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7 Best Non-Toxic Dish Soaps For Cleaner, Safer Plates

Give your plates the cleaning power they need without any of the harmful chemicals. Here are some of the best non-toxic dish soaps you can use for safer, cleaner dishes.
Non-Toxic Dish Soaps For Cleaner, Safer Plates

This Article is 100% Organic: Written and Researched by Real Humans.

Let’s be honest: washing dishes is not exactly a beloved activity for most people.

Perhaps a good podcast and a glass of vino have you more motivated than the rest of us. But do you know who may dread dishwashing more? Mother Earth. If she could speak, she would tell you to back away from that petrochemical-laden dish soap you got on sale in favor of something more gentle – on your dishes and her waterways!

By switching to sustainable cleaning products, you can get your dishes sparkling without harming the planet or your well-being. These formulas use biodegradable ingredients (bonus points if they incorporate low-impact packaging!) that minimize harmful compounds so that you can enjoy a clean kitchen and a clear conscience.

These are the dish soaps that are working hard to keep your plates and the planet pretty.

Zestain is reader supported. Purchases made through our site links may result in an affiliate commission for us, without affecting your own costs. Find out more about our rigorous brand rating process.

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Why Buy Non-Toxic Dish Soaps? Is It Really Necessary?

Buying safe dish soap may seem like an unnecessary expense, but the truth is that it’s a wise investment for your health and the environment. Most conventional, cheaply produced dish soaps contain a range of harsh chemicals that can irritate your skin, lungs, and eyes. These chemicals can also pollute waterways and harm aquatic life.

On the other hand, the best non-toxic dish soaps, including those formulated as non-toxic dish soaps for baby bottles, are formulated with natural ingredients that are safe and gentle on your skin. They are also biodegradable and won’t harm the environment. Switching to a natural dish soap is an easy yet effective way to protect yourself and the planet.

Are Dish Soaps Really Toxic?

Dish soap is a staple in every kitchen. However, not all dish soaps are created equal. The ingredients that make dish soap toxic are chemicals such as sodium lauryl sulfate, triclosan, and synthetic fragrances, all of which get easily absorbed through our skin and are left in trace amounts on dishes. Is dish soap toxic? Becoming a label reader is your best defense in keeping toxins out of your cleaning routine!

Sodium lauryl sulfate, in particular, is also a key culprit in harming aquatic life when it enters waterways. When these products come into contact with oil, they break it up and send it lower into the water column, where it can damage a wider range of organisms.

Full List Of Non-Toxic Dish Soap Brands

When it comes to choosing a better dishwashing detergent, there are a lot of factors to consider.

That’s where the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) comes in. They have created a rating system to help consumers make informed decisions about the products they use. While finding a detergent with all “A” rated ingredients can be difficult, they make easy to read explainers on each product.

All of our favorite non-toxic dish soaps below pass EWG’s stringent testing that evaluates human and environmental health.

1
Better Life Dish Soap
Image by Better Life
Best on a Budget

Better Life Dish Soap

Highlights: Cost-effective, sulfate-free, hypoallergenic cleaning solution made from plant-derived ingredients like corn and coconut.

Brand Certifications: EWG ‘A’ rating and Leaping Bunny certification.

Price: $

One of the biggest barriers to making environmentally friendly swaps is often cost. When brands refuse to take shortcuts and use more premium ingredients, the result is often premium pricing. When it comes to saving money, purchasing items in larger quantities or concentrated varieties is a budgeter’s best friend!

Better Life’s Dish It Out Sulfate-free Unscented Dish Soap is the perfect opportunity to swap out one of our kitchen’s most commonly used products for something more earth-friendly and cost-effective. They’ve found a way to cut the dish grease with soapbark instead of toxic sulfates.

This hypoallergenic dish soap is affordable and made with only mild ingredients, such as corn, coconut, aloe, and Vitamin E. Better Life decided to leave out harmful ingredients like dyes, fragrances, and sulfates, the usual toxic suspects, to keep you and your family safe.

About Better Life

Better Life not only gets an EWG “A” rating, but they are also a Leaping Bunny-certified company, meeting rigorous standards for non-animal tested products.

