Best Dishwasher Detergent For Hard Water

Best Dishwasher Detergent For Hard Water

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Hard water can wreak havoc on your house fixtures; not only does it leave hard mineral deposits on surfaces, but it also leaves the toughest stains on kitchen utensils after a rinse cycle in the dishwasher. Unfortunately, many of us have to deal with hard water on a daily basis. And this is frustrating. However, the best dishwasher detergent for hard water, you can finally get rid of stubborn stains.

What Is Dishwasher Detergent?

A detergent is a mixture of cleaning substances similar to soap. They are specially formulated to deal with hard water. The concentrated powder is dual in nature, ensuring food residue is completely removed from your dishes. Dishwashing detergents are very effective at removing dried food from glass and baked-on sticky food from pots and preventing staining.

In addition, the concentrated formula of a dishwasher detergent should be able to get all stains off. Furthermore, you want the best dishwashing powder or liquid doing the job for you. So how do you know which dishwashing detergent is best for you?

Firstly, the best cleaning agent cleans dishes the best, leaves the least cleaner on surfaces after rinsing, has flexibility in cleaning various dish surfaces and stains, is easiest to use, and lastly, you get the best value for the price out of each gram of cleaning powder. In addition, the dishwashing detergent should not foam too much because this will cause leaks in the dishwasher.

With a rough idea of what a dishwashing detergent is, let us take a look at the top 5 dishwashing cleaners and what makes them good to use for your dishwasher.

Best Dishwasher Detergent For Hard Water

1) Cascade Platinum Dishwasher Pods

Cascade Platinum Dishwasher Pods, Actionpacs Dishwasher...
  • Cascade Platinum ActionPacs dishwasher detergent has 50% more...
  • Dissolves fast and release the grease-fighting power of Dawn,...
  • Powerful enough to clean 24-hour stuck-on food
  • Convenient, premeasured ActionPac with no finicky wrapping....
  • Use with Cascade Power Dry Rinse Aid and Cascade Dishwasher...

Cascade Platinum Action dishwasher detergent cleans stuck-on messes in a single wash, with no pre-rinse required. That's because Platinum action has 50% more cleaning power to tackle burnt-on food. It dissolves quickly to start cleaning right away, releasing the soaking power of Dawn dishwashing liquid.

With cascade platinum, food-seeking enzymes latch on and break down food particles into smaller bits. They can then flow right down the drain. This fresh scent dishwashing detergent is formulated to help prevent hard-water filming, with white spots and a cloudy haze, keeping your machine looking fresh and clean.

In addition, you can save up to 15 gallons of water per dishwasher load when you skip the pre-wash and run your dishwasher with Cascade Platinum. For maximum convenience, this dishwasher detergent has pre-measured action packs. They do not have weak wrapping and will not break easily. In addition, they are also phosphate-free.


  • Phosphate-free
  • Powerful detergent
  • Fast dissolving
  • Saves water
  • Prevents filming
  • Eradicates water spots
  • Convenient packaging


  • Strong aftertaste and odor

2) Finish Quantum Dishwasher Tablets

Finish - Quantum - 82ct - Dishwasher Detergent -...
  • Finish Quantum Scrubs, Degreases, and Shines. Because There’s...
  • 3 Separate Fast Dissolving Chambers, Delivering 3 Different Power...
  • Powder: Scrubbing Power to Break Down & Remove Toughest Stuck on...
  • Gel: Grease Cutting Power Handles Even the Toughest Messes
  • Liquid Powerball: Filled With Power Actions That Dry and Deliver...

Finish Quantum delivers clean and sparkling dishes. The tablets deliver the cleaning power of an overnight detergent soak, scrubbing away even 24-hour dried food on your pots and plates. As far as dishwasher detergent goes, these quick-dissolving tablets wash away residue particles while breaking down stuck-on food and lifting the toughest stains.

The dishwasher detergent dispenser delivers a finishing boost of shine. It ensures your glassware maintains a sparkling shine for longer. In addition, the tablets contain chlorine bleach that seeks out and cleans tough stains like tea and coffee. Regular dishwasher detergent doesn't match to the superior cleaning power of these tablets.

Furthermore, dishwasher detergents for hard water such as finish quantum are specially made to remove hardened food making these dishwashing tabs easy and convenient to use. This dishwasher detergent is a power booster for perfect crystal clear dishes and an amazingly clean dishwasher every time, even with hard water.


