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List of Septic Safe Dishwasher Detergents

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List of Septic Safe Dishwasher Detergents

If your home uses a septic tank system rather than being connected to a traditional sewer system, you probably already know how important it is to be mindful of the household products you use. A septic system will send your wastewater into a large septic tank which is usually located underground somewhere around your property. Here, the water is stored and treated.

While lots of people with septic systems are well aware of the importance of using non-toxic or corrosive products in their sinks, showers, toilets, and washing machines, people tend to pay less attention to the products they’re using in their dishwashers. We will take a look at the best list of septic safe dishwasher detergents that are chemical-free and eco-friendly.

There are a number of benefits to having a septic system. For starters, they tend to be cost-effective and can last a long time if they’re properly serviced and maintained. On the downside, they do tend to require slightly more maintenance than a regular waste system. There can also be big problems if the system malfunctions or isn’t properly looked after.

Here, we’ll look at why it is equally vital that you use septic-safe dishwasher products, and give some tips and guidance on how you could make your own non-toxic dishwasher detergent. We’ll also list some of the most popular options currently available on the market.

Related: The Best Non-Toxic Dish Soap

What is Septic Safe Dishwasher Detergent?

Any septic safe product should be biodegradable, eco-friendly, and non-antibacterial. Any cleaning or household product that is listed as having anti-bacterial properties or ingredients could be detrimental to the functioning of your septic system. These can kill off your septic tank’s good bacteria, which are responsible for the effective breakdown of waste within the tank.

Similarly, your dishwasher detergent should be phosphate-free. Phosphate is a non-organic, acidic chemical that can also kill off any good bacteria within the tank. Lots of dishwasher detergents include phosphates because it makes such an effective cleaning agent, but recently more and more companies are being urged to remove these chemicals from their products. Not only are they extremely harmful to septic systems, but they’re also terrible for the environment and produce high levels of water pollution when emitted into lakes and rivers.

Biodegradable and eco-friendly products will be much easier for your septic tank to break down and will limit the amount of energy needed to do so. They’re also typically much healthier for us and can be used safely around most pets and children. In general, we should all be striving to include more of these products into our daily lives where possible.

Why Does it Matter if a Detergent is Septic Safe?

As we’ve said, using dishwasher detergents that include phosphates or other toxic ingredients can be detrimental to the effectiveness and safety of your septic system. These ingredients will eliminate good bacteria present within the tank and lead to a reduction in waste decomposition. This means the system will fill up faster and could end up overflowing beyond its capacity. This can lead to a number of problems such as slow drainage, bad odors, and ultimately, sewer backup.

Of course, this is something we would all prefer to avoid, which is why it’s so vital that those with septic tanks only use products that are deemed safe and fit for this purpose.

These products also tend to be much more environmentally friendly. By using products that are safe for your septic system, you could also be helping to reduce water pollution and the devastating impacts this has on fish and other wildlife.

DIY Septic Safe Dishwasher Detergent

Making your own DIY dishwasher detergent is a surefire way of ensuring that the products you’re using are both eco-friendly, non-toxic, and safe for use with your septic system. This is also a great way of customizing your products to include your favorite natural scents and formulas.

Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castille Liquid Soap is a great all-around household product that has numerous uses and makes a great base ingredient for your septic-safe cleaning products. It’s a highly concentrated cleaning agent that can be diluted multiple times for use in a number of situations.

Dr. Bronner’s - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap (Peppermint, 1 Gallon) - Made with Organic Oils, 18-in-1 Uses: Face, Body, Hair, Laundry, Pets and Dishes, Concentrated, Vegan, Non-GMODr. Bronner’s – Pure-Castile Liquid Soap (Peppermint, 1 Gallon) – Made with Organic Oils

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This is by no means the only castile soap on the market, but it is one of the most widely available and most well-known. Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castille Liquid Soap is completely biodegradable and contains no harmful synthetic ingredients including phosphates or other preservatives.

To make your own septic safe dishwasher detergent using Dr. Bronners Castille Soap, simply combine one cup of the Castille liquid soap with one cup of warm water. Add a little lemon or lime juice and you’re good to go.

