Liquid vs Tablet Detergents For Dishwashers

Liquid vs. Tablet Detergents for Dishwashers: Which is Better?


Have you ever wondered which is better to feed your dishwasher: liquid or tablet detergents? If so, then you have come to the right place! 

We have tested both alternatives thoroughly in the hopes of determining which makes our dishwashers clean better and which is more suitable for our dishwashers in the long run. 

Here are our results. While it is personal preference on when to use the two dishwasher detergents as both can make your dishes squeaky clean, one is the more efficient to use: dishwasher tablets

Read on as we show you a comprehensive comparison between liquid and tablet dishwasher detergents and explain how we came up with that conclusion.

Why Should You Use Tablet Detergents in Your Dishwasher?

Unlike liquid dishwasher detergents, which rapidly dissolve when the dishwasher fills with water, tablet dishwasher detergents do the exact opposite of that. Dishwasher tablets remain steady and are much slower to dissolve. 

It offers a steady release of dishwasher detergent throughout the dishwashing cycle. This factor alone should convince you that dishwasher tablets clean better than the liquid variant.

On top of cleaning better, dishwashing tablets also tend to be more cost-effective. Despite being more expensive on initial purchase, tablets do all the hard work that dishwasher gels and liquids do and elevate it a level further. 

Undoubtedly, using dishwashing tablets proves more friendly with your wallet in the long run.

And if you still need convincing, tablets also use significantly fewer products per load – rendering them the most eco-friendly option among all dishwasher detergents. 

This makes things much easier for your machine, which, in turn, minimizes instances of hardware issues. Simply put, using tablet detergents on your dishwasher prolongs its lifespan.

Lastly, dishwasher tablets also work well for households with hard water. These tablets scour food residue on your plates, remove stains on coffee cups and glasses, and eliminate grease on pans and pots.

To convince you further that tablet detergents are indeed the best option for your dishwashers, we have prepared summary tables below that put the two detergent alternatives head-to-head.

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Summary Tables

Pros and Cons

Below is a straightforward table highlighting the pros and cons of liquid and tablet dishwashing detergents:

Dishwashing Detergent TypeProsCons
LiquidDissolves the fastest among all dishwashing detergents

Generally gentler than its contemporaries

Easier to control over the amount of dishwashing detergent to use

More affordable
Depending on the brand of liquid dishwashing detergent, some may leave streaks on dishes and silverware

Usually contained in large plastic bottles that are ultimately harsher for the environment

A lot can be wasted even before the wash actually starts

Can cause the dishwasher to overflow and the heating element to corrode with frequent use
TabletsSaves more money in the long run

Takes care of your machine better than any dishwashing detergent

Dissolves slower so less is lost down the drain; cleans dishes more effectively

Can also work well for households with hard water

More environmentally-friendly
More expensive

Harder to determine how much to use

When to Use Each Detergent

Below is a simple table detailing when each of the dishwashing detergent we are comparing in this article is the ideal option to use

Dishwashing Detergent TypeWhen to Use
LiquidLiquid detergents work best when paired with soft water.

They are compatible with either hot or cold water.

If you are in a tight budget and in quick need for a dishwashing detergent
TabletsDishwashing tablet detergents come in several forms – you’ll want to better understand your water first before you choose which iteration would work best for you.

Ideally, all the time. Table detergents take care of your machine just as well as it cleans your dirty dishes.

If you want your dishwasher to work optimally for a long time. It prolongs the machine’s lifespan.

With that out of the way, let us now discuss how liquid dishwashing detergents can still be a viable option for some and highlight the differences of the two detergents further.

In Defense of Liquid Dishwashing Detergents

Liquid dishwashing detergents are the most popular choice as they are often the most affordable option out of all the dishwashing detergent varieties. They can come in eco-friendly bottles, fruity scents, and various sizes to push through any-size dish load. 

Furthermore, because dishwashing liquid is generally mild, it is frequently the better household cleaner choice than other harsh chemicals. This also makes liquid dishwashing detergents great alternatives to other grating cleaners. 

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On top of that, they can also be used for many purposes that don’t involve dishes at all, such as cleaning furniture and other home appliances.

Differences Between Liquid and Tablet Dishwashing Detergents

Here is a list of essential differences between the two so that you use the right detergent for the task at hand.

  • Liquid dishwasher detergent should be used to wash dishes by hand only. Such detergents generate lots of suds and should not be used in the dishwasher. Dishwasher tablets are formulated to work only in the dishwasher and contain enzymes and bleach to break down grease. Dishwasher tabs and powder don’t create a high amount of suds.
  • Dishwasher tablets cannot be used to wash dishes by hand as they work differently. Tablets and powder clean dishes using less water. Liquid dishwasher detergent can result in higher water use on occasion.
  • Mix liquid detergent with cold or warm water before washing dishes. Tablets and powders are designed for use only in dishwashers. Both offer the same level of cleanliness.
  • If a liquid dishwasher detergent is used in the dishwasher, it can cause the dishwasher to overflow and the heating element to corrode.

Make sure you know the difference between the available products. That way, you can pick the right detergent to use and get sparkling clean glasses and dishes.


Even looking at it from various sides, it is evidently clear that using tablet dishwashing detergents is much better than settling for the liquid variant. While they are more expensive, they will actually save you more money in the long run. 

It takes care of your machine just as well as it eliminates the stains and germs on your dirty dishes. And it does all that without the bulky container bottles present in liquid detergents that just produce more waste and are ultimately harsh to the environment.

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Dishwashing tablets clean better, are more eco-friendly, and save more money in the long run. What is there left to convince you that it is the better alternative? 

With all that being said, we sincerely hope this article helped you determine which dishwashing detergent would work best for you. You may also want to look at our top picks for the best dishwasher this 2023.