Kirkland Bests National Brands in Consumer Reports.

Store shelves are lined with dozens of dish liquids in a row of rainbow colors and a garden of scents but do the national brand products heavily touted on TV really have superior cleaning power? Not necessarily, according to Consumer Reports tests, which found that cheaper dish liquids clean just as well as their costlier counterparts.

Ajax and Costco’s Private Brand Kirkland Signature were both very good at cleaning and cost just $0.06 per ounce, the least per ounce of the brands Consumer Reports tested, making them CR Best Buys. The full report is available in the May issue of Consumer Reports available on newsstands April 5 and online at

“Our tests show you don’t have to pay a lot to get your dishes clean,” said Jim Nanni, Associate Technical Director for Consumer Reports. “All dish liquids contain surfactants, enzymes and other chemicals to aid in cleaning.”

Consumer Reports testers baked a mixture of evaporated milk, flour, egg yolk and sugar onto glass plates, put the plates in trays of warm water with equal amounts of each detergent, and used a machine that holds a sponge to rub each plate with equal pressure.

To test grease removal, testers dipped stainless-steel panels in lard, let the fat congeal for at least an hour, then cleaned them using the same process as with the glass plates. In both cases, scores were based on the number of rubs it took to remove the soil.

All the products tested were very good at removing food and grease, but some cost just a few cents per ounce while other cost up to $0.94 cent per ounce. The makers of DuoDish ($0.16/ounce) and The Laundress ($0.94/ounce) claim they can be used in the sink and the dishwasher. Makers of “green” brands claim they’re safe for septic tanks, have minimal impact on aquatic life, are free of fragrance and dyes, or are “natural” (but there’s no official definition of that term except on meat and poultry products).
Since all the tested products are recommended, Consumer Reports suggests consumers purchase dish liquid based on the price. Plus skip antibacterial cleaners. The government says they don’t clean any better, and they might lead to tougher bacteria. For more tips on cleaning up kitchen messes, log on to

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.