Dishwashing liquids rated: Which suds are duds?

The best and worst dishwashing detergents have been revealed, and price is no guarantee of quality.

The best and worst dishwashing detergents have been revealed, and price is no guarantee of quality. Photo: Getty

As an adult, you probably spend time everyday at the kitchen sink, scrubbing away at a seemingly endless supply of dirty dishes.

The last thing you’d want to learn is the dishwashing liquid you’ve been using all this time isn’t doing its job.

If you’re not sure whether your product of choice is up to par, the latest round of research from consumer group Choice might have the answers.

Choice put 44 dishwashing liquids to the test, using products from major brands available from supermarkets and from smaller companies online.

Each product was tested four times, and there was a clear winner; Coles Ultra Advanced Power Soak Lime.

Choice director of reviews and resting Matthew Steen said the supermarket homebrand product’s results were impressive.

“The Coles dishwashing liquid scored 15 percentage points higher than its nearest competitor, and [it] is also the cheapest liquid we tested … which is a win for both your pocket and your dishes,” he said on Wednesday.

choice dishwashing liquid

The best and worst dishwashing liquids, according to Choice.

Coming in second place was Fairy Kitchen Antibacterial Spray, with an expert rating of 75 per cent.

“Rather than filling your sink with soapy detergent, you spray and let this Fairy product soak onto your dishes, then scrub off,” Mr Steen said.

Sitting at the bottom of the ratings, with the same performance as plain water, was Morning Fresh Ultimate Power Clean Spray Citrus Fresh.

Despite having the worst performance, this spray was among the most expensive products. It costs $11 per bottle – almost $2 more per 100 millilitres than Coles’ top-performing product.

What to look out for

Not all dishwashing sprays performed well; two out of the three worst performers in Choice’s testing were spray products.

Likewise, not all the products from the same brands performed at the same level.

Many brands, including Coles and Fairy, had products on top of the ladder and on the bottom rungs.

“Our tests uncovered some wild variation, so never assume that if one product cleans well, similar ones from the same brand will deliver the same results,” Mr Steen said.

“Likewise, don’t assume an expensive product will outperform a cheap one – our tests found price is no measure of performance.

“The same goes for expecting that a washing up liquid from this year will perform just as well next year – the reason we test every year is because some manufacturers commonly change the formula, so check back with us each year to see who has the better product.”

The testing process

The products were used on plates pre-soiled with blends of different types of stains you’ll typically have to deal with at home – rice starch, bolognese and egg yolk.

The stained plates were soaked in a 1 per cent solution of test detergent for 10 minutes, then scrubbed a set number of times with a wet sponge.

The final performance scores are based on how clean each plate was through comparing reflections off of dishes pre- and post-wash using a spectrophotometer (a device that essentially quantifies how much something reflects or absorbs light).

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