According to ECOPURE, around 85% of the USA has a hard water problem, and you need to install water softeners/filters to remove it from the water entering your home. While this is a good measure, it doesn’t always work.
Hard water is detrimental to your dishwasher and plumbing. The most practical and feasible solution for this problem is to wash your dishes in a hard water detergent. These detergents break down the minerals in the hard water, and you get clean and spotless dishes.
USGS states that more than 43 million people rely on private water wells for daily usage. Well water is known to have a large quantity of calcium and magnesium; the main reason behind water hardness. Hence, you can use the detergents reviewed below for well water too.
Best Dishwasher Detergent for Hard Water
1. Cascade Platinum Dishwasher Pods, ActionPacs Dishwasher Detergent, Lemon Platinum Plus, 70 Count
- Cascade cleaning power allows you to skip pre-washing dishes, saving up to 15 gallons of water with each load
- ActionPacs are formulated with the grease-fighting power of Dawn dish soap. Formulated with POWER BOOSTER.
- Cascade Platinum PLUS+ ActionPacs dishwashing detergent dissolve, lift, and rinse away food.
Cascade Platinum Plus is the most famous dishwasher detergent for people having hard water at their homes. It will work great even if you have very hard water with more than 10.57 grains per gallon. Reviewers with water at 25-40 GPM state that this detergent does not only prevents the hard water spots on the dishes but also successfully removes the stubborn stains already caused by hard water. It is best for people who even have a water softener installed at their properties.
This detergent is so powerful and effective against hard water minerals that it will even remove the stains from your dishwasher. It is slightly costly than other options, but it is worth every penny. Some reviewers complain about a lemon scent from dishes and in the dishwasher. You can deal with this problem by opening the dishwasher for an hour or two once your dishes are done or avoid adding too much detergent. There are 100s of customers who have solved the hard water problem with this detergent.
2. Finish – Quantum – 82ct – Dishwasher Detergent – Powerball – Ultimate Clean & Shine – Dishwashing Tablets – Dish Tabs
- Finish Quantum Scrubs, Degreases, and Shines. Because There’s Clean. Then There’s so Clean It Shines
- 3 Separate Fast Dissolving Chambers, Delivering 3 Different Power Actions
- Powder: Scrubbing Power to Break Down and Remove Toughest Stuck on Food in One Wash. No need to pre-rinse or soak. Cuts through grease, breaks down...
Nothing can go wrong for you with this detergent. It is so effective that even dishwasher professionals recommend using Finish tablets for dealing with hard water stains. Finish is among the recommended dishwashers for Bosch. Many people with water wells and moderate to extremely hard water use this detergent and get excellent results. One bag of 82 tablets can last a year for an average American family.
Moreover, its cleaning strength is also outstanding. All you need to do is just throw a tablet in the dishwasher, and it will remove oil and even dried egg yolk without a pre-rinse. People trust this detergent so much that they even use it for baby bottles and feeders. One reviewer states that she is able to get spotless dishes with this detergent even in Florida, where water is considered hard to very hard with an average hardness of 100-300 parts per million. You can very well estimate how mighty effective this product is against hard water.
3. Lemi Shine Dish Detergent Booster, Multi-Use Citric Acid Cleaner (24 oz Container, 2 Pack Bundle)
- POWERFUL CITRIC ACID FOR THAT EXTRA BOOST: This is a 2-pack of our 24 oz Booster Additive to be used in conjunction with dishwasher detergent to...
- GUARANTEED TO CLEAN EVEN IN HARD WATER: Our dishwashing booster contains natural ingredients, powerful citric acid that remove stains, hard water...
- PH BALANCE OPTIMIZATION: Use Dish Detergent Booster for optimizing your dishwasher's cleaning ability by balancing the PH caused by hard water.
Sometimes you need to add boosters to make your dishwasher work against hard water stains. Don’t worry; we all have been there and suffered from clouded dishes.
Lemi Shine Booster contains natural ingredients that break down calcium and magnesium present in hard water, and they lose their ability to cling to your dishes. One user states that he stopped using Lemi Shine just to check what difference it makes. Within a week, he realized that it was worth every penny. Not only were the dishes cloudy, but his dishwasher also developed stains. He immediately restocked Lemi Shine, and everything went back to normal in a couple of days.
Lemi Shine is a powerful booster. You do not need to use it too much if you have normal to hard water. For well water users, filling the small prewash cup will suffice. However, if you have extremely hard water, you will need an excessive quantity of Lemi Shine.