You’ll need to fill your dishwasher’s detergent dispenser with one tablespoon of the detergent, and add white vinegar to your rinse-aid reservoir. The mixture is highly concentrated and effective, so a little really goes a long way. This is a great septic safe, non-toxic, and cost-effective option when it comes to dishwasher detergents.

ImageProductOur RatingPrice
Top Choice
Ecover Automatic Dishwasher Soap Tablets
Ecover Automatic Dishwasher Soap Tablets
  • Powers away stuck-on food & gets dishes sparkling clean
  • Plant-based and mineral ingredients
  • Fish friendly and never tested on animals
9.8
Check Price on Amazon
Nature Clean Natural Dishwasher PodsNature Clean Natural Dishwasher Pods
  • Powerful plant-based dishwasher pod removes baked-on food, grease, and stains
  • Hypoallergenic and contain NO chlorine, phosphates, sulfates, perfumes, or dyes 
  • Eco-friendly, Ecologo Certified, cruelty-free, gluten-free, vegan certified, and biodegradable
  • 96% natural derived ingredients from plants and minerals, septic safe
9.8
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Grab Green Automatic Dishwashing Detergent PodsGrab Green Automatic Dishwashing Detergent Pods
  • Hypoallergenic, free and clear of all scents and dyes, formulated to cut through grease and stuck-on food without harsh chemicals
  • Septic safe and made from naturally derived plant and mineral-based ingredients with no phosphates, phthalates, chlorine, toxins, dyes, or masking agents
  • Plant and mineral-based formula made with responsibly-sourced, high-quality ingredients that are cruelty-free, never tested on animals and made in the USA
9.7
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Related: Soap vs. Detergent: What’s the Difference?

Best List of Septic Safe Dishwasher Detergents

Now, let’s take a look at ten of the best and most popular septic-safe dishwasher detergents on the market right now.

We’ve listed products with varying formulas and ingredients, so there is bound to be something that fits your needs and your lifestyle. Each product is eco-friendly and non-toxic, so you can use these with the reassurance that you’re not risking the health of you, your family, or your septic system.

1. Ecover Automatic Dishwasher Soap Tablets

Ecover Automatic Dishwasher Soap Tablets, Citrus, 45 Count Ecover Automatic Dishwasher Soap Tablets, Citrus

These dishwasher tablets from Ecover are an excellent option when it comes to septic-safe detergents.

For more than three decades, Ecover has been producing high-quality, eco-friendly cleaning products. All of their products are completely plant-based and cruelty-free, as well as being inspired by nature. These dishwasher tablets are available in a number of different fragrances including citrus, lavender, chamomile, and lime zest. They are one hundred percent biodegradable and phosphate-free, so completely safe for use with a septic waste system.

In terms of packaging, Ecover use largely recycled and recyclable cardboard, which is great for the environment and reduces your own single-use material wastage. However, one of the downsides of this product is that each individual detergent tablet is also packaged in plastic which is not recyclable in all locations. If this is something that’s important to you, it might be worth checking your local recycling rules or facilities before purchasing this product.

The tablets are highly effective in removing grease and stains from dishware. They’re also available to buy in large quantities and are reasonably cost-effective.

If you’re simply looking for a detergent that will be non-toxic and safe to use with your septic system, this could be a great option, the only drawback being the excessive use of plastic within their packaging.

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2. Nature Clean Automatic Dishwasher Pacs

Nature Clean Natural Dishwasher Pods, 60 count. High Performance Dishwasher Detergent Pods With 96% Naturally Derived Ingredients From Plants And Minerals. Spot & Residue-Free, No chlorine, UnscentedNature Clean Natural Dishwasher Pods

Nature Clean’s Automatic Dishwasher Pacs are free from all fragrances, dyes, phosphates, and chlorine. In fact, the ingredients used to make these detergent pods are derived from nature, including various plants and minerals. Their natural, non-harmful ingredients mean that the Nature Clean Pacs have been certified septic tank and grey water safe.

