Safe Dish Soap Guide

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Maia James | Gimme the Good Stuff
Written by Maia, President

UPDATED: September 2016

As a family of four, we go through a lot of dish soap, and my kids love to “help” wash dishes.

As with many products, natural dish soap often is as effective as the ones that are a startling orange color and full of magical chemicals that make your dishes sparkle. The trouble with being tough on grease is that this usually also means tough on the health of whoever uses the stuff–and on the aquatic life of the rivers and streams where it ends up.

As you will see below under “The Sneaky Stuff,” the vast majority of “natural” dish soaps contain a ton of chemicals, just like their conventional counterparts. And while you do wash most of the product off of your dishes, some residue probably remains. And if your kids are using the soap, you’ll want to make sure it’s truly non-toxic before they get it all over their hands.

Better Life Dish Soap Lemon Mint from Gimme the Good Stuff
My Top Pick for Best Natural Dish Soap

If you want to avoid just smearing grease around pans, I suggest you try Better Life’s natural dish soap. I’ve found it to be the most effective of the natural bunch.

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Common Dish Soap Ingredients

Here’s some of the Bad Stuff you’ll find in most dishwashing liquid:

dish_soap_felix
Our old apartment didn’t have a dishwasher, so Felix and I washed by hand multiple times a day.
  • Surfactants. Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) are common foaming agents, usually derived from coconut. Both SLS and SLES produce bubbles in your dish soap, and are found in lots of “natural” brands. SLS is okay in my opinion (although not ideal), but SLES is not. (Here is where I explain the differences between sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate.). There are other newer coconut-derived surfactants, such as potassium cocoate, that have better safety profiles.
  • Dyes. Food-grade coloring is implicated in behavioral issues in kids, so I’m okay with my dish soap being colorless.
  • Fragrance. Anything scented probably contains hormone-disrupting phthalates, unless the manufacturers specify that they only use essential oils. Even phthalate-free synthetic fragrances usually are petroleum-derived and contain undisclosed chemicals.
  • Antibacterial ingredients. You may see “triclosan” listed on the label, or it may just say “antibacterial agent” or something along those lines. This stuff is totally toxic (carcinogenic and hormone disrupting) and also contributes to the antibiotic-resistant “super bugs” that are becoming a real problem.

The good news is that if you want something that really does work (almost) as well as Dawn, there are several great brands now available. So without further ado…


The Good Stuff: Natural Dish Soap

Good Stuff Badge

sonett_dish_washing_up_liquid_calendula

Sonnet Dish Washing Liquid

This soap by the German company Sonett is my new favorite for hand dishwashing. It contains none of the usual toxic suspects found in conventional (and many natural) brands of dish soap, works well, and looks pretty on my sink. Done and done!

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Tandi’s Naturals Solid Natural Dish Soap

Because this is a bar soap (no plastic!), I was reluctant to try it at first. But given the dearth of truly safe options, I eventually agreed to test it out, and I was pleasantly surprised when it worked as well as the other natural soaps. The trick is to rinse the sponge well and often and then reload with soap. The ingredients list is incredibly safe–it’s 100% natural with nothing questionable (see all ingredients here).

Tandi’s bar soap is also a great choice for those of you dealing with eczema who are looking to rid your homes of all detergents, because this is soap, rather than detergent. A 3.5-ounce bar costs $6.

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Eco-Me Lemon Fresh Dish Soap

Eco-Me Natural Dish Soap

I love Eco-Me dish soap–it actually works, doesn’t contain scary ingredients (although it’s not 100% natural), and smells good.

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Better Life Dish Soap Unscented from Gimme the Good Stuff

Better Life Natural Dish Soap

Better Life is one of the few larger natural brands to not contain any synthetic fragrance. It also skips the SLS, SLES, and controversial preservatives. This soap is most effective if you put a generous amount on the sponge.

We are now carrying Better Life Dish Soap in our online store, where you can grab a bottle for $7.99.

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MADE OF Foaming Dish Soap

MADE OF Foaming Organic Baby Bottle & Dish Soap

Made Of’s Foaming Organic Baby Bottle & Dish Soap, like all All Made Of products, is tested for everything from heavy metals and 1,4-dioxane so you can have total peace of mind when washing your baby’s bottles and dishes.

Buy Now from MADE OF


Pure by She She Baby Bottle Wash | Gimme the Good Stuff

Pure Baby Bottle Wash (Pure by She She)

A reader recently put this baby bottle wash on my radar, and I’m so glad she did. This simple ingredients list (just saponified organic coconut, olive, and jojoba oils, vegetable glycerin, organic aloe vera, and organic rosemary extract) is entirely clean. I don’t see why you couldn’t use this soap on all dishes, although I haven’t tried it so I cannot speak to how well it works. You can get a bottle on Amazon for $8.95.