4. Seventh Generation Fragrance-Free Dishwasher Detergent Pack, 45 Count, 2 Pack
- Enzyme rich formula cuts through tough grease and food residue to leave dishes sparkling clean
- Free of fragrances, dyes, phosphates, and chlorine bleach
- Convenient single dose dishwasher pods, just toss right into the dishwasher
The detergent consists of a host of ingredients that remove stubborn food leftovers from your dishes and provide you with spotless dishes. Hard water is not a problem anymore with this detergent. The detergent is liked by people all over North America.
People from areas like San Antonio, New Jersey, Florida, Indiana, and Arizona with maximum hardness in their water recommend this product. You can very well understand how powerful this is. These are the states that have the highest level of hardness in water. It is one of the few hard water detergents that can take care of year-old stains on your dishes. With Seventh Generation Detergent, you don’t need to get embarrassed or hide your dishes anymore.
Another positive thing about this detergent is that it has no smell/fragrance in it. It gives great results with well water, or even if you don’t have a water filter/softener installed on your well.
5. Finish – Quantum – 68ct – Dishwasher Detergent – Powerball – Ultimate Clean & Shine – Dishwashing Tablets – Dish Tabs
- New Finish Quantum scrubs, degreases, and shines. Because there’s clean. Then there’s so clean it shines
- 3 separate fast dissolving chambers, delivering 3 different power actions
- Powder: scrubbing power to break down & remove toughest stuck on food in one wash
Many people recommend these detergent tablets for areas with extremely hard water. We can safely say that it is a lifesaver for your dishes and dishwasher as well. It is a famous and well-respected detergent. It is recommended by manufacturers such as Bosch, GE, LG, and Whirlpool.
Its performance with hard well water is spectacular too. You don’t even need to add a pre-rinse/booster with it, and the dishes come out spotless. Many users mention that it doesn’t smell good out of the package but doesn’t leave any smell/fragrance on the dishes. Overall, it is one of the few detergents that can handle extreme hard water and take care of your dishwasher as well.
6. Cascade Platinum ActionPacs Dishwasher Detergent with Dawn, Fresh Scent – 92 Count
Just like other Cascade dishwasher detergents, the Cascade Platinum plus is also a high-performance product. The detergent receives excellent ratings from majority of the buyers, which are highly satisfied by its performance against hard water and cleaning the dishes.
Many people explain that how platinum pods removed the white film from their plastic glasses and mugs. They now enjoy clearer crockery items that last for a long time. You need to take care of one thing, make sure your hands are dry when getting the pods out of the container. If water gets into the container, all pods will stick together. The pods are slightly expensive than other brands, but they perform well against stubborn food particles on the dishes.
7. Finish Hard Water Booster Powder, Lemon Sparkle, 14 Ounce
With Finish’s booster, you don’t need to worry about hard water stains anymore. We recommend using boosters for dishwashers that operate on extremely hard water or well water. It provides your detergent with additional weaponry to fight off the hard water minerals responsible for white films and clouds on your dishes.
One user explains how her black dishes became a victim of Florida’s hard water, and she had to hide her dishes from guests to avoid embarrassment. However, Finish’s booster powder made things easy for her and her black dishes. It goes very well with your dishwashers as well and keeps them spotless. The booster even relieves you from the tension of cleaning the water filter every week.
The booster is so powerful that you can even use it with hard water having a pH of 9.0 and hardness of over 400 PPM. The best way to get maximum results from this dishwasher is to put 1-2 spoons in the pre-wash depository and 1 tablespoon at the bottom of the dishwasher. You’ll be amazed by what it can do.
8. Grab Green Natural Automatic Dishwashing Detergent Powder, Fragrance-Free, Organic Enzyme-Powdered, 80 Loads
- Contains: 1- 3.17 Pound (80 Loads) Bag of Grab Green Natural Fragrance Free Automatic Dishwashing Detergent Powder. Our velcro closure bags are...
- Naturally Effective: Specifically formulated to cut through grease and stuck on food without harsh chemicals, noxious fumes or caustic chemicals,...
- Fragrance Free: Our powerful dishwasher detergent, easily measured with the included scoop, is hypoallergenic, free and clear of all scents and dyes,...
