I Switched Detergent and Now I Love My Dishwasher So Much More

updated Apr 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

While I remain forever grateful to finally have a dishwasher, I went through a stint where I spent more time cursing it than praising it: My dishes weren’t coming out cleanly, and my glassware was starting to get cloudy (like, cloudy to the point of looking embarrassingly filthy).

I was doing everything right: I was careful to scrape dishes but not rinse them (so that the detergent would have something to grip onto in order to do its job), I loaded everything properly, I cleaned out the drain regularly, I cut back on the amount of detergent I was using, and I even tried a few different kinds of detergent. Still, the results were subpar at best.

“I think we need a new dishwasher,” I casually mentioned to my husband, pointing to the 15-year-old off-brand appliance.

“Nah,” he said confidently (read: cheaply!).

Now, as much as I hate to say it, he was right.

Rather than shelling out the $400 for a new dishwasher, I did what everyone should do — I talked to our Editor-in-Chief, Faith Durand. She’s got some strong opinions on dishwashers and detergent and was ready to discuss!

“I think the pods are misguided — we switched to regular dry dishwasher soap, started using half of what we thought we needed, and the dishes are coming out so much better,” she says.

I asked her what she was using these days, she told me (Grab Green Natural Automatic Dishwashing Detergent Powder), and then I immediately bought my own bag.

Two days later, I ran my first load — using half of the recommended amount. Just after one cycle, I could tell that this was the solution I was looking for. The glasses seemed slightly less cloudy and the dishes were C-L-E-A-N.

I’ve since washed all of my glasses with distilled white vinegar to get rid of the cloudiness completely and I’m happy to report that the film hasn’t returned after numerous trips through the dishwasher again. And the results from that first cycle have become the norm. Clean dishes every time!

The key here, aside from this all-star detergent, is that you don’t need nearly as much as you think you do. Yes, we’ve written about this before. See: The Dishwasher Mistake Almost Everyone Makes (and How to Quit). And we’ll probably write about it again. Faith suggested using a third to half of the recommend amount of this stuff (it comes with a handy scooper) and she’s right — that’s all you need.

So even though the package says you can get 80 loads out of a single bag, it’s more like at least 160. That’s around 10 cents’ worth of soap per load. And that’s certainly way cheaper than buying a new dishwasher, which I’d probably end up being unhappy with anyway.

What kind of dishwasher detergent do you use? Tell us in the comments below!