No one likes doing the dishes, but a good detergent can make the job a lot less painful. In order to make your life a little easier, CHOICE experts have carried out their latest detailed lab test to find our which dishwashing detergents are the best, and which ones should definitely drop off your shopping list for good.
They even found one that cost $2 per 100ml and is less effective than washing your plates with plain old water.
"We tested 39 popular dishwashing liquids using plates that were consistently dirtied up with different foods, including bolognese and egg yolk," explains CHOICE dishwashing expert Ashley Iredale.
"We scrub them a set number of times after being soaked in each detergent and we then look at how clean the plates are. We also look at how well they wash as compared with plain water."
A clean winner
So which dishwashing liquids shone brightest?
By a huge margin, the winner in our test to find the best dishwashing liquid is Morning Fresh Ultra Concentrate Ultimate Original Dishwashing Liquid with a CHOICE Expert Rating of 90%.
It scored a massive 25 percentage points higher than its nearest competitors, Coles Ultra Advanced Power Soak Liquid Concentrate and another Morning Fresh liquid Ultra Concentrate Original Dishwashing Liquid, which both took out our second spot with a CHOICE Expert Rating of 65%.
If you're on a budget, though, that extra cleaning performance will cost you. At $1.23 per 100ml, the top scoring Morning Fresh Ultra Concentrate Liquid costs more than three times as much as the Coles product, which has a price tag of just 38c per 100ml.
"This particular Morning Fresh product that topped our tests outperformed other liquids in the test by a mile," says Ashley.
"In total, we tested seven Morning Fresh liquids in our labs and are able to recommend five of them on performance. However, one of the Morning Fresh products also scored the lowest in our tests, so be careful which one you buy."
It goes to show that even similarly named products from the same brand can perform differently when you're scrubbing the dishes.
Don't assume an expensive product will outperform a cheap one – our tests found price is no measure of performanceAshley Iredale, CHOICE dishwashing expert
"Our tests uncovered some wild variation, so never assume that if one product cleans well, similar ones from the same brand will deliver the same results," warns Ashley. "It's worth keeping in mind when you're shopping – otherwise you could grab an inferior product accidentally.
"Likewise, don't assume an expensive product will outperform a cheap one – our tests found price is no measure of performance."
The Ultimate underperformer?
The bottom-performing Morning Fresh product you don't want to get stuck with is the Morning Fresh Ultimate Power Clean, which costs $2 per 100ml but scored lower than water in our tests.
Rather than the traditional liquid format of dishwashing liquid that you would squirt into your sink, this is a 'dishwashing spray' that you spray on your dishes and then rinse. The label says its 'ideal for dishes'. Sadly, our experts don't agree.
Other liquids lag behind
Behind the top scorers there are many that didn't scrub up so well.
Nine other products scored 60% – just enough to be recommended by our experts. They are:
- Aldi Unamat Dish Washing Liquid
- Community Co Clean Freak! Concentrated Dishwashing Liquid
- Earth Choice Undo This Mess with Ultra Dish Liquid
- Morning Fresh Ultra Concentrate 2-in-1 Dish & Hand Antibacterial;
- Morning Fresh Ultra Concentrate Advanced Fast Dry Dishwashing Liquid
- Organic Choice Dishwashing Liquid
- Palmolive Dry Skin Dishwashing Liquid
- Palmolive Utra Max Power Dishwashing Liquid
- Woolworths Shine Antibacterial Dishwashing Liquid
Interestingly, popular products from brands such as Aldi, Coles, Woolworths, Palmolive, Fairy, Earth Choice, ecostore and Trix failed to shine, scoring just 55%.
No better than water
The biggest shock from our test? We found two products from Fairy that scored 50% – the same result as using plain water!
"With results this poor, you're really just washing money down the drain," says Ashley. "And these products aren't cheap either – both the Fairy Platinum Easy Spray and Fairy Platinum Antibacterial Kitchen Spray costs $7.50 or a huge $2.50 per 100ml."
Making greener choices
In our reviews you can also find the 'Ethical Rating' of the company that produces each of these dishwashing liquids. We partner with Shop Ethical to provide you with these ratings that range from A for the best to F for the worst and look at the track record of brands when it comes to sustainability and ethical consumer issues.
Middling rating for Morning Fresh
The Morning Fresh products in our test receive an Ethical Rating of C, which means the parent company, PZ Cussons, has received 'Praises, but some criticisms' on its ethical and sustainability track record.
The product in our test that receives the highest Ethical Rating of A? That honour goes to ecostore Dish Liquid, which receives a CHOICE Expert Rating of 55% on its cleaning performance.