There’s a lot to go through when you’re trying to create a more non-toxic living space, but selecting a natural dish soap is especially important since it comes into contact with the items you cook and eat with.
Since you use dish soap daily in order to clean your dirty dishes and baby items, it’s important to choose products that don’t hurt you, your family, or the environment.
Keep reading this post to learn more about some of the best natural, organic, and non-toxic dish soaps on the market, and how to find the product that is right for you and your values.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I could be compensated if you decide to make a purchase. You can read my full disclosure here.
The Best Non-Toxic & Organic Dish Soaps
Aspen Clean’s dish soap is EWG-verfied, which means that the Environmental Working Group has reviewed the liquid dish soap and verified that it doesn’t contain any of their chemicals of concern.
And it’s made with only seven ingredients, all of which you can easily read and pronounce.
It’s hypoallergenic, plant-based, septic-safe, cruelty-free, vegan, and has a biodegradable formula. That may just sound like a bunch of buzz words, but it means a lot when you’re looking for the best natural dish soaps.
AspenClean makes its bottles with 100% recycled plastic too, which is a win for the environment, and it has the leaping bunny seal of approval.
The ingredients are naturally derived, organic, sustainably farmed, and gentle to use around pets, kids, and babies. In fact, it’s perfect for washing your baby bottles, and it will get your dishes clean every time.
It’s not as easy to come by as some of the other options on my list because you have to purchase it directly from the brand, but it’s totally worth the wait.
Puracy’s all-natural plant-based ingredients are gentle on hands and suds up well for powerful cleaning action – without sulfates.
The natural ingredients include pure plant-based products such as Aloe Vera, Himalayan Pink Sea Salt and coconut oil. It is vegan, hypoallergenic, and biodegradable. Puracy natural dish soap is powerful enough to cut grease but gentle enough not to irritate your hands and erode your dishware.
And if you don’t use rubber gloves when you’re hand washing your dishes, you’ll love how silky soft this soap is too!
In addition, Puracy donates a portion of each bottle’s proceeds to charity.
This unique probiotic dish soap has earned an A on EWG, which is no easy feat for dish soaps.
The probiotic formula breaks down grease while leaving dishes shiny and clean – no need to use harsh chemicals to get your dishes squeaky clean!
Aunt Fannie’s dish soap is made in the USA with all plant-based ingredients, and while they don’t offer an unscented formula (which is typically our preference), it’s scented with 100% essential oils and smells clean and wonderful.
It’s also formulated at a pH that is optimal for skin, which makes it a great choice for people with sensitive skin. It’s also dermatologist-tested & hypoallergenic.
The only downside is that it’s a bit more expensive than some of the other dish soaps on this list. But a little goes a long way, so it will last you a while.
Also rated an A on EWG, this liquid dish soap has earned the Leaping Bunny seal and the U.S. EPA Safer Choice seal.
The company never tests its ingredients on animals, and it’s also non-toxic and biodegradable, so you can feel good about using it in your home.
And you only need a few drops to cut through grease and get your dirty dishes clear of stuck on food.
In regard to sustainability, Ecos dish soap is made in the USA using ethically-sourced ingredients in carbon-neutral, zero-waste certified facilities.
Ecover’s non-toxic dishwashing formula is made with renewable plant-based and mineral ingredients for a biodegradable formula that will clean dried on food just as well as traditional dishwashing soap.
It is preservative-free with no artificial fragrances.
I haven’t used this one yet, but I did a deep-dive on the reviews, and people say that it suds up really well, and just one squirt is enough soap for a whole sink full of dishes.
Ecover is made in a Zero Waste certified factory with recycled materials and it’s cruelty free, so it’s a great option for those committed to purchasing ethical and sustainable products.
You can purchase Ecover’s liquid dish soap on Amazon, and their dishwashing tablets are also available on Thrive Market.
A little bit goes a long way with this concentrated natural dish liquid (and it’s available in both 32oz and gallon options!).
Just add a few drops of this liquid dish soap to your favorite sponge, and you’ll have enough for hand washing all of your dishes.
Biokleen dish liquid is gentle on your skin and washes your dishes without any overpowering scents.
The plant-based formula cuts through grease without harsh ingredients or chemical residue, and all of its ingredients are plant-based and eco-friendly, with no fillers or thickeners.
You can recycle your Biokleen packaging, the company doesn’t do animal testing, and they make it all in the USA. (I also highly recommend their laundry detergent!)
If you want to go the extra mile for eco-friendliness and sustainability, you should really do away with your liquid dish soap entirely and switch to a soap bar or powder.
Dish soap bars like this one from Meliora are highly concentrated, so they last a super long time, and they weigh less and take up less space than conventional dish soaps, which cuts down on their overall carbon footprint. And it still has great cleaning power.
As a zero-waste product, this soap bar is made from pure organic plant ingredients. And instead of using palm kernel oil or other palm oils, Meliora uses coconut and sunflower oil, which is another win for the planet.
