dishwasher powder on counter

Best Non Toxic Dishwasher Detergent Guide

Learn all about the toxins in traditional dishwasher detergents and all the benefits of using a non toxic dishwasher detergent.

Plus, you’ll find a super easy DIY all natural dishwasher detergent recipe to enjoy.

Are you tired of having your dishes taste like soap after they are done cleaning?

I can’t stand the taste of traditional dishwashing detergents on my dishes. It means I am getting all those chemicals in my body, and that is not good.

I tried to find the safest dish detergent for my family to limit our exposure to all those nasty chemicals.

In doing so, I found this all natural dishwasher detergent recipe that gave us a safe dish detergent option.

Learn all about the chemicals in traditional detergent, the benefits of making your own safe dishwashing detergent, and the super easy best dishwasher detergent recipe I found!

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Harmful Ingredients in Store-Bought Dishwasher Detergent

Traditional dishwasher detergents often contain a cocktail of toxic substances that can pose serious health risks.

You should steer clear of these risky chemicals to keep your household safe and protect the environment.

Be vigilant about the substances in your detergents, understanding their potential hazards and making informed decisions in favor of non-toxic alternatives.

Here are some of those nasty chemicals in traditional dishwashing cleaners:


While phosphates were once commonly used in dishwasher detergents to boost cleaning performance, they are now recognized as contributors to water pollution.

Many regions have restricted or banned the use of phosphates in household cleaning products due to their environmental impact.

Phosphates encourage the rampant growth of algae, which depletes oxygen levels and can lead to the death of aquatic life—a phenomenon known as eutrophication.

Direct exposure to phosphate-laden products may also cause skin and eye irritation for some individuals.

Want more DIY cleaning recipes that use essential oils? Check out this recipe book!

Chlorine Bleach

Some dishwasher detergents contain chlorine bleach, which can be irritating to the skin, eyes, and respiratory system.

While this may sound beneficial, the use of chlorine bleach comes with significant downsides. Breathing in the fumes during washing can lead to respiratory discomfort and, over time, more severe lung issues.

There’s also the broader ecological threat; once rinsed away, residue can disrupt aquatic ecosystems, harming plant and animal life.

While there are still plenty of non chlorine dishwasher detergent options, the other chemicals still pose a threat.

Perfumes and Fragrances

Many commercial dishwasher detergents contain synthetic perfumes and fragrances designed to leave dishes with a pleasant smell.

Unfortunately, these artificial scents often come at a cost to your health.

The complex mixture of chemicals in these fragrances can trigger allergic reactions and sensitivities, leading to symptoms like headaches, dizziness, and skin irritation.

To make matters more complex, manufacturers are not required to disclose the specific ingredients that make up these fragrances, citing proprietary formulas.

This lack of transparency leaves you in the dark, unable to identify and avoid potentially harmful substances in the quest for a safe dishwashing experience.

dishwasher detergent on counter

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)

Despite its effectiveness, there are concerns about SLS due to its potential as an irritant. Prolonged exposure to this chemical has been associated with irritation to the eyes, skin, and even the respiratory system for some individuals.


These compounds lend a lasting aroma to your sparkling dishes but at a stealthy cost to health.

Exposure to phthalates has been associated with disturbing hormonal balances and, over time, can contribute to more significant issues such as reproductive problems and endocrine disruption.

Artificial Colors

Artificial colors in dishwasher detergents serve no purpose other than to make the product visually appealing.

These synthetic dyes do nothing to enhance the cleaning performance of the detergent. Yet, they can lead to unwelcome health effects.

Exposure to certain artificial colors has been associated with skin irritation and may cause allergic reactions in some individuals.

Continuous use of products containing these unnecessary additives can contribute to a cumulative effect of chemical exposure on your body.

EDTA (Ethylenediaminetetraacetic Acid)

EDTA, or ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, serves as a chelating agent in dishwasher detergents. This means it binds to metal ions, preventing them from interfering with the detergent’s cleaning effectiveness.

However, EDTA is not without its issues. A major concern is its slow decomposition process in the environment.

This sluggish breakdown means EDTA can persist for a long time, leading to potential accumulation in the ecosystem.

Additionally, its ability to mobilize heavy metals can reintroduce them into water sources, posing risks to aquatic life and disrupting natural processes.

top view of dishwasher detergent

Benefits of Making Your Own Natural Dishwasher Detergent

Creating your own natural dishwasher detergent offers several compelling benefits. Here are some of the benefits of making your own non toxic dishwasher detergent:

Cost Savings

You might be surprised to learn that whipping up your own dishwasher detergent isn’t just safe, it’s also kind to your wallet.

When you select individual ingredients in bulk and mix them according to your needs, the cost per load is often way lower than store bought detergents.

