If you are looking for a liquid dishwasher soap that is safe for your septic system, I believe that you already know what a septic system is and how it works.
Since a major part of your waste is formed by using dishwashers and washing machines, you must keep a check on ingredients present in your dishwasher and laundry detergent. An average homeowner is not aware of what ingredients can harm a septic system. Hence, a burgeoning market exists for septic-safe dishwasher detergents.
In this article, I will review the 12 best liquid dishwasher soap/gel detergents for septic systems. This article will focus only on liquid-based dishwasher detergents. If you are looking for dishwasher pods, tablets, and powder, you can check best dishwasher detergents for septic systems.
The 12 Best Liquid Dishwasher Soaps for Septic Systems
1. Finish Dishwasher Detergent Gel Liquid, Lemon Scent, 75oz
This liquid soap is what you exactly need for a septic system. It is free from all additives that may harm the bacteria and enzymes in the septic system. One user terms this detergent as septic safe. He mentions that their septic system started to cause trouble. He consulted a plumber; the plumber suggested changing the detergents before checking the septic tank. To his surprise, the problem was solved within a couple of weeks.
As long as the cleaning power is concerned, the dishwasher performs well. You can estimate Finish’s performance from the fact that Bosch recommends finish detergents.
You may be intrigued by the negative reviews, but most of them are linked due to user errors. If you look at the positive reviews, you will see that buyers are extremely satisfied with the detergent’s performance.
One buyer mentions that he tried various detergents, but they left an unpleasant smell on dishes and inside the dishwasher. However, this may not be the case for you as Finish detergents are known for leaving smells on dishes and inside the dishwasher.
Please note that user experience and feedback reveal that you may need a hard water booster to make this gel work in hard water.
2. Cascade Clear Gel Dishwasher Detergent Liquid Gel, Lemon Essence
Cascade’s liquid dishwashing soap is another top-of-the-line detergent that you can use in your dishwasher. The dishwasher is free from chlorine bleach and dyes, making it an excellent option in homes with septic systems.
Buyers who have used this detergent in their dishwashers mention that the dishes come out clean, and a slight lemon scent vanishes after a couple of hours. The dishwasher also takes care of the dishes and the dishwasher, so you don’t have to worry about stains inside the dishwasher or on your dishes.
The detergent is more suited for homes with moderately hard water. If you use well water or have extremely hard water at your home, you may need a hard water booster to make this gel work.
A handful of buyers complain about the cleaning capabilities of the detergent, but the majority is satisfied and happy about the cleaning prowess of the detergent. The detergent works great, keeps the dishes clean, and enhances the life of your appliance.
Overall, it is recommended by users and experts.
3. Palmolive Eco Dishwasher Detergent Gel, Lemon Splash – 45 ounce (Pack of 3)
The 3rd best dishwasher liquid detergent on our list is from the well-trusted house of Palmolive. Users recommend this dishwasher for several reasons, such as its affordable price, superb cleaning, and all-natural formula.
The detergent is safe for septic systems since it has no phosphates, dyes, or harmful substances that may kill the good bacteria in the septic system. The detergent is not only safe for septic systems, but it is friendly to lakes and streams.
Palmolive is one of the very few detergents that you can use on various dishwashers, as a lot of famous dishwasher manufacturers recommend it.
As far as the detergent’s cleaning power is concerned, the dishwasher performs reasonably well. Moreover, the detergent offers great value. One buyer mentioned that the dishwasher lasted 9 months for a family of 3 people. You can do the math yourself that it offers the most value compared to other dishwashers.
4. Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Gel with Powerful Citric Acid, Lemon Scent, 42 oz (6 Pack)
Seventh Generation cannot be ignored when it comes to septic safe and environment-friendly dishwashing detergents. The 6-pack detergent offers excellent value for money.
One good thing about this detergent is that it has a Climate Pledge Friendly badge from Amazon, certifying that the detergent contains no harmful ingredients. It also signifies that this detergent is safe for a septic system, waterways, and the environment.