As well as being non-toxic and safe to use, the pods are also completely cruelty-free, vegan, and kosher. They have also been Leaping Bunny certified and are recognized by PETA as a fully-vegan brand.

Nature Clean is a well-regarded, eco-friendly brand. They are certified by ECOLOGO and their products, packaging, and production processes have all been deemed environmentally friendly with regards to their reduced negative impacts and low-health hazards.

Being fragrance-free, these dishwasher pods are completely safe for use around your pets. Some fragrances or essential oils can be harmful to cats and dogs, so it can be a good idea for pet owners to opt for fragrance-free household products.

The pods are highly effective at removing stains and grease and don’t appear to leave any residue on dishware or within the dishwasher. They are also completely biodegradable.

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3. Grab Green Automatic Dishwashing Detergent Pods

Grab Green Automatic Dishwashing Detergent Pods, 132 Count, Fragrance Free, Plant and Mineral Based, Superior Cleaning, Powerful Grease Removal, Brilliant ShineGrab Green Automatic Dishwashing Detergent Pods

Grab Green was founded by mother-of-two and pet-owner, Patricia Spencer. Patricia was committed to having a healthy and safe home. After finding a lack of non-toxic cleaning products available, Patricia took it upon herself to develop her own.  The brand is built on the ethos that household products should be effective but safe and in no way detrimental to the health of you or your family. They are also committed to producing products that are environmentally friendly.

These dishwasher detergent pods are free of all fragrances and dyes, as well as harmful toxins and chemicals such as phosphates, phthalates, and chlorine. They’re also cruelty-free and Grab Green uses only recyclable materials in their packaging. They also include less plastic than other conventional cleaning products.

As a company, Grab Green strives to produce non-harmful cleaning products that can compete in effectiveness with the most popular, conventional brand cleaners. These pods are extremely effective at removing dirt and leaving no residue on your dishes.

Overall, these are a great choice if you’re looking for a dishwasher detergent that is safe for you, your family, and the environment.

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4. Better Life Natural Dishwasher Gel

Better Life Natural Dishwasher Gel Detergent, 30 Fl Oz, Pack of 2Better Life Natural Dishwasher Gel Detergent

Better Life is an extremely popular and well-known cleaning brand. Famous for its non-toxic, eco-friendly products, Better Life produces a number of high-quality products for those who are looking for septic-safe alternatives to their regular cleaning products.

Their dishwasher gel comes in liquid form, which means less single-use packaging and the less potentially harmful waste being emitted into your septic tank. The gel is completely plant-based, containing natural cleaning agents such as soap bark, coconut, and corn. It’s also entirely cruelty-free; Better Life is Leaping Bunny certified and never tests on any animals.

The gel is ultra-concentrated, meaning a little really goes a long way. Each bottle contains thirty fluid ounces, which equates to around sixty washes. This makes it cost-effective and reasonably affordable.

The scent-free, toxin-free formula means this is a great septic safe option and also means the product is safe to be used around children or pets, without worrying about harmful chemicals polluting your home or the environment.

Founded in 2008 by two dads, Better Life is a company focused on creating family-friendly cleaning products that are also gentle on the environment. A great byproduct of this, of course, is that their products are also extremely safe for use with septic waste systems.

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5. Lemi Shine Natural Dishwasher Pods

Lemi Shine Natural Dishwasher Pods - All-in-One Powder & Gel Dishwasher Detergent Pods with Powerful Citric Acid, 65 CountLemi Shine Natural Dishwasher Pods – All-in-One Powder & Gel Dishwasher Detergent Pods with Powerful Citric Acid

Powered by naturally-derived citric acids and completely chemical and toxin-free, Lemi Shine Natural Dishwasher Pods are safe for use with your septic system. Lemi Shine is a brand that strives to produce extremely effective and high-quality cleaning products while not compromising on effectiveness. They deliver products that are eco-friendly and safe to use, but tough on dirt and grease.

Citric acid is non-toxic and completely natural but is also great for killing germs and disinfecting surfaces and household products. It makes a great alternative to harsh chemicals when it comes to dishwasher detergents.

