10 Best Eco Friendly Dishwasher Detergent of 2021

by Christopher Jones

In a world that understandably demands us to ‘go green’ every day, it may be quite challenging to figure out how you, a typical consumer, can play your part. A popular choice these days, both for the planet and one’s own health, is making the switch to eco-friendly dishwasher detergents.

So, if you are looking to make the switch yourself, we’re glad you’ve bumped into this article. We have for you not only a list of recommendations but also a buying guide to help find the best eco-friendly dishwasher detergent in a jiffy!

Editors' Picks for Top Eco Friendly Dishwasher Detergent of 2021
Editors' Picks for Top Eco Friendly Dishwasher Detergent of 2021

What is An Eco-Friendly Dishwasher Detergent?

Eco-Friendly Dishwasher Detergent is a kind of detergent that is good for the environment. Basically, it is free from phosphate that makes it more eco-friendly than usual.

The main objective of a dishwasher is to clean the dishes and make them look as good as new. With this new kind of detergent, you can use less amount of it when you have to fill the dishwasher. As a result, you will be able to use it for a longer period of time.

3 Types of Detergent

This kind of dishwasher detergent comes in three types: powders, gels, and tabs. You should go for the one according to your dishwashing requirement. If you have previous experience, it will definitely help you out.

1. Powder

Powder detergent is very good for hard water and will do the cleaning smoothly. If you are in an environment where the temperature is quite higher, this powder will form clump as time goes by. When you are going to fill up your dispenser, it will be a challenging situation for you.

2. Gels

Gels are the cheapest out of the other types. If your dishes are very dirty, it might not get cleaned that well because the combination of bleach and enzyme agents don’t happen.

3. Tabs

Finally, tabs are considered as the top pick by many people around the world. It has a very strong cleaning power and highly reliable. To reap the rewards out from it, you have to pay a price premium.

Top 10 Best Eco-Friendly Dishwasher Detergent

The market for eco-friendly products is growing exponentially. The endless options for dishwasher detergents are likely to leave you frustrated, which is why we have compiled a list of our personal favourites in terms of the safety of ingredients, effectiveness, and its aftermaths on the planet!

1. Cascade complete Actionpacs Dishwasher Detergent

Cascade complete Actionpacs Dishwasher Detergent
Cascade complete Actionpacs Dishwasher Detergent

‘Prewash’ is a term that makes everyone cringe. Especially after those huge dinner parties when you just want to stick the dishes in the dishwasher and call it a night. However, some dishwashing liquids struggle to remove dried and ‘stuck on’ food, hence requiring prewashing.

Luckily, the first product on our list of recommendations specialises in removing dried-up, stuck-on dirt. Formulated with grease-fighting power, one pod is enough for a heavy load. These action-packed pods are quick to dissolve, meaning it releases its cleaning power very early on in the cycle.

Similarly, no prewash is required, and no additional rinse aid is necessary to make your dishes sparkly! The product contains sodium carbonate, nonionic surfactants, sodium silicate, and enzymes. Sodium carbonate (also known as ‘washing soda) is a strong alkali base used in eco-friendly cleaning products.

Moreover, alkalis in your detergent also protect the metal part of your dishwasher from acid corrosion. Nonionic surfactants help to dissolve grime and grease. Surfactants also help dry your dishes faster by preventing water from sticking to your dishes.

Likewise, enzymes help to break down starch and deliver super-fast cleaning. Thus, this product is completely free of phosphates, that means it is environmentally safe!


  • Phosphate-free, eco-friendly
  • Pods are convenient, no measurement required
  • Does not require prewash
  • helps save water
  • No additional rinse product required
  • Alkali in the product helps protect dishwasher metal


  • Relatively expensive
  • Can irritate if in contact with skin

2. Cascade Platinum Actionpacs Dishwasher Detergent

Cascade Platinum Actionpacs Dishwasher Detergent
Cascade Platinum Actionpacs Dishwasher Detergent

Soaking, scrubbing and rinsing – these three essential dishwashing steps make a pile of dishes look more daunting than it is. What if one dishwasher detergent pod alone could do all three tasks for you?

