What’s the most eco friendly dish soap?

What’s the most eco friendly dish soap?  The most eco friendly dish soap will be zero waste and non-toxic. After all, with a busy family there are a lot of dishes to wash and unless you wear rubber gloves (again, eww) your skin will be in contact with the liquid. 

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Why use eco friendly dish soap?

Standard dish soaps are full of microplastics and toxic chemicals and are packaged in plastic bottles that are not always recyclable. 

If your preference is for a washing up liquid, look for products that have non-toxic ingredients and have a recycled plastic bottle or a bottle that can be recycled. For example Ecover have plant based dish soaps that are packaged in recycled plastic and PlantPlastic which is a plant based polyethylene plastic made from sugarcane. 

Concentrated washing up liquids and refillable bottles use a lot less plastic packaging, making both of these an eco friendly dish soap option. Concentrated liquids can then be diluted in the home to make sure you don’t use too much dish soap, which defeats the purpose. 

Zero waste dish soaps that come as soap bars are as popular as other soap bar products. The benefit of solid dish soaps is that they can contain no plastic and they don’t have to be packaged in a plastic bottle or wrap making them an eco friendly dish soap option. The downside to solid dish soaps is that they work in a different way. 

How to wash up using a solid zero waste dish soap

Let’s talk about how to wash up using a solid zero waste dish soap. It is very different from using a liquid dishwashing liquid. Richelle at Virginia Soap & Scents gives us some tips. 

First scrape off any remaining food residue on the plates. This is a standard step however you wash your dishes. Then take a dishwashing brush and wet it. Rub the dishwashing brush over the solid soap to lather it up. Now wash the dish with the brush. Rinse the dish and stack it. Don’t rinse the brush as you can use it again for the next item. Replenish the soap as necessary by rubbing the brush on the dish soap again. 

Alternatively, to save water while washing your dishes, fill the sink with water, dip the soap and brush into the water and scrub the soap with the brush until the water is soapy. Then wash your dishes as usual. 

You might worry that a solid eco friendly dish soap might leave a layer of scum or residue on glasses and sink, but choosing the right dish soap is key. Look for products that are reviewed and have comments about whether they leave a residue. They are not all created equal, like any other cleaning product. 

Eco friendly dishwashing sponges 

A word about eco friendly dishwashing sponges. Standard dishwashing sponges are made of plastic. Both the sponge, typically made of polyurethane and the scourer pad, typically made of polyethylene mesh can be recycled but they most often go into landfill. 

Disintegrating sponges can also result in the release of microplastics and nanoplastics into the environment through the drain water systems (Science Direct). This is very bad for the environment. An eco friendly dish brush or ‘sponge’ made from coir, bamboo or other sustainably sourced material is a better alternative to the standard dishwashing sponge. 

Eco friendly dish soap brands

Ecover is a well known global manufacturer of eco friendly dish soaps and other cleaning products. They make naturally derived dish soap that is fragrance free or with lemon and pink geranium scents. The fragrance free product is plant based, non-toxic and biodegradable. It is supplied in a bottle made up of a mix of recycled plastic and PlantPlastic. They are based in Belgium and produce their products in an environmentally friendly factory. 

etee makes a plastic free eco friendly dish soap that is concentrated. They left out the water and kept only four simple ingredients; Alcohol ethoxylate (plant-derived grease-cutting agent), Polyglucoside (plant-derived cleaning agent), Amine oxide (plant-derived cleaning agent), and Hydroxyethylcellulose (plant-derived viscosity modifier). By leaving out the water, they can save on packaging. They developed a plastic free biodegradable pod which makes up to 400ml of liquid dish soap. They also sell glass bottles and eco friendly dish cloths & scrubbers. Etee are a Canadian brand.

Virginia Soap & Scents sell a zero waste dish soap kit with everything you need to get started with solid dish soap. This includes a soap, the tin packaging which becomes the soap dish, dishwashing brush, and silicone pad (unfortunately this is not very sustainable!) for putting the brush on. They also sell refill soaps. The dish soap has castor oil and coconut which produce lather and are gentle on skin. 

Another zero waste dish soap with probiotics is Karmic Seeds’ Green Roots Dish Soap Bars. These are handmade by rural women in India providing them with fair wages. It is 100% zero waste and is sold in a cloth bag with two soaps in boxes and two coir dishwashing scrubbers. The soap bars are made from edible coconut oil, vinegar, neem powder, whitish clay, certified lemon essential oil, structured water with probiotic ceramic rings. No nasty chemicals or sulfates and the bars work like a treat. 

Arencia makes an eco friendly dish soap that is vegan and zero waste. The soap bars are handmade by artisans in their lab every day. Their dish soap uses activated charcoal and it is packaged in minimal plastic free packaging. They are made in Seoul so there are some transport costs. 

The No Tox Life Vegan Dish Block is an eco friendly dish soap that is vegan, phosphate-, sulfate- and paraben-free with no fragrances, no palm oil and no testing on animals. They ship sustainably with plastic free packaging, using paper and sometimes even packaging peanuts but never fear these are biodegradable and made of cornstarch. No Tox Life also sell agave brushes and bamboo soap dishes. They make their own products in the USA and Canada. 

Will you buy an eco friendly dish soap? 

There are lots of benefits to an eco friendly dish soap. They are kinder to your skin, safer for your family and more environmentally friendly. They use less plastic packaging and can be completely plastic free and zero waste. These are all important for our planet. 

There is no need to compromise with an eco friendly dish soap. They can be as fragrant and sudsy as a standard dish soap. Using a solid dish soap might be a learning curve and you might be afraid that you will end up with residue on dishes and glasses and even the sink, but the best eco friendly dish soaps, like those that we have included, leave no residue.