Best way to get dishes sparkling clean by Consumer Reports

December 24, 2012 1:10:52 PM PST
Frustrated by filmy buildup on your glasses? There are detergent additives for dishwashers that promise to help. Consumer Reports tested to find out whether they really can deliver crystal clear results.

Consumer Reports put clear dishware through its tough test with very hard water, and it came out coated with a white film.

"In hard water, glassware is even more likely to develop a film. And since polluting phosphates were banned from detergents two years ago, the problem has gotten worse," said Consumer Reports' Dan DiClerico.

Dishwasher additives claim they can help. Consumer Reports tried Finish Power Up according to the manufacturer's instructions, putting it in the prewash dispenser. But dispenser sizes vary, and this one didn't hold enough to get the job done.

Finish Power Up before and after pictures show not much difference.

"We decided to use the alternate instructions, which said to put the Finish directly into the machine. That time the dishes came out looking clean," DiClerico said.

Next up -- Glisten Dishwasher Cleaner and Hardspot Remover, which comes in premeasured packets. It removed the residue after two cycles.

Then there is Lemi Shine Original. Its instructions say to use it to clean the machine first -- then with the dishes. While you may have to experiment with how much to use, it also worked. Here are the dishes before and after.

"While all these products ultimately worked, the Lemi was the least expensive and the best value," said DiClerico.

Consumer Reports cautions not to use Finish Power Up or Lemi Shine with a detergent that contains bleach. Both are acidic and may produce toxic gases if mixed with bleach.

All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2012. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not for profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumerreports.org.


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