Consumer Report: Money-Saving Dishwashing Liquids

By: Lauren Evans Email
By: Lauren Evans Email

When it comes to washing dishes by hand, you want a detergent that gets the job done. Consumer Reports just tested 14 dish detergents. They included big name-brands such as Dawn, Palmolive, and Joy, and detergents from large retailers, including Kirkland Signature from Costco and Earth Essentials from CVS. The most expensive was The Laundress dish detergent, which costs close to $1 an ounce!

To test cleaning power, Consumer Reports created a tough mixture of evaporated milk, eggs yolks, sugar, and flour. It's smeared on glass plates and baked.

Then testers pour warm water mixed with dish detergent onto each glass plate in a scrub machine. They count how many passes it takes of a soapy sponge to clean off the food.

And because many of dishwashing liquids claim to be "hard on grease," testers check that out, too. They dip steel plates in lard and leave them to harden. Then they go into the scrubbing machine.

It turns out that all of the brands that Consumer Reports tested performed equally well. So Consumer Reports buy by price, and look for any on sale. Among the least expensive dish detergents tested were Kirkland Signature from Costco and Ajax. Both cost just 6 cents an ounce.

Consumer Reports experts say that your soapy dishwater is good as long as you see suds. Once the suds are gone, you've lost your cleaning power, so you'll need to start over with new water and dishwashing liquid.

Consumer Reports has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor appearing on this Web site.

Copyright © 2007-2011 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc.


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  • by Pam Location: Rural Michigan on Apr 26, 2011 at 07:19 PM
    The real test for grease is on plastic. And, it seems like a lot of soaps no longer produce as many bubbles since they reduced or removed phosphates. I personally find that the original blue Dawn still does a great job on grease. I have used it for years but while on vacation last year, we bought some dish soap in a small town store that didn't have smaller sizes of Dawn so I bought another brand and it did NOT remove the grease. I ended up using shampoo. I will keep buying Dawn even if I have to use more. Dawn is also what's used to clean animals that are victims of oil spills.
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