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Best dishwasher cleaner 2024: tablets, liquids and powders to spruce up your machine

Is your dishwasher failing to perform at its best? If your glasses are no longer gleaming and your dishes are coming out dirty, here are the best dishwasher cleaners recommended by Mumsnet users.

By Lucy Cotterill | Last updated Feb 22, 2024

Best dishwasher cleaner

When it comes to household appliances, dishwashers can be a huge time saver when juggling busy family life. Whether you opt for a freestanding or integrated dishwasher, these smart and efficient appliances allow you to sit back and put your feet up while your dishes are restored to their former glory, leaving your plates, cups and cutlery clean, dry and ready to use with your next meal. 

What you may not realise, however, is that even the best dishwashers require regular maintenance. Fail to look after your dishwasher and you can easily end up with a smelly appliance and plates that come out covered in baked-on food, even after a full cycle. Whether used in tablet, liquid or powder form, a dishwasher cleaner is a quick and efficient way to keep your appliance running at its best and can help to achieve a deep clean, banish odours and prevent future faults or performance issues. 

To bring you our pick of the best dishwasher cleaners, we’ve tapped into the tried-and-tested experiences of trusted Mumsnet users, seeking out recommendations on the products they have used and would happily recommend to others. We've also scrutinised wider consumer reviews and expert opinions, gathering feedback on ease of use, performance and value for money to bring you the top dishwasher cleaners that help you achieve sparkling dishes every time.

Looking for more cleaning must-haves? We also have guides to the best glass cleaner and oven cleaner, as recommended by Mumsnetters.

Best dishwasher cleaner overall

Finish In-Wash Dishwasher Machine Cleaner Tablets

What we like
  • Easy to use (simply place at the bottom of your dishwasher)

  • Effective at removing hard water stains and limescale

  • You can use it during your usual wash cycle  

  • Cleans hidden areas like spray arms and the filter 

What we don't like
  • Recommended to be used weekly - however, many reviewers use it once a month with good results

Key specs

Price on writing: £13 (for 12 tablets) | Type: Tablet | Scent: Unscented | No.of cleans: Three per pack (four packs included)

What Mumsnet users say
 Floralnomad · Recommended
I’ve just been and looked at mine and it’s perfectly clean. I use the Finish In-Wash Cleaner (they come in a pack of three) on the first of every month, and for that wash, I put it on the 70 cycle. The rest of the time I use the 50 eco cycle on the reduced time function, so it takes just over an hour.
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PurpleCrazyHorse · Tried & Tested
I do a monthly maintenance wash with a Finish dishwasher cleaner. It has a special cycle but any hot cycle will do. I clean out the filter too (you can pull out the main bit that catches the big stuff, but it has a second part to it that lifts out that's a fine gauze). Wash the whole lot, and I tend to flush some hot water down the filter drain. I get our dishwasher cleaner on an Amazon subscription, it's a little reminder to do it then.
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Our verdict

While Finish recommends using their dishwasher cleaner once a week, Mumsnet users and reviewers found that the Finish In-Wash Tablets work impressively well during a monthly maintenance cycle. Unlike many dishwasher cleaners that need to be placed inside an empty appliance, these easy-to-use tablets can be added to your regular wash (using a hot cycle) to clean your machine at the same time as your dirty dishes.

Simply place it at the bottom of the dishwasher and let the tablets work their magic, removing hard water stains and limescale across even hard-to-reach areas such as the spray arms and filter. Finish In-Wash Dishwasher Cleaner is also completely fragrance-free, with no obvious scent when you use a glass straight out of the machine. 

Related: The best American fridge freezer, tried and tested

Best dishwasher cleaner on a budget

Crystale Dishwasher Cleaner Pink Grapefruit and Pomegranate

What we like
  • Affordable option 

  • Recommended use once a month

  • The majority of reviewers praised the fresh grapefruit and pomegranate scent

What we don't like
  • Some may prefer an unscented cleaner

  • Some reviewers found it didn't disperse fully during use 

  • Filter needs to be removed and cleaned separately 

  • Single-use plastic waste 

Key specs

Price on writing: £1 | Type: Liquid | Scent: Pink grapefruit and pomegranate | No.of cleans: One

What Mumsnet users say
MrsJayy · Tried & Tested
I get mine from the Pound Shop or Savers, it's called Crystale.
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Our verdict

If you’re after a cheap and cheerful dishwasher cleaner that you can pick up alongside your weekly food shop, Crystale makes a budget-friendly choice, particularly as the brand recommends using it just once a month. 

While it does require an empty cycle running at 65°C or above, it’s fairly simple to use. Simply remove the label from the lid and place the bottle upside down in the top shelf of your dishwasher. Dispersed during the cycle, this dishwasher cleaner works hard to remove any build-up of grease, grime and limescale, leaving nothing but a fresh grapefruit and pomegranate fragrance behind. 