Amazon


Attitude Dishwashing Liquid

A lot of you have asked about this brand. All of Attitude’s ingredients rank low risk on EWG’s database, but there are many synthetics (such as coco glucoside). Overall, while this one isn’t my top choice, it’s a good option. You can get Attitude Dishwashing Liquid in a two-pack on Amazon for about $12.

Amazon



I Am Goddess makes one of the safest natural dish soaps out there, and it includes a few interesting ingredients, like apple cider vinegar and aloe vera. I have never used this so can’t attest to how it performs…if you have, please comment below!

Buy now from Poofy Organics


The Best of the Worst

Because there aren’t that many dish soaps that we can call confidently Good Stuff, here are some that are what I will call Okay Stuff. If you can’t get any of the Good Stuff options, these are the best of the not-so-great.

  • Whole Foods dish soaps have some not totally great ingredients, like cocamidopropylamine oxide, coco-betaine (rated a C by EWG), and sodium lauryl sulfate. Still, on the whole (pun!), Whole Foods’ soaps are better than other options. Choose the unscented variety when possible.
  • Babyganics has ditched the SLES in their dish/bottle soap, which is great, and continue to change their formula every time I check for updates (so make sure you verify the ingredients yourself, as they may have changed again!). Sodium lauroamphoacetate is the newest surfactant, which seems safe enough although more studies are needed. They’ve added methylisothiazolinone as a preservative, which is definitely Bad Stuff, but in a small enough quantity that it’s not the end of the world. EWG score: C, but irrelevant because the ingredient list is outdated.
  • Ecover’s liquid dish soap used to be on my Sneaky Stuff list (see below), but they’ve changed their formula and it no longer contains SLES or many of the other concerning ingredients in the older version. This dish soap DOES still contain SLS, so I’m not going to call it Good Stuff, but I would consider Ecover dish liquid Okay Stuff. Note that EWG hasn’t updated the list of ingredients, so their scores are inaccurate.
  • Puracy is a newish brand, and I really WANTED to find out it was Good Stuff since I’ve been fielding lots of questions about this dish liquid. Unfortunately, I have some concerns with some of the ingredients in this one, including benzisothiazolinone, tetrasodium glutamate diacetate, and sodium lauromphoacetate (all of these and other ingredients get C’s from EWG). Still, nothing is overly concerning, so Puracy dish liquid is Okay Stuff.

Smearing Grease Around a Pan: Which Natural Dish Soap I Use
When we first made the switch to natural dish soap, my husband complained that doing the dinner dishes just felt like “smearing grease around a pan.” (I went with Seventh Generation, before I knew it that I had to read labels of the natural stuff, too!). Right now, I’m alternating between Better Life natural dish soap, Sonett natural dish soap, and Eco-Me natural dish soap–and they all are great. While I love the idea of a plastic-container-free soaps, and the Tandi’s soap we sell in our store has some die-hard fans, the truth is I just really like liquid dish soap.

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The Bad Stuff

Bad Stuff Badge

No big surprises here. Dawn sucks, and while they don’t disclose all of their ingredients, you can find their MSDS on the P&G website. Depending on which formula you pick, you’ll find SLES, fragrance (probably with phthalates), artificial colorings, carcinogenic phenoxyethanol, and/or neurotoxic methylisothiazolinoneEWG score: C-F, depending on formula.

Most Palmolive formulas contains sodium laureth sulfate, and they all contain synthetic fragrance and dyes. Palmolive does score a point for not using triclosan for their antibacterial soap (instead they use lactic acid). Palmolive’s “Eco” formula, and also the one they call “Pure + Clear” are the very definition of Sneaky Stuff! The Palmolive dish soap MSDS is available on the Colgate-Palmolive website.  EWG score: D-F, depending on formula.

I could go on, but you get the point: stay away from AjaxIvoryJoy, and probably anything else that leaves your glasses suspiciously sparkly.


The Sneaky Stuff

Sneaky Stuff Badge

Wow. When it comes to dish soaps, almost everything is Sneaky Stuff, even the stuff I used to think was Good Stuff. The 10 sneakiest dish soaps are as follows (in no particular order).

