God bless dishwashers for sparing us from one of the most loathsome household chores. To help ensure your dishes always come out sparkling clean, it's good practice to use a dishwasher cleaner once a month to eliminate built up grease, limescale, and bad odours.
From liquids to tablets, in this article, we'll show you how to choose the best cleaner for your dishwasher, including ones you can also use in the washing machine! Read on for our top 10 recommendations from leading brands in the UK, like Finish and Fairy, available from Amazon, Tesco, Asda and more.
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While the goal of all dishwasher cleaners is the same, there are some differences are worth thinking about when making your choice. In this section, we’ll explore various formulas and their benefits, to help you identify what will work best for you and your appliance.
The first decision you’ll need to make is whether to opt for a liquid, tablet or powder. Liquids (or gels) are the most popular and have a few unique benefits compared to the other forms. The biggest is that they are less abrasive to your dishwasher. They’re also often a little cheaper too.
Tablets may be more expensive for the number of washes you get. However, they're the most convenient as they can be thrown in with the washing cycle, meaning that you don’t need to do it separately. Not only could this save you time and money on your bills, but it's more eco-friendly than running empty cycles.
Finally, you have powder. These are usually emptied onto the bottom of the dishwasher when running a cleaning cycle. They’re the most erosive option, making them a good shout if you have tough stains to remove. That said, they may cause damage to your appliance.
If you live in a hard water area, then chances are you’re already familiar with the troublesome substance that is limescale. Thankfully, many companies make specific formulas to tackle this problem. So if your machine is prone to build-up, we would recommend looking for a specialist cleaner.
Although limescale might not look unpleasant, in small doses, it doesn’t have any negative repercussions for your health. However, opting for a cleaner that specifically combats limescale will save your appliance from clogging, as well as ensure your dishes don’t come out with marks or stains.
Finally, check whether the formula works in your washing machine as well. This will save you having to buy multiple different products, as multi-purpose cleaners will tackle detergent congestion just as well as limescale and other deposits in your dishwasher.
Of course, you’ll want to be 100% sure that they are interchangeable. Otherwise, you might not only be jeopardising your machine, but running the risk of damaging the health of you and your family.
Luckily, manufacturers make this abundantly clear on their packaging. Although, we've also clarified which appliances each cleaner is suitable for in our ranking, to help you avoid accidents!
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In-Wash Dishwasher Cleaner
Ensure All Grime, Grease and Limescale Is Finish(ed)
Dishwasher Cleaner and Descaler
24 Tablets From One of the UK’s Most Trusted Brands
Limescale & Detergent & Purifying Remover
Three Years Worth of Cleaner
Limescale & Detergent Remover
Liquid Cleaner That Tackles 100% Of Limescale
All Natural Distilled White Vinegar
A Tried and Tested DIY Classic
Liquid Cleaner: Does Exactly What It Says on the Tin
Service-It Deep Clean Dishwasher Cleaner
Removes 99.9% Of Bacteria and Microorganisms
Limescale & Grease Remover
Clean and Sanitise Hard-To-Reach Internal Parts
Eco Dishwasher Cleaner Unlike Any Other
Dishwasher & Disposal Cleaner Tablets
A Quick-Fix That Banishes Odours
There was only ever going to be one winner in our ranking, and Finish tablets set the bar for cleaning performance, value for money and ease of use. You'll also receive 24 tablets, ensuring a sparkling clean dishwasher for at least the next two years!
The formula works by cleaning your dishwasher at the same time as your plates, pots, and cutlery, so there'll be no extra cycles needed. Plus, it's exceptional at powering away grime from hidden parts, filters and spray arms.
Fairy is one of the most trusted brands in the UK, and although we might associate them more with washing up liquid, it's no surprise that they made the leap to cleaning dishwashers. These particular tablets work at as low as 40-degrees when used in an empty cycle.
The tablets will leave your dishwasher smelling fresh and clean, too, which makes these a great choice if you like to cook heavily spiced food. What's more, you only need to replace the tablet once a month, which makes for great cost-effectiveness.
