Best Natural Dishwasher Detergent Options

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Best Natural Dishwasher Detergent Options
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Dishwasher detergent can be one of the tougher products to find good natural options for. Homemade versions can work, but getting the ratios right is really important.

On the other hand, there are some good options out there but separating the good from the bad can be difficult.

These are the options that I’ve tried that actually work and that I use at our house:

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent:

I use this recipe when I make homemade dishwasher detergent. It works but it can be persnickety and form clumps (that still work) if there is a lot of humidity.

The upside is that it is a simple and cost effective recipe and you know exactly what it contains. The downside is that it can leave a residue depending on your water, the temperature used, and other factors.
powdered dishwasher detergent lg

Tropical Traditions Dishwasher Detergent

Another option that I use often is Tropical Traditions Powdered Dish Detergent. It is also all-natural and an enzyme cleaner so it is a much safer option than many store bought dish detergents.

One canister lasts at least a month at our house (often much longer). This one is a little pricier but it cleans well and lasts longer than many of the other natural options.

Ecover Powder

Another natural option that works well is Ecover Powder. It is available locally in many places, it cleans well and it isn’t that much more expensive than store bought brands. It was pretty close between Ecover and Tropical Traditions as to which one cleaned better, and I’d use either one.

Mrs. Myers

Another natural brand that I’ve tried that actually gets the dishes clean is Mrs. Myers. It comes in a variety of natural scents and is also available locally in many places. It is more expensive than the other natural options, but it does a good job.

What I Do

I’m all for a DIY option whenever possible, but in the case of dishwasher detergent, finding a homemade option that works with your water quality and dishwasher can be difficult.

If the homemade options haven’t worked for you, I’ve used all three of the other above powdered dish soaps with good results and would use them again. Most often, I use Tropical Traditions, but it is only available online and the other two can often be found locally.

Your turn- what do you use in your dishwasher? Share below!


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Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


101 responses to “Best Natural Dishwasher Detergent Options”

  1. Susan Avatar

    I have multiple chemical sensitivity and have learned to be creative with finding solutions for just about everything. I use 1 tablespoon of baking soda, 1 cup of
    white vinegar and a couple drops of Friendly Planet Free and Clear Dishmate dishwashing detergent. I do rinse my dishes before they are put in the dishwasher. So far this works great, there is no residue left on my dishes, no scent or odor and the dishes are clean.

    1. leticia Avatar

      I would like to try this! Do you add this concoction in the soap compartment? And did you mean Earth Friendly Products Dish Soap for the sink?

  2. Rachael Avatar

    Ahhhh, thank you SO much for this post!!!

    In the last 10 months, we’ve done a pretty good job switching out products and this is one area I haven’t comquered yet! We just purchased Ecover yesterday actually and, I’m looking forward to trying it now! Yay!

    We’ve been using a really harmful and toxic brand, and I usually end up rinsing most of our dishes again under our filtered water. I just couldn’t handle having dirty dishes anymore with the homemade stuff!!

    Anyway, thanks again! 😉

    1. Jennifer Avatar

      I have tried so many brands, my poor hubby has been struggling to support my desire to change, but I was on the brink of going back to cascade. After over 2 years of experimenting, I finally discovered Ecover the other day. All of our cups and pitchers had dark stains from tea. It wouldn’t come out and he was disgusted, insisting that they weren’t clean. I argued they were clean, just stained. One run through with Ecover and all of those stains are gone!! Yay!

  3. Beth Avatar

    I’ve had good luck with Ecover! And I have a lousy dishwasher and hard water?

  4. Stacy Avatar

    We live in Alaska and hard doesn’t even begin to describe our water. I had a homemade version that worked pretty well, but the clumps drove us crazy. We started using the Seventh Generation powder. It works beautifully, and it’s cheaper than the homemade version I was using. Plus, it doesn’t clump!

  5. John F Avatar

    I do not like using powders (and liquids, made from powders) as they generally, add to the ‘solids’ that are pumped out of my septic tank (as required); unless the powders contain ‘No Fillers’. Generally, a ‘salt’ will flow out of the tank, into the leach-bed.

  6. Emily Avatar

    I use the Honest Company for my dish detergent. It works well and I’m comfortable with ingredients. You can get it at the

  7. Meggan Avatar

    Try adding a teaspoon or two of powdered cellulose to prevent caking. It works really well!

  8. Stacey Avatar

    I use the dish washing detergent from the honest company & it works pretty good-still some cloudiness.

  9. Claire Avatar

    Perhaps this is a silly question, but how can I find out if I have hard or soft water?

  10. Leslie Avatar

    I use one tablespoon Of 50% borax and 50% washing soda, plus a few drops of liquid dish detergent. Works really well (with a Samsung machine, and soft water).

  11. Andrea Benjaminson Avatar
    Andrea Benjaminson

    I use soap nuts as my detergent and white vinegar in my rinse aid. I use about 4 soap nuts in a bag that they come with and set it in my silverware tray. I use them twice then compost them and get new ones. Works really well.

    1. Lisagu Avatar

      Do you know what scrubbing agent could be used in combination of what you said? Difficult and not previously rinsed dishes are often a problem in my family’s dishwasher.

      Do you use white vinegar or which do you think works best?


  12. Shelia Avatar

    I use Melaleuca’s dishwashing detergent. I’ve used it for over 10 years and it’s the best on the market.

