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While a dishwasher can dramatically speed up the post-mealtime clean-up, using the wrong dishwasher tablets can result in your dirty dishes and glasses going back in for a second wash.
A good dishwasher tablet will cut through grease, remove tough stains like tea and coffee, and leave your glasses gleaming and free of watermarks.
There are many different dishwasher tablets on the market from cheap supermarket own-brands to eco-friendly tablets and well-known offerings from the likes of Finish and Fairy, so it can be tricky to know which will get the best results from your dishwasher.
To help you figure out which product best suits your needs, we’ve scoured Mumsnet forums for dishwasher tablet recommendations from real families who use and love them. After all, there’s no better way to discover which household cleaning products work best for family life than to rely on honest reviews from our community.
We also relied on expert review websites, such as Which?, to determine the bestselling brands in terms of removing tea and food stains, eliminating grease and offering the perfect shine for crockery, cutlery and glasses.
Here are the best dishwasher tablets for 2022.
1. Best overall dishwasher tablets: Finish Quantum Ultimate Dishwasher Tablets
Price: £12.56 | Buy now from Amazon
“You need dishwasher salt and you need rinse aid. Most importantly you need the Finish Quantum Ultimate Dishwasher Tablets. I've tried all the other cheap brands and they don't work - they leave a milky film on glasses. I can chuck whatever without rinsing into the dishwasher including trays that have had three-hour baked meats in and they come out brand new.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user sabrinathemiddleagewitch)
You’ll find a variety of Finish dishwashing products around, but the Quantum Ultimate Dishwasher Tablets have been designed to achieve impressive results.
The tablet has three parts – gel and powder for scrubbing and degreasing, and a liquid powerball for getting that ultimate shine. While these tablets are pricier than others in our list, they promise to work first time, cutting through grease and baked-on food while protecting glasses and preventing water spots, which means you shouldn’t have to rewash them by hand or put them back in for a second cycle.
With built-in rinse aid and salt, you don’t have to mess around adding other elements to your dishwasher, and the tablets can even work at lower temperatures. They also come in a 100% biodegradable wrapper.
The only downside is that the capsules are quite large, so might not fit in every dishwasher. However, some reviewers found that they could fold the capsule and fit it in the dispenser without any problems.
- Clean stains and grease the first time
- Built-in rinse aid and salt
- Works at lower temperatures
- 100% biodegradable wrappers
- Large capsules - may need to be folded to fit in the dispenser
- Pack size: 65
- Other pack sizes available: Yes - also available in packs of 35, 50 and 100
2. Best budget dishwasher tablets: Magnum Triple Chamber Dishwasher Tablets
Price: £3.99 | Buy now from ALDI
“I’ve tried so many different brands and now currently using ALDI Magnum and can say they are the best ones I’ve used and will now stick with buying them.” (Rated by Mumsnet user Southmouth)
ALDI Magnum Dishwasher Tablets keep cropping up on the Mumsnet forums, with many Mumsnetters saying how effective these tablets were. And at 11p a tablet, they’re budget-friendly to boot.
As well as being really good value, they also work just as well as other more expensive brands, leaving dishes clean and glasses streak-free and gleaming, even on a short cycle. These triple-chamber tablets not only save you time on rinsing and cleaning but also help care for your dishwasher with built-in detergent, salt and anti-corrosive ingredients.
What’s more, the wrappers dissolve in the wash, so your mealtime cleanups will be even quicker - meaning you can put the kids to bed and get more time to relax. Although you will need to remove food scraps and rinse heavily soiled items before putting them in the dishwasher.
- Can clean on a short cycle
- Built-in rinse aid and salt
- Some users have found the wrapping doesn’t always dissolve properly
- May need to rinse plates and cups before putting them in the dishwasher
- Pack size: 37
- Other pack sizes available: No
3. Best value dishwasher tablets: Astonish All in 1 Dishwasher Tablets
Price: £9.99 | Buy now from Amazon
“I’ve just [bought] Astonish Dishwasher Tablets. They’re really good!” (Recommended by Mumsnet user Gilead)
Astonish makes a range of budget-friendly cleaning products, and their dishwasher tablets are excellent value.
The lemon-scented all-in-one capsules come with integrated salt and rinse aid, promising to remove tough stains and leave your dishes and glassware sparkling and streak-free.
Astonish recommends using a normal cycle wash (55 degrees) with these tablets, or 65 degrees for those who live in a hard water area or have heavily soiled dishes, so they may not work as well on cooler cycles. The tablets are phosphate-free making them kinder for the environment, although the wrapper isn’t dissolvable in the wash and each tablet is individually wrapped.
