If you’re lucky enough to have a dishwasher then you’ll know the burden of loading all your plates and dishes in, only to be disappointed when you open the dishwasher an hour later and realise nothing has been cleaned properly.
Choosing the right dishwasher tablets is all about their quality, but also your dishwashing requirements – if you’re regularly cooking up a storm in the kitchen then you’re bound to need a dishwasher tablet that cuts through grease.
While if you’re a little less low key – and only use your dishwasher for cups, glasses and the odd plate then you’ll be looking for tablets that give a good shine.
But if you’re constantly running out some brands also do subscription services, which means they’ll appear on your doorstep without even having to think about it.
If the environment is a key component to your dishwasher tablet choice then we’ve also considered tablets with plastic free packing.
We tested the dishwasher tablets looking at how well they cut through grease, if they left any unwanted food or stains on dishes and pans and if they were value for the money.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism acrossThe Independent.
Waitrose essential dishwasher tablets lemon, 45
These tablets promise to remove dried on food, so of course we wanted to put them to the test. The yellow and blue tablets have built in rinse aid and salt action, while they also help to prevent limescale build up in your dishwasher. We tried the tablets on day old risotto plates and pans, while we also added in glasses. As the cycle finished, we were really impressed with its ability to remove the day-old food, leaving our plates and pots shining. Or glasses were also clean and smudge free, while we loved the lemon smell that the tablets left. For 45 tablets in one pack you’ll be getting your money’s worth.
Splosh dishwasher tablets, 27
Splosh’s striped tablets have an all-in-one formulation so there’s no need for salt or rinse aid. Delivered through your letterbox, in plastic-free packaging, your first order also comes with a tin, so you can store them easily. We added one of their tablets, which also have a water-soluble film, to our dishwasher along with greasy trays, tea cups and wine glasses. We found them excellent at cutting through grease on baking trays, while glasses were spotless. They left a few stubborn marks on tea-stained cups, but nothing too noticeable. The tablets, which are also vegan friendly and cruelty free, are just 23p per tablet – so we think their great value for money.
Tesco all-in-one dishwasher lemon tablets, 30
We loved the smell of these tablets, which don’t need to be unwrapped before you place them in the dishwasher. We used the tablet with various pots and pans, while we even tried it on dried up porridge bowls – hoping to see some good results. They cleaned the pots and pans well, as well as making some glasses sparkle, but they struggled with the porridge bowls, which had to be soaked afterwards so could be easily remedied by rinsing or soaking before going in. We’re not a fan of washing dishes after being in the dishwasher, but at 10p a tablet they’re a great price.
Smol dishwasher tablets, 30
These small pink and white dishwasher tablets come in a carboard box, small enough to fit through your letterbox. Their eco-friendly tablets come in plastic-free wrapping which can be popped straight into the dishwasher. We didn’t prewash anything including a casserole dish and a frying pan, plus plates and cups. The results were really impressive with no white residue left on plates or cutlery, while it also cut through grease and left-over food and we didn’t have to wash anything afterwards. All new customers can try nine tablets for free, while you can then sign up to get the tablets sent to you when you need them, dependent on how much you use your dishwasher.
EcoZone classic all in one dishwasher tablets, 25
EcoZone tablets are cruelty-free and safe for aquatic life, as well as being approved by Allergy UK.
As advised, we washed off any heavily soiled items, like pans and then unwrapped the vegan friendly green and white tablet and popped it on the floor of the dishwasher. As we watched the cycle, the tablet created a lot of suds, and as soon as the dishwash opened we could smell how clean our plates and dishes were. After closer inspection we were impressed with the cleanliness of our glasses, but they did leave a few stubborn stains on cutlery that we had to wash again. One for you if you’re trying to save the planet.
Wilko eco-friendly dishwasher tablets, 25
Wilko’s dishwasher tablets are come in 100 per cent recyclable box, while their small white tablets are derived from sustainable plant ingredients. We used the tablet on coffee-stained mugs, dirty cutlery, and food-stained plates, hoping for some good results. We loved how clean our coffee cups were, for the first time in a while, while cutlery was also streak free, but it didn’t quite cut through the plates and left dried on food at the edges, which later had to be scrubbed off. We love that well known brands are taking the environment seriously though, but at 14p per tablet they’re not the cheapest on the market.
Fairy platinum all in one lemon dishwasher tablets, 55
With some dishwasher tablets you have to pre-soak or wash dishes and pans first, but Fairy’s tablets have a built-in prewash system. The ultra-soluble pouch were the only ones we tested that came in a liquid and powder capsule, while we simply popped in the capsule with dirty plates, a greasy cake tin and glasses. The capsule, which created a lot of suds as it washed, cleaned plates really well – they were spotless. The cake tin’s grease, which we’d attempted to get off by soaking, but so far hadn’t achieved it, was gone. However, some glasses did have white spots on them. Some good results and the price is reasonable too.
Miele ultra tabs all in one, 20
At 37p per tablet, one of the more expensive we tested, we were hoping for some quality results. We tested the brand’s phosphate-free tablet, which also has a water-soluble wrapper, with wine glasses, cutlery and last night’s dinner plates. The wine glasses were the shiniest we’ve ever seen – streak free and clean. The cutlery was also sparkling, however, we did find some dried up gravy stains on the plates, but they came off quickly with a quick rinse. At a higher price than most of the other tablets we would have expected consistent results on all our washing. Plus, with just 20 in a box you’ll run out in no time.
IndyBest verdict: Best dishwasher tablets
We were really impressed with the Essential Waitrose dishwasher tablets and their ability to remove the day-old food from our plates and pots – it was a tough job but they really did work their magic. We loved their smell and at just 9p a tablet they’re great value for money.
Now you’ve got the best tablets for cleaning, read our dishwasher buying guide to find out which model suits you
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.