Related: The best lunch boxes for kids and adults

Best liquid dishwasher cleaner

Elbow Grease Dishwasher Cleaner

What we like
  • Designed to fit in the top shelf of all dishwashers 

  • Fresh lemon scent

  • Works well at neutralising odours

  • Cleans and descales hidden parts 

What we don't like
  • Single-use plastic waste 

  • Not everyone will like the (relatively strong) lemon scent 

Key specs

Price on writing: £4 | Type: Liquid | Scent: Lemon | No.of cleans: One 

Our verdict

This easy-to-use dishwasher cleaner certainly lives up to its name, putting some much-needed elbow grease into restoring shine, descaling limescale and freshening up your dishwasher - including the parts you cannot see.

We love the uniquely shaped bottle that fits securely into the top shelf of all models - including slimline dishwashers. Elbow Grease is really effective at banishing unpleasant odours left behind by food residue, however, not everyone is a fan of the relatively strong lemon scent. 

Best dishwasher cleaner for mould

HG Service Engineer Dishwasher & Washing Machine Cleaner

What we like
  • Suitable for use in both washing machines and dishwashers 

  • Removes soap scum, limescale and dirt

  • Recommended by professional dishwasher engineers and repair services

  • Advised to use every three months  

What we don't like
  • Needs to be used on the highest temp and empty cycle to be effective

  • Some reviewers found it left a residue behind

  • More costly than some 

Key specs

Price on writing: £9 | Type: Liquid | Scent: Unspecified | No.of cleans: Two to four per bottle

What Mumsnet users say
SimonitesSocks · Tried & Tested
This is the stuff I use to do a service wash with both my dishwasher and washing machine, but do make sure you've cleaned out your dishwasher properly in the first place including the filters.
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Our verdict

As your dishwasher gets older, you may notice a build-up of grime, limescale and even mould - which is not only unsightly but can also leave your appliance unhygienic, smelly and failing to clean effectively.  

HG Service Engineer Dishwasher & Washing Machine Cleaner is recommended by professional dishwasher engineers to help remove soap scum, limescale and dirt from your appliances, used once every three months during an empty ‘service cycle’ for impressive results.

While it may appear relatively costly initially, each dual-purpose bottle provides between two and four washes, offering excellent overall value for money.

Related: The best kettle and toaster for your kitchen

Best eco-friendly dishwasher cleaner

Ecozone Washing Machine & Dishwasher Cleaner Tablet

What we like
  • Suitable for use in the washing machine and dishwasher

  • Fragrance-free

  • A more eco-friendly cleaner made from natural ingredients

What we don't like
  • Needs to be used on an empty hot cycle 

Key specs

Price on writing: £5 | Type: Tablet | Scent: Unscented | No.of cleans: Six

What Mumsnet users say
NastyBlouse · Tried & Tested
For cleaning the dishwasher, the best thing I've found is the Ecozone tablets. They come in a box of six and you can use them to clean the washing machine too.
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PlausibleSuit · Recommended
I also highly recommend Ecozone's dishwasher and washing machine cleaning tablets. They're basically just citric acid and very effective. They do something similar in powder form that gets the crust and limescale out of kettles too.
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Our verdict

If you’re worried about the use of chemicals or are simply seeking a more natural alternative, Ecozone Washing Machine and Dishwasher Cleaner Tablets are an eco-friendly choice that comes highly recommended by Mumsnet users. With a vegan-friendly, plant-based formula, they’re completely plastic-free, with a soluble packet that simply washes away during use. 

Recommended for use monthly, their two-in-one treatment kit features six fragrance-free tablets that are suitable for both appliances. In the dishwasher, simply pop onto the bottom of your appliance and run on a hot wash to remove limescale, eliminate detergent build-up and neutralise odours. 

Related: Best fridge freezer for your kitchen

Best dishwasher cleaner for odours

Dr Beckmann Service-it Deep Clean Dishwasher Cleaner

What we like
  • Removes 99.9% of bacteria from your dishwasher 

  • Fresh lemon scent

  • Includes hygiene wipe to clean door seal 

What we don't like
  • More costly (per treatment) than some

Key specs

Price on writing: £3 | Type: Powder | Scent: Lemon | No.of cleans: One

What Mumsnet users say
sonias27 · Recommended
Have you deep cleaned your dishwasher recently? If not then I would recommend using Dr Beckmann Deep Service Wash - that should help!
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Our verdict

Dr Beckmann’s doesn’t just make some of the best carpet shampoo, they also produce an impressive two-step dishwasher cleaner that can leave your dishwasher sparkling clean from top to bottom. We love the inclusion of a hygiene wipe to use on the door seal - an area of your dishwasher that is easy to overlook. 

Recommended for use every two months or after every 30 wash cycles (whichever comes sooner), simply fill the detergent compartment with Dr Beckmann’s Service-it Deep Clean powder to eliminate grease, residues and unpleasant odours from your dishwasher. The brand also claims to remove 99.9% of bacteria and microorganisms, leaving a hygienic dishwasher with a fresh lemon scent. 

How to clean a dishwasher 

Just like any household appliance, your dishwasher needs some regular TLC to keep it running at its best, especially if you use it multiple times a week. Keeping your dishwasher clean and hygienic can not only produce better cleaning results but can also prevent costly faults and breakdowns and allow you to enjoy the benefits for longer.