Working just as well in both soft and hard water areas, this cleaner from JYM is brilliant for ensuring your appliances are running at peak performance. While it might seem expensive, you'll receive 40 sachets. So you won't have to worry about picking up any more for up to three years!
The universal sachets fit all makes and models of dishwashers and washing machines, producing top-end results. JYM is a lesser known brand, but their liquid cleaner will do exactly what you want.
Guaranteeing 100% limescale removal is a big claim, but that's exactly what Home Master's limescale and detergent remover delivers. It cleans the whole of your appliance (including the hidden parts), tackles limescale, grease, dirt and detergent, ensuring efficient performance.
You may appreciate that this is also a fragrance-free formula. That's not to say that it won't dispel bad odours. Instead, you'll be left with a neutral aroma once the deep clean has finished.
Okay, this might not be something that you expected to see on a ranking of the best dishwasher cleaners, but all-natural vinegar is a tried and tested DIY method that's sure to work wonders against grease, limescale, detergent and other debris. It's affordable, and safe for both you and your dishwasher.
All you'll need to do is fill a (dishwasher safe) bowl with one cup, sit it on the bottom of an empty dishwasher, and hit the hot water cleaning cycle. From there, the vinegar will break down any remaining bits of grime.
While it might not have any fancy formulas or interesting gimmicks, this dishwasher cleaner does exactly what it says on the tin. This supermarket own brand cleaner eliminates limescale, cuts through tough grease and cleans your machine in just one cycle!
Many buyers claim that this dishwasher cleaner easily keeps up with some of the best in the business. Again, it's only sold in single use packs, so you'll need to stock up to save ordering every month.
With this pack from Dr Beckmann you get a powder cleanser, which removes 99.9% of bacteria and microorganisms, and a cleaning wipe. You can use the wipe to clean around the door seal and exterior of the dishwasher, helping to get rid of mould, grime and germs.
Sadly, this dishwasher cleaner isn't meant for tackling the hard stuff like limescale, so you might want to look for an additional descaler if you live in a hard water area. Plus, you only get one wash per purchase, which can add up.
With this pack of twelve sachets from Indesit, you'll have a cleaner that tackles limescale, cleans away grease and detergent build-up, and removes odours. In addition to this, it will also sanitise hard-to-reach internal parts of your appliances, such as the tub, drum, element, pump and piping. What more could you want?
The professionals claim that you should clean your appliances about once a month, so this single purchase could last the entire year. That said, while it does banish odours, some have mentioned that the smell of the formula isn't the most pleasant either.
Here, we have a pretty unique product. Unlike the other cleaners on the list, it isn't a liquid, tablet or powder. Instead, you get a reusable plastic ball that can be placed inside the drum of the washing machine or cutlery drawer of your dishwasher during a regular cycle.
Not only is it simple to use, but the company claim that you can get up to five years worth of cleaning from one ball, making it excellent value for money. The only downside is that it's not especially durable, so while it has the potential to last for years, it rarely does.
Getting the ranking underway is this quick fix from Affresh. We say quick fix because the formula can clean your dishwasher at the same time as your regular cycle, speeding up the whole process.
Affresh tablets are not only known to clean appliances, but can help to banish lingering odours - which could be helpful if you have a particularly old dishwasher. Unfortunately, it's not going to be much help for those with limescale.
A clean dishwasher will help to ensure your appliance is running optimally, but to really get the most from each cycle, there are a few more things you can do. To help cut through leftover grime and grease, and maintain streak-free glassware, we've included guides to the best tablet detergents and rinse aids in the UK - and some good old fairy liquid to pre-soak your pans!
Whether you're looking to clean your dishwasher, washing machine or both, we hope you found our buying guide and recommendations helpful and informative. Choose your cleaner based on formula and features, and you'll soon wonder why you ever considered cleaning them by hand?
Author: Lewis Clark
No. 1: Finish｜In-Wash Dishwasher Cleaner
No. 2: Fairy｜Dishwasher Cleaner and Descaler
No. 3: JYM｜Limescale & Detergent & Purifying Remover
No. 4: Home Master｜Limescale & Detergent Remover
No. 5: Heinz｜All Natural Distilled White Vinegar
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