2
Dr. Bronner'S Sal Suds
Image by Dr. Bronner's
Best Multi-Purpose

Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds

Highlights: Biodegradable, all-purpose cleaner free from harsh detergents and foaming agents, featuring concentrated plant-based surfactants and fir needle and spruce oils.

Brand Certifications: B Corp, Regenerative Organic, USDA Organic, EWG Verified, NSF, Leaping Bunny, Non-GMO Project, OK Kosher and Vegan Action

Price: $$

Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds is the magical, all-purpose wonder your kitchen sink has been missing! This 32-ounce bottle of awesomeness is ready to tackle life beyond the sink, from floors to laundry and pretty much any hard surface that needs a little love.

This biodegradable powerhouse not only breaks down before it hits the waterways but is also absent from the naughty synthetic stuff – like harsh detergents and foaming agents that can be left on your dishes and absorbed through your skin.

Instead, concentrated plant-based ‘surfactants’ and fir Needle and spruce oils naturally cut the grease from last night’s dinner without resorting to shortcuts (we’re looking at you, sodium lauryl sulfates!).

About Dr. Bronner’s

All of Dr. Bronner’s products feature all organic and fair trade ingredients – better for your health and Mother Earth! They work with fair trade suppliers who practice regenerative organic farming, making the soil happy and helping to fight climate change. Additionally, Dr. Bronner’s boasts numerous certifications, underscoring their dedication to eco-friendly practices.

3
No Tox Life Vegan Dish Block
Image by No Tox Life
Best for Camping
Best for Vegans

No Tox Life Vegan Dish Block

Highlights: Lightweight, cold-water-formulated soap ideal for outdoor use and crafted from natural surfactants like soapbark. Its ultra-concentrated, biodegradable formula replaces up to three plastic bottles.

Brand Certifications: EWG ‘A’ rating

Price: $

We love the No Tox Life Vegan Dish Block for keeping our outdoor adventures squeaky clean. The dish blocks are specially formulated to work with cold water – which is perfect for camping!

At 6 ounces, it’s also a lightweight addition for the hiker who is trying to keep their pack and environmental footprint light. No unnecessary chemical-based fragrances or dyes, just natural sudsy goodness, derived from soapbark, a natural surfactant.

This dish block isn’t only for on the go. It means serious business when cleaning your dishes, pots, and pans. It is also tested to function in various water types and be septic-safe.

In addition, an ultra-concentrated biodegradable formula means that 6 ounce bar, packaged in recycled paper, can replace up to three plastic bottles of your standard dish soap – Zestain approved!

About No Tox

No Tox is a small batch product made in the United States by a mother-daughter team. We’re not the only ones to notice them; their gentle ingredients (botanicals, powders, and oils) earn its products an “A” from EWG.

4
Puracy Clean Can Natural Dish Soap
Image by Puracy Clean
Best Refillable

Puracy Clean Can Natural Dish Soap

Highlights: Sustainable, infinitely recyclable aluminum can-based packaging and a vegan, coconut-based formula free from sulfates, parabens, and other harsh chemicals. Its biodegradable ingredients are child-safe, pet-safe, and hypoallergenic.

Brand Certifications: Leaping Bunny, PETA Cruelty Free

Price: $

What, you’ve never cracked open a can of dish soap? The Puracy Clean Can Natural Dish Soap is the perfect combination of sustainable packaging design and a plant powered formulation! A sleek pump fits onto a durable, glass-like, PET-G bottom. Inside is the first aluminum can-based dish soap refillable – infinitely cool and infinitely recyclable. 

But ultimately, it’s what’s inside that counts, right? Not only does their packaging system mean less waste and toxic leaching into our earth. A vegan coconut-based formula is free from all the bad guys like sulfates, triclosan, parabens, phosphates, petrochemicals, dyes, and caustics. You won’t find any of those troublemakers here! 

In addition, their biodegradable ingredients are child-safe, pet–safe, and hypoallergenic. Our sensitive skin says thank you! 

About Puracy

Puracy is a dream combination of a founder with 20 years of cleaning industry experience and chemists, doctors, and cosmetics experts who teamed up to ensure that cleaning of all sorts can be done without dirty consequences to humans and the environment. We also love that they have gone the extra mile with refillable options to reduce packaging waste!