These pods are designed to give you the ultimate results with just one pod per load. Powerful anti-grease technology rules out the need for prewashing. Did you know roughly 15 gallons of water you can save per load just by skipping a prewash?

Being quick-to-dissolve and compact, the pods contain cleaning agents that start working to dissolve, lift and rinse dried-on mess on dishes very early on in the dishwashing cycle. From minimal grease to 24-hour burnt-on lasagna residue, this product can tackle it all.

This is the best dishwasher detergent the company has to offer for your silverware. The product is non-abrasive, making it a perfect choice for you if you are worried about scratches and discolouration of non-glassware dishes.

Accordingly, the ingredients in this product create a built-in rinse aid system and prevent hard-water filming on your dishes. This helps you save a pretty penny on additional rising products and improves the longevity of your dishes. Also, sodium silicate in the detergent prevents your dishwasher from corroding!


  • Phosphate-free, eco-friendly
  • No prewashing is required
  • helps save water
  • Suitable for silverware
  • Quick dissolving, compact pods
  • Soaking, scrubbing, rinsing action
  • Sodium silicate improves the longevity of dishwasher
  • No additional rinse product required
  • Works with hard water


  • Can cause pipes to clog if detergent compartment is wet
  • Relatively expensive

3. Cascade Platinum Plus Dishwasher Detergent

Cascade Platinum Plus Dishwasher Detergent
Cascade Platinum Plus Dishwasher Detergent

With 16X power and Power Booster technology, this premium dishwasher detergent tackles stuck-on, baked-on and burnt-on food with absolutely no prewashing!

The packs contain soaking, scrubbing, and rinsing technology, all built into a quick-dissolving, compact pod. Only one pod per load leaves your dishes with a dazzling shine. The product is formulated to prevent hard water filming on your dishes. ‘Washing soda’, or sodium carbonate acts as the primary eco-friendly cleaning agent in this formulation.

Moreover, coupled with sodium silicate, this alkali helps to protect the metal parts of your dishwasher from acid corrosion.

Similarly, no additional rising aid is needed with this product. The built-in rinsing system helps to wash away dirt and prevent hard water filming. Nonionic surfactants in the formula help fight grease. One end of the surfactant dissolves in water while the other dissolves in oil, thus removing grease.

Last but not least, this product works equally well with both hard and soft water. It fights grease, protects your dishes and silverware, and improves the longevity of your dishwasher – all with one all-rounder eco-friendly detergent formula!


  • No prewashing is required
  • helps save water
  • No additional rinsing aid needed
  • Quick to dissolve
  • No measurement required
  • Protects dishwasher from corrosion
  • Works in both hard and soft water


  • Phosphate-free, eco-friendly
  • Strong lemon scent
  • Relatively expensive

4. Finish All in 1 Gelpacs Orange, Dishwasher Detergent

Finish All in 1 Gelpacs Orange, Dishwasher Detergent
Finish All in 1 Gelpacs Orange, Dishwasher Detergent

Like its competitors, our next recommendation also comes in compact, premeasured gel packs that fit right into the detergent compositions of your dishwasher. However, bursting with the refreshing fragrance of oranges, this formulation contains Pre-Soakers that scrub away baked-on, dried-on grease.

The pods dissolve rapidly to release powerful, non-abrasive cleansers that breakthrough tough stains without damaging your dishes and glasses. All pods, being pre-measured, take the hassle of measuring the right amount of detergent off your plate.

Besides, this product has 3X concentrated cleaning power, compared to basic dishwasher detergents from the same brand. The formulation is free of phosphates. Although they’re effective cleaning agents, pollute sewer systems and water bodies as well as deprive aquatic animals of oxygen.