  1. Common Good dish soap–despite the amazing glass bottles–contains a bunch of bad ingredients, including sodium hydroxide, tetrasodium glutamate diectate, and sodium citrate.
  2. Dapple dish soap uses alkyl polyglucoside as a surfactant, which is safe, but it also contains tetrasodium iminodisuccinate (a C on EWG), synthetic fragrance (although they specify that it’s “made from ingredients consistent with the guidelines of the Natural Products Association”), and benzisothiazolinone (definitely Bad Stuff). When we tried to get more info from Dapple on their fragrance, we got no response (via phone or email). NOTE: Dapple sent me some free dish soap and other products to try. Obviously, this didn’t affect my review.
  3. Ecover is a big, fat fraud! No wonder their dish soap works better than all the other natural ones. Here is some of the gross stuff it contains: SLESlimonenecitral, and something called 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol, which is an immunotoxin rated by 8-10 on Skin Deep. By the way, you won’t see these ingredients listed on the label. Ecover uses clever euphemisms for all of them; SLES hides in the “anionic and nonanionic surfactants,” for instance. What’s really upsetting is how many health blogs and websites recommend Ecover products. Tree Hugger, however, did call them out on the 1,4-dioxane in their dish soap, and if you’re interested in reading Ecover’s response, here you go. Oh, and you are correct if you recall my former endorsement of Ecover laundry detergent. I’ve since updated that section of this site, feeling foolish that I accepted their dodgy response about SLES: “Not at concentration levels in our products. SLS and SLES can cause skin irritation just as any other plant based surfactant; even soap can do that.  All depends on the concentration of the solution, the synergy with other ingredients in the formula, the temperature of the solution and the exposure time, to name just the most important factors…There is no specific negative effect linked to the use of SLS and SLES, which are both based on coconut oil.” Note: Ecover sent me laundry detergent to review. EWG score: C. Check above under Good Stuff: “Best of the Worst” for my new assessment of Ecover.
  4. Earth Friendly Products used to list the ingredients in their Dishmate soap as just “water, salt, organic grapefruit oil, and 100% natural anionic coconut kernel oil-based surfactant.” They have recently started disclosing all of their ingredients, which include cocamidopropyl betainesodium coco-sulfatecocamidopropylamine oxidephenoxyethanol, and methylisothiazolinone. Super sneaky! EWG score: D.
  5. GrabGreen changed their formula, and their dish liquid now contains sodium laureth sulfate and cocamidopropyl betaine.
  6. Mrs. Meyers Clean Day’s PR company sent me bottles of all of their dishwashing liquids, hoping to have it reviewed on this site. While I did in fact use all four of delicious-smelling and totally effective dish soaps, I won’t buy or recommend Mrs. Meyers. They are indeed scented with essential oils, as the label claims, but they also contain synthetic fragrances (although a Mrs. Meyers rep assured me they are free of phthalates). While Mrs. Meyers does not contain SLS or SLES, it does have cocamidopropyl betaine, methylisothiazolinone, and benzisothiazolinoneEWG Score: C to D, depending on scent.
  7. The Sierra Club endorses Clorox Green Works dish soap, but we can’t do the same, thanks to synthetic fragrance (I’ve been unable to get an answer on whether or not this means it has phthalates) and artificial color. Green Works uses lauramine-oxide as a surfactant, which is rated a C by EWG. There are also a lot of other undisclosed ingredients, and for this EWG grades them an F.
  8. Method dish soap uses synthetic fragrance and color (this one is free of phthalates), and also contains synthetic preservatives, SLS, and ethanol. Still, I admit to using some of Method’s other cleaning products—I love how their bathroom cleaner smells and can’t break the addiction. EWG score: D-F, depending on formula.
  9. Caldrea dish soaps contain methylisothiazolinone, benzisothiazolinone, sodium coco-sulfate, cocamidopropyl betaine, and undisclosed fragrance. EWG score: C-D, depending on formula.
  10. Trader Joe’s doesn’t disclose any specifics about their dish soap, but we know it has artificial colors. EWG score: F.
  11. When I wrote the first version of the dish soap safety review (back in 2009), Biokleen was tight-lipped about the specific ingredients they use (“Unfortunately, our surfactants are a proprietary blend and therefore we do not disclose that information to the public.”) Biokleen did assure me, however, that their detergent is free of both SLS and SLES and that they don’t use synthetic fragrances or dyes. They sent me their material safety data sheet (MSDS) and their surfactant blend is not considered hazardous or possibly carcinogenic. Given all of this information, I felt that Biokleen should be considered Good Stuff. Unfortunately, Biokleen recently changed their formula and, to their credit, chose to disclose all ingredients. These include cocamidopropyl betainesodium lauryl sulfate (I’m actually okay with this ingredient, but I know some of you may not be), lauramine oxide, and something called C10-16 alkyl glucoside, about which I can’t find any information. NOTE: Biokleen sent me some free dish soap to review.
  12. Honest Company’s Honest Dish Soap has changed their ingredients for the better since the original version of this guide. But it still contains  sodium benzoate, cocomidopropylamine oxide, phenoxyethanol, sodium coco-sulfate, and cocamidopropyl betaine. EWG score: A (Obviously, I disagree with this rating.)
  13. Sapadilla Lovely Liquid Dish Soap contains cocamidopropyl betaine.
  14. Seventh Generation is totally transparent about their ingredients, so they get points for that. Another plus is that they test the SLS in their dish soap to ensure that it does not contain detectable levels of 1,4-dioxane. Unfortunately, there dish soap also contains methylisothiazonlinone and d-limonene (which gets a D from EWG). EWG Score: C to D, depending on the formula.
  15. Shaklee is a brand that we are asked about often. Unfortunately, their dishwashing liquid contains Poly(oxy-1,2-ethanediyl), .alpha.-sulfo-.omega.-hydroxy-, C10-16-alkyl ethers (yes, that’s one ingredient!), which may be contaminated with carcinogenic 1,4-dioxane. It also contains tetrasodium EDTA and C10-16-alkyl glycosides, both of which EWG rate a C.
  16. Sun & Earth dishwashing liquid contains sodium laureth sulfate, cocamidopropyl betaine, and phenoxyethanol. All of this is Bad Stuff! EWG Score: A (I cannot figure out why!)

