How Much Dishwasher Detergent Should I Use?

When determining how much dishwasher soap to use, ignore the size of the dispenser in your dishwasher, and whatever you do, ignore the suggestions made by the detergent-makers, whose interest it is to get you to overuse soap.

You probably only need a fraction of what detergent-makers want you to use. If that sounds fishy to you, consider that since modern dishwashers use far less water than their ancestors, they also require less soap to do the job.

Back in the late ’70s, the average dishwasher cycle burned through 11 to 15 gallons. This decreased to an average six to 10 gallons per normal cycle in 2000. These days, dishwashers use as little as 2 gallons of water; they simply use it better.

What Is the Proper Dishwasher Detergent Amount?

So, the answer to the $64,000 question?

KitchenAid says to use anywhere from 2 teaspoons to 3 tablespoons, depending on how dirty your dishes are and how hard your water is. If using a dishwasher pac or pod, use only one. 

Should You Prerinse Your Dishes?

dirty dishes in Whirlpool dishwasher
Photo courtesy of Whirlpool

It doesn’t matter how much or how little soap you use, if you prewash your dishes, they won’t get as clean. Sounds counterintuitive, right?

But dishwasher detergent needs a little bit of grime to activate. And some dishwashers are equipped with a “turbidity sensor,” which monitors how clean the water in the dishwasher is and adjust accordingly, eliminating cycles and not fully heating the water if the dishwasher doesn’t sense that it needs to.

Scrape, don’t rinse and try using less soap. Bring a water sample to any Warners’ Stellian store to test its hardness and consider installing a water softener, as that can also be a giant leap toward clean dishes.

Do you have any dishwasher questions? Ask them in the comments below! Our Dishwasher Whisperer will be sure to answer.

Discount appliances at Warners’ Stellian Warehouse Sale this weekend

We’ll have thousands of appliance deals on hand for Warners’ Stellian’s (now-famous) Extreme Warehouse Sale, taking place 7 a.m. to 5 :30 p.m. Saturday, March 12 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 13.

Though there’s absolutely no early shopping allowed, I can give you this little preview of the appliance discounts smart shoppers will be snapping up at our St. Paul appliance warehouse (550 Atwater Circle, 1 miles north of I-94 & Dale).

See my tips on how to shop for appliance deals. Aside from the products pictured below, look for:

  • Electrolux laundry pair (gas dryer) for $1399
  • Up to 80% off professional built-in cooking products
  • A whole truckload of Bosch dishwashers
  • Up to 30% off blemished Frigidaire freezers
  • $249 for Dyson refurbished vacuums
  • $600 off our best-selling French-door refrigerator

All prices are good only while quantities last.

$349 GE stainless steel dishwasher with steam pre-wash

 

$399 stainless steel Frigidaire gas range with electronic oven controls

 

 

$599 stainless steel KitchenAid dishwasher with 4 stainless steel wash arms and stainless steel interior

 

$799 stainless steel gas KitchenAid range, with 5 burners and electronic oven controls

$799 stainless steel electric KitchenAid range, with 5 burners and electronic oven controls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$799 Frigidaire washer (4 cu ft) and electric dryer (7 cu ft, gas dryer $70 extra). Buy one pedestal, get one free (with this pair purchase; $220 value)

 

$999 STEAM Frigidaire washer (4.2 cu ft) and electric dryer (7 cu ft, gas dryer $70 extra). Buy one pedestal, get one free (with this pair purchase; $220 value).

 

 

$1499 LG STEAM washer (4.5 cu ft) and electric dryer (7.4 cu ft, gas dryer $70 extra). Pedestals available at additional cost.