No one likes dishwashing, but everyone likes dishwashers. They make your life easy by doing one of the most displeasing household chores. Dishwashers are environment-friendly machines. They help you save loads of water that is wasted in washing your dishes in the sink. You may need to pre-rinse your dishes to remove the stubborn food leftovers, but it consumers less water than hand washing.
The quality of dishwashing depends on factors like the effectiveness of your machine, detergent power, water chemistry, and how dirty your dishes are. All of these factors are controllable, and you can make your machine work according to your wishes if you know how to do it. The detergent you use not only affects the wash quality; it may impact your health and environment. Therefore, everyone looks for a non-chemical and eco-friendly dishwashing detergent. If your detergent has chemicals, it can impact your health; if it has ingredients that are harmful to waterways and plants, it can damage our environment. Hence, you need to be very careful while selecting the detergent for your dishwasher as your entire family’s well-being is on the line with our planet’s environment. The harmful impacts may not be visible immediately, but prolonged exposure to chemicals and pollutants can have grave consequences.
In this article, we will look at the 17 best non-chemical dishwashing detergents. These detergents are eco-friendly and made of bio-based ingredients. We have researched every detergent on our list, gone through ingredients, interviewed homeowners, and analyzed the user reviews, so you don’t have to. But before you check out the best detergents for dishwashers, you must know about the red flags when buying a non-chemical/eco-friendly dishwashing detergent.
Ingredients to Avoid while buying a Dishwasher Detergent
Fragrances/Scents: Look out for artificial fragrances as they can cause irritation, rashes, and chemical sensitivities. Oil-based scents/fragrances have no issue and are treated as bio-based ingredients.
Phosphates: Phosphate is a big red light when it comes to dishwashing detergents. Some states have banned phosphate-based dishwashing detergents. Phosphates cause eutrophication and mineral poisoning that is harmful to marine life.
Sodium Hypochlorite: It is commonly known as bleach. Bleach is corrosive to eyes and skin, and it can lead to throat irritation, gastric infections, and lung problems (prolonged exposure).
Dyes: Dyes can cause allergies and rashes. Many dyes are carcinogenic and can cause endocrine disruption.
Polyacrylates: They can also cause eye damage and breathing problems. Polyacrylates are also harmful to marine life. Apart from polyacrylates, you must look for ingredients like acrylic acid, 2-Ethylhexyl acrylate, and methacrylic acid.
Benzisothiazolinone and Methylisothiazolinone: They are linked with breathing problems and are harmful to fish too. Prolonged exposure can also lead to neurological problems.
17 Best Non-Chemical Dishwashing Detergent
An average homeowner usually checks the ingredients on the packaging and buys the detergent. However, there is more to it. Manufacturers may add some of the harmful ingredients in the detergent to make them more effective in dealing with food leftovers. You need to be cautious when selecting the dishwashing detergent. The detergents reviewed below are safe for infants, kids, adults, and the elderly. So, you can buy one without any worries.
1. Amazon Brand – Solimo Dishwasher Detergent Pacs, Fresh Scent, 85 Count
- Removes stuck-on food
- Fresh scent
- Includes 85 dishwasher detergent pacs
Solimo is rated as the top non-chemical dishwasher detergent. The manufacturer mentions that it can cause eye and skin irritation on the box, but that only happens if the powder comes in contact with your sensory organs.
People who use the detergent praise that it leaves no smell/taste and removes everything from your dishes. It is also effective against hard water. It is cheap to buy and keeps the dishwashing cost under control. You don’t need the expensive detergents anymore when you have Solimo with you. People like that it has a fresh scent which guarantees that no artificial fragrances have been added to the detergent.
2. Seventh Generation Ultra Power Plus Dishwasher Detergent Packs, Fresh Citrus Scent, 43 Count, Pack of 2
- Dual action hardworking formula powers away 48-hour stuck-on food and fights tough stains
- 0% synthetic fragrances, dyes, chlorine bleach, or phosphates
- Convenient single dose dishwasher packs, just toss right into the dishwasher
The eco-friendly dishwasher is 100% free from fragrances, dyes, chlorine bleach, and phosphates. It contains oxygen bleach which is harmless to humans and environment. People like the detergent because it works just like top brands such as Cascade and Oxy, but it is chemical-free and leaves no scents/residue on your dishes. It is powerful that you don’t even need a rinse agent or booster.
Users praise the Ziploc mechanism and how it keeps the bag airtight. The pods won’t stick with each other even when the humidity content is high. Many people bought this product just to try and have been using it for years now. The dishes come out spotless without any chemical residue. It has been rated as the best eco-friendly dishwasher by many users.
3. Ecover Automatic Dishwasher Soap Tablets, Citrus, 45 Count
- Powers away stuck on food & gets dishes sparkling clean
Ecover is known for providing bio-based detergents for dishwashers. The detergent tablets contain nature-inspired fragrances, plant-based, biodegradable, and phosphate-free ingredients. The box and tablet wrapping are recyclable, so you don’t need to worry about anything. You are purchasing an eco-friendly detergent and playing your part. It will not only take care of the environment but also provide you with neat and clean dishes.
You may need to re-wash some of your dishes coming out, but it is a small price you have to pay occasionally for getting a good chemical-free detergent. You can also use white vinegar to enhance the wash quality. Fill the pre-wash depository with some white vinegar and see the magic.
4. Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Packs, Fragrance Free, 73 Count
- Enzyme rich formula cuts through tough grease and food residue to leave dishes sparkling clean
- Free of fragrances, dyes, phosphates, and chlorine bleach
- Convenient single dose dishwasher packs, just toss right into the dishwasher
Seventh Generation’s detergent packs contain 0% fragrances, dyes, and chlorine bleach. It is safe for the environment and your family. All the ingredients are either plant-based or mineral-based. Many users rate the product above Cascade and Palmolive as it doesn’t leave any smell or taste on your dishes. People use the detergent packs for infant bottles and toddler dishes. So you have nothing to worry about this detergent.
People like the natural odors from this detergent, and users with medical conditions prefer using it compared to other detergents. A couple of users have reported irregular packs, but does it really matter when the detergent works flawlessly every time.
5. Dropps Dishwasher Detergent Pods: Lemon | 120 Count
- POWERFUL & EFFECTIVE: Powers away 24-hour baked on food and tough stains. Glasses so sparkly and dishes so clean you can eat off them. Literally.
- NO PRE WASH NEEDED: Skip the pre-wash and save water on every load. Deep cleans to keep your family healthy and safe. Leaves no residue or fragrance...
- MANUFACTURED IN THE USA: Thoughtfully formulated with powerful, sustainable, plant-based ingredients. Never tested on animals. Free from synthetic...
Dropps is a well-known name in the bio-based dishwashing detergent world. Its tagline says it all, “powerful cleaning from nature.” The detergent is free from synthetic fragrances, dyes, enzymes, optical brighteners, parabens, phosphates, and phthalates and is packed in bio-degradable packaging.
It is also a powerful detergent and works effectively against stubborn dishes and leftovers. There are countless reviews about the detergent being chemical-free and eco-friendly. However, some people mention that it is costly compared to other brands and per pack cost is 10-20% higher than top brands.
6. Lemi Shine Natural Dishwasher Pods
- SPARKLINGLY CLEAN FINISH: Lemi Shine Natural Dishwasher Detergent Pods are Dual Chamber, Powder and Gel Combo, so you can finally skip the pre-wash...
- NO MESS, NO POWDERS: Our dishwashing detergent pods clean and remove grease, stains, and stuck on food from dishware, without leaving a soapy residue.
- ECO-FRIENDLY AND GREEN CLEANING: Powered by natural citric acid, making our dishwashing pods a safer and more eco-friendly choice for cleaning your...
Lemi Shine is the go-to detergent when you need power and safety at the same time. The detergent is bio-based and eco-friendly. The powder and gel combo helps in cutting grease and removing stuck-on food. It eliminates the need for pre-rinsing.