What About Dishwasher Detergent?

We are working on a Safe Dishwasher Soap Guide, but for now, here’s what we’ve identified as the Good Stuff:

How to Make a Natural Dish Soap

As usual, my fabulous readers are often greener and cleaner than I am, and many of them use homemade dishwashing liquid. Here is one insanely easy homemade dish soap recipe that a one reader swears by: Combine 2 parts castile soap (Dr. Bronner’s is a good option) with 1 part warm water, plus a few drops of lemon oil. Shake before using.

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125 responses to “Safe Dish Soap Guide”

  1. Hi Maia,

    I see you recommend the Sonett Dishwashing liquid. I use it as well and after checking the bottle I see it contains both Limonene and Linalool (*from organic origin). Is it then safe if it’s organic? I have the Rosmary one so not sure if that’s the only one that contains these…

    Thank you

  2. Hello! In the interest of supporting more environmentally friendly products (less packaging, on top of non-toxic), what are your thoughts about BLUELAND products? There isn’t much on EWG that I can find. My main concern would be that everything is powder and can be toxic to the eyes and lungs. Thank you!

    • We always recommend asking your pediatrician. However, it is a very safe soap so as long as you rinse them well. Any safe dish soap is also fine.

    • Kathy – Dr Bronners can double as both! I hate how it isn’t great at lathering but a way to combat that is to use a foaming pump! I usually do 1/3 Dr. Bronner’s, some EO drops, and the rest water. If you’re using it specifically for hands you can add in a carrier oil to moisturize.

  3. Hi,

    This is a great collection of information. What is your opinion about aloe extract in some of these dishwashing liquids such as Betterlife. Some links aloe extract to cancer (Ex: Prop 65).

    Thanks

    Obi

  4. As far as puracy goes from what i’ve read it has an “A” rating with EWG for their dish soap. you might want to update

  5. Hi there! I love reading about all of this stuff! Is there an overall specific dish soap you would choose for baby bottles and dishes? I know Better Life is your top pick but I wasn’t sure if there was a specific targeted “baby bottle/dish soap” out their that would be as good as the above Good Stuff items listed? I don’t see the Pure Baby one you talked about available on Amazon now. Thanks!

  6. Hi, Do you think Dr. Bronner’s (peppermint) soap would be safe to use for baby bottle/ pump parts ? Should I get the “baby mild” version specifically?

  7. Do you still recommend Eco Me dish soap? Also, thoughts on there laundry soap? fragrance free versions

    Thanks

  8. Hi Maia,
    Just wondering if you thought the ingredients in this rinse aid by eco max looked ok?
    Water, Food Grade Citric Acid, Plant-Based Alkyl Polyglycosides and Food Grade Sodium Citrate.
    Thanks!

  9. Hi,
    I noticed you have written a reply to another person about ECOS dish liquid being sneaky stuff. I checked the ewg website and they gave it an A. I made sure the ingredients matched the bottle as well. Your thoughts?

  10. Hi Maia,
    I have two things to ask.
    (1) In your opinion, you stated that Ecover liquid dish soap is Okay stuff. What are your thoughts about Ecover Naturally Derived Automatic Dishwashing Tablets? I would like to try the Better Life Dishwashing Gel but worried it may leave suds so I am looking at the Ecover Tablets instead.

