Do you know that your every day dishwashing liquid may increase the risk of cancer and pollute the environment? Do you know why? Because most dishwashing liquids are made from toxic petrochemicals with other toxic chemicals added to make it look attractive and smell nice. At very least, always opt for dye-free and fragrance-free products. Fortunately, there are eco-friendly dishwashing liquids. I have been asked by some of you to look into ECOS Dishmate Liquid (ECOS dishwashing liquid), a popular “natural” brand you can find in most grocery stores. So without further ado let’s look at the actual ingredients and see ourselves what we can conclude. In 2 minutes, you will be ready to make an informed purchasing decision. Ready?
ECOS Dishwashing Liquid Ingredients
ECOS dishwashing liquid has 6 ingredients.
Water: this may sound innocuous, but always remember that the presence of water provides an environment for microbial growth, and therefore indicates the need for preservatives.
Cocamidopropyl Betaine (coconut-based surfactant): a synthetic detergent used to make foam, suds, and do the cleaning job. It is:
- Rated 4 out of 10 (10 being the most toxic) by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). The main concern is allergic contact dermatitis;
- Named Allergen of the Year in 2004 (for more information, visit here);
- May break down into carcinogenic nitrosamines under certain conditions (for more information, visit here);
- Environmental pollution does not seem to be a problem, except for this study that found it toxic to algae in the context of using to treat harmful algal bloom.
Sodium Coco-Sulfate (coconut-based surfactant): another synthetic detergent
- The EWG does not have any data on it;
- PubMed database retrieved only one result on sodium coco-sulfate; the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (a trade association established by industry) deemed it safe in the concentration described in the safety assessment.
Cocamidopropylamine Oxide (coconut-based surfactant): another synthetic detergent with insufficient data to determine safety.
- The EWG rates 1 out of 10, but not because it is non-toxic, more so because it does not have enough safety data;
- In the study done by The Cosmetic Ingredient Review, it was determined that it has low toxicity and low absorption and does not appear to be carcinogenic. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review has not determined the potential harm for leave-in products, products you do not rinse.
- Rated 4 out 10 by the EWG, with skin irritation being the primary concern;
- Is not registered as an environmental toxin.
- The EWG rated it 5 out 10 with skin irritation and allergy being the primary concerns;
- High concentration of it makes it corrosive (for more information, visit here);
- The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) determined that it is moderately to practically non-toxic to birds, and moderately to highly toxic to freshwater and estuarine/marine organisms. Note that the report is written from the perspective of using it as a pesticide in high doses.
I also checked to see if these ingredients are listed in the State of California Proposition 65 list, the Endocrine Disruption Exchange database, and Environment Canada Substance List and none of the ingredients were found there.
Conclusion About ECOS Dishwashing Liquid
As you can see, ECOS dishwashing liquid is not your most natural product. Moreover, all ingredients are synthetic with some health concerns. Fortunately, most of those health concerns are skin irritation and skin allergy, which is not a huge deal to me in this case because it can be mitigated by wearing gloves. Gloves will also allow you to use higher temperature water, which will help with breaking down grease so you can use smaller amounts of dishwashing liquid. Wearing gloves will also prevent any potential skin absorption of any chemicals in ECOS Dishwashing Liquid.
What gloves can’t protect from is toxicity to the environment. The good news is that the above listed ingredients are not registered as environmental toxins, with the exception of methylisothiazolinone when used as a pesticide in higher concentration and much bigger amounts. Also, it is important to note here that ECOS Dishwashing Liquid is labeled by the Design for the Environment, an EPA partnership program, as safe for people and the environment, which means that the concentrations of chemicals used in the formulation were assessed and deemed safe, vased on the knowledge we have at this point.
All-in-all I would say use it, if you are a fan of “traditional” dishwashing liquid that produces a lot of suds and break down grease well. The fact that it is free of petrochemicals such as 1,4-dioxane, is a huge plus. By the way, natural soap (such as that made by the process of saponification, as opposed to using a surfactant) does not produce enough suds to break down grease. So, considering the alternatives, it is not a bad product.
Where to Buy and Cost
Where to buy and cost: grocery stores or on Amazon. By the way, I highly recommend you buy the fragrance-free version of the ECOS Dishwashing Liquid. In my opinion, ECOS fragrances are too strong and unnecessary. Plus, there is no disclosure as to what those “natural” fragrances really mean.
$9.59 for 2 bottles, 25 oz each, making it $0.19 per ounce.
For better dishwashing products, read here: