Calibrate your dishwasher for multi-tab detergent

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.

Have you calibrated your dishwasher for multi-tab detergent?

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.


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 trial offer – Full dishwasher detergent test results available 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.


Forbes Rentals Forbes rent appliances and specialise in renting Bosch appliances so they know them inside out. They also rent other brands and many other products – more details at Forbes

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.

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6 thoughts on “Calibrate your dishwasher for multi-tab detergent”

  1. If I were to use a combi tab but still wanted to use separate salt and rinse aid – would I set the water softness to lowest setting as well as rinse aid or set to same as if no all in 1 tablets were being use ie suitable setting for the water supply of hardness.

  2. There is a possibility that using the combi tabs as well as rinse aid and dishwasher salt could cause the water to be softened too much. This could lead to overfoaming or poor wash results. In theory you should stop using the salt and rinse aid but I found when I turned off the rinse aid the dishes didn’t always get dried as well so I reintroduced it on the low setting. If you want to still use dishwasher salt I would definitely set it onto the lowest setting if using these combi tabs.

    Having said that, if you you use dishwasher salt and rinse aid you have no need for multi tabs at all and would be better using normal dishwasher detergent. The only reason to use multi tabs is so that you don;t have to bother with the salt and rinse aid.

  3. I have just bought a Grundig dishwasher. I want to adjust the settings fir hard water but cannot get it to work as the manual instructions are unclear. Has anyone out there successfully managed it? I just want yo get the best from my new appliance

  4. I cannot work out how to regulate the salt consumption in my dishwasher a Beko DSFS 1531 S
    Advice please as crockery – especially mugs taste of salt and it says it needs salt weekly and I only uses it once a day.

  5. Debbie, I’ve never heard anyone say that about tasting salt. I presume you are using proper dishwasher salt? There’s usually a small device near the salt to adjust but you need to read the instructions manual as dishwashers are different. If you don’t have the manual you should be able to download one using the link in my article above.

  6. Hi I have a zanussi zdf4010 dishwasher that the pcb was recently replaced on as it wasn’t heating. Before the replacement I used multi tabs and the dishwasher stayed on the multi tab setting now I have to programme it every time I use it to the multi tab setting. Is thing something I should consult zanussi on or is there something I could do myself as I tend to forget then have to cancel the programme and restart it
    Any ideas would greatly appreciated thank you

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