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  • Writer's pictureValinda

Eco-Friendly and Effective: 12+ Best Zero Waste Dishwasher Soaps on the Market

Updated: May 16

Did you know that a dishwasher is over 3 times more water-efficient compared to washing dishes by hand? On average, standard-size dishwashers use 16 liters of water per cycle. While you would use about 50 liters of water when doing that same amount of dishes by hand. Not only that, over the past decade they also have become much more energy efficient with dishwashers using 30% less of the energy compared machines used 20 years ago and using half the water.

So, if you have the funds and space for a dishwasher, it is a good investment to save water and electricity (and time). You might think that a dishwasher fills up to the top with water, or sprays a constant stream of fresh water. But this is not the case. Dishwashers nowadays use lots of pumps, filters, and sprays that reuse water during cleaning. Clean water is only used at the beginning and for the final rinse at the end of the cycle. During washing, water is filtered and heated for maximum cleaning efficiency.

doing the dishes by hand - Zero Waste Dishwasher Soap

What can I use Instead of Dishwasher Soap

So, you're staring at a mountain of dirty dishes, the dishwasher soap is nowhere to be found, and panic starts creeping in. Fear not! Here are some quirky alternatives that can save the day:

  1. Liquid Dish Soap: Ever thought about breaking the rules a bit? A dash of regular liquid dish soap might just do the trick. But remember, easy does it! Too much, and you might end up with a bubbly eruption in your kitchen.

  2. Baking Soda: This kitchen superhero is known for its mild abrasive powers. Sprinkle a touch of baking soda into the detergent compartment and watch it battle those stubborn stains and funky odors with finesse.

  3. Vinegar: Picture this: a cup of white vinegar poured into the belly of your dishwasher, ready to wage war on grease and odors. It's like a citrus-scented warrior charging into battle!

  4. Borax: Ah, Borax, the mysterious mineral compound. A sprinkle here, a sprinkle there (about 1-2 tablespoons), and suddenly, your dishes are gleaming like never before. It's like magic, but with science!

  5. Lemon Juice: What's more refreshing than a burst of citrus? Squeeze some lemon juice into the detergent compartment or toss in a few lemon slices. Your dishes will thank you as they emerge from the dishwasher smelling as fresh as a summer breeze.

Remember, while these alternatives can save the day in a pinch, they might not always match up to the superhero status of proper dishwasher soap. So, use them sparingly and follow up with a rinse cycle to ensure your dishes come out sparkling clean and residue-free.

clean dishes in a dishwasher - Zero Waste Dishwasher Soap

Why choose Eco-Friendly Dishwasher Soap?

Choosing eco-friendly dishwasher soap isn't just about being trendy; it's about making a real impact on our planet. Here's why it's a choice worth making:

  1. Gentle on Mother Earth: Eco-friendly dishwasher soaps are formulated with biodegradable ingredients that break down naturally in the environment. This means less harm to our soil, waterways, and aquatic life compared to traditional chemical-laden soaps.

  2. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint: Many eco-friendly dishwasher soaps are made using renewable energy sources and sustainable manufacturing practices. By choosing these products, you're supporting companies that prioritize reducing carbon emissions and conserving resources.

  3. Safe for Your Health: Conventional dishwasher soaps often contain harsh chemicals and synthetic fragrances that can irritate your skin, eyes, and respiratory system. Eco-friendly alternatives are typically free from these harmful ingredients, making them safer for you and your family.

  4. Protect Your Dishes: Eco-friendly dishwasher soaps are formulated to be gentle on dishes while still effectively removing grease and grime. This means your dishes will last longer, reducing the need for frequent replacements and ultimately saving you money.

  5. Contribute to a Greener Future: By choosing eco-friendly products, you're voting with your dollar for a more sustainable future. Your individual choices may seem small, but collectively, they have the power to drive positive change and encourage others to make greener decisions too.

In short, opting for eco-friendly dishwasher soap is a simple yet impactful way to do your part in preserving our planet for future generations. It's a win-win for both you and the environment!

people unloading a dishwasher - Zero Waste Dishwasher Soap

What makes Dishwashing Soap Eco-Friendly?

Eco-friendly dishwasher soaps stand out due to several key characteristics that prioritize environmental sustainability:

  1. Biodegradable Ingredients: Eco-friendly dishwasher soaps are formulated with biodegradable ingredients that break down naturally in the environment. This means they won't persist in soil or waterways, reducing their ecological impact.