Polycarboxylates in the formulation has high chelating strength. Confused as to what chelating it? This is the process of how water gets ‘softened’ by removing undesirable elements like manganese, magnesium, and so on.

At the same time, Enzymes, similar to how it functions in our body to help digest food, helps break down starch and grease on your dirty dishes. They provide rapid cleansing if used at the optimum temperature. This helps your dishes become squeaky-clean very early on in the cycle.


  • Quick dissolving, conveniently sized pods
  • No prewashing is required
  • helps save water
  • Refreshing orange scent
  • No soapy residue


  • Not useful in hard water, may not prevent filming
  • Heavy loads need more than one pod

5. Grab Green Natural Dishwasher Detergent

Grab Green Natural Dishwasher Detergent
Grab Green Natural Dishwasher Detergent

Our next recommendation is the perfect choice for environmentally conscious people. This product is formulated with ethically sourced, sustainable ingredients that are either plant-derived or minerals; and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Additionally, the product is entirely cruelty-free.

Apart from being tested on animals, the ingredient list is free of any animal by-products. The formulation is hypoallergenic and completely free of scents, dyes, and known carcinogens. Also, it is a worry-free, safe option for you and your family.

As all pods do, this one also comes pre-measured. One pod cleans one heavy load effectively, without leaving any spots or residue. Despite being eco-responsible, this product competes with some of the biggest names in the market in terms of cleaning power.

Sodium carbonate acts as a water softener while sodium sulfate absorbs excess water. Sodium citrate, sodium carbonate peroxide, linear alcohol ethoxylate, and several other ‘safe’ chemicals work together to battle grease and deliver impeccable cleaning. Thus, Sodium polyaspartate prevents lifted food from re-sticking.

Alpha-amylase and protease enzyme blends break down protein and stubborn grime. Polyvinyl alcohol forms the quick-dissolving pod. No matter how daunting this list of ingredients sounds, we can assure you it is safe for you, your family, and even your furry friends!


  • Fragrance-free
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Naturally derived ingredients
  • Cruelty-free
  • Recyclable packaging
  • Formulated without phosphates, phthalates, chlorine, toxins, dyes, and masking agents.


  • Not effective in hard water
  • Requires additional rinsing product
  • Leaves powdery residue
  • Powder pods likely to break in shipping

6. Method Smarty Dish Plus Dishwasher Detergent

Method Smarty Dish Plus Dishwasher Detergent
Method Smarty Dish Plus Dishwasher Detergent

The next product is another great choice for those who are concerned about the environment. This dishwasher detergent is formulated without phosphates and bleach. All the ingredients used in this product are naturally derived, making it people and planet-friendly!

This company focuses on using biodegradable ingredients in their products, and it is no different for the detergent in question. None of their products is tested on animals. Sodium carbonate and sodium citrate, two common cleaning agents in eco-friendly detergents, are a part of this formula too.

Protease and amylase are two powerful enzymes that help to deliver spotless cleaning. However, this particular concoction also contains sodium disilicate and sodium metasilicate to optimise the pH level. Tetrasodium iminodisuccinate helps soften water, making the product effective in hard water.

Accordingly, Sodium polyaspartate prevents dirt from redepositing on your dishes. Poloxamer 181 acts as the surfactant in this product, preventing hard water filming on washed dishes. This also prevents any residue from forming on your dishes, glassware, and silverware.

Furthermore, these premeasured pods, held together by alginic acid, dissolve quickly to fight strong grease, grime, and stuck-on food all the while resisting acid corrosion on your dishwasher parts, thanks to the alkaline ingredients. The list of pros and cons below will help push you towards this powerhouse product!


  • Eco-friendly
  • Naturally derived ingredients
  • Biodegradable
  • Non-toxic mineral-based formula


  • Requires prewashing
  • Additional rinsing product needed

7. Finish – Quantum – 82 Count Dishwasher Detergent

Finish – Quantum – 82 Count Dishwasher Detergent
Finish – Quantum – 82 Count Dishwasher Detergent

Degreasing, scrubbing, shining – it’s all possible with just one product now. Each premeasured pod has 3 different fast-dissolving chambers to tackle all three tasks.

