5 things CHOICE's dishwasher expert would never do

If you want the most efficiency, best cleaning results and appliance longevity, then watch out for these dishwasher no-nos from CHOICE dishwasher expert @airedale.

Here’s five things he wouldn’t do:

  1. He never puts the dishwasher tablet in the detergent dispenser
  2. He never pre-rinses the dishes
  3. He doesn’t put good knives in the dishwasher
  4. He never runs the dishwasher if it’s not completely full
  5. He doesn’t close the dishwasher door in between washes

Would you add anything to this list?

All the details here:

  1. He never ignores a question on the Community.



When using the basket for cutlery, he put’s all the sharp and pointy bits facing down, not up.

You can easyly cut yourself when retreiving cutlery from the basket if the sharp bits are facing up…


Might he also,
7. not use Rinse Aid if using a tablet?
8. not use an expensive specialty whole of DW cleaning product?

Some recent Finish advertising is suggesting we always need to use both these products - for the perfect ‘finish’ and because all DW are disgustingly filthy. That’s despite many years of being sold the ‘miracle’ of the modern DW tablet, one brand claiming often how superior its results are.

Perhaps I’m misinterpreting the intent of the adverts?

Not speaking for @airedale but we use tabs w/rinse aid and found it is not quite enough so we add rinse aid to the dispenser with it set to ‘1’ (minimum). It makes a noticeable difference in our Siemens.


We have a Miele although doubt that makes a difference. We do however have very good quality tank water with a near neutral pH and very low levels of dissolved solids, which may make a difference. EG The inside of the SS kettle is still bright and shining after many years of use 3-4 times daily.

Aside from an occasional rinse out of the waste strainer the DW is odour, stain and build up free. 7+years of near daily use, on either the sensor wash or eco cycle. Earth Choice DW tabs. Pots and pans etc are done by hand.

Always keen to hear from the lead tester @airedale on why it is so.


Thanks @PhilT , though I am starting to think you could easily speak on my behalf… I’d always recommend rinse aid of some description, but as for whether the rinse aid in a tablet is enough, there’s no right answer, and when it comes to dishwashers I’m increasingly finding myself using the phrase ‘your mileage may vary’.
Taking a brief respite from talking about myself in the second person, what I mean is that different dishwashers, detergents, and water supplies/hardness will cause different things to happen. While I say use some form of rinse aid, if you find you’re getting great results without any than more power to you. For most of us, a tablet with rinse aid included will be sufficient, but if you’re still finding streaks and water marks on glassware, and plates aren’t drying to your satisfaction then yes, you should certainly add extra rinse aid to your machine.
You can (and should) experiment to find out what the optimum use case is for you. The good news for dishwashers is the cost of failure is low - the very worst that can happen is you need to run another cycle.
Oh, and thanks for bringing this to everyone’s attention too - you’re not beholden to just the rinse aid in your tablets - you can add more if you need it.


Hi @mark_m , your dishwasher is buildup free because you’re not using hard water with a high mineral content - same with your kettle. Running it nearly every day will also help prevent stains, as the dishwasher’s constantly washing itself. And I don’t know your exact use case, but I’d suggest washing the filter regularly is a major factor in keeping the dishwasher odour free. If I had to hazard a guess I’d also imagine you leave the door ajar between cycles, allowing air to circulate.
As for the intent of the Finish adverts, a cynical dishwasher user might assume the aim is to get you to spend as much money on Finish products as you possibly can. In my opinion, dedicated dishwasher cleaning solutions do work, but provided you clean your filter regularly, run your dishwasher on a regular basis and are sensible with it (ie, don’t fill it with fine particles like cigarette ash and scrape solids from your plates before you rack them) you’ll rarely need one, if ever. and you can also try white vinegar in a bowl in the dishwasher first - you don’t have a lot to loose, and it may save you from needing to buy the commercial cleaner at all.