Simply lather up suds with hot water onto a sponge or dish brush to use. Meliora products are produced in the USA, MADE SAFE® Certified, cruelty-free, and shipped in 100% recyclable and plastic-free packaging.
Better Life Unscented Natural Dish Soap
If you are looking for an effective, non-toxic dishwashing liquid, Better Life is one of our favorites. This unscented natural soap is made with plant-based ingredients and free from sulfates to keep your hands happy while you’re washing dishes.
I have this one at home, and it’s one of the best natural dish soaps if you’re sensitive to smells because it’s fragrance-free and there is no scent to it whatsoever. (I mention this because sometimes fragrance-free products still have a bit of a smell to them.)
It’s also cruelty free, so you can feel good about using it in your kitchen.
I buy ours from Thrive Market. If you don’t have a Thrive Market subscription, I HIGHLY recommend it. Their prices are great, and you’ll have access to a ton of different products that are hard to find elsewhere, including some of my favorite organic coffee and oatmeal.
Seventh Generation isn’t my top pick, but it’s so easily accessible to budget-conscious shoppers at local big-box stores like Target or Walmart, I knew I wanted to include it on this list.
Seventh Generation’s eco-friendly products are great entry-level options to anyone wishing to switch to more natural alternatives.
With no added dyes or fragrances, Seventh Generation Free & Clear Dish Soap is an EPA Safer Choice Certified Product and is dermatologist-tested for those with sensitive skin.
This plant-based, hypoallergenic, phosphate-free dish soap has also earned the Leaping Bunny seal for cruelty-free and vegan practices.
It’s tough on food residue while being gentle on your hands and the environment!
Target’s new eco-friendly brand, Everspring, offers its shoppers affordable eco-friendly options for dish soap, hand soap, laundry detergent, cleaning sprays and other household essentials.
All products are non-toxic, plant-based, cruelty-free biodegradable, and sold in post-consumer recycled plastic packaging where possible. While not quite as “clean” as other product options, Everspring is a good entry level eco-friendly product for those on a budget.
Select the “Free & Clear” fragrance option for an even better choice.
Why Should You Buy Natural Dish Soap?
When a product comes into contact with your skin, releases fragrances that you breathe in, and even touches the surfaces of the dishes you eat and cook with daily, it becomes especially important to select natural and organic products to ensure you aren’t ingesting toxic chemicals.
Dish soap is no different, and there are plenty of reasons why you should only use organic dish soaps in your home.
First and foremost, organic dish soaps don’t contain certain chemicals that many conventional dish soaps do. Harsh preservatives and toxic chemicals found in traditional dish soaps can dry out your skin, cause skin irritation and allergic reactions, endocrine disruption, respiratory problems, and may even leave a nasty residue on your dishes.
Not to mention the negative effects that most dish soaps have on the environment! When you’re washing your dishes with traditional dishwasher detergents, you wash the chemicals down your drain and into the water supply. Then they come back into the environment where they can cause harm to our earth, plants, and animals.
Natural dish soap and organic dish soap, however (particularly those created with plant-based formulas) are a much better option for your family. They will clean your dishes just as well as any other dish soap on the market but without the harmful chemicals and fragrances.
Many of the brands in this post commit to cruelty-free and zero-waste practices that are better for our planet. Best of all, dish soap is a very easy and cost-effective swap you can make, and these natural dish soaps still clean dishes and cut grease just as well.
Below are some of the toxic ingredients you won’t find in natural dish soaps.
Ingredients to Avoid When Looking for Non-Toxic Dish Soap
And as great as these fragrances may smell, the FDA protects them because they’re considered a “trade secret.” This means that companies don’t have to disclose the ingredients that they use in their synthetic fragrances.
So when you see “fragrance” on an ingredient label, it could actually be made up of hundreds of different chemicals, many of which are toxic and linked to health problems like skin irritation, endocrine disruption, respiratory problems, and more.
Furthermore, research shows that phthalates are hormone disruptors and may contribute to breast cancer. In addition, some research suggests that they can affect both the reproductive and endocrine systems.
You’ll also want to avoid any dish soap products that contain “natural fragrance” or “parfum” on the ingredient label. These are just other words for synthetic fragrance.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) / Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
While SLS and SLES are typically considered safe, the problem is that they are very harsh on the skin, and research shows that they can potentially be contaminated with 1,4 dioxane.
1,4 dioxane is a known carcinogen linked to breast cancer and organ toxicity. While it’s not technically an ingredient (which means it won’t show up on the ingredient label), it’s often a contaminant in products that contain SLS and SLES.
These harsh chemicals can also be irritating to your eyes and respiratory system. And some research has shown that the skin irritation from SLS and SLES is worse when used with warm water, which is what we wash our dishes in!
So if you see SLS or SLES on an ingredient label, it’s probably not the best dish soap.