  2. Non-Toxic Formulas: They are free from harsh chemicals such as phosphates, chlorine, synthetic fragrances, and dyes, which can be harmful to both human health and the environment. Instead, they utilize plant-based or naturally derived ingredients that are gentler on the planet.

  3. Minimal Packaging Waste: Eco-friendly dishwasher soaps often come in packaging made from recycled materials or are packaged in ways that minimize waste. Look for products with recyclable or compostable packaging to further reduce your environmental footprint.

  4. Energy and Water Efficiency: Some eco-friendly dishwasher soaps are designed to work effectively in lower temperature wash cycles, saving energy and reducing water consumption. This helps to decrease the overall environmental impact of dishwashing.

  5. Certifications and Labels: Many eco-friendly dishwasher soaps carry certifications or labels from reputable organizations such as the EPA's Safer Choice, EU Ecolabel, or the Leaping Bunny Program, indicating that they meet specific environmental and safety standards.

  6. Cruelty-Free and Vegan: Eco-friendly dishwasher soaps are often cruelty-free, meaning they are not tested on animals, and vegan, meaning they do not contain any animal-derived ingredients.

By choosing dishwasher soaps with these eco-friendly attributes, you can contribute to a cleaner, healthier planet while still enjoying sparkling clean dishes.


For our dishwasher to run, we need a decent dishwasher soap to make sure that our pots and pans get properly clean, therefore, I have made a list of 12 zero waste dishwasher soaps that will make sure your dishes are clean while the planet is unaffected.

Zero Waste Dishwasher Soap

Buy in bulk

If you have the possibility to buy your products in bulk, I recommend you do so as it will save you lots of packaging. However, this eco-friendly option is not available for everyone as for the ones among us who live more rural, a bulk store is often not nearby making it a very costly and time-consuming trip. So for all of you without a bulk store, I have made a list of zero waste dishwasher soaps to clean dishes for the entire family.


Zero Waste Dishwasher Soaps

There are lots of dishwashing soaps available nowadays but most don’t consider our dear planet when formulating the product. Harsh chemicals are often used to properly clean your dishes while a fragrance is added to make them smell nice. So, below are 12 zero waste dishwashing soaps that are free from toxins and other harsh chemicals while most are fragrance-free (some use essential oils).

Dropps

Even 24-hour baked food and tough stains are no match for dropps eco-friendly detergent pods. These pods are so effective that you don’t even need to pre-wash or soak your dishes saving you lots of water with each load of dishes. Dropps deep clean your dishes without leaving a residue or fragrance on your dishes so you can keep your family healthy and safe. All the ingredients used are sustainably sourced plant-based ingredients that are not tested on animals. This zero-waste detergent is free from synthetic fragrances, dyes, enzymes, optical brighteners, parabens, phosphates, and phthalates. Even their packaging is sustainable as you can recycle or compost the cardboard.

Zero Waste Dishwasher Soap - dropps

Ecover

For more than 35 years, Ecover has been creating powerful cleaning products that won’t harm the planet or the people on it. This includes this amazing eco-friendly dishwashing detergent. These tablets have no problem with stubborn, stuck food that has been on the dishes for over 24 hours. Made with plant-based and mineral ingredients, this biodegradable, phosphate-free formula effectively washes your daily dishes, glasses, and flatware without harming the planet. Their cardboard packaging makes this product even more sustainable as the waste that is left after you finish this box is minimal.

Zero Waste Dishwasher Soap - ecover

Seventh Generation

This bio-based product uses an enzyme-rich formula to cut through tough stains, grease, and other food residues to leave your dishes sparkling clean. This eco-friendly detergent is strong enough that pre-soaking of the dishes is not needed, saving you lots of time. For over 25 years, Seventh Generation has been designing eco-friendly products for in and around our homes and this Fragrance-Free Dishwasher Detergent Pack is no different. They are made with plant-based ingredients free of fragrances, dyes, phosphates, and chlorine bleach so you know for sure you are using a product that is safe to use on items your kids eat.

