I Tried Everything to Fix My Dirty Dishwasher — Then I Found an $8 Solution That Got It Looking (Almost) New Again

published Jun 20, 2023
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If you have hard water in your house, you know how hard it can be (pun intended) on fixtures and appliances, from brown water stains in the toilet to white, filmy dishwashers. The dishwasher that came with my house is at least two decades old — and the water in my little town is incredibly hard. The plastic liner (which is an unflattering beige color to begin with) always looks a little dull and grimy, thanks to its age, and limescale and mineral build-up, which can also result in streaky dishes. Not ideal!

While I’m more than willing to clean out the filter every once in a while, I can think of a million things I’d rather do than get on my hands and knees to clean the sides of the dishwasher. And I definitely don’t want to spend time poking the holes on the spray arm to de-gunk them! Which brings me to Affresh Dishwasher Cleaner: A complete miracle when it comes to keeping my relied-upon appliance sparkling and fresh.

According to The Kitchn, the bestselling dishwasher cleaner on Amazon and it has more than 66,000 (yes, 66,000!) five-star reviews. Many satisfied customers say they used a single tablet once on dishwashers that hadn’t been cleaned in years and saw incredibly impressive results. They say the inside of the machine got clean and dishes came out cleaner and clearer than ever before.

I clearly had to try it. (Hehe, get it?)

Not a treat, Millie!

The package technically says the tablets can be run with dishes, but I’ve read lots of reviews of people saying the cleaner stripped the glaze off their plates or the markings off their glass measuring cups, so I decided to use it on its own, i.e. pop a tablet into the detergent compartment and run the dishwasher’s cycle without any dishes. (I had to break the tablet in half to get it to fit into the compartment, but that’s easy enough!)

Also: The tablets can be used on dishwashers with stainless steel or plastic tubs.


How did these tablets work for me? I have two words for you: Five stars! My dishwasher was pretty dirty (see above): The walls had a chalky mineral build up and it had some gunky brown smudges that I didn’t love. After one cycle with a tablet, the walls were cleaned right up. My dishwasher wasn’t especially smelly (something these tablets are said to be able to help with) but it left my dishwasher with a fresh, lemony scent. And then, when I ran my next load of dishes, my thin glass cups came out nice and clear.


If you’re wondering why I didn’t just add a bowl of vinegar to my dishwasher? That’s what I used to do! That works just fine, but as far as I can tell, the Affresh is definitely more effective. Especially if it’s been a while since your dishwasher was last cleaned.

The box says to use one tablet once a month (you get six in a box) and, honestly, that seems incredibly doable!

Buy: Affresh Dishwasher Cleaner, 6 Tablets, $7.64 (normally $8.99)