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12 Best Non-Toxic Dishwasher Detergents to Buy Today

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. However, some can contain harmful ingredients that cause or exacerbate health problems.

So, is it possible to find non-toxic dishwasher detergents that clean your dishes well? of course, yes. Today, we explore some of the most potent ones for your cleaning activities.

We’ll tell you which dishwasher detergents are non-toxic and provide information on their natural ingredients. Also, we will discuss their functions and advise on choosing a non-toxic dishwasher detergent. That’s if you can find any of the ones mentioned here. 

When compiling this list of non-toxic dishwasher detergents, we considered two main factors including;

  • The number of natural ingredients in the detergent
  • The number of toxic ingredients

We have also considered reviews from people who have tried the products. So, let’s get down to it!

Best-Of by Category

Category Product
Best for Overall Efficiency Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Automatic Dishwasher Pods
Best for Natural Ingredients Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Packs
Best for Hard Water Lemi Shine Natural Dishwasher Pods
Best for Extra Cleaning Power Better Life Natural Dishwasher Gel Detergent

Non-Toxic Dishwasher Detergent Options

Some of the best non-toxic dishwasher detergent options include:

1. Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Automatic Dishwasher Pods

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Automatic Dishwasher Pods
Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Automatic Dishwasher Pods / Amazon

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. Also, they don’t contain 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. 

Pros:

  • Available in several scents.
  • No parabens, phthalates, chlorine, or artificial colors

Cons:

  • Some say the dishes aren’t as clean as with other brands. 

See Related: Cheap Nursery Pots for Gardening

2. Lemi Shine Natural Dishwasher Pods

Lemi Shine Natural Dishwasher Pods
Lemi Shine Natural Dishwasher Pods / Amazon

The first non-toxic ingredient these dishwasher detergent pods contain is sodium polyacrylate. Also, these dishwasher pods have citric acid, making them a safer and more eco-friendly choice for cleaning dishes.

Notably, positive reviews came from people looking for natural dishwasher detergents that work well with hard water. Moreover, it doesn’t leave any residue on the dishes or any build-up in the dishwasher.

People who left negative reviews said that the pods didn’t have quality consistency. For instance, despite their cleaning power, the pods were leaking, thus, causing wastage. Also, some complained about the strong fragrance.

Pros:

  • They contain a non-toxic ingredient (sodium polyacrylate).
  • Citric acid makes them a safer and more eco-friendly choice.
  • They work well in hard water.

Cons:

  • Some people say the dishes don’t come clean fully.
  • Some people think that its fragrance is too strong.

3. Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Gel Soap

Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Gel Soap
Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Gel Soap / Amazon

This dish soap is safe for septic tanks. It contains no dyes, chlorine, phosphate, synthetic fragrances, or masking agents. So, there’s less risk of calling a repairman whenever it doesn’t work right.

Most Amazon customers gave this product excellent reviews of over 4.7 stars. People who liked this product say it’s another good dishwasher detergent for hard water and for people with well water. In addition, users like the lemon scent derived from 100% botanical extract and essential oils.

Pros:

  • It’s safe for septic tanks.
  • No dyes, fragrances, or masking agents.
  • It causes no streaks, leaving the dishes sparkling clean.

Cons:

  • Some customers (very few) say that the detergent doesn’t foam well or obliterate grease.

4. Cleancult Dishwasher Pods

Cleancult Dishwasher Pods
Cleancult Dishwasher Pods / Amazon

These pods are some of the biodegradable dishwasher detergents you can rely on. They are pretty potent and help make dishes come out fresh and stain-free. They don’t leave any chemical residue like some other products.

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 known potentially harmful ingredients.

People who ordered this product said that it cleaned well. However, many also mentioned that if the product comes from Amazon, it arrives in a plastic mailer. And since most people are now eco-conscious and try to maintain a clean environment, plastic 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. 

Pros: 

  • 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.

Cons:

  • 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. 

See Related: Is Epoxy Resin Bad for the Environment?

5. Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Packs

Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Packs
Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Packs / Amazon

These contain many of the same ingredients as the Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Gel Soap. For example, they don’t appear to have any previously-mentioned harmful ingredients. And they’re wrapped in a thin layer of water-soluble film and packaged in a recyclable box. 

This dishwasher detergent is also USDA Certified, an 83% biobased product. It contains zero synthetic fragrances, phosphates, dyes, or chlorine bleach.

People who gave positive reviews of this product stated the packs dissolved great in their dishwashers. They consider it a safe, environmentally-friendly choice.

Those who gave this product negative reviews stated the packs didn’t clean their dishes well, especially plastic ones. Someone says that it leaves a white powder on the dishes. Another one says that it doesn’t remove food spots and tea stains on dishes after cleaning.

Pros:

  • They don’t contain any harmful ingredients.
  • They’re wrapped in a thin layer of water-soluble film and packaged in a recyclable box. 

Cons:

  • 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 aid.

