No one likes doing the dishes, but a good detergent can make the job a lot less painful.
Luckily, CHOICE experts have carried out their latest lab test to sort the dishwashing winners from the sinners.
They even found some woeful ones that scored the same as good old water.
"We tested 38 popular products using identically pre-soiled plates, stained with different foods, including rice starch, bolognese and egg yolk," explains CHOICE dishwashing expert, Ashley Iredale. "We also wash with plain water to compare cleaning performance."
Two clear winners, but a big price difference
So which dishwashing liquids shone brightest?
In equal first place, Morning Fresh Ultra Concentrate Ultimate and Aldi Tandil Ultra Power Soak n' Clean Concentrate conquered the kitchen sink with a CHOICE Expert Rating of 90%.
"Both products rated very well and outperformed other liquids in the test by a mile – the next closest score was 65%," says Ashley. "But when it comes to price, Aldi Tandil easily wins on value at just 35c per 100ml, compared with Morning Fresh's 93c."
In another plus, Aldi Tandil is also safe for greywater and septic tanks, and features biodegradable surfactants – unlike Morning Fresh.
Other liquids lag behind
While two products scored 90%, the other 36 didn't scrub up so well and rated a lot lower.
Aldi Tandil Ultra Concentrate landed third place with a score of 65%, but still lagged a long way behind the top contenders.
Four other products scored 60% – just enough to be recommended by our experts. They are:
- Morning Fresh Ultra Concentrate Botanicals
- Morning Fresh Ultra Concentrate Original
- Woolworths Shine Sensations
- Simply Clean Australian Lemon Myrtle.
Interestingly, popular products such as Palmolive, Fairy, Earth Choice, Sunlight, Orange Power and Ecostore failed to shine, with just 55%.
No better than water
The biggest shock from our test? We found four products that scored 45% – the same result as using plain water!
"With results this poor, you're really just washing money down the drain," says Ashley. "And some of these products aren't cheap either – Uniquely Natural costs 96c per 100ml, and Fairy Platinum a whopping $1.12."
Aldi outshines Coles, Woolworths and IGA
When it comes to the battle of supermarket house brands, Aldi easily cleans up the competition. Its Tandil Ultra Power Soak n' Clean Concentrate scored equal first place with a 90% CHOICE Expert Rating.
In comparison, Woolworths' highest scorer Shine Sensations only achieved 60%, Coles' Super Strength liquid landed 55% and IGA's Community Co Clean Freak Concentrate scored a not-so-freaky 50%.
Similar name, wildly different results
If our testing teaches us anything, it's that a brand's range can vary greatly between products, even when they share the same name (or close to it).
For example, Morning Fresh Ultra Concentrate scored 90% in our test, but its similarly named Morning Fresh Ultra Concentrate 'Antibacterial' or 'Soft Hands Fragrance and Dye Free' rated much lower with 50%.
Likewise, Aldi Tandil took equal top honours with its Ultra Power Soak n' Clean Concentrate, but its Gentle Care Super Strength liquid just scraped through with 50%.
Never assume that if one product cleans well, similar ones will deliver the same resultsAshley Iredale, CHOICE dishwashing expert
"Our tests uncovered some wild variation, so never assume that if one product cleans well, similar ones 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. The results for Aldi's Tandil Power Soak 'n' Clean illustrate that price is no measure of performance."