  • Non-toxic
  • Removes tough stains
  • Protects the dishwasher
  • Removes limescale
  • Affordable
  • Prevents cloudy filming
  • Degreases utensils
  • No pre-rinse


  • It can only dissolve in 130-140 degrees of water

3) Presto Triple Action Dishwasher Packs

Amazon Brand - Presto! Triple Action Dishwasher Pacs,...
  • New and improved Presto! Dishwasher Pacs; Triple Action Cleaning...
  • Convenient pre-measured pacs deliver grease fighting and a rinse...
  • Powerful cleaners combine to remove stuck on food and stains, no...
  • Anti-spotting rinse aids for a spotless sparkly clean
  • Free of phosphates or and chlorine

Besides the refreshing fragrance left behind by this dishwasher's clean detergent for hard water, it is also tough on stains made by coffee or tea. In addition, it contains no caustic chemicals and is one of the best dishwasher detergent for hard water. Your dishwasher load will determine how much dishwasher detergent you should use.

In addition, it is gentle on dishes and protects their natural appearance. It is made with sodium carbonate, which breaks down any hard water particles, much like other dishwasher detergents. Furthermore, it is free of any phosphates and chlorine. Therefore, it is a safe option for both your dishes and dishwasher machine.

The anti-spotting rinse aids are also a bonus. No whitish water spots will be left on your dishes, and you don't have to wipe them down after every rinse cycle aggressively. However, it is important you understand that overdosing on this dishwasher detergent will cause the bottom of your dishwasher to be sticky, and much of it will not dissolve.


  • No harsh chemicals
  • Eco-friendly
  • Anti-spotting formula
  • Affordable
  • Easy to use
  • Convenient
  • Eradicates tough stains


  • Too much will not dissolve

4) Method Smarty Dish Detergent Packs

Method Dishwasher Detergent Packs, Dishwashing Rinse...
  • Contains (1) resealable pouch with 45 individual packs of...
  • Dishwasher detergent packs with mineral and plant-based stain...
  • Free of phosphates and chlorine bleach.
  • Works hard in hard water. Powerful rinse-aid action.
  • Removes 48 hour stuck-on food.

The best dishwasher detergent is eco-friendly. This dishwasher detergent has mineral and plant-based stain lifting power. Works hard in hard water and has a powerful rinse-aid action, even for food stuck on dishes for 48 hours. In addition, it is also cruelty-free and not tested on animals. It is only for use on dishwashers.

It contains one pouch, which is re-sealable with an additional 45 individual packs of dishwasher soap inside it. For a dishwasher detergent, it comes fully prepared. It is essentially free of phosphates and chlorine bleach, and other harmful chemicals. With the free plus clear feature, it is fragrance-free and does not contain any perfumes or dyes.

Using this powerful dishwasher detergent for hard water will also keep your dishwasher happy because it softens hard water. In addition, it will not leave a gooey residue on your kitchenware. After the Smarty dishwasher trial, your plates will be odorless, spotless, and sparkling for a change. There is a 95% reduction in food particles.


  • Biodegradable
  • No odor
  • Affordable
  • Re-sealable packs
  • No harmful chemicals
  • Eco-friendly
  • Protects the dishwasher


  • No full ingredient disclosure

5) Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent

Seventh Generation Fragrance Free Dishwasher Detergent...
  • Enzyme rich formula cuts through tough grease and food residue to...
  • Free of fragrances, dyes, phosphates, and chlorine bleach
  • Convenient single dose dishwasher pods, just toss right into the...
  • USDA certified bio based product 78%
  • Dishwasher packs come in an easy to use resealable pouch

Seventh Generation dish detergent packs offer a convenient and powerful clean. This detergent blasts through tough residue to leave your dishes streak-free with just one wash. In addition, no pre-rinse is necessary. The best dishwasher detergents are dedicated to keeping the environment safe, and so is the seventh generation.

It is plant-made and contains less toxic ingredients for detergent. It makes the perfect alternative to traditional powders and gel. The enzyme-rich formula is safe for 25 consecutive years. A considerable amount of detergent does the tremendous task of washing dishes and gives them sparkling. Furthermore, it is safe for kids' dishes and water bottles as well.

