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Last updated on December 3rd, 2016
Do you know that your everyday dishwashing soap may contain carcinogenic 1,4-dioxane – something that is rated 10 out 10 (10 being the most toxic) by the Environmental Working Group? Additionally, your dishwashing liquid may contain harsh preservatives (some of which are carcinogens), perfumes (that may contain carcinogenic phthalates), sulfates (that may irritate the skin), dyes (that maybe carcinogenic too), questionable emulsifiers and stabilizers? It has been really challenging to find an absolutely non-toxic dishwashing soap, because I wanted to find something not only non-toxic, but something that performs well and that is also affordable. I’ve searched high and low for a while. And finally in this post I will present you with my three top choices of non-toxic dishwashing soap, including a surprising recommendation!
Non-Toxic Dishwashing Soap: Eco-Me Dishwashing Soap, $9.99 for 16 oz
Ingredients: Water, Decyl Glucoside, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Caprylyl Capryl Glucoside, Leuconostoc, Potassium Sorbate, Natural Plant Essential Oils
What I Think About Ingredients: The surfactant (aka cleaning agent) used in the formula is called decyl glucoside. It is biodegradable and mild and does not have any impurities. If you have to use a surfactant, in my experience, this is the safestone. This non-toxic dishwashing soap has preservatives that are the safest preservatives available. The liquid is scented with essential oils, and they carry an unscented version too (what I use). I have not found any health or environmental concerns over the stabilizer and solubilizer. All in all, this non-toxic liquid soap is free of petroleum derivatives, is biodegradable, and most likely does not have any contaminants.
What I Think About Performance: I like it! My husband does not love it because it is not overly sudsy, but he is getting used to it. Do not expect tons of suds though. By the way, those questionable surfactants are great at producing suds. But this non-toxic dishwashing liquid does produce enough lather to do the job. If you have super greasy pots and pans (first of all, stop eating that greasy food :)), you might want to soak it in hot soapy water first. I find pre-soaking very helpful and it saves water too. I am able to get my cast iron pan clean after cooking bacon in it. In fact, the other super lathery “soap” damaged my cast iron pans.
Cons: the company was bought out and it is unclear what is next. I was unable to speak to any company representatives, which I normally do before making my recommendation. Also, it is not cheap.
Where to Buy and Cost:
If you buy a pack of 6, the price is much better.
Dish It Out™ Dish Liquid by Better Life, $6.99 for 22 oz
Ingredients: purified water, potassium cocoate, lauryl glucoside, caprylyl/capryl glucoside, decyl glucoside, glycerin (vegetable), aloe barbadensis leaf extract, tocopherol (vitamin E)
Manufacturing Location: St. Louis, Missouri
What I Think About Ingredients: this non-toxic dishwashing soap contains the family of glucoside surfactants (cleaning agents) and potassium cocoate (which is a saponified coconut oil) that I find the safest. Vitamin E is derived from a natural source, which makes it unlikely to be contaminated with toxic hydroquinone. And here is the interesting part – it contains no preservatives. The company says that that they use very little water – not enough for bacteria to grow.
What I Think About Performance: I like it less than the Eco-me liquid. It does not produce much lather but somehow it works. Interestingly, my husband likes it.
Cons: As they use corn oil, I naturally wanted to know if it is genetically modified. I was told by a company representative that while they try to avoid genetically modified corn, at the moment they do not have sufficient processes in place to assure there are no GMOs used. While it is disappointing, it is a start. (As an aside, the more of us call them and voice our concerns, the sooner they will have those processes in place.) By the way, I like their dishwasher gel a lot.
Where to Buy and Cost: the price is affordable. You can buy it in Whole Foods or Amazon: $5.69 for 22 oz or $5.41 with monthly subscription.
And finally a surprising recommendation….
Non-Toxic Dishwashing Soap:
Coconut Oil Soap with Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, $6.99 for 4.25 oz
Ingredients: Saponified Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (Sodium Cocoate), Distilled Water.
Manufacturing Location: home-based business at their farm in Oklahoma
What I Think About Ingredients: True soaps are made by the process of saponification. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I am a big fan of true soap. This bar soap is made with only one oil, and the oil is organic. If you want as safe of a product as possible, this product is for you. In addition, this is a good way to avoid plastics.
What I Think About Performance: I would not recommend this soap for washing your body because coconut oil is known to be drying. Coconut oil is added to the blend of oils for making soap because it produces a rich lather. And this is why 100% coconut bar soap is perfect for doing the dishes. This non-toxic dishwashing soap works very well. When I do dishes with it, I remember my childhood. We had two types of bar soaps sold at the store – body and hair soap and household soap. I grew up using a bar soap for doing dishes. I understand that psychologically it might be difficult to use a bar soap but I really wanted to include it in this list of non-toxic dishwashing soap for anybody who wants a toxin-free natural product without a plastic container.
Where to Buy and Cost: this non-toxic dishwashing soap is only sold on the company’s website and there is a standard shipping charge of $5.99
Also, I wanted to add that if you use it, is a good idea to use gloves while doing dishes for at least three reasons – it prevents your skin from drying, it gives you an ability to use hotter water to break down the grease, and prevents your skin from absorbing any chemicals you do not need. I recommend using gloves made of natural rubber. Here is a good option.
In conclusion, I want to encourage you to share in the comments below what you use for doing the dishes. I am constantly on the lookout for non-toxic products so if I like your suggestion, I will update the list of non-toxic dishwashing soap.
Update: Check out my video about how to do dishes with mustard seed powder. It really works!