    (2) I am interested with the Better Life products. I am reading about Better Life all purpose cleaner and saw that one ingredient they listed is Methylisothiazolinone. You stated above that it is a bad stuff. Is it okay though in a cleaning product?

    Looking forward for your reply. =) Thank you very much!

  11. We’re are in a season where everyone is catching so my biggest question is does the natural stuff for dish soap and dishwasher detergent truly have you covered?

    I read somewhere that Palmolive Ultra Original Dish Liquid wasn’t all that bad and just with a little gets dishes really clean! It costs far less than the others too. Please advise guys!

  12. Nice list of natural alternative to the big chemical brands you find in most grocery stores. I like the manufacturers that use essential oils because some of them are excellent at preventing bacteria growth and the resulting odor in your dish sponge. For many other reasons, natural dish soap is definitely a much safe choice especially for families with small children.

  13. Hi there!
    Trying to switch to all non-detergent items in our home due to eczema on my youngest and my husband is sensitive to a lot as well. Thankfully, we switched years ago to good laundry soaps, but dishes are the one thing that are tripping me up!
    Does Better Life have any detergents in it? I love how it performs and smells, and I can see the ingredients used, but I have no clue if any of them are considered a detergent!
    I am using Dr Bronner’s, but I feel like I am smearing grease around and it leaves a residue, even with me adding some vinegar to the rinse water like their website recommends. Forget about it in the dishwasher, too! Horribly filmy and cloudy dishes even though I followed instructions to the ‘T.’ I am sure I am having tons of trouble due to our hard water. But we are in a rental, and I am not putting in water softeners in a rental!
    Can you help? I just want clean, non-filmy/greasy/cloudy dishes that are safe!!
    Thanks!

  14. Hi Maia,

    In a world of exploding access to information it is so difficult to find answers. I am trying to find a good baby bottle and dishwash product and am not sure wheather to go for attitude or babyganics. Babyganics claim they are formulated having babies needs in mind, but from your review attitude seams better? Also, are these brand’s products ‘nicer’ on the environment?

    Thanks,
    Marta

  15. Hi Maia,

    Thank you so much for this valuable article. you stated Tandis naturals solid dish soap is 100% natural, but it is not listed at EWG database. Is it mean they dont have any certification for their organic dish soap produce and The ingredients are disclosed 100% truely? Will you recomnend this dish soap if i would like to buy for baby’s dishes.

    • Hi there-
      Tandi’s dish soap is indeed 100% natural–it’s just a very small company that makes handmade products and likely isn’t on EWG’s radar.

  16. I see the recipe that you included at the bottom includes essential oils. I’d be really interested in you guys doing research on essential oils. My friends and co workers like to claim that certain brands are better than others and that most of what you find on the market is inferior or dangerous! I feel like essential oils are a great way to get toxic chemicals out of your home, but I don’t know what companies to trust. I think Young living and doTERRA are the big 2 that people fight about, but I purchased some from Rocky mountain oils after reading about it on a blog. I still just feel so confused with it all.
    Thanks!

  17. Maia,
    I’m still trying to learn what is good and what is not. Is https://thesimplyco.com/ The Simply Co good stuff? It seems like it to me but was wondering if you could give me your opinion.

    Also, Common Good Dish Soap https://www.commongoodandco.com/products/dish-soap-16oz-glass-bottle

    The reason I am looking at these products is because they come in glass jars, and not plastic. I am trying to reduce exposure both in my home and on the Earth, to plastics (as much as possible). I look for Earth Friendly products that come in glass because I think what ever is better for us and our pets is obviously also going to be better for the environment as well.

    Do you know of any products that are free from harmful chemicals that do not come in plastic containers of some type and instead, come in glass?

    Thank you!

    Beth

  18. You stated that Mrs. Meyers doesn’t contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate(SLS). this is incorrect. I have looked at the ingredient list on the Target website as well as their own company website and in both cases it lists water as the first ingredient and SLS as the second. I know you did not reccommend this product–a good choice–but I just thought the folks should have accurate information. Also I wanted to thank you for this article. It provides some good information.

  19. Can the mamasuds soap be used in place of dishwasher pods? Do you recommend any particular dishwasher pods?

  20. Hi I have been using Doterra Onguard cleaner concentrate for my dishes. I love it! It has just 6 ingredients besides essential oils and water.
    I’m thinking about switching because it is so expensive! $14 12oz

    •is the doterra soap good?
    (water, polysorbate 20, decyl glucoside, disodium 2-sulfolaurate, sodium methyl 2-sulfolaurate, cetyl betaine, tetrasodium glutamate diacatate, wild orange eo, clove eo, Cinnamon leaf eo, Cinnamon bark eo, eucalyptus leaf eo, rosemary leafed eo)

    Is there a different brand that is as good or better expecially if it costs less.
    thanks!

