Disclosure: This website contains affiliate links, meaning when you click the links and make a purchase, we receive a small comission with no additional costs to you.

7 Best Dishwasher Detergents for Hard Water – (Reviews & Guide 2021)

Many of the convenient inventions we use today were invented by women. One of them is the dishwasher which was invented by a rich Italian woman and was given the name Lavadora. In the next few paragraphs, we have taken the time and diligence to find the best dishwasher detergents for hard water and make life even more convenient.

Like any water-using appliance, the dishwasher needs some taking care of, especially if the water supplied to your home is hard. Alongside the dishwasher detergents for hard water reviews, we will share with you some useful information about hard water and how you can deal with its effects.

Cascade Platinum Plus Dishwasher Pods for Hard Water

Cascade Platinum Plus Dishwasher Pods for Hard Water

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 39 Oz
  • Scent: Lemon
  • Last For: 70 Load
  • Benefits: No pre-wash is needed
View On Amazon
Finish All in 1 Gel packs Orange for Hard Water

Finish All in 1 Gel packs Orange for Hard Water

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 48.8 Oz
  • Scent: Orange
  • Last For: 84 Load
  • Benefits: Remove the toughest stains & gently scrub your dishes
View On Amazon
Lemi Shine - Booster Natural Lemon Dishwasher Additive for Hard Water

Lemi Shine – Booster Natural Lemon Dishwasher Additive for Hard Water

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 24 Oz X 2 pack
  • Scent: Lemon
  • Last For: up to 4 weeks
  • Benefits: Remove stains, hard water spots, film, lime, calcium, iron, and other mineral deposits
View On Amazon
Finish Hard Water Booster Powder

Finish Hard Water Booster Powder

  • Price: $
  • Size: 14 Oz.
  • Scent: Lemon
  • Last For: 25 – 30 Load
  • Benefits: Removes spots, residue and hard water film
View On Amazon
Bubble Bandit Dishwasher Detergent for Hard Water

Bubble Bandit Dishwasher Detergent for Hard Water

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: 3.75 Lbs
  • Scent: Citric
  • Last For: Up to 60 Load
  • Benefits: Free of Perfumes, Clear of Dyes
View On Amazon
Cascade Complete Gel Dishwasher Detergent for Hard Water

Cascade Complete Gel Dishwasher Detergent for Hard Water

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 2 Packs of 45 Ounces
  • Scent: Fresh
  • Last For: Up to 60 Load
  • Benefits: Rapidly dissolves mineral deposits
View On Amazon
Glisten Booster and Freshener Dishwasher Detergent Crystals for Hard Water

Glisten Booster and Freshener Dishwasher Detergent Crystals for Hard Water

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: 14 Ounce, Pack of 6
  • Scent: Fresh Lemon
  • Last For: More Than 50 Load
  • Benefits: Cleans the Dishwasher While Making Dishes Sparkling Clean and Clear
View On Amazon

Best Dishwasher Detergents For Hard Water – (Recommended Picks)

Don’t even think about placing an order before checking out the top products on the market when it comes to dishwasher detergents. Our team has highlighted the leading ones and they are all great.

1. Cascade Platinum Plus Dishwasher Pods for Hard Water

Cascade Platinum Plus Dishwasher Pods for Hard WaterThe Cascade dishwasher pods are perfect for overcoming the effects of hard water, both for the cleaning process and the appliance protection. With their built-in scrub and lemon scent, they soften the water and unleash the cleaning qualities and grease-fighting power.

These ingredients also help prevent residue which can cause clogs in the dishwasher and shorten its life. The sodium carbonate and nonionic surfactants play a key role in protecting the appliance by preventing the highly negative effects of hard water.

Hard water can leave spots and streaks on dishes after they have already been washed, therefore rinse aid is added in each pod. It serves its purposes by making sure that doesn’t happen and your glassware or porcelain comes out slick and shiny.

No pre-wash is needed, which is exactly how things should work when you are applying an automated process by using a dishwasher. This helps save water and reduces your monthly bill evidently.


