Best Dishwasher Detergent for Hard Water to Buy

You need the best dishwasher detergent for hard water since hard water contains high mineral deposits that leave a residue or film on various kitchenware and surfaces. The same mineral deposits that cause hard water buildup also leave 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.

Fortunately, you can use a hard water dishwasher detergent to get rid of the effects of hard water on your dishes.

The best dishwasher detergents for hard water will soften the water and break down mineral deposits, leaving your dishes sparkling clean.

Keep reading to know about the best dishwasher detergents for hard water, and the features you need to consider when choosing dishwasher detergent for hard water.

best dishwasher detergent for hard water

Best dishwasher detergents for hard water

Best dishwasher detergents for hard water

  1. Kirkland Signature Easy to Use,Streak Free Premium Dishwasher Pacs, Automatic Dishwasher Detergent
  2. Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Gel Liquid Soap Lemon Scent Dish Detergent 42 oz, Pack of 6
  3. ADUSTMAN ECO Friendly Dishwasher Detergent 60 Sheets Unscented Natural Biodegradable,No Plastic Jugs More Convenient Dishwashing Pods Liquid Pacs Tablets,Pure Cleaning Dish Easy to Use For Mothers Gifts
  4. Free & Clear Automatic Dishwasher Powder, 45oz Box 12/Case
  5. Finish Powerball Dishwashing Detergent with Lemon – 28 Count
 Kirkland Signature Easy to Use,Streak Free Premium Dishwasher Pacs, Automatic Dishwasher DetergentSeventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Gel Liquid Soap Lemon Scent Dish Detergent 42 oz, Pack of 6ADUSTMAN ECO Friendly Dishwasher Detergent 60 Sheets Unscented Natural Biodegradable,No Plastic Jugs More Convenient Dishwashing Pods Liquid Pacs Tablets,Pure Cleaning Dish Easy to Use For Mothers GiftsFree & Clear Automatic Dishwasher Powder, 45oz Box 12/CaseFinish Powerball Dishwashing Detergent
BrandKirkland SignatureSeventh GenerationAdustmanSeventh GenerationFinish
FeaturesWorks great on grease, coffee, wine and eggs

Sparkling clean streak free dishes every time

Convenient to use

No pre-rinse required

Lemon citrus scent

Removes hard water residue

Gives your dishes a pleasant scent

Quick action liquid detergent

Lemon Scented

Eco-friendly

USDA Certified 65% bio-natural

Streak free and sparkling clean dishes

Removes hard water residue from dishes

Removes dishwasher odors

Eco-friendly

About this item

Easy to use

Hypoallergenic and biodegradable

No phosphate, bleach or brightener

Conserves water and electricity

Unscented

Absolutely no chlorine, phosphate, dyes or perfumes, yet cleans as well as traditional powders.

No petroleum-based cleaners.

Safe for septic and gray water systems

Biodegradable

Unscented

No pre-soak needed for any type of stains

Effective for baked-on foods

Pleasant lemon scent

Degreases and deodorizes

Removes limescale and mineral buildup

FormPacLiquidTabletPowderTablet
Dimensions(LxWxH)7.48 x 6.3 x 6.698 x 8 x 109.85  x 5.9 x 0.741.8 x 5.9 x 8.58.35 x 6.54 x 1.3
Weight0.01 Ounces2.63lbs5.64 ounces2.8lbs1.18lbs

1. Kirkland Signature Automatic Dishwasher Detergent

Features:

  • Works great on grease, coffee, wine and eggs
  • Sparkling clean streak free dishes every time
  • Convenient to use
  • No pre-rinse required
  • Lemon citrus scent
  • Removes hard water residue

The Kirkland Signature Dishwasher Detergent is specially formulated to clean your dishes and glassware, remove grease, grime and hard water residue, and also keep them smelling heavenly.

It is rich in cleaning active and metal protection agents, gentle on your dishes and dishwasher components.

