that you can't see including the tub, pump, valve, recirculation hoses, and drains.
Compatible with all dishwashers, it's designed to be used once monthly for optimal results. Simply place the tablet in the detergent tray or at the bottom of the main compartment. The product is also septic-safe and U.S. EPA Safer Choice Certified.
The only drawback is the strong lemon scent, which some may find overbearing.
Finish Dishwasher Cleaner tablets are designed to remove limescale buildup and hard water stains. Not only that but it'll also freshen your machine by breaking down grease- both the visible and hidden parts, such as the sprayer arms and heating element.
Compared to other cleaners, however, they must be used more often- this means that the costs can add up quickly. Each tablet is also individually wrapped, which creates more waste.
Glisten Dishwasher Cleaner is designed to remove rust, grease, limescale, and other buildups from the dishwasher, including the jets, pump, filter, and other hidden areas. In addition to that, it's also a disinfectant and can be used to remove salmonella and e-coli from the inner surfaces. Compatible for all dishwashers and safe for septic systems. Made in the USA.
Like most liquid cleaners, however, it must be placed inside the dishwasher upside down. What's more, is that each bottle can only be used once so it can be costly over time.
Lemi Shine Dishwasher Cleaner is powered by citric acid, which effectively deodorizes and removes buildup from inside the dishwasher. Safer Choice Certified by the EPA, it's septic-safe and free of harsh chemicals and additives. Made in the USA from biodegradable ingredients.
Because of this, however, it's also not as effective as other products, especially when it comes to limescale residues. Having said that, it will leave your dishwasher with a clean and refreshing lemon scent.
Eco-Gals Eco Scrubz Dishwasher Cleaner destroys odor buildup, removes dirt and grease, and is biodegradable and septic tank safe. It also cleans stainless steel and plastic interiors, which makes it suitable for all dishwashers.
Keep in mind, however, that they're not as effective at removing residues compared to some of the other cleaners that we've listed. The tablets themselves also come wrapped in plastic, which contradicts their eco-friendly branding.
Ahh!Some Dishwasher Cleaner Gel contains bioactive enzymes that will actively penetrate and break down grime, dirt, and limescale deposits. Not only is it compatible with all dishwashers, including those by Whirlpool, LG, GE, and Kenmore, but it can also be used to clean washing machines.
As expected from a gel, however, you do have to measure the product each time with a spoon. Not only that but you also have to run two cycles to completely get rid of the odors.
Cascade Platinum Dishwasher Pods are designed to clean dishes as well as the machine itself. Featuring Oxi ActionPacs, they are capable of breaking down visible and invisible food residue, even those that have been stuck-on for 24 hours. In fact, it's so powerful, it can even be used with a quick wash cycle.
However, some users have had issues with the pods breaking, which can lead to small messes. Compared to some of the other cleaners on our list, it's also not the best at removing limescale deposits so it may not be the best choice for those who live in a hard water area.
Finally Fresh Dishwasher Cleaner is designed to remove limescale and hard water stains, in addition to grease and grime. Powered by citric acid, the tablets are odor-neutralizing and will clean even the hidden parts such as the spray arms and filters.
Despite containing citric acid, the tablets are also scent-free. However, they are wrapped individually in plastic.
Hopefully, that gives you a better idea as to which dishwasher cleaner you should use. As you can see, the ACTIVE tablets top the best dishwasher cleaner list in 2023. Given that, we highly recommend that you give them a go!
Benefits of Using a Dishwasher Cleaner
Dishwasher cleaners offer many advantages over DIY alternatives such as vinegar and bleach.
They are Capable of Removing Mineral Buildup
Those who live in hard water areas may notice white, chalky residues inside their dishwashers; this is due to high calcium and magnesium levels in the water.
When these minerals are heated (and they will be if you’re using the dishwasher), they will calcify or group together; this can result in a white, cloudy film inside the machine.
Not only are they unsightly but over time, they can actually clog the spray jets and hinder the dishwasher’s ability to clean effectively. That’s not all, the mineral deposits can also etch glass, leaving behind small dings and scratches that can permanently damage your glassware’s appearance.
That’s why it’s so important to use a dishwasher cleaner. They’ll prevent mineral build-up from accumulating inside so that you won’t have to worry about any of these issues.
Cleaning Your Dishwasher Can Extend the Life of the Appliance
Dishwasher cleaners will not only clean the inside of the machine, but they’ll also clean the parts that you can’t see, including the pipes, which are often filled with grease and limescale build-up. The same goes for the spray arm jets and bearings; they can both be clogged with hard water chemicals.
Dishwasher Cleaners Will Remove Unpleasant Odors
Odors can develop from leftover food particles, stagnant water, as well as mineral buildup. Fortunately, they can be eliminated by using a dishwasher cleaner. If anything, it’s much more effective than using vinegar and other DIY options.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Dishwasher Cleaner
Not all dishwasher cleaners are made equal. At the end of the day, some will be better than others. Here are a few things to look for when choosing the best dishwasher cleaner tablets.