Zero Waste Dishwasher Soap - seventh generation


Clean cult

Ditch the hand washing and let these zero-waste dishwasher detergent pods do the work for you. Each pod effectively cleans and freshens up your family's dishes without leaving chemical residues that many other products leave behind. These pods come in a water-soluble wrapper so you can be sure every load is perfectly dosed. The wrapper will dissolve completely, so you don’t have to worry about measuring the perfect amount to get your dishes properly clean. These pods are lightly scented with a hint of lemongrass to provide a gentle fresh scent to your dishes. These dishwasher detergent pods come in paper packaging that is 100% recyclable so, ditch your single-use disposable plastic habit and switch to a zero-waste alternative for your kitchen.

Zero Waste Dishwasher Soap - clean cult

Grab green

Grab green is naturally formulated to cut through grease and stuck-on food without harsh chemicals, noxious fumes, or caustic chemicals, leaving your dishes spot-free with a brilliant shine. These amazing dishwasher pods are hypoallergenic, free, and clear of all scents and dyes, so they are perfect for everyone with fragrance sensitivities. These pods are septic safe and made from naturally derived plant and mineral ingredients to ensure the best natural cleaning products without any phosphates, phthalates, chlorine, toxins, dyes, or masking agents. All ingredients are responsibly-sourced and of high quality and they are cruelty-free because they don’t test on animals making this a great product that is safe for you and our planet.

Zero Waste Dishwasher Soap - green grab

Puracy

Puracy is a biodegradable dishwashing detergent that is designed to work better when you skip the pre-rinse. Made with advanced, plant-derived enzymes, a single dishwasher pod thoroughly removes grime and dried-on food without the need to pre-rinse your dishes. Simply scrape off the leftovers, stack them in the dishwasher, and let this 99.5% natural dishwasher soap do all the work for you. Made from plant and mineral-derived ingredients, Puracy eco-friendly dishwashing pods are a grease-cutting, spot-free, automatic detergent. With gentle (yet very effective) cleaning power, these dish tabs easily remove stubborn food stains. Designed for all types of dishwasher-safe items, these dishwasher tabs provide incredible results with pots, pans, and even baby gear like bottles and cups. Free from harsh chemicals and is not tested on animals.

Zero Waste Dishwasher Soap - puracy

Beyond

Beyond is a zero waste dishwashing detergent that is completely biobased as certified by the USDA. They are free from harmful dyes, fragrances, and chlorine bleach making them safe to use with septic tanks. This zero waste formula is made with ultra-concentrated mineral and plant-based ingredients to leave your dishes spot-free and with brilliant shine in an eco-friendly way. There is no need to unwrap each tablet as the biodegradable film dissolves in your dishwasher. Even their packaging is completely recyclable as these are made with fiber-based materials making it completely plastic-free.

Zero Waste Dishwasher Soap - beyond


If you care

The zero waste dishwashing tablets from If You Care are super concentrated and contain a blend of mineral and plant-derived cleaning ingredients, like coconut and rapeseed, and enzymes to get your dishes clean. Their tabs are non-toxic and have minimal impact on aquatic life as they are free of phosphates and chlorine, and will dissolve quickly when they come in contact with water. The wrapper around the dishwasher tablets is made with polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), a water-soluble, biodegradable polymer, so there is no need to unwrap these small tabs. They are much smaller compared to other leading brands meaning fewer raw materials are used, stored, and transported, reducing your carbon footprint even further.

Zero Waste Dishwasher Soap - if you care


Synergetic

The zero waste dishwasher soap from synergetic is the perfect solution to remove those stubborn greasy stains from your dishes without having to waste your time and energy constantly scrubbing. Their eco-friendly dishwasher detergent enjoys a premium formula based on plant extracts, a unique blend that efficiently removes fat, stains, and stuck food, leaving behind squeaky-clean foam-free dishes for your family to enjoy. These tablets are 100% eco-friendly and biodegradable, containing no dyes, fragrances, or phosphates while leaving no residue so these are safe for your family and our planet. The zero waste Synergetic dishwasher detergent pods are designed to ensure full compatibility with all dishwashers, regardless of brand or model.

Zero Waste Dishwasher Soap - synergetic


Adustman

Adustman ditched the pod design and decide to go for detergent sheets for your dishwasher instead. Their hypoallergenic, biodegradable, formula has no preservatives, phosphates, bleach, or brightener while remaining a powerful cleaning agent that is easy to use while saving water and electricity. These sheets are designed to effectively rinse your dishes, saving you time water, and electricity. They dissolve completely during your wash cycle leaving your dishes spotlessly clean after washing. Because of their compactness and being very lightweight (especially when compared to liquids, powders, tablets, and pods), they have a much lower carbon footprint when transported making them much more eco-friendly.

