The right Dishwasher Tabs

The right Dishwasher Tabs
The right Dishwasher Tabs

The friends have gone home after a cozy evening, with a great extensive meal at your place. In the kitchen the dirty dishes are piled up and you are standing in the middle of them and now still rinse? Thanks to the invention of the dishwasher, this is no longer necessary. Only the question of the right dishwasher tabs you have to answer for yourself, because the tabs are, compared to the powder, very handy and convenient to use. How the multifunctional dishwasher tabs work, what are the advantages and disadvantages of the products, whether the detergents endanger or even affect health, you can read here.

How do dishwasher tabs work?

In the meantime, powdered dishwasher detergent has been almost completely eliminated from the market. Dishwasher tabs have been conquering households since the mid-1990s. Modern multitabs, for example, no longer consist only of rinse aid and dishwashing detergent. The product range is now enriched by so-called gel tabs. What all multiphase tabs have in common is that the products provide powerful cleaning – even without pre-rinsing.

At the same time, the quality of the products is constantly being improved. They remove stubborn stains, prevent water spots, bind limescale, and protect against deposits and glass corrosion. Nowadays, manufacturers of dishwasher tabs even advertise that you no longer need to repolish glasses, dishes and cutlery when removing them from the dishwasher.

Only a few companies still offer dishwasher detergents in powder form. As previous tests of the cleaning performance of various agents have shown, their bad reputation is completely unfounded.

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What ingredients are in dishwasher tabs?

You can find the following ingredients on most packages:

  • Bleaching agents (e.g. percarbonates) to decolorize dyes such as tea or lipstick.
  • Enzymes decompose protein and starch
  • Phosphates as water softeners against limescale deposits and to keep the detached dirt in the water so that it does not settle again on the dishes
  • Surfactants dissolve grease from dishes and cutlery
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What are the advantages and disadvantages of dishwashing detergents?

While tabs are easier to handle, a powder can be used variably in terms of dosage. Many dishwasher tabs combine all functions from cleaning to rinsing. In addition, tabs are individually packaged. Unlike powder, dishwasher tabs cannot clump together. However, the powder used requires a separate addition of rinse aid.

The advantage of dishwasher tabs is that all three components can be dosed more flexibly. This is because dishes that are not very dirty or lightly soiled require a smaller amount of powder. In programs with a low temperature or water-saving function, dishwasher tabs can contain too high a dosage of detergent. In most cases, too much foam is then formed. As a result, the cleaning power can be lost unused. Compared to brand-name tabs, powder is less expensive. The difference between the two products can be as much as 20 cents per wash, as Stiftung Warentest has calculated. Here is a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of dishwasher tabs:

Advantages over powder
  • Easy handling
  • Detergent and rinse aid in one tab
  • No clumping
Disadvantages compared to powder
  • No flexible dosage possible
  • More expensive than dishwasher powder
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What should you look for when choosing a dishwasher tab?

First of all, you should be clear about what price you are willing to spend per tab. The prices of the most popular dishwasher tabs on the market can have significant differences, and thus be relatively expensive per unit.

Strong rinsing power at low temperatures

Of course, when choosing dishwasher tabs, it is quite important that a strong rinsing power at low temperatures from 40°C is specified. This protects the glasses and dishes and at the same time saves energy, which has a lasting effect on the environment.

Rinse aid included

Furthermore, you should make sure that in addition to a cleaner, a rinse aid is also integrated in the dishwasher tabs. The cleaner should be able to remove stubborn dirt with ease. An integrated rinse aid in the tab works against the formation of water spots on the glasses, resulting in a beautiful shine. If this ingredient is not included, you must buy it separately.

Odor neutralizer

It is very pleasant to know when you use a dishwashing tab with an odor neutralizer. This effectively neutralizes unpleasant odors after each rinse cycle and a pleasant freshness remains.

Drying effect

Finally, you should make sure that a drying effect is integrated in your dishwasher tabs so that the water can run off the dishes and glasses evenly and drying by hand will no longer be necessary.

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Multifunction tabs or mono tabs?