  21. Hi Maia,

    What do you think about South of France liquid hand soap? I’m using the lavender fields currently, here are the ingredients….

    Filtered Water, Saponified Coconut and Olive Oil, Natural Vegetable Glycerin, Cellulose, Blends of Natural and Essential Oils and Fragrance, Citric Acid, Vitamin E, Aloe Leaf Extract

    Thanks!!

  22. I’m curious what your thoughts are on organic veggie wash, if you use them, and if you recommend a certain brand? Thanks! 🙂

  23. Hi Maia,

    Can you please check out “dapple natural dishwasher pods” and advise if they are they safe/good stuff? I have been using these dishwasher pods for the past month to wash my baby’s bottles, pacifiers, and bottle parts in the dishwasher and wanted to know if it was actually safe/good stuff?

    If not, what dishwasher detergent do you recommend to wash specifically my baby’s bottles and all it’s parts? Using the diswasher is really the only way I am able to wash all of the accumulated baby bottles of the day, so a safe/good dishwasher detergent is a must for me. Please advise, thank you!

  24. Hi Maia,

    What do you think specifically about “dapple natural dishwasher pods”? Is that product safe for washing my baby’s bottles and bottle parts in the dishwasher? I have been using those dishwasher pods for the past month and want to make sure they are safe/good stuff. I really need a safe dishwasher detergent solution as it is really the only way I am able to wash all the accumulated baby bottles. Please advise on dapple natural dishwasher pods.

    If they are not safe, what is your best choice for a dishwasher detergent specifically to wash my baby’s bottles, pacifiers, and bottle parts??

  25. Hi Maia,

    Can you please checkout “dapple natural dishwasher pods” for cleaning baby bottles in the dishwasher and let me know if it is safe/good stuff? I am really in need of a safe dishwasher detergent for my baby’s bottles and this is the one I have been using lately. Hopefully it is not terrible, keeping my fingers crossed as I wait for your response! 🙂

  26. I used Seventh Generation for years, but read somewhere on the internet that it contains formaldehyde activators, ie (sneakily) ingredients that when combined create formaldehyde. I haven’t checked their ingredient list to verify that statement. Two days ago I bought Ecos Dishmate Free & Clear and it’s ingredients are not a match to what you posted, although neither is the packaging a match to what I saw on EWG. Their current ingredients are listed as: sodium coco sulfate, cocomidopropylamine oxide, lauramine oxide, coco betaine, phenoxyethanol, ethylhexylglycerine, tetrasocium glutamate diacetate, citric acid. It is, sadly, a challenge to find safe cleaning products in the USA. I use tea tree oil (one – two drops of tincture per ounce of water) to clean most things, or the cheap white (wheat based) vinegar in water, but still use dish soap and laundry soap. It took me over two months of email exchanges to get Sun to disclose the ingredients on their Free and Clear laundry soap. Frustrating. Methylisothiazolinone is on the ingredient list as is Disodium Distyrylbiphenyl Disulfonate, albeit at the bottom of their list.

  27. Have you looked at any of the Greenshield organic dish soap and dishwasher detergent? I know that you do recommend their laundry detergent.

  28. Thanks for your recent guide, which has been a big help as we sort out dish soap options. I bought the Better Life Naturally Grease-Kicking Dish Soap Unscented and like it a lot (nice to see a safe product that also cleans the dishes!). Is the Lemon Mint scent also safe, or just the Unscented?

    I can’t see an EWG score for the Naturally Grease-Kicking Dish Soap Unscented — what score does EWG give it? They do rate Better Life Dish It Out Clary Sage & Citrus – one formulation gets an A and another formulation gets an F. I’m confused because on Better Life’s website it says if you are looking for “Dish it Out” it is now “Naturally Grease Kicking Dish Soap”…does that mean Dish It Out is therefore getting an F from EWG?

    Hoping you can help sort this out so I can be sure I’m buying a safe product. Thank you!!

  29. After taking a look at the EWG website, looks like Eco Me and Better Life are considered to have some cancer risk (having several ingredients scoring a C). When I checked their review of Fit Organic, it was much higher and given a safer rating. Would you mind checking it out and letting us know your thoughts?
    Thanks, Maia!

