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Best and worst dishwasher detergents

Our experts put Finish, Koh, Earth Choice, EcoStore, Fairy and more to the test. Which detergents make dull dishes dazzle?

best and worst dishwashing detergents
Last updated: 10 September 2020

Need to know

  • Our expert dishwasher testers rated 28 products to find which performed well and which should be avoided
  • Eco-friendly detergents performed very well, earning three places in the top five products
  • Coles Ultra Dishwasher Powder was the worst performing product in our tests

Eco product lovers, we've got some good news for you: choose wisely and you can look after the planet and still get your dishes clean! 

In our latest dishwasher detergent test, 'eco' products took out three of the five top spots, proving that you can be gentle to the earth but hard on food stains. 

They were also much cheaper per wash than many standard dishwashing detergents, so you can save some cash while you're saving the planet – bonus!

Our experts tested 28 products for our latest dishwasher detergent reviews. They rated their cleaning performance on food stains such as egg yolk, baked-on cheese, rice starch, red wine and bolognese sauce.  

CHOICE tip: If you're finding that your dishwasher tablets aren't dissolving fully when you put them in the dispenser drawer, just put them loose in the bottom of your dishwasher before running the load. 

Best dishwasher detergents

earth choice dish tablets and finish powerball qup lemon sparkle combined

Equal first: Earth Choice Dish Tablets and Finish Powerball Quantum Ultimate Pro Lemon Sparkle

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 78%
  • Cost: 39c per wash (Earth Choice), $1 per wash (Finish)

Earth Choice retains its crown this year as equal best dishwasher detergent, sharing honours with Finish. Plus, Earth Choice is free from harsh chemicals and is accredited as cruelty free by CCF (Choose Cruelty Free), Australia's peak body for certifying products and source ingredients as free from animal testing.

Finish's Powerball Quantum Ultimate Pro Lemon Sparkle (now that's a mouthful!) matched Earth Choice for winning performance. But it also cost 2.5 times the price per wash, making it the most expensive product in the test.

Just be careful which Earth Choice product you're buying – their dishwasher powder failed to impress, getting a CHOICE Expert Rating of just 47%. This is a pattern we see across many brands, not just Earth Choice – dishwasher tablets generally outclass powders and gels.

"Dishwasher tablets make up over two-thirds of dishwasher detergent sales," says CHOICE dishwasher expert Ashley Iredale. "And although they cost more per wash, our tests show they generally perform better than cheaper powders and gels."

ecostore dishwasher tablets and finish powerball qup baking soda combined

Equal second: EcoStore Dishwasher Tablets and Finish Powerball Quantum Ultimate Pro Baking Soda

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 77%
  • Cost: 38c per wash (EcoStore), $1 per wash (Finish)

Second place is also a tie between the eco and traditional, with ecostore and Finish coming in with the same CHOICE Expert Rating. The two products scored virtually the same on all our tests, powering through baked-on cheese, egg yolk and minced meat. As with first place, there's a price difference here, with the Finish product costing 2.5 times more for the same performance. 

koh dishwasher detergent

Third: Koh Dishwashing tablets

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 76%
  • Cost: 60c per wash

From the creators of the cult eco product, these dishwashing tablets performed surprisingly well. (We say 'surprisingly' because the Koh Universal Surface Cleaner didn't exactly blow us away.) 

Eco-certified by Good Environmental Choice Australia and Approved by the National Asthma Council Australia's Sensitive Choice program, these tablets certainly do the trick if you're trying to live a low-tox life. But they do cost more per wash than both the Earth Choice and EcoStore products. 

"Given the lacklustre performance of their surface cleaner and lack of pedigree in this area we weren't expecting a lot from Koh Dishwashing Tablets, so we were pleasantly surprised when they knocked it out of the park with a 76% CHOICE Expert Rating – good news for Koh's cult following, and great news for the environment too," says Ashley.

Poorest performing dishwasher detergents

Getting CHOICE Expert Ratings of 50% or less, these dishwasher detergents left a lot to be desired. We know that powders are less effective than tablets, but these products are definitely at the bottom of the pile. These are the worst performers in our test, along with their ratings:

  • Coles Ultra Dishwasher Powder Lemon Fresh 2x Concentrate (43%)
  • Simply Clean Lemon Myrtle Dishwasher Powder (44%)
  • Earth Choice Dishwasher Powder Lemon Fresh (47%)
  • Woolworths Shine Dishwasher Powder Concentrate (48%)
  • Aldi Logix Dishwashing Powder 2x Concentrate (50%)
  • Morning Fresh Dishwasher Powder (50%).

Want to know how your dishwasher detergent fared in our tests? Check our expert dishwasher detergent review.