Firstly, the powder chamber scrubs dishes to soften and lift stuck-on food. It also tackles stain such as those made by tea or coffee. This chamber provides such intense cleaning action that you will not be required to pre-soak your dishes at all, no matter how stubborn the mess is!

The toughest grease and residue are handled by the gel compartment and its grease-cutting power. Lastly, the Liquid Powerball helps to dry your dishes and finish with a sparkling shine! The formula has a built-in Shine and Protect Glass action that takes extra care of your glassware.

What’s more? The formula contains added Silver Protection for your silverware. The formulation of this product helps to prevent hard water filming, staining, and any trace of residue. As a result, no additional rinsing product needs to be used alongside the pods.

Besides, the multiple chambers’ powers are released when it is needed, so all you have to do is stick your dishes in the washer and pop a pod into the detergent compartment. From this point onwards, your dish, pots, pans, glassware, and silverware are all in great hands!


  • No prewashing or presoaking is required
  • helps save water
  • Prevents hard water filming
  • No additional rinsing product needed
  • Silverware Protection
  • Shine and Protect Glass Action


  • Contains bleach
  • Pods take time to dissolve
  • Strong smell

8. Seventh Generation Fragrance-Free Dishwasher Detergent Pack, 45 counts, 2 packs

Seventh Generation Fragrance-Free Dishwasher Detergent Pack, 45 counts, 2 packs
Seventh Generation Fragrance-Free Dishwasher Detergent Pack, 45 counts, 2 packs

Created without chlorine bleach, dyes, phosphates, and fragrances, an enzyme-rich formula delivers superior cleaning, degreasing, and stain removal. No prewashing is required as just one pod of plant-derived goodness is sufficient to take care of the toughest of loads.

Enzymes in the product help break down protein and starch while added surfactants hold food particle in suspension so they can be rinsed away, reducing the change on redepositing.

Likewise, to make the product effective in hard water, it contains citric acid, a plant-based water softener, and sodium aluminosilicate, a mineral-based water softener. Grease is taken care of by protease and amylase while the overall cleaning is done by sodium silicate and other plant-derived cleaning agents.

At the same time, Sodium precarbonate and sodium magnesium silicate make spot and stain removal super easy for this product. Worried about hard water filming? Fret not since sodium polyaspartate prevents just that.

So, being fragrance-free, the product does not cause any reactions or allergies. With the help of carefully selected plant-derived and mineral-based ingredients, the product challenges the cleaning abilities of some of the top-tier products in this category.


  • Eco-friendly
  • Plant-derived ingredients
  • Mineral-based ingredients
  • Fragrance-free
  • Contains water softeners
  • No hard water filming


  • Prewashing may be required
  • Occasionally leaves residue

9. Lemi Shine Natural Dishwasher Detergent

Lemi Shine Natural Dishwasher Detergent
Lemi Shine Natural Dishwasher Detergent

With a unique powder and gel combo, this next product leaves your squeaky clean with an extremely eco-friendly formula. Leaving its competitors one step behind, this particular dishwasher detergent removes the mess that has been stuck on for over a whopping 48 hours!

Burnt on pasta or baked-on fruit crumbles are nothing this product cannot handle. Removing tough tea and coffee stains also happen to be well within its area of expertise. Citrus oils help cut through grime and grease.

Enzymes help break down protein and starch. Biodegradable surfactants, along with other powerful chelating agents, help lift dirt and prevent it from redepositing. Sodium precarbonate removes spots and stains, and sodium silicate prevents acid corrosion of your valuable dishwasher.

The detergent pods come premeasured and are easy to use. Becoming environmentally friendly and quick to dissolve, they leave your dishes with a refreshing lemon scent. The product leaves no soapy residue or filming due to hard water.

