How Do Dishwasher Tablets Work?
Each dishwasher tablet contains several ingredients that dissolve when mixed with water in the dishwasher, including builders, surfactants, and enzymes. The builders take care of hard water (if that’s an issue in your home) and stains on dishes.
Meanwhile, the surfactants combine to make the water soapy, which washes away the food debris with the jets of hot water in your dishwasher. Finally, the enzymes help break down stuck-on grease and starchy food.
Can You Put Dishwasher Tablets in the Bottom of the Dishwasher?
There are two answers to this question: yes, you can, but no, you shouldn’t. The reason is that the tablet is designed to dissolve in water. If it’s in the bottom of the dishwasher, your tablet will more than likely dissolve during the pre-wash phase.
While some soapiness will remain for the main wash, it won’t be enough to get the maximum benefit. Your dishwasher knows when to release the detergent from the container in the door; you should trust it.
How to Use Dishwasher Tablets
Dishwasher tablets are straightforward to use. Still, you should read the directions for use on the container they came in to ensure there aren’t any special instructions.
First, if the tablets you bought have an outer wrapping, remove them and discard them (unfortunately, these can’t usually be recycled). Next, put the tablet in the appropriate dispenser. Usually, this is a little compartment with a lid on the inside of the door, but it could be located elsewhere, depending on your machine. It’s usually called a detergent dispensing compartment.
Next, start your machine. Again, check the container for special cycles. Your particular tablets may not be appropriate for all cycles. As long as they are, choose the process you want to use, close the door to your dishwasher, and start the cycle. In just a short amount of time, you’ll have clean dishes.
Do Dishwasher Tablets Expire?
Sort of — they can go out of date, typically after about two years. This doesn’t mean that they’re ineffective or hazardous to your dishes, though. It just means that some of the ingredients may not be as potent, especially the enzymes.
If you stockpile dishwasher tablets or find some old ones tucked into the back of your cabinet, you might notice that your dishes aren’t coming as clean as they used to.
Do You Need to Take the Plastic Off of Dishwasher Tablets?
The answer to this question depends on whether the plastic is part of the tablet itself or not. Many brands of dishwasher tablets come individually wrapped in a plastic or even foil baggie. If this is the case, you need to remove it before putting the tablet in the dishwasher.
However, if the plastic feels dissolvable, like a laundry pod, leave it on. It will likely evaporate once the pod makes contact with water. If you’re in doubt, check the box or container they came in for specific directions about your brand by looking at the tablets.
Liquid Detergent vs Dishwasher Tablets — Which is Best?
There isn’t a definitive answer, as both have their pluses and minuses. Liquid detergent is probably more common, and it can have multiple uses, unlike tablets. You can use it as a mild household cleaner and for handwashing dishes as well. It is typically less expensive, and you can buy eco-friendly versions of it.
On the other hand, tablets are doubtless more convenient and less messy. They’re a bit easier to use as well as you simply unwrap and pop them in the compartment. However, they typically cost more money and may not last as long as liquid detergents.