Need to know
- A cheap Aldi dishwashing liquid performed extremely well in our dishwashing liquid tests
- It scored almost as highly as a premium product that costs more than three times as much
- You might spend a little longer doing the dishes with the cheaper product but we think it's worth it for the savings
What's more valuable to you: time or money?
If you're budget-conscious, we've got some good news for you: by shopping smart you can still get squeaky-clean dishes, but for less than a third of the price.
The top-scorer in our dishwashing liquid reviews is a premium product that costs more than $4 a bottle. But coming a close second behind it is an Aldi product that'll set you back just over $1.50. Big price difference – small difference in performance.
It all comes down to how much time and money you have to spend on washing the dishes.
Top two in a league of their own
Two products stood out above the rest in our dishwashing liquid test: Morning Fresh Ultra Concentrate Ultimate Dishwashing Liquid (with a CHOICE Expert Rating of 81%) and Aldi's Tandil Ultra Power Soak N' Clean (72%).
They were miles ahead of the competition, with the next highest-scoring product coming in at just 49%.
So we recommend both the Aldi and Morning Fresh products, but there's a twist: the Aldi product is less than a third of the price of the Morning Fresh product: 35c/100mL compared with $1.23/100mL.
So what does the extra 88 cents buy you? Read on to find out.
- Here's the full Morning Fresh Ultra Concentrate Ultimate Dishwashing Liquid review.
- This is the full Aldi Tandil Ultra Power Soak N' Clean review.
Morning Fresh's Ultra Concentrate Ultimate Dishwashing Liquid topped our test.
Close second: Aldi's Tandil Ultra Power Soak N' Clean gave the more expensive product a run for its money.
Clean winner? How the top two compare
In our testing, both liquids received excellent scores for their ability to remove grime from dirty dishes. Their 'scrub test' scores were:
- Morning Fresh: 82%
- Aldi: 75%
This basically means that you'd need to scrub just a little harder with the Aldi dishwashing liquid to get the same result as with the Morning Fresh liquid. Small price to pay for such a big saving, surely?
"What's your time worth?" asks CHOICE household goods expert Ashley Iredale. "It might take you an extra minute per wash at most, but depending how heavy-handed you are with the detergent, it'll save you up to about 25 cents per wash. By my (very rubbery) calculations, that works out at a saving of as much as $15 per hour in after-tax income."
The main difference between the two products lies in their 'foam test' scores:
- Morning Fresh: 74%
- Aldi: 46%
This might seem like a big difference, but we actually don't think it's that big a deal (see below) and you probably won't notice the discrepancy when it's your turn to wash the dishes.
Don't fall for the foam myth
More foam means a better clean, right? Well, not so much, according to our experts. Foam is important, but it's not the be-all and end-all.
We use a scrub test and a foam test (see 'How we test' below) because they both play a part in getting your dishes clean. Foam (or 'general detergency' in technical terms) helps prevent food scraps from being redistributed on your plates once you've washed them, but it doesn't actually remove the grime in the first place. The scrub test shows how well the detergent removes grime from your dishes – the most important aspect of dishwashing liquid.
More foam means a better clean, right? Well, not so much, according to our experts
We originally started testing dishwashing liquids based on the industry standard that looked at how long their foam lasts. But we soon realised that manufacturers were using cleaning agents (surfactants) that were better at creating foam rather than those that were better at removing grease. (This was because many consumers assume that more foam means better cleaning performance.)
So our CHOICE Expert Rating includes both the foam test and the scrub test, but we've given a far higher weighting to the scrub test (90%) as grime removal is ultimately the best indication of a top performing product.
Want to know more about our dishwashing liquid testing? Here's how we test dishwashing liquids.
So which should you choose?
That depends on you.
If you're short on time but not short of a dime, the Morning Fresh dishwashing liquid is an excellent purchase.
But if money is tight (or you'd prefer to spend your hard-earned on something more fun than dishwashing liquid), then the Aldi alternative is a winner.
Either way, you can't go wrong!
How we test dishwashing liquids
We put dishwashing liquids through two tests: the scrub test and the foam test.
The scrub test
The scrub test assesses how well the detergent removes different types of stains: rice starch, bolognese sauce and egg yolk. Stained plates are soaked in a 1% solution of the test detergent for 10 minutes before being scrubbed a set number of times with a wet sponge.
We use a spectrophotometer (a fancy measuring device) to test exactly how clean the plate is after scrubbing. And we repeat this process four times and the scores are averaged for consistency.
The foam test
We put 4mL of dishwashing liquid in 5L of warm water and wash pre-soiled plates at timed intervals. We count the number of plates cleaned until all the foam in the basin disappears.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.