By switching to a more natural dishwasher detergent, you’ll reduce the number of potentially harmful chemicals in your life and home. If you’re ready to try out natural dishwasher detergent, keep reading for my round-up of the best options.
Just here to get an answer to your question and don’t want to dig through all the details? If you’re simply looking for my recommendation for the best natural dishwasher detergent, I heartily recommend Ecover Dishwasher Tablets. They are well reviewed natural dishwasher detergent, and I personally use Ecover’s dishwasher detergent, and find they work great!
My first indication I needed to up my dish detergent game came when, after taking a sip from her straw bottle, my 2-year-old informed me her water was yucky.
Honestly, I suspected this moment was coming.
For a few weeks in a row, I’d been pulling her water bottle out of the dishwasher each morning, only to discover it stank like fragrance and chemicals.
I’ve since switched her to a mix of stainless steel straw bottles and glass, which helps a lot. But even the stainless steel takes on some of the dishwasher detergent smell and taste when I use mainstream dishwasher soap brands.
Natural Dishwasher Detergent FTW
It wasn’t until I switched to a more natural dishwasher detergent that I finally solved the problem.
It’s just one of many steps we’ve been taking to green our cleaning routine, including switching to fragrance-free cleaning products and choosing safer options of commonly harsh cleaners, like stain remover.
These days, I pull her stuff from the dishwasher and, lo and behold, there’s no horrible smell to deal with. Her water actually tastes like water. And she no longer tells me it’s gross!
That said, it took me awhile to find a natural dishwasher detergent that keeps my daughter’s water bottle yuck free, and also works great in terms of actually getting our dishes clean.
If you’re ready to try out natural dishwasher detergent, and aren’t sure where to start, I hope this list helps. I’ve rounded up a few different dishwasher detergents that might work, depending on your needs, preferences for fragrance vs. fragrance-free, as well as how good your dishwasher is. While I recommend the Ecover tablets, I understand people have different preferences, dishwashers, habits, and water hardness (the water is super soft where I live, which may affect results).
My advice is to approach it with an open mind, knowing that you may have to try a few different natural dishwasher soap brands. It doesn’t need to become an epic quest, but it may take you a few tries to find the best for you.
I’m also a dishwasher pod kinda gal myself, but I’ve included automatic dishwasher detergent pods, powder, and dishwasher gel in this post, just to cover all the basis!
If you’re looking for non toxic dish soap, I’ve written about that too – just not in this post.
Are they Really Natural … or Just Better than the Alternative?
Before digging into it, it’s worth noting that natural dishwasher detergent is a bit of a marketing term. Some of the ingredients in these detergents definitely aren’t 100% natural or non-toxic. That said, not everything that’s “chemical” is bad and not everything that’s “natural” is safe (see, for example: arsenic).
It’s my opinion, however, that these “natural” dishwasher detergents are safer for your family’s health and better for the planet than what you’ll find in the big brands.
In the spirit of making small, everyday changes to help my family and the planet, I think it’s worth the switch, even though these are by no means perfect.
With that preamble out of the way, you’ll find our reviews of the following more natural dishwasher soaps below – I hope this helps!
How I Chose The Best Natural Dishwasher Detergent
You might be wondering how I chose which dishwasher detergents to review. I started by checking out the EWG’s ratings of different natural dishwasher detergent brands, and then I cross-checked them against Amazon.
I order all our basics off of Amazon using Prime. Because of this, I only considered brands that are EWG-rated as either A or B (out of F, like a report card at school). AND I can also buy from Amazon.
Then I combed the reviews and looked for the brands with the best and most reviews. I figured by giving some weight to brands with the most number of reviews, it means the product works well across different situations: rinsing vs. not, hard vs. soft water, different dishwasher brands and qualities, etc. Then, I tried some of them out, which led me to my favorite: Ecover.
As a disclosure, I’ve only tried a few of these. Once I decided Ecover works for my family, I didn’t want to waste money by trying other brands. However, if you’ve tried out some of the others, I’d love to know your experience.
Below you’ll find all the natural dishwasher detergent brands I considered for this article. It includes my top 3 picks, as well as 9 other brands I haven’t tried.
My Top Picks for More Natural Dishwasher Detergent
- The Winner – Ecover Dishwasher Tablets
- Runner Up – Nature Clean Automatic Dishwasher Packs
- My Third Choice – Seventh Generation Detergent Packs
My “Also Rans”
- Grab Green Detergent Pods
- Lemi Shine Detergent Pods
- Biokleen Dish Soap Powder
- Dapple Baby Dishwasher Packs
- Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Dish Packs
- Attitude Dishwasher Eco-Pouches
- Love Home and Planet Detergent Packs
- Earth Friendly Products Dishwashing Gel
- 365 Whole Foods Detergent Packs
Best Natural Dishwasher Detergent Reviews
Ecover’s natural dishwasher detergent is available in both fragrance-free and citrus scents. They’re phosphate-free and include some more sustainable ingredients that are friendlier to both the environment and our water sources.
Ecover doesn’t test on animals, and makes their products in “green” facilities.
Verified customers speak highly of their ability to perform on almost any dishes, and that’s my experience too.