  30. Hi – i see you once mentioned that Seventh Generation was a safe pick for dishwasher detergent- (https://gimmethegoodstuff.org/the-honest-company-by-jessica-alba-good-bad-or-sneaky/). Do you still think so? i have recently started putting my 7 month old’s bottles and bowls in the dishwasher so want to make sure its safe. I did see some of your more recent picks but was still curious on your opion of this (https://www.amazon.com/Seventh-Generation-Auto-Dish-Pacs/dp/B003V808ZA?th=1)

    Thanks for your help

  31. I recently tried the Eco-Me Fragrance Free Auto Dish Soap. It didn’t work at all. Plates and silverware came out with a thin coating of gunk that didn’t get washed away. Yuck.

  32. Hi Maia, your website is what I got to before buying anything for the house! Thank you for your hard work: ) My baby is due in Nov and by then I want to replace all my cleaning supplies with non toxic stuff.
    I see you reccomended couple things from Better Life, are all their products safe?

  33. Hello,
    I am curious about the problem with Seventh Generation products. I see you are not recommending them and wondered if you could provide your evaluation.
    Thank you
    Sandra

  34. Hi Maia~
    I am just looking into the Puracy products and got some of the stain remover and laundry liquid. Have you found these to have problem ingreds? You made mention of a concern.

    Thank you for this soap dish guide – so much!!!

    Alli

    • It’s not the worst stuff in the world, but nothing is organic (as far as I know), and I don’t like that they use benzisothiazolinone as a preservative.

  35. Hi! I love your website and use it often to research everything! I was reading your latest on safe dishwashing detergents. I saw the homemade dishwashing soap using Dr. Bonner’s Pure-Castile Soap. I have been using is for several months for homemade handsoap and laundry detergent. Today I actually sat down to read the very fine print on the bottle and two ingredients I was wondering about for safety are potassium hydroxide and tocopherol. Only tocopherol was listed in your glossary. Should I be concerned with either of these chemicals? Thanks so much for what you do!!

    • Tocopherol is not of concern in a product you’re not ingesting, IMHO. Potassium hydroxide isn’t such a great ingredient (it’s a type of lye used in liquid soaps), but I also personally think it’s okay in this use.

  36. What an informative site. Thank you so much. Curious if you know anything about products by The Laundress? I’m considering The Laundress Delicate Fabric Wash.

    • Unfortunately, the Laundress doesn’t disclose specific ingredients, and they use synthetic fragrance.

  37. Hi Maia,

    First just want to say, this website has become my Bible! I’ve found so many great products on here, from our new Soaring Heart mattress to our 6-month-old’s Hevea teethers. Thank you so much for doing this research and sharing it! I’ve passed it along to everyone I know who’s interested in natural and safe products.

    I ordered a bottle of Sonnet on Amazon before I realized they’d stopped importing, and it turns out it shipped from Japan. The label looks the same, but all the information is in Japanese. Now I’m not sure what to think – should I trust the brand, as far as the integrity of the product, and assume this is a label made for their market in Japan? I get nervous whenever I can’t read a product’s label. What do you think?
    https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B003DPGN8C/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    • Hello and thanks for the kind words:). I have no reason to think that the Japanese Sonnet is counterfeit or otherwise shady, but of course I can’t vouch for it, since I have no idea who that Japanese distributor might be!

  38. Hello girls,
    what do you think about FIT organic foaming dish and hand soap? Is it 100% safe? Is it better or worse than Better life soap?
    Thank you

  39. Hello. I use the Dr Bronners Castile soap mixed with water for dishes however it leaves a film. Is there a certain Dr Bronners that leaves less of a film then others?? I have not tried the lemon mixed with it perhaps that will help.

  40. Would you be able to recommend any safe liquid hand soaps? (Honest? Natures Gate? Mrs Meyers? Dr Bronners? Puracy? Ecos? Method? Seventh Generation?) Thank you advance!

  41. I know of some people that order products from The Melaleuca Company and they really seem to like the products they have used and some of the food items they have tried. Have you done any research on this company?? Thank you

    • A little, and I don’t love what I’ve heard about them. That said, I need to research further before taking an official position!

  42. Hello!
    That homemade dish soap you have listed above, Dr. Bronners castile soap, lemon oil, and water – can lemon essential oil be used? Also, is this handmade soap safe to use on my baby’s bottles, nipples, etc.? Thanks!!

  43. All Organic Dish Soap
    Any ingredients I should be concerned about?

    Ingredients: Purified Water, Organic Glycerin, Organic Potassium Sunflowerate (organic sunflower oil soap), Organic Potassium Olivate (organic olive oil soap), Organic Aloe Vera, Organic Ethanol, Potassium Hydroxide, Organic Fragrance (lemongrass).