See Related: Best Compostable Plates

6. Seventh Generation SEV 2215 Natural Automatic Dishwasher Detergent Powder

Seventh Generation SEV 2215 Natural Automatic Dishwasher Detergent Powder
Seventh Generation SEV 2215 Natural Automatic Dishwasher Detergent Powder / Amazon

Like other non-toxic dishwasher detergents, this product has zero toxic chemicals. It contains sodium carbonate, which helps clean the dishes, and citric acid, which acts as a natural water softener.

Sodium percarbonate enables the detergent to remove stains with the help of ppg-10-Laureth-7, a plant-modified synthetic cleaner. It also contains a blend of protease and amylase enzymes that help remove stubborn stains. 

People who gave this product excellent reviews stated that the detergent did a good job removing stains. One person living in an area where she has hard water said the detergent prevented water spots.

On the other hand, a person who gave a negative review stated that they ordered a pack of twelve boxes and only received a pack of five boxes. 

Pros:

  • 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. 

Cons:

  • One customer said they ordered a pack of twelve boxes and only received five. 

7. Nellie’s Dishwasher Powder

Nellie’s Dishwasher Powder
Nellie’s Dishwasher Powder / Amazon

This phosphate-free detergent contains sodium carbonate, sodium chloride, citric acid, sodium percarbonate, sodium sulfate, sodium metasilicate, sodium silicate, Cocamidopropyl betaine, 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. They liked that the company provided a reusable tin, though one person said the container contained a plastic bag.

People who gave this product negative reviews said the powder doesn’t clean dishes well. One even said it caused some discoloration on their stainless teaspoons. 

Pros:

  • It’s one of the few eco-friendly dishwasher detergents made from natural ingredients.
  • It leaves no residue on your dishes.
  • They come in an environmentally-friendly reusable tin. 

Cons:

  • 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.

8. Better Life Natural Dishwasher Gel Detergent

Better Life Natural Dishwasher Gel Detergent
Better Life Natural Dishwasher Gel Detergent / Amazon

If you are eco-conscious, this detergent contains plant-based ingredients. It is made of soap bark, corn, and coconut. And it works great for dishes, utensils, glasses, pans, and pots, splattered with any food contents.

You can use it to clean dishes, pots, glasses, and other utensils, without worrying about what you cooked. It also cuts through grease and grime and is cruelty-free. All its ingredients come from plants or minerals. 

Positive reviewers stated it has no smell. It doesn’t produce 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. This is because the detergent was too strong for their dishwasher. Yet, another person said their dishes came out chalky and foggy.

Pros:

  • 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. 

Cons:

  • One person said they had to use less than the recommended amount for the product to work well. 
  • Other customers said their floors got soaked because the detergent was too strong for their dishwashers.
  • One customer said their dishes looked chalky and foggy.  

See Related: Best Eco-Friendly Baby Products to Buy Today

9. Puracy Dishwasher Pods

Puracy Dishwasher Pods
Puracy Dishwasher Pods / Amazon

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. So, if you are looking for strong natural dishwasher detergents, this is one of them.

People who gave this product positive reviews said it cleaned their glass and stoneware. However, they noted that it 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.

Pros:

  • The pods contain all-natural water softeners, cleansers, enzymes, and a biodegradable, water-soluble film. 
  • They work well for all dishwasher-safe items. 
  • Unlike many conventional dishwasher detergents, this one contains plant and mineral-derived ingredients that help cut through grease without leaving spots. 

Cons:

  • 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.

10. Grab Green Natural Automatic Dishwashing Detergent Powder

Grab Green Natural Automatic Dishwashing Detergent Powder
Grab Green Natural Automatic Dishwashing Detergent Powder / Amazon

This eco-friendly dishwasher 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 resulted in sparkling clean dishes. Another customer said they didn’t have to use as much of the Grab Green Powder as they did with the regular dish soap.

People who gave the product negative reviews said that it left a chalky residue or powdery film. Also, some claimed it ruined their dishes, pots, and silverware when they used it with hard water.  

Pros:

  • 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. 

Cons:

  • 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.

See Related: Sustainable Eco-Friendly Lunch Bags

11. ADUSTMAN ECO-Friendly Dishwasher Detergent

ECO-Friendly Dishwasher Detergent by ADUSTMAN
ADUSTMAN ECO-Friendly Dishwasher Detergent / Amazon

When searching for an unscented, natural, and biodegradable dishwasher detergent, this eco-friendly option fits the bill. To start with, it is free from phosphates, chlorine, and other harsh chemicals. This means that you don’t need to worry about your health, your household’s, or even your dishwasher.

The dishwasher detergent comes in 60sheets and can be used with all washing machines. Those who have tried this product attest to its ability to clean dishes deeply, even with hard water. Additionally, it dissolves quickly and leaves behind no residual.

One of the major complaints about this dishwasher detergent is the packaging. Many people have pointed out that it is difficult to get the sheets out. Also, you may find that it doesn’t clean well in hard water.

Pros:

  • It is free from phosphates, chlorine, and other harsh chemicals.
  • It’s ideal for all washing machines.
  • Works well even with hard water.
  • It dissolves quickly and leaves behind no residual.