Ideally, you want to choose the best dishwasher cleaner that will remove odors, grease, bacteria, mold, and food particles. For those living in areas with high mineral content in the water, you’re probably looking for the best dishwasher cleaner for hard water. You may also want to consider whether or not it can remove limescale deposits as it can have a big impact on your dishwasher’s performance.
Type of Cleaner
As mentioned earlier, there are different types of dishwasher cleaners that you can choose from, including liquids, gels, pods, powders, and tablets. At the end of the day, you want to choose the best dishwasher cleaner that’s the most convenient for you. Also, some types may not be compatible with all dishwashers so be sure to double-check beforehand.
Impact on the Environment
Many dishwasher cleaners are eco-friendly. For example, some products are biodegradable and are made with natural ingredients without the use of plastic. That way, you won’t have to worry about them damaging the environment.
Convenience and Ease of Use
Some dishwasher cleaners are easier to use than others. Take tablets and pods, for example, they’re super convenient in that all you have to do is put them in the dishwasher. There’s no need to measure anything and that will save you time in the long run. On top of all that, you won’t have to worry about any potential messes.
Some dishwasher cleaners have fragrances while others are unscented. The former will often leave behind a scent so you may want to choose a fragrance-free product if you are sensitive to smells.
Dishwasher Cleaner – Q&A
What is the best thing to clean a dishwasher with?
The best thing to clean a dishwasher with depends on a few different things like what you're trying to clean, the style of the dishwasher, and the overall condition of the machine. There are some DIY solutions that will help with some aspects of the problem, but the best overall product we've found is the Dishwasher Cleaner from ACTIVE.
Do dishwasher cleaners really work?
Yes, assuming it's a quality cleaning product. Dishwashers have water and detergent running inside them on a regular basis so it may seem unnecessary to use another type of cleaner. However, normal operation isn't actually cleaning the machine. Food debris and grime builds up in the internal areas of the machine and water spots can form on the interior. Regular dish detergent doesn't address these issues so it's important to use a dishwasher cleaner.
How do you super deep clean a dishwasher?
To fully deep clean a dishwasher, start by removing the machine's filter which is usually at the bottom of the machine near the drain. Scrape off any visible food and other debris from the filter then reinstall it. Next you'll want to run a wash cycle using some kind of dishwasher cleaning product - we've found ACTIVE dishwasher cleaner to be very effective. After running a cleaning cycle, open the dishwasher door slightly to let it air-dry then it'll be ready for the next use.
What is the best dishwasher cleaner for hard water stains?
Hard water stains can be difficult to remove from inside dishwashers. Staining can occur over time even if your home has a water softener system. Dishwashers in homes with hard water or high mineral content will accumulate water stains even faster. When searching for a dishwasher cleaner for hard water stains, you want to find a product that contains citric acid. Citric acid helps to dissolve limescale which is one of the main causes of hard water stains. In our experience, ACTIVE dishwasher cleaner has been the most effective cleaner for removing hard water stains due to its citric acid content and other ingredients.
What are the different types of dishwasher cleaners?
Dishwasher cleaners can come in a variety of forms like liquid, powder and tablets. There are benefits and limitations for each type of dishwasher cleaner. Liquid dishwasher cleaners can be fast-acting since there is no dissolving required, but they also take up more space due to the amount of volume required. Powder dishwasher cleaners have a concentrated formula but can be messy to measure and use. Dishwasher cleaning tablets are our top choice due to their concentrated formula and ease of use.
After how many days should I use the dishwasher cleaner?
The frequency of dishwasher cleaning depends on a mix of factors but in general, most dishwasher cleaners are recommended to be used 1-2 times per month. For dishwashers that are extra dirty, multiple cleanings may be required initially to remove stubborn grime. After that, typically maintenance cleaning is done once or twice a month, or whenever odors are present.
How do I clean the smell out of my dishwasher?
Dishwasher odors can happen from a few different causes but usually the problem comes from food residue and other grime in the internal parts of the machine. So in order to clean the smell from inside a dishwasher, you'll need a cleaning product that thoroughly penetrates the hard-to-reach areas of the machine. We've found that ACTIVE dishwasher cleaner is the most effective for cleaning the smell from a dish washer appliance.
Can I use Dawn or other dish soap in my dishwasher?
No, you absolutely should not use dish soap inside of a dishwasher appliance. Dish soap will create a large amount of foam which can overflow from the machine and create a mess in your kitchen. It is only recommended to use dish detergent or approved dishwasher cleaning products.
Interested in the rest of our top rated cleaning product articles? Check out our most recent round ups below!