Lemi Shine does not appear to hold any certification linked to cruelty-free or kosher practices or ingredients, so if this is something that is also important to you, this might not be your top choice.

The pods are suitable for use with both hard and soft water and are completely biodegradable. The company was founded in Texas by the Eggemeyer family and has grown to become a well-known brand offering high-quality cleaning products free from harmful chemicals.

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6. Seventh Generation Fragrance-Free Dishwasher Detergent 

Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Packs, Free & Clear, 45 count, Pack of 2 Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Packs, Free & Clear

Seventh Generation was founded more than thirty years ago and has become one of the most popular producers of cleaning and household products that are non-harmful to the environment and their customers. They are committed to developing products that are cruelty-free, eco-friendly, plant-based, and fully recyclable.

Seventh Generation’s Dishwasher Detergent Pods are completely free from any dyes, fragrances, phosphates, chlorine, and bleaches. Given their focus on creating products that are not going to harm the environment or cause unnecessary damage to waterways or wildlife, Seventh Generation’s products are typically safe to use with all septic tanks.

The dishwasher detergent pods come in dissolvable, PVA films that are safe to use in your dishwasher and septic system. Seventh Generation is also a B Certified corporation, meaning they advocate for fair workers’ rights and conditions, as well as the protection of the environment and their customers.

Overall, Seventh Generation is a great brand and their dishwasher detergent pods are an excellent septic safe choice.

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7. Puracy Platinum Dishwasher Detergent Pods 

Puracy Dishwasher Pods- Effective 50 Count Free & Clear Scent Dishwasher Detergent Pod- Natural Dishwasher Tablets, Dish Tabs for Ultimate Clean & Shine-Hypoallergenic Dishwasher Soap Dishwashing PodsPuracy Dishwasher Detergent Pods – Free & Clear Scent Hypoallergenic Dishwasher Soap

Puracy Platinum’s Dishwasher Detergent Pods are another great, septic safe, high-quality product.

The pods contain no harsh ingredients such as betaine, sulfates, bleach, dyes, fragrances, or petroleums. They’re also completely cruelty-free, plant-based, hypoallergenic, and gluten-free. The dual-action formula means the pods are great for removing dirt and grease with no need for additional rinse-aids.

Like many of the companies listed here, Puracy was also founded by parents who were looking for non-toxic alternatives to their regular household products in an attempt to reduce the number of harmful chemicals being brought into their homes and around their families.

The dishwasher detergent pods are packaged in refill pouches, which use significantly less plastic, water, and energy than regular plastic bottles.

With thousands of positive reviews and features with broadcasters including Fox, ABC, and many more, Puracy is an excellent brand to support and their dishwasher detergent pods are highly effective and safe to use.

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8. Sun & Earth Concentrated Liquid Dish Soap

Dish Soap Liquid by Sun & Earth, 24 fl oz Pack of 6, All Natural Citrus Scent, Plant Based Ingredients, No Phosphates, Parabens or Sulfates Dish Soap Liquid by Sun & Earth, 24 fl oz Pack of 6, All Natural Citrus Scent, Plant-Based Ingredients

This Concentrated Liquid Dish Soap is designed for hand-washing dishes and provides a great septic safe alternative to regular dish soaps. With no phosphates, sulfates, or parabens, Sun & Earth’s Liquid Dish Soap is safe to use with your septic system and is also non-toxic for you and your family.

The highly concentrated formula means one bottle will last a long time and a little really goes a long way. The soap contains no perfumes or dyes and is extremely gentle on the skin – a must when it comes to hand washing! All of the ingredients are plant-based and gluten-free as well as being completely hypoallergenic.

Sun & Earth is a well-known cleaning brand and has an impressive selection of non-toxic, eco-friendly products available. All of their packaging are recyclable and refill pouches of the dish soap can be purchased to reduce waste.