Using the Kirkland Signature Dishwasher Detergent is quite simple and convenient.  Simply apply it as needed depending on the load and run a wash cycle.

This dishwasher detergent will leave your dishes sparkling clean and give them a pleasant lemon citrus scent.

Pros

  • Cleans as well as premium brands
  • Works great on grease, coffee, wine and eggs
  • Sparkling clean streak free dishes every time
  • Convenient to use
  • No pre-rinse required
  • Lemon citrus scent
  • Convenient packaging

Cons

  • Not too effective for dealing with calcium buildup
  • Lemon citrus scent might not be to everyone’s liking

2. Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent

Features:

  • Quick action liquid detergent
  • Lemon Scented
  • Eco-friendly
  • USDA Certified 65% bio-natural
  • Streak free and sparkling clean dishes
  • Removes hard water residue from dishes

The Seventh Generation Lemon Dishwasher Detergent Gel uses plant-based enzyme blends for effective cleaning, eschewing synthetic fragrances, dyes, phosphates, and chlorine bleach. This USDA Certified Bio-based liquid dishwasher detergent is scented with 100 percent essential oils and botanical extracts

It uses powerful plant-based ingredients like surfactants and enzymes to break down tough residue and remove food particles leaving your dishes sparkling clean.

This detergent is really excellent for hard water cleaning, leaving your dishes clean and free of any residue after each wash.

Pros

  • Eco-friendly
  • Liquid form
  • Easy to use
  • USDA Certified 65% bio-natural
  • Streak free and sparkling clean dishes
  • Very effective for tackling hard water
  • Lemon Scented

Cons

  • Available only in liquid form
  • You must follow instructions to get the best out of it

3. Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent

Features:

  • Removes dishwasher odors
  • Eco-friendly
  • About this item
  • Easy to use
  • Hypoallergenic and biodegradable
  • No phosphate, bleach or brightener
  • Conserves water and electricity

This detergent removes food remnants, grease, and hard water residue from the surfaces of dishes and glassware, and also cleans them with consistent results

The ADUSTMAN ECO Friendly Dishwasher Detergent is effective at cleaning dishes, tough on residue, cleans without bleach or phosphate and safe for use in homes with septic systems.

The great thing about this detergent is that it doesn’t have any scent, so you don’t have to worry if you have any allergies

Pros

  • Eco-friendly
  • About this item
  • Easy to use
  • Conserves water and electricity

Cons

  • Unscented

4. Free & Clear Automatic Dishwasher Powder

Features:

  • Absolutely no chlorine, phosphate, dyes or perfumes, yet cleans as well as traditional powders.
  • No petroleum-based cleaners.
  • Safe for septic and greywater systems

With most dishwashing detergents, you pretty much have to trust that these products work.

But having used the Seventh Generation Free & Clear Automatic Dishwasher Powder, I can attest to its effectiveness.

It removes limescale and mineral residue from dishes and glassware, dishwasher components-safe, and gives you sparkling clean dishes after every wash cycle.

Using the Seventh Generation Free & Clear Automatic Dishwasher Powder means there is absolutely no chlorine, phosphate, dyes or perfumes which can pollute the air in your home.

It also reduces spotting and filming in hard water to ensure that it flows freely off your dishes. However, it’s recommended for you to use a rinse aid along with it if you’re having hard water problems in the home.

Pros

  • Removes hard water residue
  • Absolutely no chlorine, phosphate, dyes or perfumes, yet cleans as well as traditional powders.
  • No petroleum-based cleaners.
  • Safe for septic and gray water systems
  • Biodegradable

Cons

  • Unscented
  • Product package description can be a little confusing

5. Finish – Quantum with Activblu Technology – Dishwasher Detergent

Features:

  • No pre-soak needed for any type of stains
  • Effective for baked-on foods
  • Pleasant lemon scent
  • Degreases and deodorizes
  • Removes limescale and mineral buildup
  • Comes in Tablet form

The Finish Powerball Dishwashing Detergent packs quite a punch. Its simple to use, effective and last long.