It seems surprising, yet not, that we interrogate labels of food to see what it contains, yet often we don’t consult our ‘service providers’, gas, electricity, water - to see what their standards and analysis of their product is. Water, a product we use for cooking, cleaning, air conditioning and irrigation is of course one of the most important ‘basic needs’ we have. Most providers I’ve looked at will give a detailed analysis of the product they supply. I previously thought Adelaide water was considered the worst water around, but being my home town I’d happy ‘drink from the tap’. Then I moved to ‘the outback’ - it tastes fine, by an Adelaide boy’s standards, but hardness is akin to ‘Thor’s hammer’ :rofl: I’ve bought two new dishwashers in 8 years, following CHOICE reviews on the cheapest and most effective ($450-ish range and haven’t been disappointed) and one new solar hot water service - and the kettle? well it looks like a snow-storm when it boils, but I figure I’m getting all the calcium(carbonate) that i need ! and thats with cleaning it regularly with vinegar to get rid of the calcium …


Reliably assumed.

We’ve 30 years experience with dishwashers, including several poor or unlucky purchase decisions. All connected to town water (no charge for added calcium in one town). We usually roughly wipe any heavy remnants off the plates before loading. Used paper napkins or a piece of paper towel - then to compost or bin. It has taken until the move to a home on tank water to give up hand rinsing under a running tap.

For all previous DW’s we mostly used powder and rinse aid. When both tablets and powder were a choice from under the sink, our perception was some powders tended to leave a cleaner looking machine. This was pre soluble wrappers for the tabs. I’m sure we always used rinse aid with tablets back then, but the tabs were not all in one either?


Calcium carbonate, free from the government? What a time to be alive…
If you’re in an area with particularly hard water then look for a dishwasher with a salt dispenser next time you’re in the market - dishwasher salt can soften the wash water for a better result all round.
Yes, it pays to check whether your dishwasher tablets contain rinse aid or not - even these days not all of them do.


Yes, that’s a good point - these days we study the nutritional information labels on the food we buy very closely, but may not give much thought to what comes out of our tap. You’re right, most water providers will publicly list an analysis of the water they’re supplying in various regions (and some appliances even come with test strips, so you can optimise the settings for the hardness of the water you’re using in it).
A quick google also came up with this, which is an interesting/distubring/sobering analysis of water quality around the country: Hardness Archives - Australian Drinking Water Map

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Can he expand on not putting a tablet in the dispenser? Is it because it takes longer to dissolve?

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It’s explained further in the Choice article linked in the opening post for the topic. @airedale expands on each of the 5 suggested practices and the reasoning for them.

To summarise here, the dispenser ‘keeps your powder dry’ during the first rinse cycle so it doesnt’ all wash away immediately, and then releases it at the start of the first wash cycle. Most dishwasher tablets, however, come with a dissolvable wrapper. Unfortunately this wrapper sometimes doesn’t dissolve as readily as it should. So by throwing the tablet in the bottom of the tub, the wrapper can start dissolving during the rinse cycle, leaving all the detergent part of the tablet available and ready to start washing immediately at the start of the wash cycle.
While this may not strictly be necessary, if you’re finding bits of undissolved tablets at the end of the cycle (we have a tablet in the choice kitchen that’s currently up to it’s third wash cycle) or if you’re running a short cycle it can make a big difference.
Best bet is experiment and see what works best for you.


Ok, thanks. We always put our tablet in the cutlery container as shown to us by the installer as our F and P Dish Drawers (which we love) don’t have a dispenser big enough to hold a tablet as it happens. Good to have the info though.

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That’s really interesting. I never owned a dishwasher as a renter until we got out own place two years ago where there was an older model DW already in the kitchen. Naturally we bought the Earth Choice Brand and found it to be terrible. I added rinseaid but still the dishes rarely came out completely clean. We stopped using it and reverted back to the habit of handwashing. Then 6 months ago once the Earth Choice finally ran out it reign of disappointment, I switched to the choice recommended brand and that fixed the problem. We’re not on tank water like you, maybe its the age of the dishwasher.