Now for the huge downside to these tablets. Each tablet comes individually wrapped in plastic. While the outer packaging is made from recycled cardboard, the tablet wrapping really isn’t great – it seems like a huge oversight from the company and something I hope they’ll consider changing in the near future. That said, it’s also a good childproofing feature, as it adds a step before a child could get into the pods and cause some damage.
They are fragrance- and dye-free and don’t contain any chlorine or phosphates. They are also Eco Logo certified for minimal impact on the environment and are septic-safe.
Nature Clean is vegan and cruelty-free certified by PETA as well as Leaping Bunny. These packs are made with plant and mineral-derived ingredients and each bucket has 60 packs.
Satisfied customers have claimed that these work well on everything from stainless steel to plastic and glass, and they require no pre-washing which will save tons of time.
I only wish Nature Clean pulled a page out of Ecover’s book and packaged these in a cardboard box instead of a plastic bucket.
These packs contain powerful enzymes to cut through food residue and leave dishes clean. I also love that they’re free of phosphates, chlorine, dyes and fragrances.
These detergent packs are USDA certified BioBased with 78% natural ingredients. They have earned an “A” rating from EWG and are highly praised by customers who claim they are more effective on grease than other natural detergents.
Each pouch contains 45 packs.
The bag itself is easily opened and closed with Velcro for much less hassle. There is a fragrance-free version that is hypoallergenic and free of dyes, as well as grapefruit and cranberry, red pear and magnolia, tangerine, tangerine with lemongrass, and thyme with fig-scented versions. Personally, I think fragrance free is the way to go.
These pods do not contain any phosphates, chlorine, phthalates, or masking agents and are produced in the USA. The ingredients are each listed in their scientific names accompanied by a brief laymen’s-term description for complete transparency.
They are never tested on animals, and there are 132 pods in every pack.
The ingredient list for these pods is free of harmful toxins and chemicals like phosphates and chlorine. They are made with citric extracts to cut through grease and are not harmful to your septic system.
These pods are also biodegradable and work well with both soft and hard water. They do contain some dye and fragrance which could be an issue for people with sensitive skin, eczema, or allergies, but they have a solid base of high reviews for their performance on dishes of all types.
These pods get a B from the EWG.
This powder does not contain any phosphates or chlorine and is three times more concentrated for the best results on dirty dishes.
It is never tested on animals and is formulated to be safe for the environment and water supply systems. It comes either with citrus essence or free and clear of any fragrance or dyes for those who have allergies and skin sensitivities.
Verified customers have strongly praised the performance of this product versus other natural formulas, pointing out that it often works better than its less-natural counterparts.
Made with plant-derived ingredients that are safe for the entire family, these packs were formulated to target the calcium buildup from milk on bottles and other dishes.
They contain no parabens, phthalates, synthetic dyes, fragrance, chlorine, alcohol or formaldehyde. They have also been pediatrician and dermatologist-tested for safety.
Dapple does not test their products on animals and has won the Clean Label Project Purity Award. Each bag contains 25 packs.
These packs have earned a “B” rating from EWG and are made from naturally-derived ingredients and essential oils that can cut through food messes.
All of Mrs. Meyer’s products are cruelty-free and not made with any animal-sourced ingredients. And these dish packs are safe for all types of dishwashers.
This product comes in five different classic Mrs. Meyer’s scents that come straight from the garden: Basil, Lavender, Lemon Verbena, Geranium and Honeysuckle. There are 20 packs in each bag.
Earning a “B” rating from EWG, these pouches are free of phosphates, parabens and chlorine, and they are hypoallergenic.
They are also UL Eco Logo certified for minimal environmental impact and are vegan. Never tested on animals, they’re also PETA certified.
These pouches have an excellent reputation among verified customers for performing well on dishes. There are 40 pouches in each box.
Formulated with 78% plant- and mineral-derived ingredients, this detergent contains no phosphates, parabens or dyes and has been dermatologist-tested for sensitive skin.
They are simple to use and come in a 100% recyclable packet. They are also gluten-free and certified vegan and cruelty-free by PETA.
These packs in two scents that past customers seem to love: Japanese Yuzu and ethically-sourced Madagascan vanilla.
This gel is fully biodegradable and contains no phosphates, chlorine or harsh chemicals. Formulated with plant-based ingredients, the gel eliminates the risk of finding powder residue left on your clean dishes.
Also, because it is a gel, you will be able to use substantially less product and still get clean dishes. It is never tested on animals and comes in two different variations: lavender-scented or free and clear.
These detergent packs won’t leave chemicals like phosphates or phthalates on your dishes, and they are free of fragrances and dyes which is ideal for those with sensitive skin or allergies. EWG has given it an “A” rating, finding almost no ingredients that could be potentially harmful.
These 365 packs are USDA BioBased certified. Made with a biodegradable formula, they’re safer for the environment. And they aren’t tested on animals.
Each bag comes with 18 packs.
Final Thoughts About Finding the Best Natural Dishwasher Detergent
I hope this post has been helpful, and you’re ready to switch to natural dishwasher detergent in your own home. If you’re just getting started, I’d recommend you choose one of my Top 3s (Ecover Dishwasher Tablets, Nature Clean Automatic Dishwasher Packs, or Seventh Generation Detergent Packs).
But remember, what works for one person won’t work for all, and it may take a few tries to get it right.
If you know someone else who is trying to green their cleaning routine and family life, I hope you’ll share this post with them!