Eco-friendly Dishwasher Detergents

There are a lot of eco-friendly dishwashing detergents out there—but how do they work? It can be frustrating experimenting with so-called green products, only to spend extra money on products that don’t function nearly as well as their toxic counterparts. Believe me—I struggled through all of this during my liquid dish soap search.

Luckily I hit the jackpot with the first dishwashing detergent I tried: Biokleen automatic dish powder. I wrote all about it here: Best eco-friendly dishwasher detergent: Biokleen! So should everyone rush out and buy my recommendation? Not so fast. What works for me here in Portland may not work somewhere else with different water. We have very soft water here.

Here are some other eco-friendly products on the market:

Have you had good luck—or horrible luck—with any of these? Please post your findings. If you want to specify where you live or what type of water you’re dealing with, that will help us refine the results. Thanks for your input!


  1. Ecover dish tablets are by far my favorite.

  2. biokleen doesn’t work for me at ALL (hard water) but I have a big can of it, and it’s true, it lasts forever. So, I’ve started mixing in just a dollop of conventional dishwasher detergent and adding vinegar to the rinse thing and it seems to do ok (but not great). Also, that white build up I get from virtually any eco-soap can be wiped off with white vinegar. I can’t imagine what scary chemicals conventional soaps use to eliminate hard water stains, but, they sure do a good job!

  3. Has anyone had any experience with Dr. Bronner’s sal suds? I am thinking of trying it for hand washing dishes, not sure if it can go in the dishwasher.

  4. I have had the best results with Ecos gel. My 2nd favourite is Seventh Generation gel. The rest I have never seen here (canada).

  5. Biokleen does a great job for me.

  6. I have tried Sal Suds for hand washing and it didn’t do well at all for me. I would definitely not put it in the dishwasher. That is a disaster waiting to happen. I have tried a few homemade detergent recipes, but they only worked on a very light load with practically nothing on the dishes to start with. Right now I am using Cascade’s eco version and it works well, but there’s still stuff in it I’d like to avoid. I have experimented with using a tiny bit of commercial detergent in the pre-wash bin and using my homemade mix in the main bin. It worked but I am a little nervous I’m mixing things that shouldn’t be mixed.

  7. Here in Milwaukee, I have used Seventh Generation powder for years and love it.

  8. We use the Citrus Biokleen, but do not use the Free & Clear! It was horrible. At least with our dishwasher and local water. My friend loves the Method tabs, but they are more expensive.

  9. I used Biokleen for a while and liked it, but now we’re on to the Method dish tabs which work really well. The Seventh Generation powder was awful and left a film on our glasses that we still can’t get off. I think it might have been because of the type of water we have, though.

  10. I live in Seattle, not sure what kind of water we have, it doesn’t feel particularly hard or soft. Biokleen Free & Clear didn’t work all that well for us–the forks and knives particularly didn’t get clean, but Seventh Generation (power or liquid, I get whichever is on sale) works fine, dishes get clean without residue or film. I wonder if it also depends on the type of dishwasher you have? We have a KitchenAid that’s about 8 years old.

  11. Biokleen powder has worked the best for me so far, but I can’t say that it’s perfect. There’s usually one or two dishes per load that don’t get perfectly clean. It’s still been worth it to me to use it for now, but I’ll be trying to make it homemade soon. I’ve had one homemade flop so far, but will tackle it again sometime! 🙂

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