    1. Amber Avatar

      I too use Melaleuca’s Diamond Brite & love it! I can wash 50 loads with 1 bottle of the liquid detergent, so it’s very cost effective. They also have powder packs.

      1. Angelique Gonzalez Avatar
        Angelique Gonzalez

        But don’t you have to become a Melaleuca member. I use to be a member. And it cost 80.00 monthly, So your not really saving. Product are very concentrated(they work really good) Just add water. But within the month I had lots of Melaleuca products storing in cabinets because their so concentrated a little goes a long way.

        1. Shelly Avatar

          yep I agree. I was a mbr for yrs – finally had to cancel due to finances. It’s just too expensive. But now, I’m not stocked up on all my cleaning supplies! Wah!! I’m down to the last few loads of their dw detergent and I don’t want to buy cascade!

      1. dawn Avatar

        I love melaleuca I to do have some.over stock but it doesn’t last long and is g
        Rear when I fined I’m running UT of other things ther are a few things I order every month ..I just got a new dishwasher and have never thought to use a rince aid not sure witch melaleuca product is best for that yet

  13. Sarah Barnette Avatar
    Sarah Barnette

    We have incredibly hard well water and I have to use Lemi Shine to help keep the dishes from spotting up and looking chalky and dirty. What is your opinion of that? Is it safe to use?

  14. MIchele Avatar

    I used to only use natural dishwashing products, Ecover, 7th Gen, and probably some others from Whole Foods. We had a very nice Bosch dishwasher and hard water and all of the products left scales inside the machine and clouded up all of the dishes. I had to uses several descaling products to clean out the machine and only use Cascade now. We’re in a new house though and I’m interested in trying a DIY version.

    1. cindy smith Avatar
      cindy smith

      That Cascade will ruin your glass ware over time. Glasses will start to look like they have been sand blasted…..

  15. Brenda Avatar

    1:1:1 homemade soap:borax:washing soda in the prewash dispenser, with about a tbsp citric acid in the wash dispenser. White vinegar in the rinse dispenser. I tried mixing the citric acid in with the soap, but the dishes came out very cloudy unless I put it in the separate compartment. I have very hard water.

    1. Debbie Avatar

      One recipe I came across suggested, if you have hard water, cut down on the Borax by 1/2, add lemon shine or unsweetened lemonade packets to your powder mix. The add white distilled vinegar to the rinse aide dispenser.

    2. Katy Avatar

      Does using white vinegar in the rinse dispenser work regardless of the soap? Like could I replace what I currently use (chemicaly crap) with vinegar? Could it be so easy? Oh, and BTW, I’m definitely checking out some dishwasher soaps ASAP too!

  16. Traci Avatar

    I’m glad I read this today, I’ve been wondering how the Mrs. Meyers dishwasher products are.

  17. Ashley Thompson Avatar
    Ashley Thompson

    We’ve been using Seventh Generation, and it cleans well, but we’ve noticed ALL of our flatware, old and new (stainless steel 18/10), are developing rust stains coming out of the dishwasher. I am now thinking it might be the detergent, but I’m wondering if you’ve had any issues with rust stains on flatware with any of the detergents you’ve used? I think we might have hard water, but not sure if that would somehow be affecting it. I try to rinse the flatware off before putting it in the dishwasher as well, so acidic stuff isn’t sitting on them before it’s all washed…

    1. Kari Avatar

      We have TERRIBLE luck with 7th Generation. We too have very hard water.

    2. Dana Avatar

      I have been using 7th Generation for a few months now. At first it was working great and my dishes were coming out cleaner than ever! There was some ingredient that was even shining up the copper on the bottom of my stainless pots and and pans. However, the last month or so all the dishes have been coming out cloudy and not near as clean (copper is not shiny and bright now either). I have cleaned out my dishwasher filter several times. Ran a dishwasher cleaner (with empty dishwasher) once and still cloudy film. I wonder if they have changed their formula? I used the packs at first but changed to the liquid because it was cheaper and I still had great results… until the last month. I may have to try Mrs. Myers but it is SO much more expensive here that the others. I need to order more toothpaste from Tropical Traditions so maybe I will try their dish detergent. Thanks for the reviews!

      1. judith Avatar

        Dana, so interesting that you say that, I used to swear by 7th Generation, and most everything came out sparkling and clean, but these days, I find myself rinsing some of the glass bowls and drinking glasses by hand…they finish with a film.
        Seems they must have changed the formula.

    3. Courtnie Avatar

      I have used the liquid and powder tablets I find the powder tablets work much better and don’t leave a film and so far no rust spots but I make sure all my silverware is scrubbed clean before it goes in.

  18. Lindsay Michelle Mathews Avatar
    Lindsay Michelle Mathews

    I’ve tried many recipes with no luck… I don’t love any of them… it’s really hard with a 9mth old to care for as well… any suggestions?? Thanks so much 🙂

    1. Zahra Avatar

      Depending on where you are, you could use a miswak if available. This is something I’ve seen some members of my family use (no toothpaste, no toothbrush, just miswak as oral hygience regimen) for an entire lifetime, especially in villages and especially when toothpaste was not available.

      This is essentially a twig of a Salvadora persica tree and the bark from one end can be cut away to use the wooden fibres as a brush. Overtime you can cut the worn out part away and cut away more bark to reveal a ‘new’ brush.

      1. Zahra Avatar

        Oops.. wrong post window! apologies! meant this for the tooth powder post.

      2. Mary Avatar

        Where can i acquire a miswak stick . Thank you for sharing this information.

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