The possibility of choice is not lacking and also, for this reason, it is not always clear to understand which is the best option to have clean dishes, an efficient dishwasher and last but not least to optimize the shopping. Dishwasher detergents, which have become increasingly efficient over the years, are available in different formulations, some traditional, others more innovative.
If you are finding a lot of food stains on your dishes after a session on the dishwasher, the problem may be your detergent. Dishwasher detergents are not just a simple soap; they are a complex and ever-changing formulation of chemicals that work together to do the job.
To make it even more confusing, dish detergents can be in powder, liquid, or tablet form. You’re not alone if you’ve found yourself frozen in the supermarket aisle trying to analyze the difference between the ultra, super-ultra, and mega-ultra variants. Each type of detergent has its pros and cons, although most experts recommend tablets and gel packs for maximum performance.
Dishwasher detergent trick
There is one thing to keep in mind when choosing your detergent, most of these compounds have two main active ingredients.
They are essentially enzymes and bleach. Bleach pulls out tannin stains like coffee and tea, enzymes attack proteins and break them down into something water-soluble.
There are other additives that are sometimes used, including those that help eliminate residues, but as a general rule these are the two most important ingredients.
These ingredients are almost always activated by water, which we will see shortly.
Gel detergents are similar to dish soap. They dissolve quickly and easily in hot water running through the dishwasher and then attack food stains on dishes.
However, there is a problem: the consistency of the gel makes it difficult for the ingredients to work properly. Basically: gel cleaners are worse than all others on the market. We decided they weren’t worth recommending after checking out a couple of highly reviewed options.
Powder detergents are the oldest of the varieties currently on the market. They also work great… if you can handle the hassle.
In fact, powders may have the most cleaning power of all the cleaners we looked at, although they were also more prone to leaving residue if not measured correctly.
There is a big drawback to them: if the washing powders get wet, they are practically ready. Since the ingredients are activated by water it is necessary to protect them from the elements or they will lose almost all of their cleaning power.
We found that in practice it is a little more difficult than it is in theory, especially since people tend to store them in boxes in areas around the water such as under the sink.
This means that washing powders are the most affordable, but a good storage strategy is needed to prevent them from becoming useless in the package without your knowledge.
Cleaning pods are even cheaper than gels and have the same cutting power as powders… without the hassle of having to measure them. Since they are prepackaged, they have provided the best experience of all kinds.
The problem is that they tend to be a bit higher in cost per load.
The only problem our reviewers had with them was this: they tend to become a mess by disintegrating if you handle them while your hands are wet from rinsing. Just make sure your hands are dry to avoid this problem.
We recommend detergents for most homes, but if you’re on a budget, we’ve also included our favorite of the powder options.
Other things to consider
We learned a lot about people’s individual preferences by looking at the different reports from our reviewers.
One of the first things we noticed: the scent of a cleanser is important to many people. A better scent leads to a better overall cleaning experience, especially if you use one that also reduces the amount of pre or post-work you need to do.
They also tended to get rid of the industrial “dishwasher smell” that makes most people think of commercial kitchens.
We also found that dishwashers often worked radically differently. If you’ve had a dishwasher for a while, you might want to look for a dishwasher cleaner as well.
These will help break down the excess fat and limescale that builds up in these appliances over time.
One last thing: While detergent prices often fluctuate, you can always calculate the number of loads you will receive quite easily. Divide the price by the number of loads it says you will get on the box.
Why you should use the dishwasher
Dishwashers make things cleaner than you can hand wash if there are the right cleaning products in them. They can strike from all angles and do a great job when treated properly.
Dishwashers are much more effective at killing germs than washing hands. The detergents used can be more aggressive than what your hands can handle, and the heating cycles help eliminate the rest of the germs later on.
While older dishwashers used a lot of water and electricity, there is mounting evidence that a dishwasher can actually save you money and prevent the overuse of water if you have a newer model.
They are probably the best way to handle dishes after a gathering at your home as they can clean a ton of dishes at once with minimal pre-work.
They will reduce stress as the dishes will not be in the sink as you prepare to run the next cycle.
So, take your detergent and spin it. You will be surprised how easier life becomes once you have the right cleaning products.
Hard water and residues
Hard water is often the culprit for much of the residue that can be found.
We will not recommend that you take a water test kit. If you have hard water, you probably already know this unless you are brand new to the area where you currently live. If so… ask the neighbors.
If you’re seeing white residue even with a new brand of detergent, you need to look for a key ingredient: phosphates bind to calcium and keep hard water stains from your dishes.
If you’re using a washing powder, this could also be the culprit, but we’ve found that more often than not, calcium stains are the cause of the worst stains.
Dishwasher Powder vs Gel | Video Explanation
Best practices for using the dishwasher
Although dishwashers are simple to use in general… we found that many of our reviewers were doing some seriously wrong things.
Take the following tips to heart and you will have a much better time with your appliance:
There are many different designs in which you can place the dishes, but most of us just throw them in. Your manual will have surprisingly concise diagrams explaining the best way to use your dishwasher. If you don’t have it, you will be able to find the instructions online quite easily.
Only wash full loads, even if you have to leave things overnight. This will help keep things energy efficient and some models just don’t work well with only half a load.
Let the dishes air dry if you have hard water. It will drip off most of the calcium if it hasn’t been bound by phosphates in your favorite detergent.
If you can set the water temperature, do it around 100 ° C. This is the perfect temperature for most applications.
Prewash does more harm than good when you have the right detergent. If there’s nothing the enzymes in your pods or powder can attack, chances are you’ll end up with a soap film where they haven’t been used.
Do not overload the dishwasher. Even if you’re not following the recommended exact pattern, it’s important to make sure you don’t throw too much stuff in there or you could end up with some pretty serious stains on your plates.
Clean your dishwasher regularly to make sure it works well. Good cleaners aren’t really hard to find.
Chances are you miss at least one of the above, and this is holding your device to its full potential.
Hi, I’m Jennifer Lawrence, Went to Calhoun High School (Georgia) my goal is to make the kitchen fun by providing a mathematical and logical component to our approach to cooking good food. I look not only at delicious recipes but also at kitchen tools and gadgets to give you the tips and tricks we hope you will find useful. Read More Here
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