WTF is Up with Dishwasher Tabs????

Okay - what the hell is going on with dishwasher tabs? I used to love these things - no mess, no fuss, drop it in and blam-o! CLEAN DISHES! 

I've read that they have stopped putting phosphates in dishwasher detergent because of pollution - well I want them back - pollution or not! My dishes aren't getting clean and the stupid tabs don't even dissolve!!!! 

I now hand wash my dishes and use the dishwasher as a drying rack. This sucks. 

Here's the evidence of the crapitude: 

That is what was left AFTER the load ran through!!!!! I've tried 3 different brands and it's all the same. With the all liquid ones - I just cut them open and squeeze the stuff into the cup - but it still isn't cleaning for shit. There are lots of folks complaining about the same things online.

I'm going to switch to the traditional liquid and or powder and see if those make a difference - I just have been getting good deals on the tabs. Of course - not a good deal if it doesn't work.

Anybody else having issues?

Here are a couple of articles about the phosphate free detergent and other folks having same problems:


  1. Have you tried deep cleaning your dishwasher? Like cleaning all the traps, making sure the holes on the arms are clear, that sort of thing?

  2. Pretty much! Or, if they tabs did break open, they'd not dissolve fully and leave residue all over my dishes. I wonder if they're not manufacturing the gel coating too thick?

    Anyhow, I switched back to liquid last year, and i'm a big fan of Palmolive's liquid though it seems like only Target carries it. The bottle size they carry is bigger than most and lasts me like a month!

  3. I bought that "dishwasher cleaner" and ran it through a couple doses of that. Then I started seeing stuff online about the phosphate-free thing. It's so frustrating. I'm going to try the Palmolive stuff that Patty recommended - hopefully something works!!! I hate hand washing my dishes!!!

  4. I use powder - you get more washes per box than a package of the tabs. As for cleaning the DW, try putting a glass of vinegar on the bottom rack and running it through one cycle. It's amazing what vinegar can clean.

  5. I second the vinegar idea. Also, you can use vinegar as a rinse agent as well.