A lot of people mention that how this detergent saved their dishes and dishwasher from hard water stains. It performs nicely with even well water. You may need to add a booster when the water is extremely hard. The detergent gives excellent results with silverware as well. Silver utensils are prone to white spots, and very few detergents can clear these stubborn and irritating stains from the dishes.
Some people report strong scents in the detergent. However, the manufacturer claims that all the ingredients are 100% transparent, and the scented products are made with essential oils. The bio-based detergent is best for homes on a detox plan. A couple of reviews also mention the detergent’s inability to remove hard water stains. However, hundreds of reviews also explain how this product has solved the stain problems for the users.
9. Ecover Automatic Dishwashing Tablets Zero, 25 Count, 17.6 Ounce
Ecover Zero is an extremely eco-friendly dishwasher and comes with a phosphate-free formula. All the ingredients used in the making are 100% transparent and do not harm the environment in any way. It is the best dishwasher for eco-conscious folks.
If you are on a detox plan or have someone in your home who can’t withstand smells on dishes, then we recommend this product for you. Ecover’s every tablet is individually packed, but the paper is recyclable, so you don’t need to worry. It works great with Frigidaire, LG, GE, and Bosch dishwashers.
Please note that the tablets may not fully dissolve if you put them in the detergent tray. They work best when you just drop them in the dishwasher. Another way to get impressive results from the dishwasher is to add a cup of vinegar at the bottom of the dishwasher. It not only cleans the dishes extremely well but also performs a thorough cleaning of your dishwasher drainage system.
10. Bubble Bandit Dishwasher Detergent with Phosphate
- Proudly Handcrafted in Small Batches in the USA
- Now Free of Perfumes, Clear of Dyes
- Eliminates limescale buildup, white film
It is pertinent to highlight that some states don’t allow using phosphate-based dishwashers. If you want to use this dishwasher, make sure you check the local laws before buying one. Many Texans find this dishwasher really impressive in removing the hard water stains. We all know how hard the Texan water is. It may not smell great out of the pack, but it doesn’t leave any smell on your dishes and cleans them pretty well. So, all is good here. Many people recommend using Bubble Bandit to remove old stains from the dishes and clear off the calcium buildup in the dishwasher.
The detergent doesn’t work well with old machines. So, if you have 8 years or older model, we recommend you don’t buy it. Apart from the phosphate in the ingredients, there are no red marks or negative reviews for this product.
11. Finish All in 1 Gelpacs Orange, Dishwasher Detergent Tablets 84 count (packaging may vary )
- Easy-to-use, pre-measured dishwasher pacs with a refreshing orange scent
- Powerful cleaners remove the toughest stains and gently scrub your dishes and glasses sparkling clean
- To use properly, remove one gelpac and place in the main detergent cup and close completely
Users from cities like Las Vegas with extremely hard water recommend Finish Gel packs. Sometimes the water is so hard that a whole house water softener fails to make it soft and safe for your appliances. Finish Gel Packs comes to your rescue in such conditions. The detergent is an economical buy as well, and people like the value of money it offers.
It is worth mentioning that the detergent works well with Samsung dishwashers too. Samsung dishwashers are known for working with only a few selected dishwashers. Check out best detergents for Samsung dishwashers here.
A couple of reviews mention its inability to remove the hard water stains. It is important to highlight here that not all detergents work for all dishwashers.
12. Lemi Shine Natural Dishwasher Pods
- SPARKLINGLY CLEAN FINISH: Lemi Shine Natural Dishwasher Detergent Pods are Dual Chamber, Powder and Gel Combo, so you can finally skip the pre-wash...
- NO MESS, NO POWDERS: Our dishwashing detergent pods clean and remove grease, stains, and stuck on food from dishware, without leaving a soapy residue.
- ECO-FRIENDLY AND GREEN CLEANING: Powered by natural citric acid, making our dishwashing pods a safer and more eco-friendly choice for cleaning your...
The gel and powder combo is liked by many people because it frees them of the tension to pre-rinse the plates, saving enormous amounts of water and time. One user states that she bought Lemi Shine Pods because she couldn’t find the usual ones she always used. Now, it’s been a year, and she refuses to go back. She agrees that the previous one was good with hard water, but Lemi Shine is superb. It keeps the dishes and dishwasher clean as new. Many people from Las Vegas recommend using these pods. The water there is pretty hard. Moreover, people love how the dishes come out odorless right after the wash cycle is completed.
