What are the best dishwasher tablets in the UK? If you’ve just bought your first dishwasher or are having problems with your current dishwasher tablets, it’s time to choose some great tablets that will remove stains, tough grease and baked-on food while protecting your dishwasher from limescale buildup.
Read on for some tips on choosing dishwasher tablets, or scroll down for our reviews of the top 5 best dishwasher tablets in the UK.
What to Consider When Buying Dishwasher Tablets
Value for money
An individual dishwasher tablet might be cheap, but the cost can add up to over a hundred pounds over the course of the year. This means that choosing a good value brand and buying in bulk can save you a lot of money in the long run.
Rather than just choosing the cheapest options, you should look for dishwasher tablets that clean well without being overly expensive. Buying the cheapest brands can be a false economy if they don’t clean your dishes properly. One way to save money on big-brand tablets is to buy a big box of 90 or more tablets online rather than buying smaller boxes in the supermarket.
If you live in a hard water area, you’ll want to choose dishwasher tablets designed to deal with hard water. Some tablets such as Fairy Platinum Original contain salt and rinse aid, so using them can help reduce limescale.
Quick wash cycles
If you normally use the quick wash cycle on your dishwasher you’ll want to look for fast-acting dishwasher tablets that will dissolve quickly. This will allow them to clean your dishes quickly without leaving behind residue.
Best Dishwasher Tablets in the UK
After researching the market, we’ve picked out 5 of the best dishwasher tablets available in the UK in 2017. Read our reviews of these products below.
1. Fairy Platinum Original Dishwasher Tablets
Price: ££ (Mid-range)
Good for: Hard water, short wash cycles, dishwasher longevity
These dishwasher tablets from Fairy are some of the most popular in the UK, and offer a lot of benefits for both your dishes and your dishwasher. They combine powder detergent with liquid, giving you the best of both worlds.
The tablets are in soluble pouch form, which helps them dissolve quickly and get to work almost immediately. Since they dissolve quickly they’re a good choice for short wash cycles.
The tablets contain enzymes which help them deal with stubborn baked on food, and the liquid component of the tablet is very effective at cutting through grease.
The Fairy Platinum Original Dishwasher Tablets also help clean your dishwasher and prevent limescale from building up, which makes them a good choice for hard-water areas. These tablets even contain salt and rinse aid, though you will probably still want to add some extra yourself.
These dishwasher tablets aren’t as cheap as supermarket-own brands, but they offer excellent cleaning and are good value if you buy them in bulk.
2. Finish Powerball All-in-1 Max Lemon Dishwasher Tablets
Price: ££ (Mid-range)
Good for: Value for money, overall performance
According to Finish, these dishwasher tablets are recommended by some of the top dishwasher manufacturers including Bosch, Beko, Siemens and Zanussi. Like the Fairy tablets reviewed above, these dishwasher tablets combine several elements designed to work in different ways. They contain a gel for removing stains, micro-beads to remove food residue and the Powerball for removing tough baked-on food.
Finish Powerball All-in-1 Max Lemon Dishwasher Tablets are powerful and can tackle tough jobs like tea stains. They offer great all-round performance and are good value for money when bought in a big pack. These tablets are individually wrapped, which helps keep them fresh and prevents them crumbling or getting stuck together.
While these dishwasher tablets perform very well for most people, a few people have had issues with them. Depending on your dishwasher they can leave soapy residue, and the lemon smell can also cling to wooden and plastic cooking implements. It’s also important to note that while these tablets can be used at 50 degrees, they won’t be very effective on cooler washes.
3. Finish Quantum Max Original Tablets
Price: £££ (Expensive)
Good for: Sparkling dishes, cleaning power
Finish Quantum Max Original Tablets are more expensive than your average dishwasher tablets, so you’d expect them to offer exceptional performance. These tablets are designed to be especially powerful, leaving dishes and glasses shiny even in hard water areas.
These tablets are quite similar to the Finish Powerball All-in-1 Max Lemon Dishwasher Tablets reviewed above, but with a few extras thrown in. Like the All-in-1 Max tablets, they feature what Finish call “multi-chamber technology”, with a Powerball, gel and micro-beads for tackling different cleaning jobs. The reason these tablets are more expensive is that they also come with Silver Protection and Shine Booster, which helps make your silverware and glasses shiny.
If you want your dishes to by sparkling rather than just clean, these tablets are a great choice. If you’re just looking for basic cleaning, you might want to choose something cheaper.
4. Ecover All In One Dishwasher Tablets
Price: £££ (Expensive)
Good for: Eco-friendliness
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly alternative to dishwasher tablets full of artificial chemicals, these tablets from Ecover are a good choice. The tablets also include salt and rinse aid, which is good if you live in a hard water area.
Ecover All In One Dishwasher Tablets are made from plant-based ingredients from renewable sources. While using a dishwasher is unlikely to ever be completely eco-friendly, using these tablets will help minimise the environmental impact.
These dishwasher tablets work very well at cleaning dishes and cutlery, but you’re unlikely to get shiny, sparkling glasses like you would with the Finish Quantum Max Original Tablets reviewed above. On the plus side, there’s no artificial chemical smell. Instead, they have a nice citrus fragrance.
5. Lidl W5 Classic Dishwasher Tablets
Price: £ (Cheap)
Good for: Value for money
At the time of writing, these dishwasher tablets from Lidl are the cheapest on this list, and they offer surprisingly good performance for the price. In most respects there’s not much of a difference between Lidl W5 Classic Dishwasher Tablets and more expensive alternatives from Fairy and Finish.