Environmentally responsible and toxin-free, this product is a steal at this price! The ingredients are safe for your family and nature alike. If you are still sceptical about the product, we have put together a list of pros and cons to help you decide!


  • Eco-friendly formula
  • Removes mess stuck on for over 48 hours
  • Stain removal
  • Powerful chelating and water softening agents
  • Biodegradable surfactants
  • Refreshing scent


  • May require prewashing
  • The scent may irritate some
  • Additional rinsing aid will be needed in tough water

10. Cascade Actionpacs Dishwasher Detergent

Cascade Actionpacs Dishwasher Detergent
Cascade Actionpacs Dishwasher Detergent

Having earned the Good Housekeeping Seal, this dishwasher detergent is formulated with intense grease-fighting power. The product comes in easy to use packs that fit right into the detergent compartment of your dishwasher. The quick-dissolving, premeasured pods begin flawless cleaning early on in the cycle.

Similarly, no scraping, pre-soaking, or prewashing is required with this product. From the very first wash, it tackles dried-on food by breaking it down and lifting it. Nonionic surfactants keep the dirt in suspension, preventing it from sticking back onto the dishes.

Accordingly, preventing the metal in your dishwasher from corrosion, sodium carbonate protects your machine as well as provides superior cleaning. Also known as ‘washing soda’ it is a great eco-friendly alternative for other toxic cleaning agents found in commercial dishwashing products.

Apart from that, enzymes cut through grease and grime, breaking down protein and starch. If used at the perfect temperature, the enzyme delivers a maximum rate of reaction and kick-starts the process of spotless cleaning.

Even though the product comes last on our list, it is nowhere near the least in terms of results. Be it ceramic, glassware, or silverware, all your dishes will be well taken care of by this powerful formula that has become a favourite across thousands of households.


  • No scraping or pre-soaking
  • Prewash is not required, helps save water
  • Premeasured, quick-dissolving pods
  • Eco-friendly ingredients
  • Leaves no residue
  • Protects dishwasher


  • May not be effective in hard water

What to Look for Before Buying

Overwhelmed by all the reviews? It is natural to get confused by all the features on these products, which is why we have created a buying guide for you. Identifying your needs will help you choose products that serve you best.

Pods or Tablets? Gels or Powder?

If you are looking for quick dissolving action and secure storage, pods are your best friend! Tablets are suitable if you live in dry weather so that moisture does not ruin the effectiveness of the tablets or damage them in storage.

Confused between gel and powder? The most effective detergents usually come with a gel and powder combo. Some products mentioned in this article are combos of both at the price of basic powders, so they are worth a shot!

Are You a Fan of Prewashing?

Most of us are too busy to have any time to invest behind doing dishes. If you resonate eco-friendly or too lazy to go into the whole spiel of prewashing, presoaking, or pre-rinsing, you would definitely have to look into options that offer the effective cleaning and break down on stuck-on, baked-on, and dried-on mess.

With the right ingredients, you can rule out all the painful ‘pres’ of doing your dishes and leave it all up to the machine!

Hard Water vs. Soft Water

One significant factor in the effectiveness of your detergent will be the hardness of the water in your area. If the water contains magnesium, manganese, and other undesirable elements, it is termed as ‘hard water’. Hard water is more likely to leave films on your dishes after cleaning.

If you live in a hard water area, make sure to purchase extra-strength detergents. Additionally, purchase a rising aid to get rid of the pesky hard water film. You will find several products that have built-in film-fighting agents.


Surfactants are an indispensable part of the magical formula. They help lift grease and residue and keep in it suspension so that it can be rinsed away. You, naturally, would not want the nasty mess to stick back onto your dishes so you should make it a point to find detergents with effective surfactants.


Undoubtedly, you are concerned about the environment, or you would not have landed on this article (or at least we hope you are!). So we’re giving you a small list of ingredients you should avoid reducing your footprint. Ready? Let’s go!

