If you’re trying to be eco-friendly, you’re probably wondering which are the best non-toxic dishwasher detergents? Many dishwasher detergents clean well but can contain harmful ingredients that can cause or exacerbate health problems. However, it is possible to find nontoxic dishwasher detergents that clean your dishes well.
We’ll tell you which dishwasher detergent is non-toxic, provide information on the natural ingredients they contain and their functions, and give advice on choosing a non-toxic dishwasher detergent if you can find any of the ones mentioned here.
When looking at non-toxic dishwasher detergents, we considered the number of natural ingredients in the detergent versus the number of toxic ingredients mentioned below.
We also looked at reviews from people who had tried the products.
Table of Contents
- Top Toxic Dishwasher Detergent Ingredients to Avoid
- Sodium Hypochlorite
- Dyes that make dish detergent look blue, orange, or green
- How to Pick a Non-Toxic Dishwasher Detergent
- Non-Toxic Dishwasher Detergent Alternative Options
- #1 – Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Automatic Dishwasher Pods
- #2 – Lemi Shine Natural Dishwasher Pods
- #3 – Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Gel Soap
- #4 – Cleancult Dishwasher Pods
- #5 – Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Packs
- #6 – Seventh Generation SEV 2215 Natural Automatic Dishwasher Detergent Powder
- #7 – Nellie’s Dishwasher Powder
- #8 – Better Life Natural Dishwasher Gel Detergent
- #9 – Puracy Dishwasher Pods
- #10 – Grab Green Natural Automatic Dishwashing Detergent Powder
Top Toxic Dishwasher Detergent Ingredients to Avoid
To help you avoid toxic dishwasher ingredients, we’ve gathered a list of the most harmful ones you might encounter.
“Fragrance” is a simple word. There are many ingredients in each fragrance, sometimes hundreds, which are not disclosed on ingredient labels because companies consider them “trade secrets.”
Natural and synthetic fragrances often contain phthalates since they make scents last longer. In addition, they cause health problems such as hormone disruption.
Fragrances in dishwashing liquids can cause asthma, allergies, reproductive toxicity, as well as cancer.
The dishes may smell clean, but that could only be because of the fragrance, not because they’re clean.
Impurities such as acrylic acid, 2-ethyl hexyl acrylate, and methacrylic acid coexist with these constituents and are cause for concern. It also causes allergies and respiratory irritation.
Acrylic acid is toxic to the eyes and can cause severe burns. Aquatic creatures are also at risk from exposure to acrylic acid.
We can find this preservative in supposedly “natural” cleaners even though it’s linked to toxic effects, allergic reactions, and neurotoxicity.
Because most manufacturers do not disclose all the ingredients in their products, it’s difficult to find out what products contain them. The best dishwasher detergent is one that is preservative and MIT-free.
Personal care products contain this antimicrobial agent. This chemical is an environmental pollutant, toxic to fish, and an irritant for the skin, eyes, and lungs.
This is the chemical name for bleach. Bleach has antimicrobial properties that are widely used. It damages eyes and skin, irritates the throat, and causes gastric burns.
As an irritant to the respiratory tract, it can cause acute or chronic bronchitis.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires that workers use it only while wearing a mask and gloves, and it’s deadly for children when swallowed.
Children swallow it often. If I mix it with another cleaning product like ammonia, it releases chlorine gas.
Dyes that make dish detergent look blue, orange, or green
Their purpose is to make the product appear more effective.
They don’t affect the product’s performance, but they can be harmful. Studies have shown they can cause cancer in rats, thyroid tumors in rodents, and can be harmful if they’re swallowed or come in contact with the skin.
How to Pick a Non-Toxic Dishwasher Detergent
When you’re choosing a nontoxic dishwashing detergent, look for dishwashing detergents that have minimal amounts of the ingredients mentioned above but have phenoxyethanol in them.
This ingredient is fine because it’s a “middle of the road” preservative that’s found in skincare products, mascaras, foundations, shampoos, and liquid washes.
The safest dishwasher detergent is soap-based or made with the safest surfactants and detergents, like coco glucoside, decyl glucoside, and lauryl glucoside.
They also have food-grade or plant-based preservatives.
Soap-based dishwashing products are safer. Alkali and plant oils react to make soap. Therefore, soap-based dishwasher detergents don’t need preservatives.
However, they might not work well with hard water.
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Non-Toxic Dishwasher Detergent Alternative Options
If you can’t find any of the brands without the toxic dishwasher ingredients mentioned above, use these tips to find one that’s appropriate for you:
- Buy refillable products
- Look for safe ingredients like plant-based alternatives.
- Look for biodegradable dishwasher detergents that are easy on the environment.
- Check the ingredient list for the chemicals mentioned above.