  • Efficient with hard water use.
  • No pre-wash is needed.
  • Convenient formula to use.
  • The pods have a rinse aid for more shine.


  • It may not be suitable for a small-sized dishwasher.

2. Finish All in 1 Gel packs Orange for Hard Water

Finish All in 1 Gel packs Orange for Hard WaterThese orange scented gel packs are easy to use and pre-measured for each wash load. The gel pack pre-measured form saves detergent, hence spending more money on constant resupply. An orange cent helps remove any odor caused by the bad quality of water as well as the food remains.

Using a powerful combination to prevent the harm caused to appliances by hard water the Finish gel packs do not leave any residue or spots on your dishware.

Spotting and streaks on the freshly cleaned dishes are one of the most common problems which the Finish All in 1 Gel packs deal with very efficiently.

There is no ammonia in the content of the packs, and they are suitable for any brand of dishwashing machines as well as countertop ones. Each card box consists of three bags filled with twenty-eight gel packs, which will last you for eighty-four wash loads.


  • The gel formula protects from hard water.
  • Very economical formula.
  • There is no ammonia in the content.
  • They leave no residue.


  • Gel packs sometimes get stuck to each other

3. Lemi Shine – Booster Natural Lemon Dishwasher Additive for Hard Water

Lemi Shine - Booster Natural Lemon Dishwasher Additive for Hard WaterThe Lemi Shine is a powerful weapon in the fight against hard water troubles like appliance damage and clogging. The main function of this product is to address hard water and it is used as a supplement to the detergents, which more than often fail to overcome its negative effect.

Just add it in the compartment with no lid on (booster compartment) of your dishwasher and not a spot or streak will be seen on your dishes and glassware. If there is only one receptacle in the dishwasher you can add Lemi Shine to the main container and your detergent at the bottom of the dishwasher /inside/.

Even though it is a powder it has no problem with dissolving in hard water, on the contrary, it is created to tackle that very problem, which is so common for powder detergents. The combination of citric extracts acts as a softener to the water by removing mineral deposits and so boosts the detergents’ performance.

Any odor is eliminated under the pressure of the citric scents and there is no film remaining on the surfaces of the dishware, as well as inside the dishwasher.


  • Extremely effective against hard water.
  • Helps eliminate all odors.
  • Serves to better protect the appliance.


  • Not as effective on fine china.

4. Finish Hard Water Booster Powder

Finish Hard Water Booster PowderThe Finish Hard Water Booster allows you to supercharge your detergent and rid of spots and stains by eliminating mineral deposits but not only. It also helps remove any film left caused by hard water as well as odors. What is left is a fresh lemon scent and sparkling clean glasses.

With 25 to 30 loads in a bottle, you will also help conserve your detergent because it will unleash its true power by protecting it from the hard water.

Any stainless-steel material inside the dishwasher is safe from the Finish Hard Water Booster Powder and will not harm it. It is also absolutely safe for septic systems.

Your water softener may not be enough to free the dishes and glassware of spots and stains if the water is too hard, so using the booster powder as a supplement will get you there.

The booster can be added either to the pre-wash cap of the dishwasher or two tablespoons can be sprinkled around the bottom of the dishwasher.


  • Removes stains and hard water spots.
  • Helps to conserve detergent.
  • Suitable for stainless steel.


  • Not suitable for non-stick pots and pans.

5. Bubble Bandit Dishwasher Detergent for Hard Water

Bubble Bandit Dishwasher Detergent for Hard WaterA very strong quality of this detergent is the economical use it offers. Up to sixty wash loads can be cleaned with one 3.75lbs. bag.

The American-made Bubble Bandit dishwasher detergent for hard water is free of perfumes and dyes and it eliminates mineral build-ups. Once you start using this detergent you will have to have some patience until it cleans out all the deposits you didn’t even know you had in your dishwasher.