With this detergent, some stacking know-how and a little bit of TLC, your dishwasher can run at optimal performance, load after load.

To use the Finish Powerball dishwashing detergent, put one tablet in your dishwasher tray whether it contains dishes or not. And then run a normal wash cycle. It will thoroughly clean the filter, hidden parts, spray arms and other key components of your dishwasher.

This tablet also removes the cloudy film and crusty residue that builds up on stainless panels inside the dishwasher.

Pros

  • No pre-soak needed for any type of stains
  • Effective for baked-on foods
  • Pleasant lemon scent
  • Easy to use
  • Long lasting scent
  • Degreases and deodorizes

Cons

  • Might need a few applications to get the best results

What to consider when choosing dishwasher detergent for hard water

When choosing the best dishwasher detergent for hard water, you must consider the detergent type, ingredients, scent, and eco-friendliness of the product before purchase

Types of dishwasher detergents

Gels: Gel detergents are often the most affordable option, but they tend to be the least effective at cleaning.

This is because gel detergents don’t contain the mix of bleaching agents and enzymes found in other detergent types as these ingredients don’t mix well in liquid form, but they are great for normal cleaning.

a. Powders

Powdered detergents are affordable and more effective than gels in terms of cleaning power. But powders can be a mess to measure, store and can also become meshed over time when exposed to damp environments.

b. Pods or tablets

Pods often take the form of gel packs, while tablets are made of concentrated dishwashing powder. Both go directly into the dishwasher’s detergent dispenser with no need for measuring and absolutely no risk of spills. They are the most convenient and efficient option, but also the most pricy amongst all 3 options.

For some experts, it seems clear that tabs and gel pacs deliver the best overall package of cleaning power, convenience, and reliability.

Ingredients

The best dishwasher detergents for hard water usually contain sodium-based ingredients, citric acid, and other enzymes to help soften and break down hard water deposits for a more thorough clean.

1. Scent

Although this isn’t really a priority for most consumers, most dishwasher detergent makes include chemically or naturally derived scents into their products. Some naturally derived detergents opt for essential oil fragrances instead of chemical scents.

Unscented options are also available for those who are sensitive or allergic to fragrances.

The most preferred scent is simply down to the individual’s preference.

2. Eco-Friendliness:

Eco-friendly dishwasher detergents cause less harm to humans and the environment. These detergents may contain natural, biodegradable, and other ‘green’ ingredients.

Eco-friendly dishwasher detergents are efficient and have a little environmental impact as they employ the use of naturally derived enzymes, acids, and fragrances.

Pods and tablets are often the most compact and concentrated dishwasher detergent option because they take up less storage space and use less packaging compared to gels and powders.

How does hard water affect dishwashers and dishes?

Hard water is basically water that has high mineral content. Although calcium and magnesium are the 2 most prominent minerals in hard water, you can find other minerals such as carbonates and sulfates in hard water.

Here are a few ways hard water affects your dishwashers:

1. Chalky deposits

A dishwasher that doesn’t work won’t clean dishes well.

Chalky deposits will clog up any movable parts and cause the dishwasher to stop working or cause extensive and irreversible damage to your dishwasher.

2. Water spots

Spotless dishes should be what you end up with after you have completely washed and rinsed out your dishes. Instead you might end up with annoying water spots that become permanently imprinted on your glassware within minutes damaging them.

3. Signs of rust

Salts present in hard water mineral deposits usually increase the rate of rust. Corrosion begins immediately hard water begins flowing through your dishwasher, although it might only be noticeable after a few months.

How to remove hard water stains

You use anything from simple household ingredients to commercial products to remove hard water stains.