- Good value for money
- Cruelty-free and vegan-friendly
- Built-in rinse aid and salt
- May not work as well on cooler cycles
- Might struggle to remove dried-on starch like pasta
- Tablet wrapping needs to be removed before using
- Pack size: 100
- Other pack sizes available: Yes - also available in a 42 pack
4. Best all-in-one dishwasher tablets: Fairy Platinum Plus Dishwasher Tablets
Price: From £15.73 | Buy now from Amazon
“I use Fairy Platinum Plus [tablets] which do the job.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user username4214)
If you want minimal faff then an all-in-one dishwasher tablet is the way to go - and Fairy’s Platinum Plus Dishwasher Tablets have everything you could need.
As recommended by global manufacturers, such as Whirlpool, Indesit and AEG, these tablets come with integrated rinse aid and salt, and have a built-in pre-wash system so you don’t have to waste time – or water - rinsing your dishes before you put them in the dishwasher.
The liquid and powder capsules are designed to perform well on both short and eco cycles, removing grease and dried-on food while protecting your silver and glassware. And reviewers love how these tablets remove dullness from their dishes and bring back a like-new shine.
While you might struggle to fit the tablet in your dishwasher dispenser, the Fairy team say you can pop the tablet in the cutlery basket instead.
- Built-in pre-wash so there’s no need to rinse your dishes before a cycle
- Works for both short and eco cycles
- Removes stains, grease and dullness
- Tablets might not fit in all dispensers
- May leave an unpleasant taste on plastics
- Pack size: 55
- Other pack sizes available: Yes - also available in packs of 21, 40, 65 and 105
5. Best dishwasher tablets for Miele: Miele UltraTabs
Price: £19.49 | Buy now from Amazon
The Miele Ultra Dishwasher Tablets have been designed with Miele dishwashers in mind, but can be used in any dishwasher make or model. They are pricey but promise to deliver shining results, even on the toughest of stains.
The UltraTabs come in a water-soluble casing, so there are no plastic wrappers to throw away, and they’re phosphate-free, making them better for the environment. With rinse aid, salt and glassware protection, your glassware, including champagne glasses, should come out sparkling every time.
When placed in dishwashers that aren’t Miele, some reviewers have found that a whole tablet creates too much soap, which then stays on the dishes. We recommend putting in half a tablet to begin with.
- Designed for Miele dishwashers but can be used in any model
- Phosphate-free and water-soluble wrappers
- Built-in rinse aid and salt for shining results
- A whole tablet might cause too much soap in non-Miele dishwashers
- Pack size: 60
- Other pack sizes available: Yes - also available in a 20 pack
6. Best fragrance-free dishwasher tablets: Finish 0% Dishwasher Tablets
Price: £14.19 | Buy now from Amazon
If you’re not a fan of strong-smelling cleaning products, suffer from allergies or just want to avoid the odour that can be left behind on dishes or glasses, then Finish 0% Dishwasher Tablets could be your solution.
While they don’t contain intentionally added preservatives and are fragrance-free, the tablets promise to deliver the same cleaning performance as Finish All In 1 Max Dishwasher Tablets while being kinder to the environment – and to your nose.
These tablets come in a biodegradable 100% soluble film, are free from phosphates and arrive in fully recyclable packaging – giving you cleaner dishes and a clearer conscience. But some reviewers have found that they needed higher temperatures to achieve clean crockery and cutlery first time round.
- Fragrance-free and free from added preservatives
- Recyclable packaging
- Some users say the tablets leave a residue behind
- May not be as effective at colder temperatures
- Pack size: 80
- Other pack sizes available: No
7. Best dishwasher tablets for glasses: Fairy Platinum All in One Dishwasher Tablets
Price: £10 | Buy now from Amazon
“Personally, I think Fairy Platinum give a better result than Finish. I tend to alternate between Fairy (when on offer) and cheaper brands - usually Astonish. We generally have a pack of each on the go at once, as I find I get slightly worse results when using the cheap ones over a longer period.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user Whathappenedtothelego)
For crystal-clear glasses, Fairy Platinum All in One tablets come with integrated salt and rinse aid, as well as glass and silver protection.
While other tablets can leave a cloudy residue behind, reviewers have found these powder and liquid capsules keep glasses shiny, even after multiple washes. They also promise to prevent the build-up of grease in your dishwasher and clean your filter, while leaving your machine smelling lemony fresh (although the lemon scent might linger on your dishes and leave an unpleasant aftertaste).
