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!

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. Sarah Avatar

    Any suggestions on a good liquid dishwasher detergent? We rent a house on a septic tank and the landlord asked for us not to use powdered cleaning products. I am having a hard time finding something that works. Thanks!

  2. Cassie Avatar

    Great article. I’m all about natural cleaners, but I don’t really have the time or energy to make my own anymore.
    I recently got a countertop dishwasher and have been using ecover powder in it, but my dishes pretty much have to be totally clean before I put them in for them to come out clean. I thought it was my dishwasher but I have a friend who just got the same unit and he uses Cascade and the dishwasher cleaned dried pasta off of his dishes. So at this point I’m thinking it’s the soap. I’m hoping to try seventh generation or Mrs. Meyers, however your review has me concerned these options might not work any better. Have you found anything else that works in the past year by chance?

  3. Rachel Avatar

    I like biokleen automatic dish powder. In my dishwasher I only need 2 teaspoons. I order it from Vitacost.

  4. Tanya S Avatar

    Okay…this may seem a little out there…I’m the one in my fam that is most conscientious on plastics…vynils…aluminum foil and etc. That being said after 9 yrs of marriage and 6 children (blended)…I am READY for a dish washing machine HOWEVER it’s my hubby that is leary of taking that step until we “research” the best kind as far as off gassing and so forth…none of that even crossed my mind. Any suggestions as to a “green”-safe dish washing machine?

  5. elizabeth Avatar

    we use a cup of baking soda in our dishwasher, and it works great…..and its more economical!

  6. Paige Avatar

    I use Young Living’s Thieves Dish Soap. It’s not actually for the dish washer but I just put a few drops in both compartments and white vinigar in the rinse compartment and it works great! The best natural option I’ve tried so far. Didn’t see anyone mention it yet so I thought I’d post.

    1. Vivian Avatar

      I was just thinking about Thieves too, but using the washing soda in both detergent compartments and adding a few drops of Thieves to the main wash one, and vinegar for the rinse. I would think that will work, I am going to try that?

  7. Zoe Avatar

    I’ve found Seventh Generation dishwashing powder to be the most effective over all the commercial products listed. I haven’t tried making my own yet, because this works so well.

  8. Rebekah baharestan Avatar
    Rebekah baharestan

    Please remove mrs meyers liquid products from the safe list: they contain benzisothiazolinone and/ or methylisothiazolinone. Nasty biocide pesticidal preservatives. Powdered products are safer for you -the water , the planet. Liquid rinse aids containnthese biocide skin sensitizers as well . look up allergy to isothiazolinone
    On facebook

  9. Daisy Avatar

    I just started using, baking soda, salt, and a couple drops of Dawn. Love it. My dishes are clean and glasses clear.

  10. Stepfanie Avatar

    Might just be me, but the link for Tropical Traditions if taking me to the laundry detergent, not the dish detergent. Just to let you know! I still find the dish detergent without a problem. 🙂

    1. Kelly Avatar

      Doesn’t matter – Tropical Traditions is discontinuing their dish detergent. This really bummed me out and I’ve been a loyal user and combined with vinegar as a rinse aid, their product works great. They gave me no reason as to why they are discontinuing and they said they are looking to replace the products with another option later this year. The same will be happening with their laundry detergent. I need supplies now, so I think TT will be losing a customer.

  11. Lindsey Avatar

    I use a borax free recipe from thank your body site. Put all the ingredients in a zip lock and gentle massage it or swish it around, or if it’s gotten a little hard, bang it on the counter. Two days later it won’t harden and clump. I put a little vinegar in the rinse cycle. Works awesome. I have hard water and only have some clouding issues. Planet dish soap for hand washing. I’ve tried dozens and it’s the best. It suds, cleans, and gets a great rating from EWG. Thanks Wellness Mama? have a happy day.

  12. Tina Avatar

    Homemade liquid (Castillo “ish”) soap baking soda salt to make a liquid dishwasher gel. Vinegar in the rinse agent. Sparkling dishes and dishwasher. ..The borax version was leaving a terrible film on my glasses and greasy plastic as well as encouraging pink slime growth in my dishwasher (which is run twice daily) no matter how much citric acid I used. My hubby even switched to store brands trying to fix this and they did the same. My gel works great.

    1. amy Avatar

      What are the amounts that you use of the soap, baking soda, & salt Tina? And how is it turned into a gel?

      1. Tina Avatar

        I apologize for taking so long to answer. I had to go back to the original recipe because I kind of tweak it as I make it. It worked great from the start so here is where I began…

        In a saucepan warm a cup of white vinegar and a cup of lemon juice. Do not boil just warm enough to melt three tablespoons of kosher or sea salt into the liquid. Remove from the heat and stir in a liquid soap (I use homemade olive oil and coconut based soap) until it reaches the desired consistency. It may continue to thicken as it cools depending on the soap used. I sometimes use fermented citrus cleaner instead of lemon juice although in smaller amounts. At times I use only vinegar but add citric acid if I am running low on supplies along with a pack of unsweetened lemonade I keep on hand for such purposes. I don’t like to waste it but if I have a but of freshly squeezed citrus juice handy it will serve the same purpose as the lemon juice.

      2. Tina Avatar

        In the recipe I forgot to add one tbsp of baking soda added slowly to avoid a volcano effect at the very end. I find that leaving it out is not an option however it is possible to add a tsp per load along with the gel if you prefer to use this much.

  13. Kimberley Jackman Avatar
    Kimberley Jackman

    I use Charlies Soap… since 2007. Love it. It lasts forever takes a pinch for a full load. Katie I’m sure you’ve heard of it? Any comments?

  14. Jessica Avatar

    I wanted to leave a msg to Jenn, Don’t know how she can read it. I’ve been using Finish for my life and I tested her recipe. It’s not working any better than Finish. I was wondering if you can point out which Finish product you’ve been using.

  15. Mary Cavaliere Avatar
    Mary Cavaliere

    Ava Anderson Non-Roxic dish pods are the best cleaning product I have ever used. The dishes actually FEEL and look different when they come out if the dishwasher. I had Waterford crystal that I thought were ruined years ago. One wash and they sparkle like new. I also use the pods to clean hardwood floors and toilets. Nothing short of amazing.

  16. Lisette Avatar

    Hi Katie,

    Do you use a rinse aid for spots of glasses? If so, what do you use?

  17. Molly Avatar

    Has anyone ever tried Ava Anderson’s products before? specifically their dish detergent? Heard good things about them too- but after reading all these comments, it seems like if you have hard water, find the right recipe is difficult! bummer

    1. Jessica H Avatar
      Jessica H

      I use the Ava Anderson dish pods and they work really well. Other natural dishwasher soaps I have used (including Seventh Gen and Honesty Co) did not do a good job of rinsing the last bit of food off. I basically had to hand wash everything just to load my dishwasher. That was a pain. But I love the Ava Anderson pods!!

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