Last Updated: December 29, 2022

The 6 best natural dishwasher detergents.

WRITTEN BY Grove Collaborative • 12 min read

Stop for a minute and think about how many times you run your dishwasher per week. Our guess is it’s quite often, and that means you should be thinking about a way to clean those dishes without introducing harmful chemicals, such as phosphates, triclosan, chlorine, and ammonia, to the plate you eat off of. Finding a natural dishwasher detergent can take some time because you may have to test out different brands in your machine; however, the payoff of a healthier home and using eco-friendly products is well worth it.

From our very own Grove Co. Total Clean Dishwasher Detergent Packs to Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergents and other natural, sustainable brands, we're here to help you explore powders, pods, and packs to find the very best natural dishwasher detergent for your home via this list of the latest and greatest natural dishwasher detergents.

This list of products was determined by ratings and reviews from Grove members.

1. Mrs. Meyer's Dishwasher Tabs

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“I like doing the dishes," said no one ever. Escape the dreadful feeling that comes with dishwashing by hand and make cleaning dishes and utensils easier than ever before. Just simply place one of these Mrs. Meyer's Dishwasher Tabs into your dishwasher’s soap cup, and stand by as the missus gets to work. Sparkling dishes, flatware, and glasses …

12.7 Oz, 20 Count
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2. Grove Co. Pure Power Dishwasher Detergent Packs - Multiple Scents

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Extra strength dishwashing soap packs formulated with rinse aid to eliminate 48-hour baked-on food and stains from dirty dishes.

    Our Pure Power Dishwasher Detergent Packs performs just as well as a leading national brand in stain removal.* Just pop one pack in your dishwasher …

18 packs
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3. Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Gel Soap

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Looking for a dishwashing gel free of chlorine, phosphates, and other harmful chemicals? Look no further — this Seventh Generation Auto Dish Gel is the perfect choice for households with kids, pets, or anyone wanting to put their health first. It’s also free of dyes and fragrances, and it uses essential oils and botanical extracts for a naturally …

42 Oz
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4. Mrs. Meyer's Dishwasher Tabs, 4 Pack

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Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Automatic Dishwasher Soap Packs help your dishwasher produce sparkling dishes, glasses and flatware. Each pack of oxygen bleach formula loads easily in the dishwasher's soap cup and is safe for use in all machines. Clean coffee stains from cups without phosphates or chlorine.
80 Tabs
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5. Grove Co. Total Clean Dishwasher Detergent Packs

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These Grove Co. Total Clean Dishwasher Detergent Packs are proven to powerfully eliminate grease and stubborn food stains better than leading national brands.*

They use a triple-action enzyme formula to effortlessly remove grease and food stains without leaving behind troublesome water spots. These dishwasher pods are made with plant-based …

20 packs
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6. Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Packs

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The package of these Seventh Generation Auto Dish Packs (20ct) boasts a "powerful clean," and that’s because its enzyme-rich formula is tough on crusted food particles and dried-on sauces to make sure your dishware is clean enough to eat off of the next time around. This dish packs auto cleaner is also chlorine-free, phosphate-free, and …

12.6 Oz, 20 Count
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Can I use dishwasher detergent to handwash dishes?

This is a common question among first-timers who are just starting to support a household, and the answer is simple — no, you shouldn’t use dishwasher detergent to handwash dishes. Although, if you did use it to handwash your dishes, they would come out clean. But, the main reason we don’t recommend using it is because you may accidentally add too much detergent when washing by hand, since dishwasher detergent doesn’t create as many suds as regular dish soap. When too much detergent is added, it makes it super hard to rinse your dishes enough, and you could leave tons of nasty soap film behind. (Yuck!)

Plus, the same goes for your dishwasher. If you want to wash dishes in the dishwasher, don’t use dish soap in your machine. You should always use dishwasher detergent pods, powder, or tabs to get a mean clean. If you accidently use dish soap in your dishwasher, you’re in for a huge mess as the soap will overflow onto the floor once your machine is turned on. Save yourself the stress and check out our best dishwasher detergents for the planet and your home.

Is dishwasher detergent toxic?

Some of the best dishwasher detergents do contain many toxic ingredients, and that’s why it’s important to find a natural dishwasher detergent that you like and that works well with your machine. Traditional dishwasher detergents can even leave behind those chemicals on your dishes after a wash, making them dangerous to eat off of. Not only should you want to protect yourself from those harmful chemicals, but if you have children or pets in your home, you’ll also want to ditch your regular detergent for a natural dishwasher detergent to keep them safe too.

If you’re wondering what to watch out for when purchasing a dishwasher detergent, here’s a list of toxic chemicals you’ll want to avoid:

  • Phosphates
  • Triclosan
  • Sulfates
  • Chlorine
  • Formaldehyde
  • Ammonia

Also, keep an eye on fragrances in your natural dishwasher detergent or any detergent for that matter. If the fragrance isn’t naturally derived, it can possibly cause issues such as asthma, allergies, and other sensitivities.

How do you use dishwasher pods?

Where do you put detergent pods in the dishwasher and how do dishwasher pods work? Let’s go over the basics, shall we?

If you’ve never used dishwasher detergent pods before, they’re pretty easy to figure out. Just place a pod in your dishwasher’s dispenser drawer, set your dishwasher’s preferences, and run it. Most pods work this same way and are super simple, but make sure to always check the directions on your particular dishwasher detergent pods’ box and follow instructions carefully for the best results. Also, remember that pods can take on different names with different brands, so you may see them called tabs or packs, too.

Other natural dishwasher detergents that made our best dishwasher detergent list come in liquid and powder form. Be sure to try out a few in your machine to find what works best for your household’s needs.

What is Grove Collaborative?

At Grove, we take the guesswork out of which products are good for you and your home. Every product meets strict standards for being nontoxic, effective, sustainable, and cruelty-free. Once you find products you love, we ship to your home on a flexible, monthly schedule.

If you're ready to make the transition to natural cleaning, beauty, and household products, shop Grove Collaborative's natural products for the eco-friendly tools to tackle the job.

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