If saving money is a priority, these tablets are a good choice, though they don’t offer quite the same amount of cleaning power as the big-brand alternatives. They don’t seem to be available online at the moment, so you’ll need to buy them in store.
Dishwasher Tablet FAQs
Dishwasher tablets are made up of bleaches, enzymes, surfactants and builders that give you everything you need for clean dishes. They make glass sparkle, break down starch and rid water of hardness. However, what do we really know about dishwasher tablets? Are they poisonous? Do they have a sell-by-date? Do dishwasher tablets have any other uses around the home? We answer all of these dishwasher tablet questions and more below.
Are dishwasher tablets poisonous?
When dishwasher tablets are used in the correct manner, they pose no threat to you or your family. They contain everything that a dishwasher detergent contains only in a concentrated form. However, if someone was to take a bite out of a dishwasher tablet, this is another thing altogether. Due to the ingredients in dishwasher tablets, they can be extremely dangerous if eaten. A person who has eaten a dishwasher tablet may experience mouth and throat burns which could impair their breathing.
So, to avoid this situation, keep dishwasher tablets away from children, and if they do manage to get their hands on them, call NHS direct even if you aren’t sure whether they have eaten a dishwasher tablet or not.
Are dishwasher tablets safe for septic tanks?
Some dishwasher tablets are safe to be used in the septic tank. However, they need to be phosphate-free. This is crucial as phosphate can kill the good enzymes and bacteria that live in your septic tank. These are the little critters that do most of the waste cleaning in your septic tank, so it’s important that you let them live another day.
If you are looking for dishwasher tablets that are safe to use in the septic tank, it might be worth buying two lots, one for your dishes that break down that bacteria and ones just for use in the septic tank that cleans but leaves these little guys to do their job!
Are dishwasher tablets better than liquid/powder?
The answer to this dishwasher tablet question really depends on who you asked. Some people say that dishwasher tablets are far superior to powders and liquids. The ease of use and no thinking required that comes with dishwasher tablets sure makes them the quickest method for washing dishes.
However, others say that dishwasher tablets are not worth their slightly more expensive price tag. They also state that they need a longer cycle time to remove mineral deposits and they offer less flexibility.
We feel that this question is more to do with personal opinion. Some people love dishwasher tablets; others are far more at home with liquids and powder. The decision is ultimately yours to make, but dishwasher tablets provide the quickest and easiest way of cleaning your dishes, in our opinion.
Do dishwasher tablets contain salt?
It depends on the brand of dishwasher tablets you use, but yes, some contain salt. Finish All-in-1, for example, does contain salt to soften the water, but lots of other brands and even other dishwasher tablets from Finish don’t.
Even if your dishwasher tablet does contain salt, you may still need to add more to the dishwasher if you live in a very hard water area. However, the salt in the dishwasher tablet does get you a step closer to softer water. Basically, some dishwasher tablets do contain salt, whether that is enough for the area you live in isn’t something we can answer here.
You can, of course, check the salt content on the dishwasher tablet packet before you buy it and then use an educated guess as to whether you need more salt to wash your dishes.
Do dishwasher tablets go off?
Although dishwasher tablets are not something we think about going off, they can indeed lose their flare. This isn’t to say that dishwasher tablets go off in the same way food does, but they basically lose their power to clean as well as if they were fresh.
Unfortunately, no one can quite agree on when dishwasher tablets go off. Some people say after three months, while others say dishwasher tablets go off within a year of opening. Of course, different brands and types of dishwasher tablets probably lose their effectiveness at different rates as well.
All we can say is if you’re noticing your dishes are not as clean as they once were and you’re using relatively old dishwasher tablets, perhaps it’s time to buy some more. Don’t throw out the old dishwasher tablets though, if they are phosphate-free, add a couple to your septic tank and give that a clean!
Can you use dishwasher tablets for laundry?
Dishwasher tablets are very different than washing products for clothes. While you can use dishwasher tablets to wash your clothes in the sink, we wouldn’t recommend putting them in the washing machine. However, depending on the type of dishwasher tablets you use, this might not even be safe. Above we said that dishwasher tablets can contain bleach and salt, two things that are not great to wash clothes with.
Dishwasher tablets can be used to remove set-in stains from clothes with a bit of elbow grease, but most of the time, it is best to use a product designed for use with clothes. See the best washing powders for clothes in the UK here.
Can you use dishwasher tablets in the sink?
You can use dishwasher tablets in the sink, but they should only really be used to soak pans and dishes that have a lot of built-up dirt. Fill the sink with very hot water, add a dishwasher tablet and then pop in your pans or Pyrex to soak. You can also use dishwasher tablets in the sink to clean the racks of your oven. However, we wouldn’t recommend using dishwasher tablets as a replacement for your dish soap.
Where do you put dishwasher tablets?
When using a dishwasher tablet in the dishwasher, you want to pop it in the little dispenser, usually found in the door of the dishwasher and then close the door. This will hold the dishwasher tablet and dissolve it.
When storing dishwasher tablets, most people will store them under the sink or in the vicinity of the dishwasher for ease of use. However, as we said above, they can be harmful if children get hold of them. So, if you have kids, store dishwasher tablets out of the way, perhaps on a high shelf. Try to keep them easily accessible to you, but far out of the reach of roaming kids!
We hope this article about dishwasher tablets has been useful. Don’t forget to explore our website for even more articles about household products. We have all the information you need to turn a house into a family home.