5
Cleancult Dishwasher Pods
Image by Cleancult
Best for Dishwasher Pods

Cleancult Dishwasher Pods

Highlights: Dissolvable dishwashing tablets made from coconut-derived surfactants, free from harmful chemicals. Their biodegradable tablets are wrapped in water-soluble film and 100% recyclable packaging.

Brand Certifications: Leaping Bunny, rePurpose Plastic Neutral, Sustainable Packaging Coalition

Price: $

Sometimes, you just need to take the quick and dirty (or clean?) route. Dishwasher pods often get a bad wrap. The alkaline chemicals used in traditional dishwasher pods are corrosive, making them caustic to skin, tissue, and internal organs.

Cleancult’s answer? Dissolvable dishwashing tablets with surfactants derived from coconut. Is there anything coconuts can’t do? No phthalates, no phosphates, no parabens, just streak-free wine glasses. Basically, it’s the holy grail of dishwashing pods. 

The biodegradable tablets are wrapped in water-soluble film, and the 32 tablets come in a 100% recyclable box. 

About Cleancult

Cleancult was founded in 2016 with a mission to design out plastic in dishwashing packaging – which looks like refillable dispensers and 100% recyclable packaging. Their organic formulas are not only Leaping Bunny certified but also centered around plant-based ingredients like coconut, olive oil, aloe, and essential oils. They also hold other certifications that highlight their commitment to sustainability practices.

6
Blueland Powder Dish Soap
Image by Blueland
Best Social Impact
Best Packaging
Best Powder

Blueland Powder Dish Soap

Highlights: Plant-based, eco-friendly dish powder. Free from fragrances, dyes, phthalates, and parabens. ‘Forever Shaker’ dispenser replaces 30 single-use plastic bottles annually.

Brand Certifications: Cradle to Cradle, EPA’s Safer Choice, EWG Verified, Leaping Bunny, Climate Neutral, USDA Biobased Product, B Corp, MADE SAFE

Price: $$

Get ready to tackle dirty dishes with this mighty dish powder! In our experience, just a sprinkle onto a sponge or dish, a little bit of water, and a squeeze yield a satisfyingly thick foam that effortlessly removes food stains and sweeps away pesky leftovers.

Blueland’s magical formula is crafted with eco-friendly, plant-based ingredients that are as kind to the planet as they are to your dishes. The clean formulation ditches fragrances, dyes, phthalates, and parabens in favor of naturally derived ingredients. Blueland also has the stamp of some of the most rigorous certifications, including EPA Safer Choice, Cradle to Cradle, Leaping Bunny, and an ‘A rating’ from EWG

We also love a good kit, and Blueland delivers. The ‘Forever Shaker’ dispenser that comes with Blueland’s Dish Soap Starter Set not only looks sharp on your kitchen counter but also replaces 30 single-use plastic bottles a year. Zero waste hero, you are on your way! 

About Blueland

Blueland’s mission is simple: make it easy to be eco with innovative dish soaps with healthy ingredients in reusable packaging that are convenient, effective, and affordable. 

Since 2019, their amazing products have saved the day by banishing over 1 billion single-use plastic bottles from landfills and oceans. B Corp certification means their products meet high standards of ingredient transparency and reduced environmental impact.

7
Aunt Fannie’s Microcosmic Probiotic Powder Dish Soap
Image by Aunt Fannie's
Best Probiotic Option
Best Scented

Aunt Fannie’s Microcosmic Probiotic Power Dish Soap

Highlights: Unique blend of beauty-grade probiotics and plant-based ingredients for effective, chemical-free cleaning. 

Brand Certifications: EWG ‘A’ rating

Price: $$

In 2023, we’ve all heard from our health nut cousin about the importance of probiotics in everything. And their not wrong. Microbiome health has spread to our cleaning products! We present: Aunt Fannie’s Microcosmic Probiotic Power Soap.

These suds not only have a beauty-grade probiotic, but they also bring plant-power and probiotic wellness to your washing routine. Tough messes, beware, because our testing (many a family potluck) has shown that these suds can cut through grease and baked on food without any of the harsh chemicals.