Some people complain about the incomplete dissolving of the pods. It is worth mentioning here that the dissolving ability of the pods also depends on the water chemistry. So, the results can be different under different conditions.
13. Puracy Platinum Dishwasher Detergent Pods, 50 Count
- Designed to work better when you skip the pre-rinse ] Wash your dishes effortlessly with Puracy Free & Clear biodegradable dishwasher tabs. With...
- Developed by biochemists, tested by households nationwide ] These third-generation dishwasher tablets are tried, tested & trusted. These dish washer...
- Perfect for All Dishwasher Safe Items ] Made from plant and mineral-derived ingredients, Puracy dishwashing pods are a grease-cutting, spot-free,...
A majority of the buyers rate the detergent pods as great and efficient against hard water. Some people with old machines (15 years or more) explain how it solved their worries when top-rated detergents failed to remove the hard water stains from the crockery and the machine. Puracy cuts through the hard water and removes leftover food, and delivers clean and spotless dishes. The best thing about this detergent is that it can work great as a standalone washing agent. You don’t need rinse agents or hard water boosters with it.
One problem with the pods is that they can be used with half loads. It will result in suds unless you have your dishwasher completely filled. You may need dishwasher powder with this product for small/half loads.
14. Cascade Complete Gel Dishwasher Detergent, Fresh Scent, 2 Packs of 45 Ounces
- Dishwasher detergent gel with the grease-fighting power of Dawn
- Pure Rinse Formula rinses cleanly away
- Also available in Powder and ActionPacs
It is slightly expensive compared to other gel-based detergents but does a fair job when it comes to dealing with hard water. The dishes come out nice and clean without any stains for most of the users. It is easy to use and doesn’t create any hassle while pouring in the container. The detergent is tough against grease and oil marks.
The major issue which can be a turn-off for many people is the smell. It takes almost 2-3 hours for the smell to vanish. So, if you are allergic and sensitive to smell from your dishes, you should avoid it.
15. Miele Dishwasher Tabs (120 Tabs)
- Sparkling Results – even with stubborn soiling and food deposits
- Water-soluble Wrapping - No unpacking thanks to the water-soluble foil
- With functions such as rinse aid, salt, glassware protection, and Quick Intense Wash
Though it is not very popular with homeowners, this dishwasher has some loyal users which is evident by its excellent ratings. The reasons are pretty simple. The dishwasher does what it is supposed to do at a very affordable rate compared to the leading brands. Users from South Carolina prefer using Miele for hard water stains along with rinse aid for spotless cleaning. Many people with Bosch dishwashers find this product to be useful against hard water.
A few people complain about tables leaving debris/powder after a wash cycle. It can happen if you don’t use the tablets according to the manufacturer’s instructions or you have been shipped old tablets.
16. Amaze! Premium All-in-One Dishwasher Tablets – Powerful Hard Water Performance (32 Count Pack)
- place a tablet in the detergent dispenser tray or the utensils holder.
- Our tablets are protected by a dissolvable film. No need to unwrap, just place in the dishwasher detergent tray and start your preferred wash cycle.
- Outperform in hard water conditions; reduces need for salts, rinse-aid and other additives
Amaze is a hidden gem. It will amaze you with its performance. The detergent is suitable for areas where hard water doesn’t go away even after installing high-end water softeners and filters. You may think that it is just another detergent with baseless claims about dealing with the hard water problem, but no, it is an effective detergent against hard water. It will take care of your dishes and dishwasher. Well water users also like this detergent. Many reviewers tell how the Amaze made them stop using hard water boosters along with their main detergents.
Some users reveal that the washed dishes smell coming out from the dishwasher, but the odors vanish after an hour or two.
17. Cascade Pure Essentials Dishwasher Pods, Actionpacs Detergent, Orange Blossom, 58 Count
- Pure cleaning for your family
- Formulated with biobased* and other thoughtfully selected ingredients.(*1/3 biobased ingredients)
- Pure Essentials is Cascade's only dye-free liquid top
Cascade’s pure essentials detergent is made with bio-based ingredients without phosphates and chlorine bleach. This detergent comes with the backing of a reliable brand that promises performance and hygiene along with eco-friendliness. However, many users report that it is not like Cascade platinum and works only for lightly soiled dishes. Don’t expect to remove stuck cheese and oil from your plates. You will need to rely on a detailed pre-rinsing.
It works best for people having slightly hard water in their homes. It can’t fight extreme hard water, and your dishes may come out cloudy.