Cons:

  • The packaging is problematic, making it difficult to get the sheets out.
  • Some people say that it’s not very efficient in hard water.

12. Unscented Dishwasher Pods by AspenClean

AspenClean Unscented Dishwasher Pods
Unscented Dishwasher Pods by AspenClean / Amazon

Another excellent unscented dishwasher detergent is Aspen Clean Dishwasher Pods. It is specifically designed to get rid of grease, grime, and baked-on food particles. It’s made with natural ingredients like citric acid, sodium carbonate, natural lemon oil, and vegetable-based cleaning agents.

The product is free of fragrance and other harsh chemicals. Plus, it has received an A+ rating from the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Why? It is biodegradable as it’s derived from plant-based ingredients that are safe for the environment.

As for the packaging, it is 100% recyclable and contains zero plastic. This means that as you wash your dishes, you’ll also be taking care of the environment.

Users who gave negative reviews say that the detergent doesn’t remove stuck food particles. Someone said that it’s even unable to get rid of all stains.

Pros:

  • It effortlessly gets rid of grease and grime from the dishes
  • It’s made with natural ingredients, which makes it eco-friendly
  • The detergent is free of fragrance and other harsh chemicals.

Cons

  • Some people say that it doesn’t remove all stains and food particles
  • According to some users, it makes it hard to rinse the dishes. You have to rinse them twice or more to get them clean.

See Related: Best Eco-Friendly Bathroom Products to Buy Today

Top Toxic Dishwasher Detergent Ingredients to Avoid

Closeup of open dishwasher with clean dishes, glasses and bowl

Every product on this best dishwasher detergent list is ideal for cleaning. But how exactly do you choose from those not mentioned here, avoiding the toxic ones? Well, to help you avoid toxic dishwasher ingredients, we’ve gathered a list of the most harmful ones you might encounter.

Fragrances  

Fragrance” is a simple word. There are many ingredients in each fragrance, sometimes hundreds, which are not disclosed on ingredient labels. Simply 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, and cancer. So, in your search for the best dishwasher detergents, going for the fragrance-free ones might be the best option.

Also, the dishes may smell clean, but that could only be because of the fragrance, not because they’re clean. 

Polyacrylates 

Impurities such as acrylic acid, 2-ethyl hexyl acrylate, and methacrylic acid coexist with these constituents and are a cause for concern. They also cause 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. 

Methylisothiazolinone 

We can find this preservative in supposedly “natural” cleaners even though it’s linked to toxic effects, allergic reactions, and neurotoxicity. And 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. 

Benzisothiazolinone 

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.

See Related: Is Drano Bad for the Environment?

Sodium Hypochlorite 

This is the chemical name for bleach. Bleach has antimicrobial properties that are widely used.

It damages the 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. It’s also deadly for children when swallowed, and children do swallow it often. If you mix it with another cleaning product like ammonia, it releases chlorine gas. 

Dyes that Turn Dish Detergents Blue, Green, or Orange

Their purpose is to make the product appear more effective. They don’t affect the product’s performance but can be harmful.

Studies have shown they can cause cancer in rats and thyroid tumors in rodents. They can also be harmful if swallowed or come in contact with the skin.

How to Pick a Non-Toxic Dishwasher Detergent

Close-up hand filling dishwasher with gloss liquid into the dishwasher box

When you’re choosing a non-toxic dishwasher gel or detergent, look for dishwashing detergents that have minimal amounts of the ingredients mentioned above. Consider buying those that have phenoxyethanol in them.

This ingredient is fine because it’s a “middle-of-the-road” preservative. It’s mostly found in skincare products, mascaras, foundations, shampoos, and liquid washes. 

The safest non-toxic 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. This places a product based on the safety of its 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 use ingredients like washing soda and essential oils (lemon and grapefruit) to make a natural dishwasher detergent.

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

FAQs

non toxic dish detergent

Non-toxic dish detergent is a cleaning product that is free from harmful chemicals and toxins commonly found in traditional dish soaps. Instead, non-toxic dish detergents are made with natural, plant-based ingredients that are safe for both the environment and human health. Using non-toxic dish detergent can help reduce exposure to harmful chemicals and promote a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle.

What is the least toxic dish detergent?

The least toxic dish detergent is a type of cleaning solution that contains fewer harmful chemicals than other dish detergents. These detergents are designed to be safer for human health and the environment. They often use natural ingredients such as plant-based surfactants and essential oils to clean dishes effectively without causing harm.

Is Dawn dish soap non toxic?

Dawn dish soap is not considered non-toxic. It contains surfactants, which can be irritating to skin and eyes. While it is not intended for consumption, if ingested in small amounts, it is not likely to cause serious harm.

Is Seventh Generation dishwashing detergent non toxic?

Seventh Generation dishwashing detergent is a non-toxic cleaning product that is safe for use in households. It is formulated without harmful chemicals such as phosphates, dyes, or synthetic fragrances, making it a popular choice for those who prioritize environmentally-friendly products. Additionally, Seventh Generation is a certified B-Corporation, meaning that the company meets rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

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