One of the things someone had requested, was a dish-washing detergent cheat sheet. I get a lot of questions on dish-washing detergents, so I figured I’d put together a quick list of some of the green(er) detergents out there.
Ingredients to avoid:
Phosphates: Phosphates are all sorts of bad and are completely unnecessary in your detergents. Phosphates act as a water softener, in order to make your detergent “work better.” They leak into the ground and water system, and wreak havoc on our eco-system. Once in the water system, it causes algae blooms, which rob water of oxygen. This is just a smidge important for our aquatic life. (fish need oxygen too!)
Chlorine: Chlorine is one of those cleaners that people swear by. Your house is just not “clean” unless you douse it with a healthy dose of bleach. Need your baby’s toys or bottles sanitized? Just add a little bleach to the water. Again, entirely unnecessary. Bleach is caustic. The fumes alone are enough to make you sick.
Artifical perfumes (phthalates): By now, it’s known that phthalates are just plain bad for you. Those fresh morning daisies you’re smelling in your dishwashing detergent, most likely contain phthalates. And are most likely leaving that residue on your glasses. Ew.
Please keep in mind that this is not a complete list.
Without further adieu:
Better Life Automatic Magic: Automatic Magic is an ultra concentrated gel designed for use in automatic dishwashers – and it’s scent free. Ahhh.
EcoStore Auto Dish Powder: I’ve heard of this around the Internet and our buddy Sommer from Green and Clean Mom raves about EcoStore’s products. Lo and behold, they carry a powder dish detergent for a relatively affordable price considering how much you get (Huge container for $12).
Seventh Generation: This is probably one of the more popular eco-friendly dishwashing detergents on the market. It’s available at most grocery stores, as well as Target. Truthfully, I was not a fan of it, BUT, I only used the powder, so the gel may be a different story entirely. Kathy has used the gel version with much success – she’s a fan! Please note that some Seventh Generation products use SLS and this might be one of them. If you avoid it, skip this one.
Biokleen Automatic Dish Powder: I haven’t tried biokleen’s dishwashing detergent, but I have used some of their other stuff and am a big fan. Their bac-out works wonders. So this might be worth checking out. I’ve always found their stuff to be affordable too.
Citradish: I have to admit, I’ve been curious about Citradish for awhile now. I haven’t tried it yet, but I love the smell and the cleaning power of orange. This one is next to try on my list, as I feel better about it being a gel, versus a powder.
Dapple: We’ve actually done a review of the Dapple dish soap, and it worked pretty well. This detergent was made specifically for baby bottles and dishes. I haven’t had a chance to try the detergent, but given that my daughter gets bottles, and given how much I hate washing them by hand (which I still do, anyway, because they just don’t seem as clean otherwise, see above re: caked on food), it makes me feel better that there are moms out there who get the same icky thoughts about putting their baby’s bottles in the dishwasher with a harsh chemical detergent.
Ecover: I have to say, out of all of the eco-friendly dishwashing detergents out there, this one worked the best. Especially being a powder. If you couldn’t tell, I tend to not be a powder fan. I hate the powder residue. But these handy little tablets actually worked rather well, and didn’t leave much in the way of residue. The downside? Is the cost. I also had a hard time finding them, and that whole new baby thing has left me a tad bit forgetful in remembering to order some. Given the amount of dishes we go through on a regular basis, running out of detergent is just not an option. But this has no bearing on the performance. I love Ecover products!
Method Smarty Dish: If there’s one thing that Method has down, it’s a knack for packaging. They try to make their packaging appealing and cute. And I’ll admit that it gets me. Those sleek curved edges. But I have not tried their smarty dish. I’ve heard good things, but I just have a hard time justifying the cost of only 20 tablets. That’s like a week in my house. Also the fact that it’s a powder makes me leery. I’d like to say you can teach an old dog new tricks, but not for a mere 20 tablets.
Nellie’s Dishwasher Nuggets: Again. I haven’t tried these, but they popped up in my quest for a safer detergent. I passed on them, because of the powder/ small amount they give you combo. If you only do a few loads a week, maybe this is the detergent for you.
Mrs. Meyers: Mrs. Meyers is another popular “eco-friendly” brand out there. I’ve always loved their products, and the majority of them have worked well. I have not tried this, however, so I make no claims. I will say that if you’re familiar with the brand, you know their a bit on the pungent side. So if you’re olfactory can’t handle strong smells, you’re probably best to steer clear of Mrs. Meyers. (Note: This is the only Mrs Meyers product we recommend. The other products they carry do not pass our requirements)
Allen’s Naturally: Allen’s has a pretty popular following of their laundry detergent in the cloth diaper world. I know it works rather well. I would be surprised if the dishwasher detergent did not do the same. I have not tried this… In fact, I didn’t even know they made dishwasher detergent. I may have to check this out.
SafeMama Reader Mention: Someone had made mention of Trader Joe’s making a dishwasher detergent, however, I went searching for this at my local store and all I saw was dish soap. So I’m not sure if I maybe misunderstood, or maybe my local TJ’s didn’t carry it? If it’s out there, I’d love to try it out.
Alternatively, I did find a recipe for making your own, online, and the recipe is as follows:
- 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup liquid castile soap (scented is fine)
- 1 lemon
I’m ALL about the vinegar and baking soda. We use TONS of it in our house, and I did try my hand at a couple of methods (not this one) in my dishwasher, and was unsuccessful. I would love to hear if anyone has used this recipe or something similar with success, because I would switch in a heartbeat if I knew it would work.
Now it’s your turn SafeMama readers. Is there anything here that we haven’t mentioned that has worked for you?