Best dishwasher tablets: Get your crockery and cutlery sparkling clean
Give your dishwasher a helping hand with our pick of the best dishwasher tablets
Dishwasher tablets all make similar promises: they’ll tackle the dirtiest of dishes, remove the toughest of stains and guarantee the perfect shine.
Only the best dishwasher tablets actually do what they promise, though, and some can be more hassle than they’re worth. If you’ve ever had to throw your egg-encrusted cutlery, lipstick-stained glasses and discoloured mugs back into the dishwasher for a second run, you’ll know the importance of choosing the right tablets.
We’ve tested the top-selling dishwasher tablets, from well-known brands to supermarket own-brand products, to find out which has that all-important sparkle factor. Our buying guide will tell you a little bit more about choosing the right tablets and our favourite picks below feature some of the best dishwasher tablets around.
Best dishwasher tablets: At a glance
- The best cheap dishwasher tablets: Astonish All in 1
- The best eco-friendly dishwasher tablets: Ecover All in One
- The best supermarket brand: Morrisons All-in-One Lemon Dishwasher Tablets
- The best all-round dishwasher tablets: Finish Quantum Ultimate
- The best dishwasher tablets for hard water: Sainsbury’s Prism
- The best dishwasher tablets for shiny glasses: Fairy Platinum All in One
How to choose the best dishwasher tablets for you
What are dishwasher tablets made from?
Dishwasher tablets are made up of two enzymes: proteases – which attack proteins such as milk, cheese, egg yolks and meat – and amylases, which break down carbohydrates. These are partnered with other chemical ingredients, such as bleach, water softeners and anti-corrosion chemicals to stop the machine rusting. If the balance is right, a good dishwasher tablet should effectively break down the grease and grime on your dishes, cutlery and glasses, while keeping your dishwasher in top-notch condition.
Aren’t all dishwasher tablets the same?
As our reviews show, there’s a real variation between brands. Some tackle stains better than grease, while others do a great job on glasses but lack the gumption to completely clear your baking dish of the last remnants of lasagne. It’s also worth noting that some dishwasher tablets are designed to be used at 50-60°C or above and won’t perform so well on a low-temperature cycle.
Is there anything else I can do to make sure my dishwasher cleans well?
Even if you use all-in-one tablets, you may need to occasionally top up your dishwasher with salt to reduce limescale and keep the built-in water filters working properly – especially in areas with hard water. Good dishwashers will indicate when you need to do this with a red light. Ditto rinse aid, which leads to fewer spots on glasses and dishes, thanks to its water-repellent properties.
The best dishwasher tablets to buy
1. Astonish All in 1: The best cheap dishwasher tablets
Price: £7 (0.7p per tablet) | Buy now from Amazon
When used on a hot wash, these tablets work just as well as some of the leading brands. They’re good at keeping glasses streak-free when used in tandem with rinse aid and can get rid of even dried-on, crusty stains.
If you’re looking to minimise your water consumption, wash dishes on a cooler cycle or regularly overfill your dishwasher, they might not be the best choice – more expensive brands do a better job. If you’re putting on regular washes, though, these cheap and cheerful tablets will see you through.
Key specs – Number of tablets in pack: 100; Other pack sizes available: Yes
2. Ecover All in One: The best eco-friendly dishwasher tablets
Price: £5.25 (24p per tablet) | Buy now from Amazon
If you’re worried about the environmental impact of your dishwasher but don’t want to give it up, there are plenty of things you can do to ensure it’s more eco-friendly. Washing on a cooler, shorter wash is one but another is choosing a more environmentally friendly brand of dishwasher tablet like these ones from Ecover. Ecover is well known for its natural and gentle cleaning solutions.
These tablets are made from minerals and plants instead of harsh chemicals, and while this means they might not clean as well as some of the more expensive, powerful brands they still do a pretty good job with fewer chemical nasties.
These work best when your dishwasher isn’t over-packed as overstuffing can cause the solution to be diluted too much. You’ll also want to use regularly with rinse aid and dishwasher salts as with all dishwasher tablets.
Key specs – Number of tablets in pack: 22; Other pack sizes available: No
3. Morrisons All-in-One Lemon Dishwasher Tablets: The best supermarket brand
Price: £2 (8p per tablet) | Buy now from Morrisons
These tablets look after your dishwasher, keeping it in tip-top condition – as well as getting your dishes and cutlery pristine ready to put back in your cupboards or straight out on the table for use. We put them through their paces with Le Creuset-style casserole pots that had been slow-cooking lamb shanks for hours on end, and they came out like new.
But they did fall down on the lipstick challenge – a shame, although this isn’t an unusual problem for dishwasher tablets, especially at the cheaper end. The real disappointment, though, was the film they left on some of the glasses.
The bottom-line verdict, therefore, is that these are great for dazzling dishes and crystal-clear cutlery, but you might want to use a different brand for when you run your glasses through the dishwasher.
Key specs – Number of tablets in pack: 30; Other pack sizes available: Yes
4. Finish Quantum Ultimate: The best all-round dishwasher tablets
Price: £12 (18p per tablet) | Buy now from Amazon
These high-end tablets are among the most expensive around – so we decided to really put them to the test with an entire load of dishes, cutlery, plates and glasses from a greasy roast dinner. We couldn’t fault the results: no matter how hard we tried to find a lingering stain, we couldn’t.
The Quantum Ultimate tablets even passed our egg test, leaving no shred of evidence of hardened and dried yolk on spoons and plates when they had finished in the cycle. Just note that watermarks did start to appear on glasses over a longer period of time – and make sure you get the right name because Finish makes a range of tablets, some of which are more mediocre.
Key specs – Number of tablets in pack: 60; Other pack sizes available: Yes
5. Sainsbury’s Prism: The best dishwasher tablets for hard water
Price: £4 (16p per tablet) | Buy now from Sainsbury’s
If you live in an area with hard water, these dishwasher tablets are perfect: they clean well and soften your water as they go, so you won’t be left with annoying watermarks. Our dishes were left looking as good as new, even after a quick cycle. Closer inspection did reveal some traces of egg yolk and the odd slight stain, but overall results are very satisfactory. The only thing that does let these tablets down is their tendency to stick together in the packet, and sometimes even leak.
Key specs – Number of tablets in pack: 25; Other pack sizes available: Yes
6. Fairy Platinum All in One: The best dishwasher tablets for shiny glasses
Price: £9 (13p per tablet) | Buy now from Amazon
These tablets promise “the confidence to cook anything you like, knowing they can even clean your greasy filter for sparkling dishes and a shiny dishwasher.” It’s hard to quibble with that, as we found they left no trace of grease or dirt whatsoever – not even lipstick, our ultimate litmus test.
Even the dirtiest, grimiest tea and coffee-stained mugs came out perfectly white, while glasses came out crystal clear after many washes, with no cloudiness over time. A small amount of egg occasionally stayed encrusted on both cutlery and plates, but in all these excellent tablets justify their high price.
Key specs – Number of tablets in pack: 65; Other pack sizes available: Yes