Control Over Ingredients

By opting to create your own dishwasher detergent, you gain complete control over the ingredients used

This DIY approach not only allows you to select compounds that are safe for your household but also ensures that you are fully informed about what goes into the product you use daily. 

With this full transparency, you decide on each component, tailoring your detergent to your personal health standards and environmental concerns. 

The peace of mind that comes from such knowledge and authority over the ingredients in your dishwasher detergent is invaluable,  particularly for those with allergies or sensitivities to commercial detergent chemicals.

Environmentally Friendly

Embracing DIY dishwasher detergents made from all-natural ingredients leads to substantial environmental perks.

By making your own blends, you avoid contributing to the rampant chemical runoff that can occur with synthetic detergents, protecting local waterways and aquatic life.

Additionally, the use of plastic-free ingredients and packaging helps minimize your carbon footprint and the explosive amounts of waste burdening landfills.

These positive choices foster a healthier planet and pave the way for more sustainable household practices.


You have the freedom to tweak your homemade dishwasher detergent to match your water hardness and personal preference.

For areas with hard water, you might add more citric acid to combat mineral deposits. If you’re in a soft water zone, less could suffice.

This kind of flexibility maximizes cleaning power without risking damage to your dishes or dishwasher.

Plus, you can choose your favorite natural scents or opt for an unscented version if you have sensitivity to fragrances. Crafting your detergent means it works best for you and your home.

dishwasher powder on counter

Reduced Chemical Exposure

By opting for a non toxic dishwasher cleaner, you significantly reduce the risk of chemical exposure for every household member.

This proactive choice is especially beneficial in households with young children or individuals with sensitivities.

A safer dishwashing routine means peace of mind, knowing your loved ones aren’t ingesting trace residues from harmful substances with every meal.

You shield your family from the potential long-term impacts of these chemicals by selecting products free from harsh agents.

This is one of the main reasons why I wanted to make the best non toxic dishwasher detergent I could!

Some of these links are affiliate links meaning if you purchase from these links, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Everything I share is my own opinions and things I personally use and love. You can learn more by reviewing my disclosure. As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

DIY Non Toxic Dishwasher Detergent Recipe

Here is a super easy DIY dishwasher powder you can make yourself! It is a plastic free dishwasher detergent with non of the harmful ingredients.

Here is how to make this natural dishwashing detergent:


ingredients for non toxic dishwasher detergent recipe
While this picture shows a different lavender essential oil, please use organic oils when possible and make sure you verify they are pure and not fragrance with harmful chemicals. Not all essential oils are treated equally. Someone else made this recipe, but I prefer to use lemon essential oil from Plant Therapy.


Mix together Epsom salt, baking soda, washing soda and drops of lemon essential oil.

adding all the ingredients to recipe

Mix thoroughly and keep in an air tight container. Use 1 Tablespoon per dishwasher load.

dishwasher powder on counter

Non Toxic Dishwasher Detergent


  • Epsom Salt
  • Baking Soda
  • Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
  • Lemon Essential Oil


    1. Mix together ½ cup Epsom salt, 1 ½ cups baking soda, 1 ½ washing soda and 20-25 drops of essential oils.
    2. Mix thoroughly and keep in an air tight container. Use 1 Tablespoon per dishwasher load.

Best Non Toxic Dishwasher Detergents

If you don’t want to make your own, here are some of the safest dishwasher detergents to buy I have found:

Is dishwasher detergent residue harmful?

Dishwasher detergent residue can potentially be harmful if not properly rinsed off from dishes or if it accumulates inside the dishwasher. It is harmful to your health and can cause respiratory, endocrine, and skin problems.

How do I make my dishwasher detergent non-toxic?

Follow this super easy DIY non toxic dishwasher detergent recipe! It uses washing soda, Epsom salt, and baking soda.

Is it cheaper to make your own dishwasher detergent?

Most often it is a lot cheaper to make your own dishwasher detergent. The ingredients are usually cheaper and in bulk, saving you tons of money.

Be sure to check out this recipe book if you want more DIY cleaning recipes with essential oils.

Non Toxic Dishwasher Detergent Wrap-Up

Now you know about the potential dangers lurking in conventional dishwasher detergents.

Harsh chemicals like phosphates, chlorine bleach, and artificial fragrances pose risks to both your health and the environment.

Crafting your own dishwasher detergent isn’t just a safe alternative, it’s an active step towards a healthier home and a cleaner planet.

With control over the ingredients, you ensure a toxic-free rinse for your dishes, with the added bonus of being gentle on your wallet.

Make this non toxic dishwasher cleaner next time you run out and enjoy all the wonderful benefits.

Want more DIY cleaners? Check out these: