Consumer NZ reveals some dishwasher detergents are hardly better than water

Consumer NZ says dishwasher tablets are better than powders.
Consumer NZ says dishwasher tablets are better than powders. Photo credit: Getty Images

Is your dishwasher detergent not doing the trick? A recent test has found some detergents are hardly better than using just water alone.

Consumer NZ put 23 dishwasher detergents to the test, finding it may be worthwhile to spend a little bit extra to get your dishes sparkly clean.

The consumer watchdog tested 23 detergents, seven powders and just plain water against six common food grimes, including egg yolk, rice starch, baked-on cheese, red wine, coffee and mincemeat to determine a winner.

Consumer NZ test content team leader James le Page said overall they found tablets and capsules perform better than powders.

"While powders are cheaper per wash and there's some level of control over the dose, they still don't clean dishes well," le Page said. "The powder is messy to add to the dispenser and people can get the dosage wrong."

Powders also often lack rinse aid, which is an additive that helps water spread evenly over the surface of dishes to reduce spots and hasten drying.

In the test, tablet options came out sparkling with a tie between two Finish tablets in the top spot. 

Fished Quantum Ultimate Pro Lemon Sparkle ($20 for 32 tablets) and Finish Quantum Ultimate Pro Fresh Burst ($15.99 for 32 tablets) both scored 80. However, cleanliness comes with a higher price, with both products averaging around 63 cents a tablet.

Runner up was Active Ultimate Citrus Zest ($10 for 30 tablets) scoring  79 and Active Rapid Lemon ($10 for 30 tablets) scored 77. Both average 33 cents a tablet.

Consumer NZ said two of the powders received a 'don't buy' warning with Green Goddess Citrus Dish Wash Powder ($17.95 for 1kg) scoring 15 and Will&Able ecoDish Powder ($11.99 for 1.5kg) scoring 36. 

Consumer NZ said the two powders performed poorly at removing food stains and weren't much better than the water only cycle that scored a nine.

Consumer NZ also assessed safety information provided on packaging which encourages businesses to provide critical safety information, first aid advice and poison centre details on the packaging. 

All products passed except for Green Goddess Citrus Dish Wash powder, which was missing first aid and poison centre information.