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Which dishwasher cleaners are best? 

Just like your dishes, dishwashers require routine cleaning. Dishwasher cleaners remove substances from all of the hard-to-reach places. These cleaners also help dishwashers run smoothly. If you are looking for a non-toxic product that removes difficult stains and improves the machine’s function, Frigidaire Ready Clean Probiotic Dishwasher Cleaner is the top choice.

What to know before you buy a dishwasher cleaner 

Number of treatments 

Do you want a lot of treatments or just a few? You can find packages with a wide range of quantities, from six to more than three dozen.


Natural products do a great job of cleaning without putting you and your family in danger. Consider checking the product reviews to see if others have noticed the product leaving a film on the dishes or around the dishwasher


Products made with plastic pods may be convenient but are the least environmentally friendly. Unless the pods are biodegradable, the film from the plastic ends up on your dishes or gets caught somewhere in your filter. Tablets that dissolve do not contain plastic but still leave residue on dishes if the formula is grainy. 

What to look for in a quality dishwasher cleaner 


The more food that is stuck after each cycle, the more likely the dishwasher smells. If the cleaner eliminates odors it will be listed as a feature in the product’s description. 


Those made with chemical and natural scents can be overbearing. If you are sensitive to smell and want a hypoallergenic option, consider an unscented cleaner. 


Eco-friendly cleaners are made with biodegradable materials and packaged in recyclable packaging. If they are made with sustainably sourced ingredients, they do not harm the environment. 


  • Only put enough cleaner in to fill the detergent dispenser to the brim. This saves you money and lessens the chance of residue build-up. 
  • Clean your drain trap once a month if you want it to work properly. 
  • Hand wash the filter with warm water and gently scrub off stuck food. 
  • Put in a cup or bowl full of white vinegar when you run a cycle to prevent streaky and cloudy glasses. 
  • Some tablets are so powerful that you can cut them in half for each cycle to save money. 
  • The cleaner will not do its job properly to remove odor if the filter is dirty. 

HOW MUCH YOU CAN EXPECT TO SPEND ON a dishwasher cleaner

It costs anywhere from $3-$15 depending on the size, ingredients and brand. 

Dishwasher cleaner FAQ

How often should I clean my dishwasher? 

A. Once a month, unless otherwise listed in the product description. 

If the dishwasher is opened during cleaning, is the cleaner still dispensed properly? 

A. Opening your dishwasher during the cycle is not recommended but most appliances feature a start and resume button and the wash will pick up where it left off before you opened it. 

What makes a detergent safe for your septic tank? 

A. Septic tanks do not work well with phosphate. Products that are free of this chemical will not harm your septic tank. 

Do I have to buy it from the same manufacturer as my dishwasher for it to work correctly? 

A. They typically work on all types of dishwashers regardless of the brand. For example, using the Frigidaire cleaner on a Frigidaire dishwasher is not necessary. 

What is the difference between dish detergent and dishwasher cleaner? 

A. Dishwasher detergent is what is used to clean the dishes, while the main purpose of dishwasher cleaner is to clean the dishwasher. Detergents alone do not clean your entire dishwasher. 

Does the dishwasher need to be empty for me to clean it? 

A. Some detergents feature capabilities to clean both the dishes and dishwasher. Those that are less concentrated need to be run on an empty cycle. 

What are the best dishwasher cleaners to buy?

Top dishwasher cleaner 

Frigidaire Ready Clean Probiotic Dishwasher Cleaner

Frigidaire Ready Clean Probiotic Dishwasher Cleaner

What you need to know: It contains six packs of triple-action cleaning treatments and is unscented.

What you’ll love: It removes odors and stains left from hard water. The probiotic element of the cleaner continues to clean long after the treatment is done.

What you should consider: Some still notice debris around their dishwasher after the treatment is done. The liquid is thin and shoots out when you cut open the packs. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Top dishwasher cleaner for the money

Affresh Dishwasher Cleaner Tablets

Affresh Dishwasher Cleaner Tablets 

What you need to know: They are inexpensive and work to remove grease and mineral build-up. Affresh is compatible with any brand and manufacturer and is septic safe. 

What you’ll love: The tablets come in a pack of six, and both help the dishwasher run better and remove grime from dishes. They’re not scented, remove odors and are septic safe.

What you should consider: Buyers who purchased the product specifically to target odor did not notice a difference after the treatment. 

Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot

Worth checking out

If You Care Dishwasher Tablets

If You Care Dishwasher Tablets

What you need to know: This cleaner is unscented, biodegradable and comes in a pack of 40 tablets.

What you’ll love: The tablets are extremely concentrated and made without toxic chemicals. Dishes are left with a streak-free shine. 

What you should consider: You should avoid contact with skin, face and eyes. Some notice a filmy residue left on dishes when washed in gentle cycles. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Logan DeLoye writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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