About Annt Fannie’s

This EWG ‘A-rated’ product falls under Aunt Fannie’s line of likeminded cleaners. They take pride in creating products that uphold the top-notch level of human safety, utilizing top-quality ingredients and the scent of essential oils. All are thoroughly vetted by those bossy third-party standards and testing.

Comparing Non-Toxic Dish Soaps

ProductPriceHighlightsCertificationsOur Pick For
Better Life Dish Soap
Better Life Dish Soap
$Cost-effective, sulfate-free, hypoallergenic cleaning solution made from plant-derived ingredients like corn and coconut.EWG ‘A’ rating, Leaping BunnyBest on a Budget
Dr. Bronner'S Sal Suds
Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds
$$Biodegradable, all-purpose cleaner free from harsh detergents and foaming agents, featuring concentrated plant-based surfactants and fir needle and spruce oils.B Corp, Regenerative Organic, USDA Organic, EWG Verified, NSF, Leaping Bunny, Non-GMO Project, OK Kosher and Vegan ActionBest Multi-Purpose
No Tox Life Vegan Dish Block
No Tox Life Vegan Dish Block
$Lightweight, cold-water-formulated soap ideal for outdoor use and crafted from natural surfactants like soapbark. Its ultra-concentrated, biodegradable formula replaces up to three plastic bottles.EWG ‘A’ ratingBest for Camping, Best for Vegans
Puracy Clean Can Natural Dish Soap
Puracy Clean Can Natural Dish Soap
$Sustainable, infinitely recyclable aluminum can-based packaging and a vegan, coconut-based formula free from sulfates, parabens, and other harsh chemicals. Its biodegradable ingredients are child-safe, pet-safe, and hypoallergenic.Leaping Bunny, PETA Cruelty FreeBest Refillable
Cleancult Dishwasher Pods
Cleancult Dishwasher Pods
$Dissolvable dishwashing tablets made from coconut-derived surfactants, free from harmful chemicals. Their biodegradable tablets are wrapped in water-soluble film and 100% recyclable packaging.Leaping Bunny, rePurpose Plastic Neutral, Sustainable Packaging CoalitionBest for Dishwasher Pods
Blueland Powder Dish Soap
Blueland Powder Dish Soap
$$Plant-based, eco-friendly dish powder. Free from fragrances, dyes, phthalates, and parabens. ‘Forever Shaker’ dispenser replaces 30 single-use plastic bottles annually.Cradle to Cradle, EPA’s Safer Choice, EWG Verified, Leaping Bunny, Climate Neutral, USDA Biobased Product, B Corp, MADE SAFEBest Social Impact, Best Packaging
Aunt Fannie’s Microcosmic Probiotic Powder Dish Soap
Aunt Fannie’s Microcosmic Probiotic Powder Dish Soap
$$Unique blend of beauty-grade probiotics and plant-based ingredients for effective, chemical-free cleaning.EWG ‘A’ ratingBest Powder

How to Know if a Soap is Non-Toxic

If you only have time for a quick scan of the label (soaps like Dr. Bronners have nothing to hide and put it front and center on their label). Look for plant-based ingredients that you can pronounce – bonus points if they are organic! Also, look for the absence of these common toxic offenders: 

Phosphates

Often used for softening water and as a fertilizer, phosphates present hazards not just to marine ecosystems but also to human health. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), phosphates are of high concern for causing skin allergies and irritation

Choosing a phosphate-free alternative can help mitigate these risks and also prevent the unintended increase of harmful chemical concentrations in water sources.

Triclosan

Dish soaps frequently contain a synthetic chemical with antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral properties. This particular chemical is responsible for classifying a cleaner as “antibacterial.” However, triclosan is a known hormone disrupter that can interfere with our body’s natural thyroid and endocrine systems. 

Sodium lauryl sulfate

This specific chemical gives your dish detergent its foamy texture and ability to remove grease effectively. While the bubbles may make you feel like a dishwashing hero, they are unfortunately unsafe for absorption. This chemical can even penetrate your skin, potentially leading to contamination from 1,4-dioxane. Moreover, it has been linked to skin rashes and allergic reactions. 

Fragrance

How did they fit all those lemons into the bottle? Sorry to break it to you, but they aren’t hard at work squeezing citrus into your favorite dish soap. Fragrance mixtures can contain as many as 3,000 chemicals, which can, over time, adhere to plates, forks, cups, and other utensils and eventually be consumed. 