The Fairy Platinum All in One Tablets have been designed to dissolve quickly thanks to their soluble wrapping, and work hard to tackle even the toughest of food and drink stains the first time round, such as tea, coffee, burnt-on food and egg.
The tablets also come recommended by dishwasher manufacturers such as Whirlpool and Hotpoint.
- Glass and silver protection
- Prevents build-up of grease and cleans filter
- Tablet wrappers dissolve
- Some users have found that capsules stick together in the pack
- May leave a lemon aftertaste on dishes and plastics
- Pack size: 65
- Other pack sizes available: Yes - also available in packs of 40, 72, 89, 100 and 115
8. Best eco-friendly dishwasher tablets: Ecover Classic Dishwasher Pods
Price: £13 | Buy now from Amazon
“Ecover tabs, plus extra salt and rinse aid.” (Rated by Mumsnet user redcandlelight)
If you’re trying to make your home more environmentally-friendly, Ecover’s Classic Dishwasher Tablets are made with renewable plant-based and mineral ingredients.
The lemon-and-lime-scented tablets come in boxes made from 100% recycled cardboard and they are also cruelty-free while promising to be tough on grease and dried-on food.
Ecover recommends using the tablets on an eco wash, but you’ll need to add rinse aid and salt, especially in hard water areas. The big downside to these dishwasher tablets is that, while eco-friendly, they come in individual wrappers, which Ecover says is to keep them fresh as they don’t react well to the air – they are, however, looking at plant-based options.
- Renewable plant-based and mineral ingredients
- 100% recycled cardboard
- Fresh-smelling scent
- The tablets come in plastic wrappers that need to be removed
- Pack size: 70
- Other pack sizes available: Yes - also available as a 25 pack
9. Best dishwasher cleaning tablets: Finish In-Wash Dishwasher Cleaner
Price: £5.25 for 3 | Buy now from Wilko
No matter what dishwasher tablets you use, if your machine is dirty you’ll never get the best results. Some dishwasher cleaners require you to put the dishwasher on empty, which can be frustrating when you have piles of dirty plates waiting to go in. However, Finish has developed the In-Wash tablets so that you can clean your dishes at the same time.
Simply load your dishwasher and put your usual detergent in the chamber, then add the In-Wash capsule to the bottom of your machine. While you’re running your regular cycle, it will tackle grease and prevent limescale from building up in your dishwasher, including on the filter and spray arms.
Finish recommends using these tablets monthly to get the best out of your appliance - although at £5.25 for three tablets you’ll be looking at an additional yearly cost of £21 (on top of your regular dishwasher tablets), which is quite expensive. As a cheaper alternative, we’ve found this eight pack of Finish In-Wash Tablets - which would give you two years worth of cleaning for just under £25.
- Cleans the dishwasher while your dishes are being washed
- Leaves dishwasher smelling fresh
- Cuts through grease and prevents limescale
- Expensive for three tablets
- A lot of packaging when buying in bulk
- Pack size: 3
- Other pack sizes available: No
10. Best dishwasher detergent tablets: Fairy Original All in One Dishwasher Tablets
Price: £10 | Buy now from Amazon
“Fairy Original dishwasher tabs.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user DeletedByAccident)
Fairy Original All in One Dishwasher Tablets allow you to tackle dried-on grease and stains, such as milk, with just one wash. As with the other Fairy dishwasher tablets, you can enjoy cloudiness- and film-free plates, cups and glasses, and your glasses will continue to shine wash after wash.
The liquid and powder capsule is very soluble, meaning it dissolves quicker than hard-pressed tablets, such as the Astonish All in 1. This allows the tablet to start tackling food stains and grease more quickly.
Similarly to the Fairy Platinum Plus and Fairy Platinum, these tablets contain built-in salt and rinse ingredients that protect your glass and silverware. But unlike the others, the Original might struggle to remove and clean tough stains, such as pasta and egg.
- Effectively removes grease
- Prevents cloudiness and filming on dishes
- Has the largest Fairy pack size (125)
- May not clean tough stains
- Might leave watermarks on crockery
- Pack size: 78
- Other pack sizes available: Yes - also available in packs of 90 and 125
How do dishwasher tablets work?
After placing a dishwasher tablet in the dispenser (or in the bottom of your dishwasher) and selecting the wash cycle you want, many of us don’t spare a thought for how dishwasher tablets actually work. But here’s how those small tablets get your dishes, cutlery and pans sparkling.