Zero Waste Dishwasher Soap - adustman


Method

Grimy glasses and dirty dishes are no match for the Methods incredible plant and mineral-based stain lifting power pods. This dishwasher soap is free of phosphates and chlorine bleach while these powerful little pillows cut through grease and can even remove stuck food that has been left for 48 hours. Their phosphate and chlorine-free formulae even work in areas that have hard water and will leave your dishes sparkling and squeaky clean. This dishwashing detergent was tested by humans, not animals making it completely cruelty-free. Even though the packaging is plastic, they choose recycled plastic for their containers.

Zero Waste Dishwasher Soap - method

Earthley Wellness

This all-natural eco-friendly dishwasher detergent from Earthely Wellness is not only great for your dishes, it is also gentle yet very effective making your dishes look like new. No harsh chemicals are used in this detergent so you are sure that Earthley’s Dishwasher Detergent is pure, eco-friendly, and safe for your whole family. This powder detergent is With tough on dirty dishes but made with only plant-based ingredients. Natural essential oils are used to create an amazingly fresh and clean lemon thyme scent but it is also available unscented for those who prefer it that way.

A bag will last about 60 full loads of dishes. This detergent is also septic safe, eco-friendly, without artificial colors, and has no added phosphates or parabens.

Zero Waste Dishwasher Soap - earthley wellness

Eco Machine cleaners

Often we don’t scrape off 100% of our dishes before we put them in the dishwasher. This results in dirt being left in your dishwasher for longer than you would like and your dishwasher starts to get a smell. This is, even more, the case when you live in an area that has hard water as this can affect all household appliances that use lots of water. When your machine has developed a smell, this is an indication that you need to clean your dishwasher so I have included a few eco-friendly dishwashing machine cleaners to do this in an eco-friendly way.


Eco gals

Eco gals understood the importance of our household appliances that need to clean themselves saving us a lot of time that we get to spend with our family. However, we also want to do this as eco-friendly as possible. They understood this as well as eliminated all odors from your dishwasher without the use of intense perfumes or fragrances. Eco gals clean your dishwasher so you can eat and drink from even cleaner dishes and glasses, keeping your dishwashers performing as they should be.

True to their statement: Eco-Gals get jobs done while protecting the earth and feel good about it.

Zero Waste Dishwasher Soap - eco gals

Fresh & Clean

Fresh & Clean tablets are extremely easy to use. Just put one of the tablets in the detergent tray, run a norming wash cycle and let the magic happen. Their special formulate tablets freshen your dishwasher while the metal protection agent protects the internal plumbing like the sprayer arms and other key components to make your dishwasher last longer. This zero waste dishwasher cleaner will leave your dishes more bright with each use while your dishwasher remains more durable and all the different components stay safe. Fresh & Clean is safe to use when you have a septic tank making it a great eco-friendly product.

Zero Waste Dishwasher Soap - fresh and clean

Lemi Shine

This biodegradable dishwasher cleaner is safe and EPA certified while they don’t sacrifice efficacy for cleaning power. The main power of Lemi Shine comes from a powerful yet natural ingredient; citric acid. This is strong enough to remove hard water buildup and other gunk. Using one of Lemi Shine zero waste cleaners once a month will restore the performance of your machine leaving it clean, smelling fresh, and extending the life of your dishwasher. Don’t let the natural smell fool you as this powerful cleaner is both strong and natural making it safe yet effective without the use of bleach or other harsh chemicals.

Zero Waste Dishwasher Soap - lemi shine


In embracing zero waste dishwasher detergent, we're not just scrubbing away grime; we're actively participating in a cleaner, greener future. Each time we opt for biodegradable formulas, minimal packaging, and cruelty-free ingredients, we're making a conscious choice to reduce our ecological footprint and preserve the beauty of our planet. So, let's suds up with purpose, knowing that every sparkling plate represents a step towards a world where sustainability reigns supreme. Together, let's make dishwashing a catalyst for positive change, one eco-friendly bubble at a time.


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Hi there, I am the founder of the green and happy mom blog and green and happy shop. After battling severe depression, I am determined to make the world a little better and I want to take you along that journey with me. 

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