Cascade, Finish Top Consumer Reports' Dishwasher Detergent Tests

Aug 29, 2013, 06:00 ET from Consumer Reports

Top-rated detergents performed well in hard-water tests, resisting buildup of white film residue and removing baked-on foods

YONKERS, N.Y., Aug. 29, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --Cascade Complete ActionPacs leads the pack in Consumer Reports' new Ratings of 35 dishwasher detergent tablets, packs, powders and gels, but rival brand Finish took three of the four top spots with its Finish Powerball Tabs, Finish Gelpacs and Finish Quantum Powerball Capsules.

The full report on dishwasher detergents, which includes top-rated dishwasher choices for quiet cleaning and tips on how to get the cleanest dishes possible, is featured in the October 2013 issue of Consumer Reports and online at

Dishwasher detergents have come a long way in reliably producing clean loads of dishes and pots. But only one detergent tested, top-rated Cascade Complete ActionPacs, excelled in Consumer Reports' tough pot-washing tests, which uses one-quart pots encrusted with cooked-on macaroni and cheese to test cleaning performance. Cascade also had the top-performing powder in the tests—Cascade Complete Powder.

"We put these detergents through difficult performance tests to ensure that they can stand up to consumers' toughest cleaning challenges," said Celia Kuperszmid Lehrman, Deputy Content Editor, Home and Appliances for Consumer Reports. "Our dishwasher detergent and dishwasher Ratings will make it easy for consumers to find the right cleaning combo."

Finish Powerball Tabs, 18 cents per load earned the distinction of being named one of the CR Best Buys in the Ratings. But buyers beware, not all Finish products cleaned equally. Finish Powder and Finish Gel were lackluster performers. At $1.37 per load, The Laundress was the most expensive detergent tested and wasn't very good at cleaning pots or pans or resisting water spots.

For consumers looking for a greener clean, Seventh Generation had the two best green cleaners in Consumer Reports' tests.

Two-thirds of the dishwasher detergents tested were excellent at resisting the buildup of the white film. Most detergents also aced CR's hard-water performance test. What separated the best from the rest was the ability to vanquish a baked-on mash of pudding, peanut butter and a dozen other ingredients from dishes, flatware and glassware.

Tips for Getting Cleaner Dishes

A top-rated dishwasher and dishwasher detergent can help lessen the chore of cleaning up after a big meal. Here are four tips from Consumer Reports experts on how to get cleaner dishes with less effort: 

  • Check the water temperature. Make sure that the water going into the dishwasher is 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Don't forget a rinse agent. Use a rinse agent even if a detergent claims to be a "complete" or "all-in-one" product.
  • Load the dishes properly. In general, put large items along the sides and back so that they don't block the flow of water; face the dirtier side of dishes toward the water spray; don't let dishes or utensils nest; place items with baked-on food on the bottom rack, facedown toward the spray arm; and put plastics and other light, dishwasher-safe items on the top rack.
  • Get rid of the film buildup. If dishes already have a film buildup, try one of the detergent additives that did well in Consumer Reports' tests: Lemi Shine Original, Finish Power Up Booster Agent, or Glisten Dishwasher Cleaner & Hard Water Spot Remover.

Consumer Reports is the world's largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website and other publications.  Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.

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SOURCE Consumer Reports