Here are a few simple ways you can clean stained dishwashers:

  1. Use hard water detergents.
  2. Use rinse aids to help water to rinse off of your dishes and glasses, so it can drain and evaporate away more easily without leaving spots or residue on them.
  3. Add a water softener into your water supply system to boost the cleaning power of your dishwasher.
  4. Frequently rinse your dishwasher with vinegar to lower the water’s pH level. Thus making minerals, such as magnesium and calcium more soluble in water.

How to prevent hard water residue?

  1. Always run regular vinegar cycles to help prevent mineral deposits from building-up inside the dishwasher.
  2. Use a rinse aid and citric acid for each wash cycle to remove any hard water residue from dishes and the dishwasher. You can do this by adding a teaspoon of citric acid to your detergent for each load or putting 3 to 4 tablespoons of citric acid in the detergent dispenser, and then running an empty load on normal ‘level’ to clean out any hard water residues.
  3. Using a sodium-based detergent helps to soften the water.
  4. A more permanent solution for removing hard water deposits is the installation of a soft water system for the house. Soft water is more effective for cleaning and lathers more easily than hard water.
  5. Many people make the mistake of adding more dishwasher detergent to get a better wash with hard water, but unfortunately the soap doesn’t completely rinse off, resulting in more residue.

How often should I clean a dishwasher?

Regular cleaning of your dishwasher kills bacteria and prevents residual buildup on your dishes.

Ideally you should clean your dishwasher at least every 2 months or once a month if you use it more than twice a day to ensure your dishes are properly cleaned.

Deep or soft cleaning are the 2 different methods you can employ to clean your dishwasher.

Follow these steps to soft clean your dishwasher:

  1. Fill a measuring cup or dishwasher-safe glass bowl with white vinegar
  2. Place the vinegar dish on the bottom rack
  3. Run the dishwasher on a full cycle
  4. Use a clean rag to wipe out the inside of the dishwasher when the cycle is completed
  5. Try running another wash cycle if there is still a strong smell of vinegar noticeable. This should help to flush out the remaining vinegar. You can also consider adding a tablespoon or two of baking soda to help absorb the scent and run another cycle.

Soft cleaning is recommended every 2 months to prevent the build-up of debris and grease. Or, when you begin to notice white residue or grease on your dishes.

Follow these steps to deep clean your dishwasher:

  1. Spray a degreasing agent inside the dishwasher and then wipe clean
  2. Run the vinegar through a rinse cycle
  3. Unplug the dishwasher when the cycle is completed
  4. Remove the bottom and top rack of the machine
  5. Soak them in hot water mixed with vinegar
  6. Remove the dishwasher fan (follow your manufacturer’s directions in the dishwasher’s user manual)
  7. Use a thin wire to clean out the spray holes
  8. Rinse thoroughly
  9. Return the fan and racks to the dishwasher
  10. Plug the machine back in
  11. Run a cycle without soap to rinse everything

Deep cleaning is advisable at least twice a year to prevent any residue or grease from accumulating in the crevices of the dishwasher.

What to do to prevent residue in a dishwasher dishes

Properly scraping your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher is the best way to prevent grease build-up as large pieces of food can become lodged in the dishwasher drain causing it to get clogged up.

The more debris in the dishwasher drain, the harder it is for the grease and food to exit properly.

Most people make the mistake of cleaning their dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. This would be perfect if you were using a sanitizer, but there’s no need to clean your dishes for your dishwasher because dishwashing detergents have active enzymes which work in tandem with hot water to remove the food from the dishes. If you clean the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, you prevent the enzymes from latching onto the food and cleaning it properly.

However, this does not mean you should leave large chunks of food on the dishes. Make sure you scrape the dishes thoroughly, but do not wash them before putting them in the dishwasher.

Conclusion

Consistent cleaning will also prevent residue build-up. You should clean out the drain filter at least every three months; this can be done by shutting off your dishwasher and pulling it out of the drain, rinsing it thoroughly with hot, soapy water, and putting it back once you see it’s free of debris and grease (residue).