Dishwashers are designed to wash dishes using a combination of detergent, salt, and rinse aid. Each component does a specific but vital job. However, we now have multi tab detergents that claim to do away with the need to use salt or rinse aid. So if you use 3 in 1, 4 in 1, or all in one (multi-tab) tablets many dishwashers now allow you to optimise the settings for them, which alters the way they work.
Have you calibrated your dishwasher for multi-tab detergent?
Telling your dishwasher you are using all in one detergent can do several things. It stops using rinse aid still in the dispenser. It might not concern you if you no longer use it but you may one day want or need to use ordinary detergent and need it in. More importantly though, if you have too much rinse aid going in then it can cause white sticky streaks on the dishes, or a bluish film on glassware and knives. It also stops your dishwasher constantly reminding you to put more salt or rinse aid in. Finally, it may adjust the wash times. On my dishwasher it reduces the time of some wash cycles by about 10 minutes.
Is all in one (multi-tab) detergent any good anyway?
Which? have thoroughly tested dishwasher detergents. At the time of writing 3 out of their top 4 Best Buy recommendations are multi-tab. So it seems that some at least are worth using. However, they also have 2 DON’T BUY detergents that they have found to be so poor they advise not to buy it. Both of them are also multi-tab. To find out which the best dishwasher detergents are take advantage of their £1 offer – Full dishwasher detergent test results at Which?
How to calibrate dishwasher for all in one detergent
You will need to consult your instruction book unless there’s a convenient option button. Not all dishwashers will have the multi-tab setting, especially old ones, though ours does and it’s 5 years old. Check in the instruction book. If you can’t find it you may be able to download one from my instruction manuals page which focuses on washing machine manuals but the links go to manufacturer’s sites where you can download manuals for any of their appliances.
Another alternative might be to search online for multi-tab function plus the brand and or model of your dishwasher.
If using All in 1 tablets but dishes aren’t properly dry
The idea of all in one or multi-tab detergent is that dishes are properly cleaned and dry at the end of the cycle without the need to use dishwasher salt or rinse aid. However, if dishes aren’t being adequately dried at the end you may still need to use a little rinse aid. Try adding rinse aid to the rinse aid compartment and setting the dosage dial right down to position 2 or 1.
You would be better off trying better dishwasher tablets though. Consult Which? to find the best ones.