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The best and worst dishwashing liquids from our tests

We reveal which detergents cleaned up in our testing, and which will leave you with egg on your face (and plates).

illlustration of best and worst dishwashing liquids
Last updated: 14 March 2024

Need to know

  • Our expert testers rated 50 dishwashing liquids to find out which ones give the best clean, and which will make washing the dishes even more of a slog
  • You don’t have to spend a fortune to get good results – two home-brand detergents topped our tests, beating products that cost more than six times as much 
  • One of the most expensive products we tested was also one of the worst 

No one likes doing the washing up, but a good detergent can make the job a lot less painful by cutting through grease and dried-on food and leaving your dishes sparkling. 

We're all trying to trim our grocery bills, but buying cleaning products like dishwashing liquid is one of the least fun ways to spend your money.

To save you time at the sink and leave more money in your pockets, our expert testers slogged through piles of dirty dishes to find the best performing dishwashing detergents, and tell you which ones to leave off your shopping list.

We found that some of the best dishwashing liquids are also the cheapest – and that some of the most expensive are the most disappointing. 

Why spend more money than you have to on dull chores like washing up?

"We tested 50 popular dishwashing liquids using plates that were consistently dirtied up with different foods, including bolognaise and egg yolk," explains CHOICE expert Matthew Steen.

"We soak them in each detergent, scrub them a set number of times and then look at how clean the plates are.

"We also look at how well they wash compared to plain water."

father and son washing the dishes

A good detergent makes doing the dishes easier.

A clean winner: The best dishwashing liquids in our test

The results were crystal clear: Aldi wiped the floor with its competitors, taking out the three top spots with a clean sweep.

Its Tandil Ultra Power Soak and Tandil Ultra Quick Dry are the pick of the bunch, both scoring 90%. And they're a bargain to boot – just 40 cents per 100mL. 

That's around a quarter of the price of other top-scoring detergents from well-known brands such as Morning Fresh and Fairy. 

The Aldi detergents are streets ahead in terms of performance and price – a win for both your dishes and your pocket

CHOICE expert Matthew Steen

The most expensive detergent we tested, Koala Eco ($2.60 per 100mL), scored 70% but costs a huge 6.5 times as much as Aldi's top scorers!

"These Aldi detergents are streets ahead in terms of performance and price – a win for both your dishes and your pocket," says Matthew.

However, some Aldi dishwashing liquids didn't fare so well in our lab tests, with other products from the brand sitting at the bottom of the heap. The similarly-named Aldi Tandil Ultra Antibacterial was equal-last in our test, scoring just 60%.

It was the same story for other well-known brands, with products towards both the top and bottom of the leaderboard.

Buying based on brand alone won't guarantee good performance

It goes to show that buying based on brand alone won't guarantee good performance.

And with so many products from the same brand having such similar names, you need to be paying attention when you pick up a bottle from the supermarket shelf. 

"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 Matthew.

aldi tandil ultra antibacterial

Aldi topped the charts, but its Tandil Ultra Antibacterial was equal-last in our test.

"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 same goes for expecting that a washing up liquid from this year will perform just as well next year – the reason we test every year is because some manufacturers commonly change the formula, so check back with us each year to see who has the better product."

aldi tandil ultra odour neutralising

Tandil Ultra Odour Neutralising was another high-scorer from Aldi.

The other top performers

If you're not an Aldi shopper, there are still plenty of other great products out there. 

Our experts recommend these dishwashing liquids, which all have a CHOICE Expert Rating of 75% and higher:

  • Aldi Tandil Ultra Odour Neutralising (85%) 
  • Palmolive Ultra Complete Concentrated Dishwashing Liquid (80%)
  • Morning Fresh Soft Hands Cucumber and Aloe Vera Ultra Concentrate Dishwashing Liquid (75%)
  • Morning Fresh Ultimate Power Original Ultra Concentrate Dishwashing Liquid (75%)
  • Orange Power Dish Washing Liquid High Performance Dishwash Concentrate (75%)
  • Palmolive Ultra Antibacterial Dishwashing Liquid (75%)
  • Palmolive Ultra Eco Coconut And Lime Dishwashing Liquid (75%)
saba organic dishwashing liquid

Saba Organic Dishwashing Liquid is expensive but disappointing.

Ultra flops: The expensive detergents that are a waste of your money

If you're looking for a fresh new way to tip your money down the sink, look no further than Saba Organic Dishwashing Liquid and Fairy Ultra Concentrate Antibacterial Dishwashing Liquid. 

Not only do they cost a staggering $1.70 and $1.58 per 100mL respectively (that's four times as much as the Aldi detergents!), they were also some of the lowest-scoring products we tested. 

These detergents will likely leave you with sore arms from all the extra scrubbing needed to get your dishes clean, and a hole in your pocket from the steep prices.

Dishwashing liquids to avoid

To spare you the frustration of buying a dishwashing liquid that'll make washing up harder than it needs to be, here are the detergents that you should avoid. 

These washed-up washing-up liquids all share last place in our testing, with a CHOICE Expert Rating of just 60%.

  • Fairy Ultra Concentrate Antibacterial Dishwashing Liquid
  • Earth Choice Undo This Mess With Ultra Mint & Lime Time Dish Liquid
  • Earth Choice Ultra Concentrate Lemon Burst Dishwashing Liquid
  • Coles Green Choice 2-in-1 Dish + Hand Wash
  • Aldi Tandil Ultra Antibacterial
We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.