18. Melaleuca Diamond Brite Automatic Dish Washer Detergent Liquid 45oz — 25 Loads
- Cleans dishes and utensils safely and spotlessly
- Concentrated to save money and reduce plastic waste
- Naturally derived enzymes dissolve even baked-on food
The dishwasher gets a mixed response from the users. Some people find it perfect for even extremely hard water in their old machines (10-years old models). In contrast, others simply reject it because of its inability to deal with hard water or even remove the leftovers.
A couple of reviewers are so fond of this detergent that they even rate it above leading brands like Cascade, Finish, and Lemi Shine. Some users have reservations at the price it is being sold. It results in costly dishwashing. Moreover, nothing can be said for sure that it will work for you or not. If you decide to buy this detergent, please remember that it has a 50% success chance.
19. EcoSense Diamond Brite Automatic Dish Washer Detergent Packs
- Ecosense. Convenient single–use packs use natural enzymes to effectively break down food and remove stains, giving your dishes a spot–free shine....
It is another eco-friendly detergent that has a mediocre capability of dealing with hard water. It is very costly compared to leading brands and thus not very famous. No one wants to increase the dishwashing cost to such an extent that it becomes unbearable. People praise it when it comes to removing the hard water stains from your dishes and cleaning your machine, but they are also concerned about the cost and the amount they have to use to get results.
20. Grab Green Natural Dishwasher Detergent Pods
- Contains: 1- 24 Pod Bag of Grab Green Natural Tangerine with Lemongrass Automatic Dishwashing Detergent Pods. Our velcro closure bags are convenient...
- Naturally Effective: Specifically formulated to cut through grease and stuck on food without harsh chemicals, noxious fumes or caustic chemicals,...
- Tangerine with Lemongrass: Our convenient, pre-measured pods provide a bright burst of natural fragrance. Just drop one in your dishwasher and easily...
Grab Green’s detergent is the last detergent on our list for hard water detergents. People like this detergent because it comes with a natural water softener. It is costly and not very popular. A handful of homeowners use this detergent. However, the people who use it have good feedback about it.
Please note that there are dissolving issues with this detergent. Some people notice white soap underneath the cups. Moreover, it leaves the smell and taste of tangerine on dishes, which is a big turn-off for many people who tested it.
How can I select the best dishwasher detergent for hard water?
You will have to rely on the hit and trial method. It is possible that one detergent will do wonders with one dishwasher at a time, and the same one will perform poorly in another dishwasher. The level of hardness in your water will also impact your selection. You may try a few or look for recommendations from neighbors or read online reviews from your area/city.
What is the benefit of using liquid-based detergents?
The plastic from the packets can get lodged in the bottom of the dishwasher and may lead to drainage problems. However, this is not the case with all the packets. The majority of the packets are waster-dissolvable and flush out with wastewater without causing any issues.
Can I use a hard water dishwashing detergent with soft water?
Yes. You can use a hard water detergent for soft water as well. But you will have to reduce the detergent’s amount. You can also use a specialist detergent for soft water.
Which is the best dishwasher detergent for hard water?
Cascade Platinum Plus, Finish Quantum, Lemi Shine (booster), Ecover Zero are the best hard water detergents for dishwashers.
How much detergent do I need?
Every dishwasher has a different strength level. The amount needed depends on the spot level of your dishes, the quality and power of the detergent, your machine’s age, and the level of hardness in the water.
What to do if I run out of detergent?
You can use liquid dishwashing detergents like Palmolive and Fairy with some baking soda. It will clean all your dishes just like a detergent.
What is the purpose of citric acid in dishwashing detergent?
Citric acid helps break down the food particles on the dishes. It is usually present in fair proportions in rinse agents and cleaning boosters.
Does hard water affect the dishwasher?
Yes. Hard water leaves a white/gray layered on the inside of your machine. It can reduce the age of your machine and also impact its performance. Hard water is detrimental for other water-using appliances such as water heaters, washing machines, and plumbing.
Does putting excessive detergent brings better results?
No. Excessive detergent can lead to suds, residue on dishes, and buildup in the machine. It can affect the overall performance of your dishwasher.
How can I know if my water is hard?
The obvious signs of hard water in your home are scale buildup on appliances, dishes, clothes, and plumbing. You can test for water hardness with the help of water testing strips or get your water tested by a water testing facility.
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