- Look for low-phosphate or phosphate-free brands.
- Avoid artificial fragrances. Look for unscented dishwasher detergents, or if you want a nice smell, find a detergent that uses less harmful ingredients, like essential oils.
- Look for products verified and rated by the EWG, which rates products based on the safety of their ingredients for humans and the environment.
- Consider making homemade dishwasher detergent and avoid toxic dish soap altogether. This is a great option if you’re a DIY person. You can make homemade dishwasher detergent by using washing soda, grapefruit essential oil, and lemon essential oil.
Before using DIY dishwasher detergent, prepare your dishwasher by placing ¼ to 1⁄2 cup of citric acid in the bottom of your empty dishwasher and starting a cycle. Let the dishwasher run for 3-5 minutes and turn it off.
Let the solution soak for three to four hours and let it complete. Doing this clears away the mineral deposits and other residues from your dishwasher.
Otherwise, the citric acid could loosen them and redeposit them on your dishes.
These dishwasher pods come in several scents, including lemon verbena, basil, lavender, honeysuckle, and geranium. They’re made with essential oils, sodium percarbonate, and soil removing enzymes. They don’t have any parabens or phthalates, chlorine, or artificial colors.
This product gets quite a few four and five-star ratings from Amazon customers. However, it also received some lower ratings.
People who gave this product lower ratings said the dishes didn’t come out as clean as with other brands. One person claimed the product didn’t dissolve.
- Available in several scents.
- No parabens, phthalates, chlorine, or artificial colors
- According to some people, the dishes don’t come out as clean as with other brands.
The only non-toxic ingredient these dishwasher pods contain is sodium polyacrylate. These dishwasher pods have citric acid, which makes them a safer and more eco-friendly choice for cleaning dishes.
Notably, people looking for the best dishwasher detergent for hard water gave this product positive reviews. Moreover, it doesn’t leave any residue on the dishes or any build-up in the dishwasher.
People who left negative reviews said their dishes didn’t come out clean even with two dishwasher pods and that it smelled like burning plastic when running and left a white film on everything.
- They only contain one non-toxic ingredient.
- Citric acid makes them a safer and more eco-friendly choice.
- They work well in hard water.
- Some people said the dishes don’t come clean even when using two dishwasher pods.
- Some people also said it smelled like burning plastic while it was running and left a white film on everything.
This dish soap is safe for septic tanks, so there’s less risk of having to call a repairman when it doesn’t work right. It doesn’t contain any dyes, fragrances, or masking agents. The only possibly harmful substance this detergent has is Sodium Polyacrylate.
Most Amazon customers gave this product excellent reviews. People who liked this product say it’s another good dishwasher detergent for hard water and for people who have well water.
People who gave negative reviews of this product said they still had dirty dishes even after running the dishwasher empty.
- It’s safe for septic tanks.
- No dyes, fragrances, or masking agents.
- It only has one possibly harmful substance.
- Some customers said their dishes were still dirty even after they ran the dishwasher empty.
These dishwasher pods are biodegradable and help make dishes come out fresh, and stain-free without the chemical residue other products leave behind.
The tablets are individually wrapped in a plastic-free dissolving film. All the customer has to do is place the tablet in the dishwasher with the wrapping still on it.
These dishwasher pods don’t contain any of the potentially harmful ingredients mentioned earlier.
People who ordered this product said that they clean well, but many mentioned that if the product comes from Amazon, it arrives in a plastic mailer; many of these customers were trying to eliminate as much plastic as possible, so that was a turnoff for them.
This product receives very few negative Amazon reviews, but one person said the pods they received had no scent at all. Another person said they had to use two pods to get the dishes clean.
- They’re biodegradable and clean dishes without any chemical residue.
- The tablets are individually wrapped in a plastic-free dissolving film
- They don’t contain any potentially harmful ingredients.
- If ordered from Amazon, it arrives in a plastic mailer.
- One person said the pods had no scent at all.
- Another person had to use two pods to get their dishes clean.
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These contain many of the same ingredients as the Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Gel Soap.
They don’t appear to contain any of the previously mentioned harmful ingredients, and they’re wrapped in a thin layer of water-soluble film and packaged in a recyclable box.
People who gave positive reviews of this product stated the packs dissolved great in their dishwasher and were a safe, environmentally-friendly choice.
Those who gave this product negative reviews stated the packs didn’t clean their dishes, even after running the dishwasher several times.
One person stated they left film and build-up even when using an additional rinse agent.
- They don’t contain any harmful ingredients.
- They’re wrapped in a thin layer of water-soluble film and packaged in a recyclable box.
- Some people said the packs didn’t clean their dishes even when the dishwasher was run several times.
- One person said they left film and build-up even when they used an additional rinse agent.