The cleaning power is also marvelous. Many buyers mention that they have faced no problem using this detergent. The best thing about this detergent is that it will not leave any stains or streaks on your dishes and dishwasher. One user mentioned that they had to use a little less in their old dishwasher because the dishes came out with residue. This establishes that this is a strong detergent and gets the job done using less amount.
You will find some negative reviews as well. The negative complaints include detergent not cleaning the dishes properly. Well, this is possible that the detergent may not work for you because not all detergents can work in every dishwasher. It doesn’t mean that this dishwasher is not up to the mark. It is just that this may not work in your setting.
5. Better Life Natural Dishwasher Gel Detergent, 30 Fl Oz, Pack of 2
Better Life is another famous gel-based detergent that you can use if you have a septic system in your home. The detergent is known for quality cleaning without leaving any harsh scents or smells on your dishwasher.
Almost all the buyers express satisfaction with the detergent’s ingredients. Users mention that their septic system and waste management system improved after using this dishwasher.
One user mentions that she tried various gel-based detergents for two years but couldn’t find one that would work for them. Better Life worked for them and gave great results. The user further explains that it was a tough call for them to decide on a natural detergent that would not damage their septic system and waterways.
There are a lot of positive reviews for this detergent that mention spotless cleaning, no streaks and residues, and spotless machine. However, many people are not happy with its performance as well. The detergent fails to clean when you have hard water at home. Even one-time use will make your dishwasher look 10 years old because of the streaks and the spots it will leave inside the dishwasher.
6. Finish Rinse Agent, Pack of 32 Fl Oz
A rinse agent is not a detergent but aids the cleaning process. Adding a rinse agent is a great way to improve the cleaning process for people who don’t pre-rinse the dishes.
Many dishwashers and detergent manufacturers recommend using a rinse agent instead of manual pre-rinsing dishes. It wastes water and tricks the dishwasher into believing that the dishes are cleaned, and it takes less time to clean in the auto mode, resulting in dirty dishes after the cycle is completed.
Apart from the high price at which this rinse aid is sold, there are few complaints about it. Buyers like this dishwasher because it improves the cleaning quality and helps save time by freeing them from the tension of manual pre-resining.
A few users mentioned that there were suds at the end of the cleaning cycle. It primarily happened due to using more than the recommended volume of the rinse agent. You must consult the bottle’s packing and dishwasher’s user manual for determining the right usage amount.
Another purpose of the rinse agent is drying. The rinse agent improves the rinsing process and improves the drying capabilities of your dishwasher. One of the most common problems related to Finish detergents, rinse agents, and boosters are that they leave smells behind. You’ll have to wait for 1-2 hours before using your dishes.
7. Cascade Advanced Power Liquid Machine Dishwasher Detergent with Dawn, 125-Fl. Oz
If you have hard water along with a septic tank at your home, then this is a good gel-based detergent to go by with. The detergent cleans the dishes superbly and doesn’t leave any residue or streaks on your dishes. If you are looking for a high-quality detergent for tough baked-on particles, this is it.
The user feedback for this detergent reveals that it works where others fail. The advanced power formula from cascade doesn’t leave behind any food particles on your dishes. It even removes particles older than 24 hours without any pre-rinsing. All you have to do is just do a light scrubbing, and you will have neat and clean dishes with you.
One buyer mentions that she shifted from Cascade pods to Cascade gel because pods started to leave white-colored powder on the dishes and inside the dishwasher. Although pods are easier to use in a dishwasher as you don’t have to pre-measure or deal with pouring issues, the Cascade advanced power liquid outshines pods and powder-based detergents.
There are no complaints about the cleaning power of this liquid. A few buyers mentioned suds because they used an extra amount and had to deal with suds later on. Another issue mentioned by one buyer is the container size. It is quite heavy, but the amount you get in $1 is better than buying smaller containers. The container has a child lock as well, which is a good thing and a bad thing at the same time. The good part is that your little ones can’t open it, and the bad thing is that it gets stuck often, and it becomes quite irritating to open it.