User review analysis reveals that it cleans effectively without any smell or taste on the dishes. The detergent doesn’t leave any residual film on the dishes. Another remarkable quality of this detergent is that it can be used with well water and hard water. Homeowners like the fact that it has been made in America and is eco-friendly without any scents. They don’t have any issue with detergent.
7. Puracy Platinum Dishwasher Detergent Pods, 50 Count
- Designed to work better when you skip the pre-rinse ] Wash your dishes effortlessly with Puracy Free & Clear biodegradable dishwasher tabs. With...
- Developed by biochemists, tested by households nationwide ] These third-generation dishwasher tablets are tried, tested & trusted. These dish washer...
- Perfect for All Dishwasher Safe Items ] Made from plant and mineral-derived ingredients, Puracy dishwashing pods are a grease-cutting, spot-free,...
The clear scented dishwasher detergent is known for making your life easy by making your dishes clean and keeping you healthy and the environment safe. All the ingredients used in the detergent are bio-based. You can use it for baby bottles, toys, pots, and pans without any worries.
A user recommends this product for people suffering from sensory processing disorder, meaning they cannot tolerate any sharp smells or chemical taste. She uses this for herself and is very satisfied. It never irritates her, so we can assume that it is safe for everyone else as well. Puracy’s customer base may not be as large as other brands, but its customers are loyal and stick to the brand no matter what happens. Countless reviews explain its excellent cleaning power and ease of use.
8. Better Life Natural Dishwasher Gel Detergent, 30 Fl Oz, Pack of 2
- Plant-Based Cleaning Ingredients: Formulated with powerful natural cleaning agents like soap bark, corn, and coconut.
- Powerful Clean, Naturally: Our dishwasher gel combines plant-based power and peace of mind, leaving your dishes sparkling clean and smelling fresh,...
- Shake and Squirt: Into your automatic dishwasher’s detergent cup. Perfect for dishes, glasses, utensils, pots, and pans splattered with anything...
Many people prefer using dishwashing gels because it is easy to use and has no dissolving problems. This gel has been formulated using natural cleaning agents like soap bark, corn, and coconut. These ingredients make it safe for washing baby bottles.
A user states that he regularly drinks protein shakes and medicines that stick to the glasses and cups. The detergent does a great job in removing them and doesn’t leave any smell on the dishes. It is actually better than the costly brands that often leave residue and smells on your dishes.
Also check out: Top 15 Dishwasher Detergents for Cloudy Glasses
9. Method Dishwasher Detergent Packs
- Contains (1) resealable pouch with 45 individual packs of dishwasher soap inside
- Dishwasher detergent packs with mineral and plant-based stain lifting power.
- Free of phosphates and chlorine bleach.
Method’s dishwasher is an odor-free and plant-based detergent. All the ingredients are derived from plants and minerals. The manufacturer puts in special efforts when it concerns your health and environment.
One user explains that she stopped using Method to check another brand recommended by her neighbors, only to find that it started leaving a white film and chemical smell on the dishes. She immediately reverted to Method, and the dishes got clean in a couple of days. It is important to highlight that once a detergent starts giving desired results with your dishwasher, you must continue with it. Majority of the people who switch in search of a better dishwasher only find out that the previous one was way better than the new one.
10. Beyond Natural Dishwasher Tablets – Fragrance & Dye Free
- USDA Certified Biobased Product. Septic Safe.
- No dyes, fragrances and chlorine bleach. Ultra concentrated mineral and plant based ingredients.
- Built in rinse aid technology for a spot free shine
If you want an affordable and climate pledge-friendly dishwashing detergent, then don’t look any further. The tablets are covered in a protective film that is water dissolvable. Many people have tested it by keeping the tablet in a water bowl, and it dissolved within a couple of minutes. Many users with hard water like the detergent because it works effortlessly for them and keeps the cloudiness away from the dishes.
Users express their appreciation for this product with comments like “blown-away,” “fantastic,” “the one,” and “superb.” There is hardly any complaint about its working and cleaning abilities. Some people do complain about the detergent arriving in damaged boxes.