This product contains no harmful chemicals. Sodium carbonate helps clean the dishes, and citric acid is a plant-derived water softener.
Sodium percarbonate helps remove stains naturally, and ppg-10-Laureth-7 is a plant-modified synthetic cleaning agent. Protease and amylase enzyme blends help remove stains.
People who gave this product excellent reviews stated that the detergent did a good job removing stains, and one person who lives in an area where she has hard water said that the detergent prevented water spots.
The one person who gave a negative review stated that they ordered a pack of twelve boxes and only received a pack of five boxes.
- It contains no harmful chemicals
- Customers said it does a good job removing stains.
- One customer said the detergent prevented water spots from her hard water.
- One customer said they ordered a pack of twelve boxes and only received five.
This phosphate-free formula contains sodium chloride, sodium carbonate, citric acid, sodium sulfate, sodium percarbonate, sodium metasilicate, Cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium silicate, and protease.
These natural ingredients clean your dishes, leaving no residue behind. They also come in a reusable tin which supports environmental conservation.
People who gave this product positive reviews stated it cleans well, and they liked that the company provided a reusable tin, though one person said the tin contains a plastic bag. People who gave this product negative reviews said the powder doesn’t clean dishes well – one person even said it caused some discoloration on their stainless teaspoons.
- The natural ingredients in this dishwasher powder clean your dishes without leaving any residue behind.
- They come in an environmentally-friendly reusable tin.
- One person mentioned that the reusable tin does have a plastic bag, which could be a turnoff.
- Some people said the powder doesn’t clean dishes well.
- One person said their stainless teaspoons had some discoloration.
This detergent contains plant-based ingredients like soap bark, corn, and coconut. It works great for dishes, glasses, utensils, pots, and pans splattered with anything.
You can use it to clean dishes, glasses, utensils, pots, and pans splattered with anything you cook in your kitchen. It also cuts through grease and grime and is cruelty-free. All its ingredients come from plants or minerals.
People who gave this product positive reviews stated it has no smell, doesn’t produce any offensive fumes while the dishwasher is running, and is easy to clean up if spilled. Another person said it worked well, but she had to use less than the recommended amount so the water wouldn’t be too sudsy.
People who gave this product negative reviews said that their floors got soaked because the detergent had too much strength for their dishwasher.
Another person said their dishes came out chalky and foggy.
- It contains plant-based ingredients like soap bark, corn, and coconut.
- It cleans dishes, glasses, utensils, pots, and pans splattered with anything.
- Its cruelty-free formula cuts through grease and grime.
- One person said they had to use less than the recommended amount in order for the product to work well.
- Other customers said their floors got soaked because the detergent was too strong for their dishwasher.
- One customer said their dishes looked chalky and foggy.
These dishwasher pods contain all-natural water softeners, cleansers, enzymes, and biodegradable, water-soluble film. They’re perfect for all dishwasher-safe items.
They’re made from plant and mineral-derived ingredients, so they cut grease without leaving spots.
People who gave this product positive reviews stated it got their glass and stoneware clean but left a film on plastic and silicone. Another person said they tried it after they got rid of their water softener.
Those who gave it negative reviews said it made their soft water too sudsy.
- The pods contain all-natural water softeners, cleansers, enzymes, and a biodegradable, water-soluble film.
- They work well for all dishwasher-safe items.
- The plant and mineral-derived ingredients in them cut grease without leaving spots.
- One person said it made their soft water too sudsy.
- Other people said it cleaned their glass and stoneware well but left a film on plastic and silicone.
This dishwashing detergent powder doesn’t have any parabens, phosphate, chlorine, dyes, or fragrances. Despite that, it’s still very effective at cleaning dishes with hard water because it has several sodium-based ingredients.
The manufacturer suggests that people with hard water use an entire scoop of the detergent instead of just a half-cup scoop.
It’s also a budget-friendly choice because there’s enough detergent in one bag for 80 cycles.
People who gave this product positive reviews said that it cleaned all their dishes, including their tea and coffee mugs. Another customer said they didn’t have to use as much of the Grab Green Powder as they did of the previous powder they had been using.
People who gave the product negative reviews said that it left a chalky residue or powdery film, and another person claimed it ruined their dishes, pots, and silverware when they used it with hard water.
- It doesn’t contain any parabens, phosphates, chlorine, dyes, or fragrances.
- It still cleans dishes with hard water effectively because it has several sodium-based ingredients.
- There’s enough detergent in one bag for 80 cycles.
- One person claimed it cleaned all their dishes, including tea and coffee mugs.
- Another said they didn’t have to use as much of this product as they did their previous product.
- Some people said it left a powdery residue or chalky film.
- Another person said it ruined their dishes, pots, and silverware when they used it with hard water.