8. Finish Scent Liquid Gel, Orange Fresh, 75 Ounce
This is yet another top-of-the-line liquid-based septic-safe dishwasher detergent for your household. Finish is a well-reputed and well-established name in the world of detergents.
This detergent is known for its powerful cleaning when it comes to dealing with hard water and removing baked-on particles. Since this detergent is specifically built for hard water, it may cause suds and flood your dishwasher if used excessively and in large amounts.
One buyer mentions that the detergent removes grease stains, tea stains, and curry stains from dishes and delivers matchless cleaning results. Moreover, it also dries the dishes without using any rinsing agents.
One buyer mentions that the detergent is good for septic systems as it contains no phosphates, dyes, and harmful substances. She further says that her septic system functioning improved after switching the detergents she used in her home.
However, not all is good about detergents. Some buyers mention that the dishwasher left white streaks on the dishes and inside the dishwasher. This resulted in cleaning the dishwasher to save it from going bad. One user even mentions that even a homemade dishwashing detergent is better than this.
The thing is that not every detergent works for everyone. Many factors like water chemistry, dishwasher condition, soil level on dishes, and detergent amount used while cleaning play an important role during the cleaning process.
9. Seventh Generation Ultra Power Plus Dishwasher Detergent Gel, Fresh Citrus Scent, 65 oz
This detergent is yet another liquid detergent from the house of the Seventh Generation. If there is one thing you can say about Seventh Generation detergents, they are 100% environment-friendly and septic safe.
This detergent comes with a fresh citrus scent, and its performance is quite similar to the one reviewed above. However, this one is more suited to deal with baked-on food particles and for homes having hard water. The detergent makes cleaning dirty as easy as you can imagine. All you need to do is just measure the liquid, pour it into the dishwasher, and let it do the rest.
The common praises for this dishwasher include spotless cleaning, a pleasant smell that vanishes after some time, a clean and tidy dishwasher, and an affordable price. One buyer mentions that he lives alone and couldn’t afford to try different dishwasher detergents. Seventh Generation solved his problem, and this is the only detergent he has been using for 3 years. To just give you an idea about his dishes, his hobby is baking and cooking. Now you can very well understand how powerful and good this detergent is.
Some users are not happy about the detergent’s performance. They say that the detergent fails to perform even if they add a booster along with it. The problem may be the water chemistry or improper usage.
10. Biokleen Automatic Dishwashing Liquid Detergent Gel
Biokleen is another liquid detergent for dishwashers. The detergent is concentrated, meaning it is good for highly soiled dishes, and you must use it in low proportion. Moreover, it is phosphate-free and chlorine-free to support the good bacteria inside your septic tank.
The detergent may not be as popular as Cascade and Finish, but it has some loyal customers. This is indeed a high-performance and good-quality detergent, and you will not replace it if this starts working for you.
The problem is that it may not work for everyone. It will not show good results in hard water. You will have to use hard water boosters that will increase the overall dishwashing cost, and this is not a good idea. Rather, you must use a hard water specialist detergent (https://www.theappliancenerd.com/best-dishwasher-detergents-for-hard-water/) for your home.
The overall feedback for this detergent is mixed. As already pointed out, there is a huge possibility that the dishwasher may not work for you.
The buyers with positive reviews express 100% satisfaction with this detergent. They say that it cleans well, has a pleasant smell, leaves no residue behind, and ensures your family’s safety through its all-natural formula.
The negative comments term it a waste of money and recommend people not buy it. They say that it is better to wash the dishes by hand than using this dishwasher because you will have to clean them repeatedly.
11. Earth Friendly Products Wave Auto Dishwasher Gel, Lavender, 40 Ounce
The penultimate liquid-based dishwashing detergent is another not-so-popular one. However, it is gaining popularity slowly, and it will be ranked as one of the best liquid dishwashing soaps for septic systems very soon.
The Earth Friendly detergent is free from all additives that can harm your septic system and waterways. It is best for conserving your environment, so you don’t need to worry while using it.