  • Phosphates – to help aquatic animals and prevent their oxygen from being stolen like troublesome algae!
  • Dyes – remember, you will be using these dishes to eat and cook, you wouldn’t want it to contain dye remnants
  • Artificial colour and fragrance
  • Bleach
  • Animal-derives ingredients – Not being tested on animals is not enough for a product to be considered cruelty-free. Make sure your product of choice does not contain any animal by-products or animal derives ingredients. Stand by the fur babies!

Why should I use Eco-Friendly Detergents?

You should use Eco-Friendly Detergents for various reasons. All of them are explained below.

No need to Smell Artificial Scents

Artificial scents in detergents can sometimes be a problem when you are in the middle of dishwashing. The fragrance can either be stronger or weaker but still, it is not an enjoyable experience.

So, with the eco-friendly one, you will get to smell natural essential oils. Although not all the detergents will be scented, some of them will be unscented as well. So, read the instruction before you buy one.

Good for the Well Being of Your Family

Many dishwasher detergents contain sulfuric acid and chlorine bleach which is very harmful to the health and environment. If anyone of your family members has asthma or other respiratory problem, this situation can turn out to be dangerous, unfortunately.

Therefore, using eco-friendly detergent will help you out in avoiding these health problems. Moreover, when the dishwasher will be in the drying cycle mode, there will be no harmful elements released into the atmosphere with that.


It might seem like that the eco-friendly detergent will be expensive than the regular ones. If you are thinking like that, you are wrong. This upgraded detergent will save you money in the long run by reducing your overall cost.

You can make your own dishwasher detergent for a small price and buying a readymade one won’t cost you that much surprisingly. So, don’t hesitate to buy it and make your family immune from harm. No one has to go to the hospital for treatments and there will be no medical bills. As a result, your money is safe and secure with you. Cheers!

Healthy for the Environment

The ingredients of the dishwasher are all-natural and as you know, these are all safe for the surroundings. Also, the detergents are biodegradable which means that it contains natural stuff that can easily break down without harming the environment. There are no chemicals that will pollute the air or water.

Accordingly, packagings are all done using eco-friendly things as well, which means that you can recycle them without any problem. You can take part in reducing the wastage that can have a negative impact on you.

So, while cleaning your dish, you will be very happy to know about the fact that you are contributing to the welfare of the environment. With your knowledge, you can even share it with your close one and let them also take part in this noble cause.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Should I break the pods before using them?

Answer: No! The pods are covered in a thin quick-dissolving membrane so all you have to do is pop it in the detergent compartment in your machine. Do NOT puncture the pods as the product may cause irritation if in contact with skin.

2. Help! My detergent leaves a film, what do I do?

Answer: The effectiveness of your detergent may be hindered by the water in your area. Hard water can often render certain detergents ineffective, but it does not mean they are bad products. Use an additional rinsing aid, and you’ll be good to go!

3. Can I put the pods in the washing compartment?

Answer: Several detergent pods work just as well if thrown into the washing compartment instead of the detergent compartment. However, we suggest opting for the latter for even product distribution.

4. Can I use eco-friendly detergent for my silverware?

Answer: Of course! These formulas tend to be gentler on your dishes as opposed to mainstream commercial formulas. Your silverware will be just fine! However, be careful not to load up the washer with gold flatware, cast iron, etc. as the machine itself may damage them!


In 2019, no one can make an excuse when it comes to being eco-friendly. Everyone can contribute to the health of this planet in their own way. We hope you have found the best eco-friendly dishwasher detergent to suit your needs. You, your family and the planet can all benefit from the small steps you take to make the Earth a better place for us all!

To Buy Kitchen Stuff you can read more review articles.

About Christopher Jones

Chris is an avid traveler and a gastronome.
He used to live for years in Europe and has far reached many unheard corners in Asia.
While at it, he never stopped looking for best local foods to try them out.
His favorite motto is "how can one live well, travel well, and work well without having good food every time?"
Chris received his MBA at University of San Francisco at the age of 24.

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