Consumer Reports names top picks for dishwasher detergents
(CBS 58) -- If you're looking for sparkling clean dishes, take a look at your dishwasher detergent.
Using a dishwashing machine will save you an average of 230 hours per year compared to washing dishes by hand, but which detergents are more efficient for the price?
Consumer Reports tested 20 products and found that Cascade Platinum Actionpacs are among the top performers at $0.34 a load.
But if you're looking for more bang for your buck, the Kirkland Signature Premium Dishwasher Pacs sold at Costco also earned an excellent rating, at just $0.11 a load.
"It prevented dirt from depositing on clean dishware, it prevented water spotting, and didn't allow a film to form on the dishes," Jim Nanni with Consumer Reports said.
Single pacs or tablets are more expensive than bottled gel, but that's for a reason.
"They didn't do as well performance wise."
Consumers are choosing gel and pacs while sales for powder go down. Testing shows powders can get the job done but has a hard time cleaning pots.
Nanni says pacs performed better because many contain a pretreat solution, degreaser, and rinse aid that boosts cleaning power.
To get that extra clean, it also depends on how you're loading the dishwasher.
"If you think about how a dishwasher works, it is spraying water from underneath the dishes. If you stack the dishes in a way that prevents that water from circulating or traps food there, it's going to remain there through the end of the cycle," Nanni said.
Testing also found that it's best to leave items like fine china, wooden spoons, and sharp knives out of the dishwasher and handwash them instead for the best results.