Get cleaner dishes with the dishwasher you have now

Get cleaner dishes with the dishwasher you have now

With dishwashers dialing back on water and energy use to meet federal standards, you might think that it’s tougher to get your dinner dishes clean. But at Consumer Reports we found a number of dishwashers that aced our tougher energy tests, which include washing more place settings with dirtier dishes. Our experts also shared some simple tricks that anyone can use to help a dishwasher serve up more-sparkling loads.

Load by the book. Some dishwashers, including Whirlpool’s, have changed loading schemes to match multiple spray arms and adjustable racks. So check the owner’s manual.

Adjust for hard water. Pricier models from Bosch, KitchenAid, and Miele have a built-in water softener. For others, consider installing a home water softener (about $ 500 to $ 1,000). A rinse aid can also help prevent spotting. To remove buildup from dishware or the tub, Lemi Shine Original was among additives that did best in our tests.

Use a good detergent. The best dishwasher detergents clean without leaving film on glassware or discoloring aluminum. Cascade Complete With Dawn ActionPacs, 29 cents per load, topped other detergents in our tests, cleaning even baked-on macaroni and cheese without water spots or food deposits. Other good choices: Cascade Complete All in 1 Powder, 21 cents, and Walmart’s Great Value Powder Pacs, 17 cents, and a CR Best Buy.

A winning blend of cleaning and quietness helped the Kenmore Elite 12793 knock Bosch from the top of our Ratings as consumers clamor for less noise. But there are still plenty of reasons to recommend a Bosch, such as new work-saving features. Several models from Bosch stood out in our tests, including the Ascenta SHX3AR7[5]UC, $ 700, a CR Best Buy. Scoring just as well was the KitchenAid KDFE454CSS, $ 1,500, which did excellent on every measure although it lacks a time-remaining display.

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