      • It looks fine to you? I was just reading about Potassium Hydroxide online and its an inorganic compound that it highly corrosive at high levels, can cause burns and scarring with great exposure. AKA potash or KOH. Airborne particles can be corrosive to eyes, skins and respiratory tact in short term exposure. How can we be sure what level they are using in the soap? Its in castille soap too. I just don’t know here….

  44. Have you rated any of the Attitude Products?

    Is Attitude Dishwasher Eco Pouches ok?
    Any ingredients of concern?

    sodium citrate <100%
    sodium carbonate <5%
    oxygen-based bleaching agents (sodium percarbonate) <5%
    sodium silicate <5%
    vegetable non-ionic surfactants <5%
    sodium gluconate <1.5%
    enzymes <1.5%

      • Thank you so much for your reply. I just recently found your website and it’s been so helpful! Thank you for your hard work researching all this.

  45. Hey Maia!

    My wife and I are so bummed that Sonnet is gone from the US. We stocked up when they purged, but we had almost everything they made. What I’m wondering is why were we shipping liquids from Germany -> US. Why didn’t they import the powder (if you know), and mostly what I wanted to know was if you had any idea if down the road they’re coming back? Was it one lady that was importing on her own, or the company Sonnet actually having a US presence? Either way, we should probably take it off the guide unless there is a plan for the future. the liquids were just powder + water, so if they DO come back I would recommend they get the powder for dish, laundry, etc. since no point in shipping water around the world :)… thanks for all you do.

    • There was only the one importer in upstate New York, and as far as I know, there are no immediate plans to begin importing it again. So yes, when we update the Guide, we will have to remove Sonett.

  46. Hi. Would like to know what you think of Baby Ecos? I bought the toy and table cleaner and bottle cleaner…says it’s supposed to have all plant based ingredients.

    • Hi Yukino-
      I wasn’t familiar with that brand, but just checked the ingredients. Looks like everything is safe!

  47. Have you heard of Frosch from Germany? I loved Sonett but very sad that they don’t deliver to US anymore. I can’t quite tell from the ingredients listed, but is this dish soap considered good stuff?

    • Hi Susan,
      Unfortunately, no, Frosch uses synthetic colors and fragrances, and doesn’t disclose many of their ingredients.

  48. Hi Maia, could you tell which one is better and safer for my child?

    1. Pigeon liquid cleanser – water, polyoxyethylene(20) sorbitan monolautate, sodium citrate, alcohol, sorbitan monolaurate, sodium benzoate, flavor, polyepsilon-lysine.

    2. Attitude – Coco glucoside (<5%), myristyl glucoside (<5%), lauryl glucoside (<5%), sodium chloride (<5%), sodium gluconate (<5%), sodium citrate (30%).

    Are there any bad ingredients?

  49. Hi Maia, wondering are these safe to use on baby bottles? Any recommendations for baby bottles?

    Thanks.

  50. Hey Maia- do you have any hand sanitizer recommendations? Also any toothpaste recommendations?
    Thank you!

  51. The johnson and Johnson products that used to contain formaldehyde , how harmful was it?! When my 4 year old was born, the hospital used the head to toe bodywash to rinse some of her baby supplies (pacifiers and bottle nipples) and I’m sure we continued to do so at home for a few months. Is this harmful to her?! I know we rinsed everything when washed and used small amounts of soap but the crazy in me has me nervous.

    • Don’t worry! Small exposure like that for a short period of time doesn’t confer an appreciable risk, in my opinion.

    • I would ask your pediatrician, but my understanding is that they now say sterilization is not necessary and soap and hot water is fine.

      • Hi there! I use a Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap/water mix as described above, but in my dishwasher. I’ve been doing it for two years and works just fine! Because of the high heat, Castile soap does “fog up” a bit. Simply put some vinegar in the rinse compartment, or pour some vinegar in and do a short cycle after the main one. Just don’t mix the soap and vinegar together! They cancel each other out!

        🙂

        • This is the way to do it. We use castile soap for washing dishes by hand and in the dishwasher. Don’t forget the vinegar. 🙂

      • Hi Maia,

        What’s the latest status on your safe dishwasher detergent guide?? I am extremely interested in reading your choices and purchasing the best option ASAP!

  52. Hello,

    I know that some essential oils are not okay for baby, especially a newborn. I noticed that eco-me dish soap contains essential oils as an ingredient. Is this safe to use on Baby’s bottles/dishes?

    • Hi Jackie-
      In the quantities present in the Eco-Me soaps, and particularly because you rinse dishes (as opposed to, say, a body lotion you apply), I am definitely not worried about the essential oils. If you’re still concerned, you could get this one: http://amzn.to/1PVsasP

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