In our experience, it’s best to opt for a dish detergent that derives its fragrance from natural essential oils or other plant-based ingredients.

Formaldehyde

Although this chemical is classified as a carcinogen (it may be listed as methanol, methyl aldehyde, or methylene oxide on detergent labels), it is commonly added to dish soaps along with preservatives to gradually release and prevent bacterial contamination. Nonetheless, high concentrations of this chemical can be toxic to the human body. 

Chlorine

Chlorine has been flagged in the EPA’s Community Right-To-Know list and the 1990 Clean Air Act as one to watch out for. It poses a significant threat to aquatic life and can be left in trace amounts on your dishes. 

DEA, MEA, TEA 

DEA, MEA, and TEA are some sneaky chemicals that love to mess with hormones in our bodies. They’re notorious for creating nitrates and nitrosamines. And hold on tight because if you’re regularly exposed to them, there’s a chance you might end up with 1,4-dioxane contamination, which can cause liver and kidney problems. Yikes!

How We Choose The Best Chemical Free Dish Soaps

Zestain has done the dirty work for you and rated these dish soaps based on three important criteria: ingredient list, third-party certifications, how well they back up their “clean claims,” and, of course, how well they cleaned up last night’s fajitas.

Become a Label Reader

Labels are information powerhouses. Turn your dish soap around to get insight into clean ingredients, third-party certifications, and company ethos and commitment to ethical practices. Labels can provide information on third-party certifications that indicate the product has met certain safety and quality standards.

Look for Eco-Friendly Certifications

Finding truly eco-friendly products is like finding a needle in a haystack, but fear not; there are some clues beyond the ingredients to look out for. Play a game of “spot the certification” and keep your eyes peeled for those little logos that look at the product holistically, from recyclable packaging to cruelty-free ingredients. 

These are some of the well-regarded third-party certifications that help keep brands and your purchases in line with what’s best for the environment! 

  • EWG Verified: This means the product meets strict guidelines on health, eco-toxicity, or contamination.
  • Leaping Bunny: This certification works with companies to ensure products utilize animal-friendly practices and ingredients.
  • B Corp: This certification looks at a company’s holistic environment and social impact from ‘cradle to grave.”
  • EcoLogo Certified: Confirms that the product is biodegradable and has a reduced environmental impact.
  • Regenerative Organic Certified: This holistic agriculture certification encompasses pasture-based animal welfare, fairness for farmers and workers, and robust requirements for soil health and land management.
  • Made Safe: The product is made without known toxic chemicals and is free of substances that harm human health or the environment.
  • EPA Safer Choice: The product includes ingredients evaluated by EPA scientists to ensure it meets Safer Choice’s stringent criteria.

Put Your Non-Toxic Dish Soap Through the Wringer!

Vetting your ideal non-toxic dish soap doesn’t just stop at the label! The real test is putting the dish soap to work. From bubbles to grease-cutting skills, your dish soap deserves to be put through its paces! So, gather up those dirty dishes and have some fun testing them out – because a safe and effective dish soap is worth its weight in gold!

Final thoughts on Non-Toxic Dish Soaps

Small habits add up to make a big impact! While it may not feel like a small swap, like changing out your dish soap, can make a difference, moving towards more organic lifestyle choices will make the planet and your household healthier over time.

Alyson Lundstrom

Alyson Lundstrom

Born in the Pacific Northwest, Alyson is a recovering nomad with a degree in Environmental Science. She has had professional lives as a marine biologist, eco-entrepreneur, and community sustainability leader in the Caribbean, China, Mexico, and currently the less exotic, but always green, Washington State. She currently covers movements, brands, and humans as they pursue the elusive quadruple bottom line of people, profit, planet, and purpose.
Alyson Lundstrom

Alyson Lundstrom

Born in the Pacific Northwest, Alyson is a recovering nomad with a degree in Environmental Science. She has had professional lives as a marine biologist, eco-entrepreneur, and community sustainability leader in the Caribbean, China, Mexico, and currently the less exotic, but always green, Washington State. She currently covers movements, brands, and humans as they pursue the elusive quadruple bottom line of people, profit, planet, and purpose.

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