Another perk of the Bubble Bandit it can also be used for a booster with your laundry detergent. You can brighten your laundry by mixing an ounce of it with your laundry soap. This is possible because of the trace amounts of chlorine bleach in its content. Their purpose is to apply some disinfection to the washing process.

If you have a problem with other detergents oxidizing your aluminum cookware, then you should know that the Bubble Bandit doesn’t do that thanks to the phosphates in its content.

A septic safe stand-alone detergent that leaves dishes clean and glasses sparkling.


  • Heavily efficient in removing deposits.
  • Septic safe.
  • Very economical use (good price).
  • Suitable for aluminum.


  • The included measuring scoop is sometimes missing or broken.

6. Cascade Complete Gel Dishwasher Detergent for Hard Water

Cascade Complete Gel Dishwasher Detergent for Hard WaterRemoving mineral deposits and spots caused by hard water is often frustrating but the Cascade Complete gel dishwasher has it covered. In the fight against hard water, it rapidly dissolves mineral deposits and hard water can’t stop it from using its full potential like it usually does to other detergents.

The ability to wash stains that have been staying on the dish for more than twenty-four hours is due to the help of the amylase enzymes contained in this detergent. It acts as a cleaning agent dissolving food residue into small particles, so they are much easier to clean.

Grease is also sometimes hard to overcome but Cascade Complete Gel doesn’t fall short here at all, on the contrary, it eliminates greaseе very thoroughly and without any remains or film left over.

When using a bottle of any type of detergent or even any liquid spilling occurs 80% of the time. This annoying issue has been addressed by the manufacturer by installing a specifically designed pouring spout.

This product can clean up to seventy-five wash loads if using an ounce per wash, which is absolutely sufficient.


  • No-spill and easy to use pour spout.
  • Strong grease remover.
  • Perfume-free scent.
  • Overcomes all hard water problems.


  • The scent might be too strong for some users.

7. Glisten Booster and Freshener Dishwasher Detergent Crystals for Hard Water

Glisten Booster and Freshener Dishwasher Detergent Crystals for Hard WaterIf you are interested in having a fresh scent to your dishware once it has been washed, then you can turn to the Glisten Booster. Not only does it help your detergent overcome hard water, but it also cleans your dishwasher of build-up. Hard minerals can cause damage to your appliance and prevent the detergent from reaching its full potential.

The powerful formula developed by the manufacturer not only cleans and gives a shine to the dishware but also disinfects it. Together with the dishes, the dishwashing machine is also sanitized.

When you start using it the best approach would be to run one empty wash cycle on your machine after you have sprinkled some Glisten crystals around the bottom of the dishwasher.

A good characteristic of the Glisten crystals is their safe use, due to the lack of any harsh and abrasive chemicals. You can safely use it to remove hard water stains from your sink and other kitchen surfaces.

It is a phosphate-free product which is an additional health-preserving factor. Phosphate residues on dishes and surfaces can cause nausea and skin irritations, especially to a more sensitive organism.


  • Highly effective in hard water.
  • Phosphate-free.
  • There are no heavy chemicals.


  • Some users find the scent too strong.

Can Hard Water Damage my Dishwasher?

Yes, it can. Hard water can damage every water-using appliance in your home. Elements that are at least five times denser than water are considered heavy metals. Metals like iron, arsenic, copper, and lead found in tap water react to air and cause corrosion.

Corrosion reduces water flow, damages water valves and other water-controlling surfaces creating leaks to faucets and other types of installations. The so formed rust will stay in your dishwasher and when you are using it an undetectable amount is transferred to the dishes, which is not such a problem. However, when the rust starts falling off it can cause clogging and make the unit stop working.  These are just part of the dishwasher problems caused by hard water.

Speaking of reacting to air, the more interruptions you have in the water flow, like maintenance, for example, the more likely it is that air is introduced in the plumbing system.

The long-distance between the water source that water outlet (faucet for example) can also cause problems like having to wait for the hot water to come. Making you waste water, dig into your pocket, and of course, agitating you. A hot water recirculation pump can solve these problems all at once. Have a look at this review of top-rated hot water recirculation pumps to get more information.