If you’re not sure where to start - fear not - we’ve collated Mumsnetters’ top five tips on how to clean a dishwasher that can have your dishwasher fresh and sparking in next to no time. As well as running a regular cycle with vinegar or dishwasher cleaner, other simple and stress-free dishwasher cleaning steps include:

  • Removing the bottom rack and residue

  • Cleaning the filter regularly (approximately once a week)

  • Wiping down both the exterior and interior 

  • Cleaning the spray arms

For more details on each step, see our full guide on how to clean a dishwasher.

What’s the best natural dishwasher cleaner?

While you could opt for a natural dishwasher cleaner such as Ecozone, Mumsnet users also recommend using other natural ingredients such as vinegar to keep your dishwasher clean.

Simply add a cup of white vinegar to a small container and add it to the top rack of your empty dishwasher before running the appliance on a hot cycle. For removing more stubborn grime, limescale or residue, a cup of baking soda can provide an extra boost of cleaning power. 

"I cut a lemon in half and shove it on the top and put about 200ml white wine vinegar in a measuring jug at the bottom. I then put it on a really hot pan wash with nothing else in it about every six weeks or so (after I’ve cleaned the filter out yet again!). It’s loads cheaper than the dishwasher cleaners." Tip from Mumsnet user PipsM

"I use white vinegar, good for limescale and getting rid of smells. Do clean the seals regularly, they get disgusting!" Suggestion from Mumsnet user LuxuryWoman2017

How to maintain your dishwasher

As well as keeping your dishwasher clean, there are several other steps you can take to maintain your dishwasher and improve its lifespan.

  • Read the instructions - While no one really enjoys reading the manual, understanding the specifications of your own model can ensure you are using it correctly. From selecting the right cycle to where you should place your dishwasher tablets, learning about your dishwasher can prevent rookie mistakes or oversights that could reduce performance.

  • Use high-quality detergent - Use high-quality dishwasher tablets and ensure you are using them as specified by the brand.

  • Run a maintenance cycle regularly - Don’t wait until you have a problem to clean your dishwasher. Carrying out a regular maintenance cycle with a dishwasher cleaner (at least once a month) is a proactive way to keep it performing at its best. Don’t forget to remove the filter and check the drain is clear, as well as wipe down door seals and spray arms for the best results.

  • Use dishwasher salt - Particularly if you are in a hard water area, dishwasher salt can prevent the build-up of limescale inside your dishwasher by softening the water during the cycle. 

  • Load it correctly - As well as scraping off significant excess food which can cause blockages, it’s important not to overload or overstack your dishwasher. Most modern dishwashers have height-adjustable shelving and adjustable racks to help accommodate dishes, pots and Tupperware of different shapes and sizes. Overloading your dishwasher can not only reduce the quality of the clean, it can damage the racks and cutlery trays.

  • Use your dishwasher regularly - If you haven’t used your dishwasher for a while, run an empty hot cycle before loading it with dirty dishes to remove stagnant water and smelly odours that can be unhygienic. 

How we chose the best dishwasher cleaner

Recommendations from real parents

To bring you our definitive list of the best dishwasher cleaners you can buy today, we first sought out the trusted opinions of Mumsnet users, getting their feedback on the dishwashers that they rate, recommend and use in their own dishwashers.

We also looked out for any negative reviews, where Mumsnet users highlighted products that they felt were overpriced, smelled too strong, or simply failed to remove limescale, dirt or grime. 

Expert opinions

Next up, we considered reviews and feedback from trusted industry experts. We want to be confident that the products we recommend are fit for purpose, so we looked out for award-winning products or those that were well regarded in the marketplace.

Authentic consumer reviews

Finally, to bring you our definitive list of the best dishwasher cleaners on the market, we thoroughly investigated genuine, in-depth customer reviews on retailer sites such as Amazon, Lakeland and online supermarkets.

About the author 

Lucy Cotterill is a mum of two and a Content Writer at Mumsnet, specialising in baby, child and lifestyle product reviews and round-ups. Having written product reviews on her own blog Real Mum Reviews since 2012, Lucy loves to research and explore the pros and cons of products, scrutinising reviews and consumer feedback to help people make confident purchases.  

After buying her first ever dishwasher in 2022, Lucy knows only too well the benefits that a clean and high-performing dishwasher can bring when juggling family life. Lucy's also written a number of Mumsnet round-ups of the top home products - including the best dishwashers, slimline dishwashers, and integrated dishwashers, so she's somewhat of a Mumsnet expert when it comes to sniffing out the top appliances for families.

Originally from a HR background with a degree in Business Studies, Lucy developed a real passion for blogging and writing when her children were young, going on to write for several online publications including US parenting site Pregistry and the Evening Standard. When she’s not manically tapping the keys of her laptop, Lucy loves nothing more than to cosy up with her Kindle and enjoy the latest thriller, or compete in Nintendo Switch rallies with her daughters aged six and 10.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide honest and independent advice you can trust and we spend hours scouring the Mumsnet forums and online bestseller lists to find products that real parents rate.

Transparency is really important to us and that's why we're always upfront about where we find our recommendations. We write about products that we feel offer the best value to most parents – the ones that our users would recommend to their own friends and family.

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