Do you want to change from cleaning powder to tabs or is once again the package of dishwasher tabs empty, then one can be confused at the latest when shopping for tabs. If some tabs have “Multi-Power” or “7in1” designations, they belong to the group of multifunctional tabs and, in addition to the detergent, also contain a rinse aid, water softener, glass protector and other fine features. In contrast, the mono tabs, which have none of the additional functions listed and here, among other things, a rinse aid must be purchased separately and added to the machine. Therefore, when choosing tabs, take a little time and read what the manufacturing company promises based on the packaging of the dishwasher tabs.

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Do dishwasher tabs ensure that you no longer need to add salt?

Some are still under the misconception that if you use multi-tabs, you do not need to refill the regeneration salt in the dishwasher. This view is wrong. To soften the water, modern dishwashers have a so-called ion exchanger, which filters lime from the water. In order for this to regenerate, dishwasher salt is added to the container provided for this purpose.

Some tabs can soften your water, but they cannot replace the regenerating salt. It only ensures that soft water is available in the rinse cycle, but it cannot regenerate the ion exchanger. So if you want to wash with soft water in the long term and thus prevent limescale stains, there is no way around regularly topping up the salt in the dishwasher. According to Stiftung Warentest, an exception is made for water hardness below 21°. Then you don’t need additional salt, as the water softeners contained in the Multi-Tabs are sufficient. Information on water hardness in your area can be found at the local waterworks or on the Internet.

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What is the shelf life of dishwashing detergents?

An indication of the best-before date corresponds to the legal requirement. If the date is exceeded, the function of the detergent is not necessarily limited. Basically, there is no risk of dishwashing detergents spoiling. The tabs are vacuum-packed. Opened powder should be stored at best in a container with a lid, protected from moisture, otherwise it will clump.

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Are they a health hazard?

If dishwashing detergents get into children’s hands, then this can be life-threatening under certain circumstances. If rinse aid accidentally splashes onto the skin, it can be washed off immediately. The agent can cause chemical burns in the eye. You should therefore rinse with plenty of water and consult a doctor as soon as possible. Make sure you use phosphate-free dishwashing detergents, as they are kind to the environment. Whether toxic residues remain on the dishes after rinsing has not been conclusively clarified.

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Dishwasher tabs from Ecover, which score points with degradable ingredients and a hundred percent eco-balance, are recommended. They are followed by Calgonit, Finish and Fit. For glasses, the sparkle of Somat remained unbeatable in the dishwasher tabs test. According to Stiftung Warentest, on the other hand, the cleaning performance and environmental impact of gel dishwashing detergents was inadequate. Those who want quick and easy handling are well advised to use tabs, according to the test institute. Dishwashing detergents in powder form can be used variably and are cheaper with good cleaning power.

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Why does the tab not dissolve in the dishwasher?

Sometimes the tab does not dissolve in the dishwasher. In this case, the cause is usually the temperature or the load of the machine.

Some dishwasher tabs dissolve a little worse in programs with low temperature than at higher temperatures. If this is the case for you, then it is best to choose a program with a higher temperature or look for another tab in the store. If the heating of the machine is broken, the required temperature can also be achieved. However, in this case you will have to call the repair service.

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Too full load or too low temperature

In some circumstances, however, the detergent does not dissolve because the dishwasher was loaded too full. Large pots or baking trays may obstruct the spray arm, preventing the tab from dissolving. However, the dishwasher tab may not be falling out of its container or into a larger container instead of onto the bottom of the machine. To get to the bottom of this problem, you could place the tab in the cutlery basket. Here it is usually sufficiently moistened.

There is also another possible cause. For example, the small holes of the spray arm may be clogged by food residues or by lime deposits. In this case, thorough cleaning of the spray arm will help. How to clean the spray arm step by step, we have explained in detail in the linked article.

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Where can I get dishwasher tabs?

Dishwasher tabs are available in many discount stores such as Aldi, Lidl or in drugstores such as DM or Rossmann and of course you can also buy them on the Internet at Amazon and Co.

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