Once you’ve closed the dishwasher door, the dispenser will open and start depositing the detergent into the hot water that’s filling in the bottom of your machine. The hot water dissolves and releases the ingredients within the tablet and these are then pumped around the dishwasher.
What are dishwasher tablets made from?
Dishwasher tablets are made up of several ingredients that help to tackle stains, remove grease and reduce calcium and limescale build-ups. Most dishwasher tablets contain:
- Safe bleach ingredients - to remove tough stains such as tea or coffee
- Enzymes - to cut through grease and break down starch and proteins (found in food)
- Builder compounds - which helps to reduce water hardness and prevents limescale buildup
- Anti-corrosion ingredients - to prevent the corrosion of the dishwasher
As well as the above ingredients, some dishwasher tablets may also contain disintegrants (which allows the tablet to dissolve in the wash), rinse aid (which prevents watermarks) and scented fragrances.
Eco-friendly dishwasher tablets often substitute bleach and other chemical ingredients for more natural cleaning agents, such as sodium citrate and sodium percarbonate.
Does it matter what dishwasher tablets you use?
As long as your dishwasher tablet works well with your appliance then it doesn’t really matter which brand you choose. However, some brands might work better with your dishwasher than others.
The dishwasher tablet you use will also depend on the results you want from your wash, the type of water in your area, and the types of stains you need it to clean.
Many dishwasher manufacturers recommend a specific brand or tablet to use, and these often help to achieve the cleanest results. But it might be beneficial to try different brands and tablets to see which one works best for you and your family.
It’s also important to remember that dishwasher tablets that contain salt and rinse aid only help to soften the water, so you’ll still need to refill the salt in your machine once a month.
How do I choose the best dishwasher tablets?
Dishwasher tablets come in liquid or tablet form, or a capsule containing both. While each product is different, they are generally made up of a combination of builders, bleaches, enzymes and surfactants. Some are designed to work better at a high temperature while others are more successful at removing tough stains or cutting through grease when set at lower temperatures.
If you want to be kinder on the planet, you’ll find environmentally-friendly dishwasher tablets made from plant-based, biodegradable ingredients that come in a soluble wrapper instead of individual plastic wrappers, and are vegan and cruelty-free. You can also be more eco-friendly by looking out for recyclable packaging.
Rinse aid and salt
Dishwashers also need rinse aid to assist with drying and to leave your dishes shiny and with fewer spots, and salt for softening the water and protecting the machine from limescale. You can buy dishwasher tablets that come with rinse aid and salt included. But in hard water areas where you can get a build-up of limescale, you may need to top them up separately to get the best out of your machine. Not sure what you need or where to put the salt? Which? has more information on how to use salt and rinse aid.
For a family home, you may find yourself filling the dishwasher more than once a day, so the cost may be a big factor when it comes to choosing a dishwasher tablet. As you can see from our list, you don’t have to spend a fortune – prices can start from around £3.99 and can go up to over £60 for bulk or larger packs.
Do dishwasher tablets clean your washing machine?
While dishwasher tablets are made for cleaning your dishes and glassware, a cleaning hack that went viral on social media claims you can also use them to clean your washing machine.
The tip, which was posted on the Mums Who Clean Facebook group, recommends that you pop four dishwasher tablets into the drum on a hot wash. The water turns brown as it cleans out the inside of the washing machine and, when it drains, the drum is left gleaming.
What are the best dishwasher tablets to buy?
The best dishwasher tablets to buy are the Finish Quantum Ultimate. They come with built-in rinse aid and salt actions, promising to cut through grease and baked-on food the first time round while protecting glasses from water spots to leave them gleaming.
They’re suitable for those wanting to be more eco-friendly as the wrappers are 100% biodegradable and the tablets also work at lower temperatures.
How we chose our recommendations
We know that word of mouth and real recommendations are the most reliable way to find products that actually work, which is why most of our recommendations for dishwasher tablets came from Mumsnet users themselves.
To bring you tried and tested recommendations, we spent two hours researching the Mumsnet forums for posts about which dishwasher tablets Mumsnetters really rated. After compiling these recommendations, we spent a further three hours analysing expert review websites, such as Which?, and investigating customer feedback on retailer websites, such as Amazon.
Before finishing our top picks, we also looked at which tablets were rated by dishwasher manufacturers and ranked in ‘best buy’ lists across websites and print media.
Why you should trust us
We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.