Using one dishwasher pack per load, it is recommended that you don't unwrap or puncture the packs for a wash. And just like that, you have the best dishwasher detergent for hard water. This product is also USDA certified and is free from phosphate dyes and chlorine bleach. It is also recommended you don't touch the packs with bare hands.


  • USDA approved
  • No odor
  • Tough on food residue
  • Enzyme-based formula
  • Traditional powder alternative
  • No harmful chemicals
  • Convenient packaging


  • Leaves white cast on aluminum dishes

How Does Hard Water Affect Dishwashers?

Before we get into how hard water affects your dishes, let us first discuss what hard water is. Hard water is water that has high mineral content. Especially two minerals in abundance. They are calcium and magnesium. Other minerals that are found in hard water include carbonates and sulfates.

Interestingly enough, you might have come into contact with hard water when you washed your hands a few hours ago. So how does hard water affect dishwashers?

a) Chalky Deposits In Your Dishwasher

If your dishwasher has deposits, it might be more dangerous than it looks. The residue will clog up any movable parts and cause the dishwasher to stop working. Residue can also cause extensive and irreversible damage to your dishwasher. In addition, a dishwasher That doesn't work doesn't clean dishes well.

b) Water Spots

Water spots might look annoying on your glassware, but they are increasingly damaging to dishwashers and glassware. Spotless dishes should be what you end up with after you have completely rinsed out your dishes. In many instances, they form easily and become permanently imprinted on your dishwasher within minutes.

c) Signs Of Rust

One of the downsides to hard water is that it also causes rust. Some of the mineral deposits in hard water are salts. They inherently speed up the rusting process. We all know a rusty dishwasher soon grinds to a stop. Corrosion will start to take place as soon as hard water begins flowing through your dishwasher. It might take you some months to notice.

d) Dirty Dishes

If your dishes come out of the dishwasher still dirty, it's a sign that hard water has something to do with it. Hard water reduces the efficiency of powder detergents. Limescale buildup also piles up in the dishwasher, causing blocks. If your washing turns up dirty dishes after a dishwasher load, then it's probably time to clear the buildup and consider a detergent for hard water.

How To Remedy Stained Dishwashers

There are ways you can remedy limescale buildup from dissolving to disintegrating to melting it all away. You can remedy stains with simple household ingredients to commercial and store-bought ingredients. Here are simple ways you can clean stained dishwashers.

i) Rinse Aid

Firstly, if your dishwasher has a rinse aid dispenser, fill it up and keep it filled up regularly. Additional rinse aid will help water to rinse off of your dishes and glasses. It does this by slowly decreasing the surface tension of water. This means it sticks to surfaces less easily and can drain and evaporate away without leaving spots or residue.

ii) Hard Water Detergent

Liquid detergents often contain active ingredients that are resistant to hard water, so they tend to be a better choice compared to powder detergent. Either way, when washing with hard water, good detergents include extra ingredients that soften the water so the rest can get to work removing the real stains. In addition, this helps make it easier for soaps to lather up.

iii) Vinegar Rinse

Vinegar also can be used to condition water and soften fabrics. It lowers the water's pH, making the minerals, such as magnesium and calcium more soluble in water. During a dishwasher cycle, you can pour a cup into the dispenser and watch it work wonders. Furthermore, vinegar is eco-friendly compared to other dishwasher detergents and has no harsh chemicals.

iv) Water softener

A water softener converts the components of hard water into soft water by diluting the minerals. Most dishwasher detergents work on the same principle. A water softener is inserted into your water supply, and it, in turn, boosts the cleaning power of your dishwasher. Resin beads inside the water softener trap the calcium and magnesium and exchange them for sodium or potassium with every wash cycle.

v) DIY Remedies

Some simple home remedies make the best dishwasher detergents. For example, you can make the best dishwasher detergent for hard water by mixing equal parts of washing soda and borax into one cup of coarse kosher salt. You will only use about one tablespoon of this dishwasher cleaner for washing dishes. It will last you for a long while.

Bottom Line

Dishwasher detergents were made for convenience. However, that doesn't mean you don't have a choice when it comes to picking out the detergent that works for you. In addition, many forms of detergent would be suitable for your dishwasher. They include powder detergents, liquid detergents, gel detergents, and tablet detergents.

Before purchasing the best dishwashing detergent for you, you will have to brave a trial and error period. Living in a place where there is hard water can be a bit of a struggle for your dishwasher and utensils. However, on the upside, hard water tastes amazing. 

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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