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How to Use Dishwasher Detergents the Right Way

How to Use Dishwasher Detergents the Right Way

Dishwashers are convenient household appliances that save the time and effort needed to clean dishes. However, not all dishwashers are created the same; some may require adjustments to ensure they work efficiently. 

The good news is that with a few tweaks to your routine, you can get your dishwasher to work well and get every dish sparkling clean without having to pre-rinse before loading.

To achieve grease-free, sparkling, and shiny dishes with your dishwasher, it is essential to grasp the proper usage of dishwasher detergents and the factors that enhance their effectiveness. Understanding these aspects will help you optimize your dishwasher's performance and ensure spotless results.

Factors such as the quality of the dishwasher detergent, temperature guidelines, dish placement, and appliance cleaning frequency can all affect its performance.

Before we move on to other information, let's briefly discuss the types of dishwasher detergents. Read more:

Types of dishwasher detergents

It can be incredibly frustrating to load up the dishwasher, run it, and then find stuck-on food left on the dishes after the cycle is finished, forcing you to hand-wash them anyway. 

With so many detergents available on the market, and in some cases, multiple versions offered by the same brand, it can be challenging to know which ones are worth trying.

Here are a few types that would benefit your washing:

Tablet, Liquid, or Powder? Find out which is the best for properly using dishwasher detergents!

Tablet detergents:

For those seeking the best dishwasher detergent that is convenient and mess-free, tablets are a reliable option.

These pre-measured detergent units come loaded with cleansing agents, allowing you to effortlessly toss one into your dishwasher before starting the cycle without any spillage.

Additionally, tablets are compact, leading to fewer carbon emissions during transportation, as the Ethical Consumer Research Association noted. 

Given their ease of use and environmental advantages, Finish dishwasher detergent tablet is a practical and effective choice for keeping your dishes clean and your carbon footprint low.

Liquid dishwasher detergents:

The selection of surfactants is critical in achieving a product with desired parameters, such as effectiveness and performance. 

In the case of using liquid dishwasher detergent, the primary surfactants used are anionic and nonionic, with small amounts of amphoteric surfactants also present.

  • As the primary ingredient, anionic surfactants provide the liquid's wetting, degreasing, and foaming capabilities.
  • Nonionic surfactants act as surfactant auxiliaries and enhance the functional properties of the liquid.
  • And Amphoteric Surfactants are responsible for regulating viscosity and improving foaming properties.

Proper selection and balance of these surfactants are essential in achieving optimal results in dishwashing.

Powder detergents:

Finish powder dishwasher detergent is often preferred for sustainability and eco-friendliness due to its affordability, versatility, and ability to handle heavily soiled dishes efficiently. 

Its advantages lie in dissolving easily in water, providing excellent cleaning performance, and pre-soaking action allows stains to rinse off easily, leaving no residue. 

Furthermore, powder detergents are commonly packaged in containers or pouches, ensuring convenient storage that takes up minimal space.

Even though the lack of pre-measurement with powder makes it easy to waste excessive amounts during use, powder detergents are still viable for those looking to balance cost-effectiveness with environmental concerns.

Top 3 tips for using dishwasher detergent correctly

Now that we have discussed the types let’s discuss the tips for using dishwasher detergent correctly. 

1. Pick out the right detergent:

To ensure the proper functioning of your dishwasher, it is crucial to use the appropriate detergent. 

If you are new to using a dishwasher, it is essential to note that the soap or dishwashing liquid used for hand-washing dishes should not be used in a dishwasher. Using the wrong detergent can lead to over-sudsing, causing your dishwasher to overflow.

Therefore, using a detergent specifically designed for automatic dishwashers is imperative. When purchasing a dishwasher detergent, look for a label with "dishwasher" clearly indicated to avoid mishaps.

2. Check the quantity, it matters:

Ensuring you use the correct amount of detergent is crucial in maintaining the functionality of your dishwasher. Unfortunately, while it may seem like using more detergent would lead to cleaner dishes, it can harm your appliance and lead to over-sudsing.

To avoid this, follow the recommended amount of detergent for each load. Additionally, knowing how to clean the dishwasher, especially the filter, effectively can aid in producing cleaner dishes. 

If you don’t know, follow our guide on how to clean your dishwasher filter for clear, shiny, and smudge-free glasses and other dishes.

3. Load the dishes correctly:

Loading your dishwasher properly is essential for optimal dishwashing performance. It is recommended to refer to the owner's manual to understand the recommended loading method. 

It is a rule to place larger items near the sides and back of the dishwasher to ensure the water and detergent can flow freely.

Glasses should be placed upside-down on prongs to prevent them from filling up with water, while plastic and delicate items should be loaded on the top rack. Following these loading tips ensures that your dishes come out sparkling clean after every cycle.

Common mistakes to avoid while using dishwasher detergent

1. No cleaning of filters:

It is recommended to clean the filter regularly, but the frequency of cleaning depends on the dishwasher's usage. For households that frequently use their dishwasher, it is advisable to clean the filter weekly. 

For those who use it less frequently, cleaning it once a month should suffice. By keeping the filter clean, you can ensure that your dishwasher is functioning at its best and your dishes come out sparkling clean every time.

2. No grouping of utensils:

Nesting cutlery can be a common issue in dishwashers, where grouping the same utensils can cause them to stick together and prevent water from flowing in and around them. 

This can result in improperly cleaned cutlery and, in some cases, even dishwasher damage.

To avoid this issue, mixing up the types of cutlery in each compartment or on your shelf is recommended, allowing the water to flow freely and ensuring a better clean.

3. Throwing the tablet into the dishwasher:

To ensure optimal performance, place the dishwasher tablet at the bottom of the machine rather than in the place recommended. This is because tablets can sometimes fail to dissolve in the dispenser completely.

Placing the tablet at the bottom ensures it has enough time to dissolve during the wash cycle, effectively cleaning your dishes.

Why is the Finish dishwasher detergent the best choice?

Finish dishwasher detergent is a reliable solution for removing stubborn food stains on your dishes. It effectively eliminates tough dirt and stains, leaving your dishes sparkling clean. 

Its commitment to environmental sustainability sets Finish dishwasher detergent apart from its competitors. All Finish automatic dishwashing products are eco-friendly and safe to use for septic systems.

Finish Quantum Ultimate! The best ever dishwasher detergent degreases, targets stuck on food with the power action of scrubbing and delivers ultimate shine. This detergent is designed to provide deep cleaning power while being gentle on your dishes. Additionally, it comes in convenient 100% water soluble, biodegradable wrapper-free film and a fully recyclable tub packaging that makes it easy to use. By choosing Finish dishwasher detergents, you can trust that your dishes will receive the best care possible.


Using the right detergent is important for the efficiency of your dishwasher. There are various types available such as powder, liquid, pods, and tablets. Follow your dishwasher's recommendations and choose wisely. 

Additionally, the tips mentioned above can help you know how to use dishwasher detergents the right way to increase the dishwasher's efficiency. Finish dishwasher detergent is a good option as it has all the necessary properties.


How much detergent should I use for each load?

The amount of detergent needed for each load of dishes depends on various factors, such as the size of the load, the level of dirt or stains, and the type of detergent being used. However, liquid detergent’s recommended amount is about a quarter of a cup.

Can I use dishwasher detergent in a sink to wash dishes by hand?

You can, but it is highly inadvisable because dishwasher detergents don’t suds up the way your go-to liquid soap does, so you might use a large quantity of detergent to get the bubbles you're after. And that's just a waste of detergent!

What happens if you use too much dishwasher detergent?

Using too much dishwasher detergent leaves the detergent residue on your dishwasher.