Ethoxylated Ingredients, Polysorbates, and Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)
You’ll find ethoxylated ingredients (like PEG) in a wide variety of products from lipstick to sunscreen to baby wash. You’ll see them on the label with “eth” in the word, like “laureth” and “polyethylene.”
PEGs are petroleum-based ingredients that are used in dish soap and other products as emulsifiers, surfactants, and thickeners. But they can also be contaminated with 1,4 dioxane (the same carcinogen I talked about above).
And while the FDA considers PEGs to be safe enough for most dishwashing soap on the market, some research has shown that they can be irritating to the skin. They’re also often used in combination with other harsh chemicals like SLS and SLES, which can further irritate the skin and eyes.
So if you see PEGs, polysorbates, or other ethoxylated ingredients in your dish soap, it probably isn’t the best choice for your health.
Try to find dish soap products that specifically state that they’re free of these ingredients.
Some companies add synthetic dyes to products purely for looks. And many of these dyes have been linked to health problems like cancer, endocrine disruption, and skin irritation.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t think it’s that important for my liquid dish soap to be colorful if it doesn’t get my dirty dishes any cleaner.
So if you see “FD&C” or “D&C” on an ingredient label (followed by a color and number), that’s a synthetic dye that you’ll want to avoid.
Research has linked many of these dyes to a variety of health concerns from hyperactivity in children to tumor growth. In particular, Red 3 is a known carcinogen and other synthetic dyes can be contaminated with carcinogens like benzidine.
Even brands of dishwashing liquid that have either “eco-friendly” or “organic” in their name might use dyes to make their products stand out on the shelf. Just because something is labeled “natural” or “organic” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better for you. You’ll find a lot of greenwashing in the dish soap aisle (and in other areas of the store), so always read the ingredient label before you buy anything (and generally stay away from any dish soap that’s colorful).
Phosphates are commonly added to dish soap in order to reduce soap scum.
And though they’re not necessarily a human health hazard, they can, unfortunately, be harmful to the environment and to aquatic life, as they can contribute to nutrient pollution and algae blooms in water bodies like lakes and rivers.
In fact, multiple U.S. states have banned the use of phosphates in dishwashing soaps and detergents.
Try to look for phosphate-free dish soap products made by companies that are committed to sustainability and protecting the environment.
Parabens are a preservative, and they’re added to traditional dish soaps, cosmetics, diapers, and other products to extend their shelf lives.
That sounds great, but they can also be absorbed through the skin and have been linked to health problems like endocrine disruption, cancer, and reproductive toxicity.
So if you see ingredients ending in -paraben (like “methylparaben,” “Propylparabenab,” or “Butylparaben”), it’s best to avoid those products.
Luckily, consumers have guided many companies to remove parabens from their products, so it’s quite easy to find paraben-free dish soap. Just be sure to check the label to avoid any of the other ingredients I’ve listed in this post.
Since many people have learned about the potentially harmful effects of using products that contain parabens, some companies use other artificial preservatives like methylisothiazolinone (MIT) and methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCI) in their place.
But these preservatives might be just as harmful as parabens, especially when exposed to high dosages.
And though you may not be exposed to a high enough concentration in your daily duty of washing dishes, the people who work in the manufacturing plants are, and they’re at greater risk of health issues stemming from the use of these chemicals.
To be extra safe and look out for your fellow humans, look for natural dish soap that is preservative-free, or has been preserved using plant-based ingredients like citric acid.
Other preservatives may be formaldehyde releasers, which means they can release small amounts of formaldehyde over time. Formaldehyde can be toxic if swallowed or inhaled. And it can cause contact dermatitis.
So it’s best to avoid any dish soap products that contain these preservatives.
How to Choose the Best Dish Soap
So how do you find the best natural dish soap for your family? Finding eco-friendly and natural alternatives is becoming easier than ever these days, with most major brands taking note of increased consumer demand and changing up their product offerings.
You can find non-toxic dish soap at nearly any place you would find traditional dish soap, including Walmart, Target, and your favorite local grocery store chains.
In order to find natural and sustainable products that align with your values, look for products that bear 3rd party certifications like the EWG seal, the MADE SAFE® seal, the Leaping Bunny seal, or a 100% organic label.
In general, here’s what you want to look for:
- An ingredient list without any of the harsh chemicals from the list above
- Ingredients that are plant-based
- A cruelty-free label
- A company that is committed to sustainable and ethical practices
Trying a few different products might be a good idea, so you can find what works best for your family. And when you’ve found the right dishwashing soap for you, stick with it and enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing exactly what’s in your cleaning products.
A commitment to an organic and natural lifestyle is an admirable one. When you make tiny product changes one step at a time, you can make a big difference in your family’s health and the health of the environment. So the next time you add dish soap to your shopping list, be sure to grab one of these organic and non-toxic alternatives!