11. Nature Clean Automatic Dishwasher Packs Unscented, 24 Count
- Made without chlorine
- Made without Sulphates
- Made without perfumes or dyes
The detergent is 96% natural. The best thing about the company is that they are open about the manufacturing process and how many natural ingredients have been used in the making. It is something that you will not find with other top-of-the-line detergents.
People who start a detox program for their homes try this detergent and stick to it. Many reviewers agree that you may need to pre-rinse some of the dishes, but they come out odor-free, which is all that matters when you plan to cut chemicals from your home. Many reviews mention how relaxed they feel to know that their infant’s bottles are washed with a safe detergent.
12. Biokleen Free & Clear Dishwashing Detergent- 64 Loads
- Our Free & Clear Automatic Powder is fragrance free and, like all Biokleen products, is clear of dyes and brighteners
- Plant-based surfactants gets off tough baked-on-food and grease, while natural oxygen bleach helps remove stains
- Dishes come out spotless and free of chemical taste and residue
Biokleen, as the name implies, is a well-known bio-based detergent for automatic dishwashers. It works smoothly with built-in and portable dishwashers. It is free from artificial fragrances, colors, and dyes. Any scent from dishes is oil-based, so you don’t have to worry about anything.
Many users rate this detergent better than leading brands such as Costco, which smells a lot in their setting. It is highly rated and is the go-to product for many homeowners. However, some users complain about the film on the glasses, but they also mention that they have hard water at home. Sometimes a detergent may not handle extremely hard water, and you may get confused that it is leaving chemicals or soap residue on your dishes.
13. If You Care Dishwasher Tablets – 40 Count
- POTENT CLEANING: If You Care Automatic Dishwasher Tablets are super concentrated and contain a potent blend of mineral and plant derived cleaning...
- THE BETTER OPTION: Our tabs are non-toxic, have minimal impact on aquatic life, are free of phosphates and chlorine, and will dissolve quickly in...
- DISH SOAP REPLACMENT: Use in place of large pods and liquid soap, as our small but powerful tabs contribute to reduced emissions and energy...
It is a super powerful and concentrated detergent. The tablets are packed in a recyclable box, with each tablet individually wrapped in a water-dissolvable paper. The detergent is made from coconut, rapeseed, and bio-based enzymes to remove the toughest of leftovers from your dishes.
It is an eco-friendly product with no plastic wrapping. People have been using the tablets for several years and never have any complaints. It dissolves quickly, leaves no smell, and cleans the dishes perfectly. However, it doesn’t work well with very old machines. You may notice a white layer on your plastic glasses, but it could be due to hard water at your home.
14. Nellie’s Dishwasher Powder
- Simple, natural ingredients leave nothing behind but clean dishes.
- Works great in hard water. Powers through the toughest baked-on food.
- Phosphate-free, biodegradable, safe for septic systems.
For some people, tablets and liquids don’t work well. If you are one of them and are looking for a quality dishwashing powder, here is the best deal. The detergent is not so popular, but it has a loyal customer base.
People who use this detergent praise that you only have to use 1 tablespoon with a complete load in a 24-inch dishwasher. Moreover, the detergent is so effective that even homeowners with an old machine get great results without smells or films on the dishes. It is also effective against hard water. It is packed in a steel box, so there are no plastic concerns. The powder won’t clog in extreme humidity as well due to the airtight container. Yes, there are some concerns that it is costly, and it is the reason many people avoid it.
15. Biokleen Automatic Natural Dish Pods – 40 Pods
- EFFECTIVE PLANT-BASED DISH WASHING SOLUTION: Biokleen uses natural, plant based solutions in its commitment to planet Earth.
- CLEANER DISHES: Biokleen's Free and Clear Automatic Dish Pods cut through grease and burned-on foods to make your dishes spotless.
- EASY TO USE, NO MEASURING REQUIRED: Simply drop one pod into your loaded dishwasher for clean and sparkling dishes
Biokleen also makes high-quality dishwashing pods. All you have to do is through a pod at the bottom of the dishwasher and let it do all the work. The dishes will come out neat and clean without any scents or layers.
