LG dishwashers have a lot of bells and whistles, such as a steam option, a child lock and low noise operation, but they are not much different than other dishwashers when it comes to the basics. Any commercial brand of dishwasher detergent is safe for an LG dishwasher, although some clean better than others.
The owner's manual for LG dishwashers is somewhat vague when it comes to detergent recommendations. Any detergent labeled for automatic dishwashers can safely be used in an LG dishwasher. Liquid dish soaps designed for hand washing dishes should not be used because they produce too many suds. These products do not effectively clean dishes and may damage the dishwasher if used repeatedly.
According to Consumer Search, the highest rated dishwasher detergents, as of September 2010, were dishwasher-rinse aid combination packets, such as Cascade Complete All-in-One Action Pacs. Finish All-in-One Powerballs also get high ratings from reviewers, but they cost less. These products are safe to use in LG dishwashers; they effectively remove grease, food residues and water spots. Combination packet products are also very convenient, but they are among the most expensive detergent options on the market. Powdered detergent is a good substitute. Walmart's Great Value powdered detergent is one of the highest rated economy brands safe for LG dishwashers.
In 2010, 16 states banned phosphates from dishwasher detergents, and detergent manufacturers rolled out new low-phosphorus or phosphorus-free products in response. Phosphates are associated with excessive algae growth in bodies of water, which can eventually kill aquatic life. Phosphate-free dishwasher detergents may not clean dishes as effectively, leaving food residues or white streaks on dishes.
If your LG dishwasher isn't cleaning dishes effectively, the problem may be the detergent, rather than the machine. Try adding 1 teaspoon of baking soda to the soap dispenser, advises Utah State University Extension, along with 1 teaspoon of vinegar in the rinse aid chamber. All Cascade Complete products contain food-eating enzymes that dissolve food particles. This detergent gets the highest marks overall in consumer reviews as an effective low-phosphate detergent.
Several green dishwasher detergents are safe for LG dishwashers and receive high marks from reviewers. Method Smarty Dish Detergent gets the highest ranking, but it's a bit expensive. Ecover Dishwasher Tablets, Biokleen Automatic Dish Powder and CitraDish Automatic Dishwashing Detergent cost less, but they also get favorable reviews for cleaning power.
The best detergent for your LG dishwasher depends in part on your particular circumstances, according to Consumer Search. Hard or soft water, frequency of use, and water heater temperature all play a role in how clean dishes get. Try a regular dry detergent first and move to a packet type if the dry detergent doesn't clean dishes. Try several brands and stick with the one that works best for you. Dry detergent works best when its fresh, so don't buy it in bulk. Store it in a cool, dry location.
- LG Product Support: Product Support for LDF7932ST
- ConsumerSearch: Dishwasher Detergent Full Report
- Utah State University Extension: Reduced Phosphates May Be the Cause of Dingy Dishes
- Amazon.com: Finish All in 1 Power Ball
- Housekeeping Channel: Dishwasher Trouble?
- Good Housekeeping: How to Properly Use Your Dishwasher
Julie Christensen is a food writer, caterer, and mom-chef. She's the creator of MarmaladeMom.org, dedicated to family fun and delicious food, and released a book titled "More Than Pot Roast: Fast, Fresh Slow Cooker Recipes."