User feedback reveals that this dishwasher cleans well but leaves a strong lavender smell that doesn’t vanish even after 4-5 hours. You may need to stay away from this detergent if you are allergic to strong odors, pleasant or unpleasant.
One user mentions that her experience with this dishwasher was horrible. She threw away the bottle when her new glasses came out cloudy. Even the plastic dishes had a white film on them, and the dishwasher was all chalky as well. The reason is hard water. This detergent is specifically made for soft water homes, and it will create all sorts of problems for you if you have hard water at home.
However, some buyers are happy with this detergent and mention it shows great results and cleans the dishes just like they want them to.
12. ECOS PRO PL9365/04 Wave Gel Auto-Dishwasher Detergent, Free and Clear
ECOS Pro is the last detergent on the list of best liquid dishwasher soap for septic systems. The dishwasher is best known for its EPA-approved, pH-balanced, all-natural formula that ensures that your septic system doesn’t suffer.
Buyers give mixed feedback on this detergent. Some users mention that it cleans the dishes well but leaves a strong smell behind and doesn’t disappear unless you wash your dishes again. Some buyers are 100% satisfied with the detergent’s performance and rate it as one of the best detergents in the market.
A majority of users are livid about this detergent’s performance as well. They mention that the detergent fails to clean glasses used for drinking juice. It leaves food particles behind on the dishes even if you pre-rinse them.
I recommend buying this dishwasher only if you want to test it. It is better to stay away from products with plenty of bad reviews and a handful of food ones.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is the best liquid detergent for septic systems?
Finish, Cascade, and Seventh Generation are the best liquid-based dishwasher detergents for homes with septic systems. These 3 brands manufacture different gel-based detergents; you need to select one based on your water chemistry, washing load, and soil level on your dishes.
Which is better: liquid, pods, or powder?
It depends on your preference and convenience of use. Most people prefer using pods because they are easy to use, and all you have to put them in the dishwasher tab or throw them in the tub. Liquids and powders need to be measured before adding them to the dishwasher.
Why does a detergent work for me but fail for other people?
A lot of factors come into play and make your detergent work/fail. You need to consider water hardness, your machine’s age, manufacturer recommendations, and soil level on your dishes. Moreover, you may also need to use a rinsing agent or hard water boosters as per your setting. The cycle you use to clean dishes also impacts the cleaning quality of your dishwasher. For example, if you have extremely dirty dishes and pick a quick cycle to clean the dishes, it will not give good results regardless of the detergent you used in your dishwasher.
Can I use any other detergent for septic systems?
Yes. You can use any detergent if you have a septic system in your home. However, it must be free from phosphates and other ingredients that may harm/kill the good bacteria in the septic system.
Is vinegar safe for my septic system?
Yes. Vinegar is safe for the septic tank. It doesn’t harm the good bacteria inside the septic tank. Vinegar is known for cleaning blockages and drainage systems.
What should not be flushed in a septic system?
Feel free to flush biodegradable items like human waste, water, and biodegradable toilet paper into your septic system. Although fruit and vegetable peels are biodegradable, they must not be allowed to enter the septic system. Avoid throwing plastic, wipes, diapers, and cigarette buds in the drainage system. Moreover, grease, gasoline, pesticides, oils, fats, and solvents must not be allowed to reach the septic tank in your home.
Which detergent is dangerous for my septic system?
Any detergent with phosphate or harmful chemicals such as dyes is harmful to your septic system.
How can I make a DIY dishwashing detergent safe for septic systems?
The standard recipe for a DIY dishwasher recipe is 2 cups of washing soda and 1 cup of borax. You can also use 1 cup borax, 1 cup washing soda, ½ cup salt, and ½ cup citric acid; mix them to make a liquid-based dishwashing detergent.
It is very important to check what you let go in your septic system. Since a major part of what goes in your drain is made up of dishwashing and laundry water, it is pertinent that you select the respective detergents carefully.