Users rate this product along with Cascade and Finish and mention how they like using it because it is chemical-free and leaves no scent. It is also eco-friendly as the packaging and ingredients don’t harm the environment in any way. Some users mention that it leaves a white film sometimes on the dishes but never smells. The white film can also occur due to hard water at your home.
16. Cleancult Dishwasher Pods, 32 count
- TRULY CLEAN DISHES: Skip the hand-washing and let our dishwasher detergent pods do the work for you. Each pod effectively cleans and freshens up your...
- SOLUBLE WRAPPER: These dish pods for dishwashers have a water soluble wrapper and deliver a complete clean in every cycle. They’re perfectly dosed...
- FRESH & EASY: Other dishwasher tablets give off an unpleasant, soapy smell. Each dishwasher pod by Cleancult is lightly scented with a hint of...
Cleancult dishwashers are costly. Users don’t like paying too much for washing their dishes. It is even costly than the top brands and gel-based detergents. If you wash your dishes twice, you will be using $1 for your dishes.
Keeping the high price aside, it is a climate pledge-friendly brand, and the detergent is made with all-natural and mineral-based ingredients. It smells of lemongrass, which is due to natural oils and not synthetic scents. All the reviews mention that dishes had no chemical smell or taste but a pleasant lemongrass odor which is negligible. The biggest concern is the price which is a red flag for many homeowners.
17. Grab Green Natural Dishwasher Detergent Pods
- Contains: 1- 24 Pod Bag of Grab Green Natural Tangerine with Lemongrass Automatic Dishwashing Detergent Pods. Our velcro closure bags are convenient...
- Naturally Effective: Specifically formulated to cut through grease and stuck on food without harsh chemicals, noxious fumes or caustic chemicals,...
- Tangerine with Lemongrass: Our convenient, pre-measured pods provide a bright burst of natural fragrance. Just drop one in your dishwasher and easily...
Grab Green detergent pods are made with bio-based ingredients and essential oils. It is also a costly detergent, and this is why it is not very popular. One load wash costs around 50 cents. You can do the math on how much you will be paying for a complete month.
As far as the cleaning capacity and non-chemical nature are concerned, the detergent performs fairly well. You don’t need to worry about any scents coming out or dishes coming unclean. User reviews analysis tells us that it has no smell but leaves some taste on the dishes. This isn’t a good thing. You’ll probably have to wash your dishes again with another dishwasher.
How can I be sure that I am buying a non-chemical detergent?
Go through the ingredients. Make sure you don’t find an ingredient that we mentioned above. Check for online reviews before buying.
Why is a natural dishwasher detergent better than a synthetic one?
Natural detergents don’t harm our environment. No toxic chemicals are used in the manufacturing, and nothing harmful is expelled in the environment from your dishwasher. Moreover, they don’t smell like synthetic detergents.
Which is the best non-chemical eco-friendly detergent?
Solimo, Seventh Generation, Ecover, and Lemi Shine are the best eco-friendly and non-chemical dishwashing detergents.
Can I use my dishwasher without a detergent?
Yes. If you are running a rinse-only cycle, you can run it without a dishwasher.
Is dishwashing detergent harmful to my health?
Yes, dishwashing detergents are harmful to human health and the environment as well. However, you can use a bio-based chemical-free detergent to minimize the effects. Detergents can cause skin and eye irritation.
Can I use baking soda instead of dishwashing detergent?
Yes. You can use baking soda with your dishwasher. You can also pour a cup of white vinegar at the bottom of the dishes for better results.
How do you use dishwasher pods?
The dishwasher pods are placed in the dishwasher dispenser drawer. Once placed, run the dishwasher according to your preferred cycle.
How much detergent do I need?
There is no fixed amount of the detergent you will need. It depends on the condition of your dishwasher, the quality and strength of the detergent, and how much dirty your dishes are.
Why is citric acid added in so many detergents?
Citric acid is a natural ingredient used to break down food particles and cut grease from your dishes. It is safe to use and mighty effective.
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