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Your dishwasher tablets have changed

Our latest dishwasher tablet test rates products that lack a previously key ingredient. Find out which dishwasher tablets are the best.

Your dishwasher tablets may look the same, but the ingredients inside have had a major overhaul. All dishwasher tablet manufacturers were legally obliged to alter how they make their UK products at the start of 2017, and the results are about to hit shelves now. 

When a similar change was made to dishwasher tablets in the USA in 2010, millions of angry customers complained that dishwashers suddenly stopped cleaning dishes. The New York Times even ran a scathing editorial on the subject.

The law change that caused the commotion was one that forced all dishwasher detergent manufacturers to reduce the level of a group of chemicals known as phosphates. On launch in the US, the new phosphate-lite detergent didn’t clean as well, or at all in some cases.

Luckily for you, we’ve tested all of the UK’s most popular dishwasher tablets and powder, so can reveal which clean well without the phosphates.

Find out which dishwasher tablets we recommend – see our round-up of the best dishwasher tablets.

Dishwasher tablets and spotty glasses

The reason most of you use dishwasher tablets and have a dishwasher is to take away the hassle of cleaning by hand. So it’s pretty annoying when you take out a full load of dishes and find the glasses are covered in spots or the plates have a soapy residue. These are both signs that your dishwasher detergent is not rinsing out properly.

There are a number of ways you can avoid those spots on glasses:

  • Top up your rinse aid once a month. Even if you use an all-in-one dishwasher tablet, topping up your rinse aid will help your machine get rid of the soap.
  • Run a hot water cycle on your machine with no dishes in it once a month. This will blast away lingering bits of dishwasher detergent that are sticking around and spotting up your glasses.
  • What dishwasher detergent you use also affects your glassware. The worst dishwasher tablets in our test left visible marks on glassware after only a few washes. So choose a dishwasher detergent that rinses out effectively.

Discover which dishwasher tablets work the best on glassware by checking our full dishwasher tablet results.

Dishwasher tablets and hard water

Hard water also has a significant impact on how well dishwashers clean. Dishwasher detergent doesn’t work as well with hard water, which can result in fewer clean dishes and problems in the rinsing process.

If you live in a hard water area, there is one very simple thing you need to do in order to solve that problem – add dishwasher salt. This makes the water in your machine less hard and means that it will mix better with your detergent. So just make sure that you keep your dishwasher salt topped up monthly and you should be fine.

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