How do I Know If My Water is Hard?

  • Best Dishwasher Detergents for Hard WaterWashed clothes feel hard to the touch stay stiff
  • Hair and skin are frizzy and slightly dry. The soap may not feel washed off of your skin.
  • Stains and spots on silverware, glasses, and pots and pans.
  • Decreased water pressure in your home.

The first thing to do is look around and make it a habit if you haven’t solved the problem yet.

If your towels feel like a scrub and no matter how much conditioner you use it doesn’t help, then maybe the problem is hard water. Clothes might feel hard to the touch and seem to look worn off.

Look for soap scum formed on the spray holes of your shower head or around the joints. Continue by noticing if there are stains on your stainless-steel sink, for example. If you feel a film leftover once you wash your hands then this might also mean that there is a high level of hardness in the water supply of your residence. This is a reaction of the soap with calcium to form soap scum.

Water pressure is something you may get used to and not pay attention to if you’ve always had it low. When starting to research you can turn to a friend from another city to compare. It is a good conversation topic also.

Depending on the circumstances you are faced with you can always decide to solve the problems hard water can cause with a more drastic and professional approach. A water softener is a whole-house solution that will deliver softer and cleaner water to every water outlet in your house. Carefully read this review of top-class water softeners to gain more knowledge on this type of installations.

What To Look For In a Detergent?

Dishwasher Detergents for Hard Water ReviewsNo matter how much you read or how many thoughts on the subject you exchange with your friends until you gain some experience by using the different options offered on the market, you cannot find the one that meets your expectations. As the scholar said, “The only thing that can beat experience is experience”.


  • Powder – Doesn’t mix well with hard water and leaves a residue.
  • Gel – Mixes well with hard water and may occasionally leave a residue.
  • Tablets – Cleans well if dissolved, which doesn’t always happen due to the harder compound.
  • Liquid – Mixes well with hard water and can often contain fewer chemicals.

Some people prefer using tablets, others gel. The cheaper form of tablets is a powder, and the cheaper form of gel is liquid. It all depends on the quality of the tablets or gel because they may cost more but they may present themselves worse than the cheaper products.

This said it makes things even harder to understand and try to make a choice. Therefore, we must look for the common denominator of things – the ingredients.

  • A higher percentage of chemical-based ingredients
  • A higher percentage of natural ingredients
  • In the middle
  • Residue

The main polemic points here are if the more natural products are as efficient in cleaning as the chemical ones and whether the chemicals are too offensive to one’s health. Again, this is something that has different specifics for each individual.

One might use the dishwasher very rarely so using a more chemical-based detergent will not have any detectable effect on their health. However, in a household where there are more people or children and the dishwasher is used every day, one might sit and think harder about the chemicals in the detergent.

In terms of residue, you will have to watch out for this as well because it makes the whole saving energy and water by using a dishwasher useless. If there is residue on the plates coming out “cleaned” from the dishwasher and you have to hand wash them again then throw that detergent away. First, try to contact the company that made it and gives them your negative feedback.

Getting into all this research and sifting through all the information available can get really frustrating, so if you can’t take just use the sage notion of Solomon’s Judgement and try to find a detergent that is somewhere in the middle.

In case you are having hard water problems with your laundry too, read our reviews on the best laundry detergents for hard water.

Wrap Up

Having soft, well-smelling, and comfortable clothes are as good for your self-esteem as a Tesla would be. So, we have put some effort into research and laid out for you what can help you get there.

Solidifying our best dishwasher detergents for hard water research with facts and logic is an approach that gives good results. Throughout our dishwasher detergents for hard water reviews, there are probably one or two products that will capture your attention and make your choice easier. Whatever you choose you should always have in mind that taking care of your appliance will save you money and troubles.

Thanks for reading and as always -stay put! Remember to check out other goodies on our website, including our water softener resin reviews!

Leave a Comment