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9. Method Dishwasher Soap

Method Dishwasher Detergent Packs, Dishwashing Rinse Aid to Lift Tough Grease and Stains, 45 Dishwasher Tabs per Package, Free + Clear - Fragrence Free, 1 Pack, Packaging May Vary Method Dishwasher Detergent Packs, Dishwashing Rinse Aid to Lift Tough Grease and Stains

Method cleaning products have grown in popularity in recent years, with more and more people seeking out non-toxic, pet, and child-friendly cleaning products.

The Method Dishwasher Soap is a naturally-derived dishwasher detergent that is one hundred percent non-toxic and mineral-based. The dishwasher pods are dual-action, so no need for a rinse aid and they are extremely tough on dirt.

All of Method’s products are cruelty-free and as a certified B corporation, Method is focused on creating better practices for the environment and its workers. All of their packaging is entirely recyclable and the dishwasher soap pods are wrapped in dissolvable films that are completely safe to use with septic tanks.

Some customers have reported that this dishwasher soap wasn’t all that effective with hard water, so it might be worth looking into how soft or hard your water is before purchasing.

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10. ECOS Earth Friendly Wave Dishwasher Gel

Earth Friendly Products Wave Auto Dishwasher Gel, Lavender, 40 OunceEarth Friendly Products Wave Auto Dishwasher Gel, Lavender

Earth Friendly Wave Dishwasher Gel is a plant-based, phosphate-free dishwasher detergent that is safe to use with septic waste systems. This gel is scented with natural lavender oil which is largely non-toxic, however, it can be harmful to some pets, so definitely look into this before purchasing.

All of Earth Friendly’s products are cruelty-free and largely eco-friendly. All of the ingredients used in the Dishwasher Gel are naturally derived and the highly concentrated formula means that you need about half as much product as regular liquid detergents. This means the product tends to be more cost-effective and long-lasting than many other brands.

If you’re simply looking for an effective, affordable dishwasher detergent that won’t harm your septic system, this seems to be a good option.

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Powder Detergent vs. Liquid: Which is Better?

Any detergent that doesn’t contain phosphates or antibacterial ingredients should be safe for use with your septic tank, but whether you choose to opt for liquid or powder formulas is really dependent on your personal preference, although there are some key differences between the two.

As a general rule, powder dishwasher detergents tend to be more effective than liquids. Liquids can stick to dishware and on the dishwasher parts. This can interfere with the overall functioning of the machine and leave dishes with detergent residue on them after washing. Powders tend to clean dishes more effectively and are also generally more cost-effective in terms of their concentration and usage, although this isn’t the case with all powders.

These days, more and more of us are reaching for tablet or pod formula dishwasher detergents. These tend to be much more convenient, although not always the most economically effective. Septic safe pods or tablets should also be completely biodegradable to reduce the risk of waste build-up in the tank.

ImageProductOur RatingPrice
Top Choice
Ecover Automatic Dishwasher Soap Tablets
Ecover Automatic Dishwasher Soap Tablets
  • Powers away stuck-on food & gets dishes sparkling clean
  • Plant-based and mineral ingredients
  • Fish friendly and never tested on animals
9.8
Check Price on Amazon
Nature Clean Natural Dishwasher PodsNature Clean Natural Dishwasher Pods
  • Powerful plant-based dishwasher pod removes baked-on food, grease, and stains
  • Hypoallergenic and contain NO chlorine, phosphates, sulfates, perfumes, or dyes 
  • Eco-friendly, Ecologo Certified, cruelty-free, gluten-free, vegan certified, and biodegradable
  • 96% natural derived ingredients from plants and minerals, septic safe
9.8
Check Price on Amazon
Grab Green Automatic Dishwashing Detergent PodsGrab Green Automatic Dishwashing Detergent Pods
  • Hypoallergenic, free and clear of all scents and dyes, formulated to cut through grease and stuck-on food without harsh chemicals
  • Septic safe and made from naturally derived plant and mineral-based ingredients with no phosphates, phthalates, chlorine, toxins, dyes, or masking agents
  • Plant and mineral-based formula made with responsibly-sourced, high-quality ingredients that are cruelty-free, never tested on animals and made in the USA
9.7
Check Price on Amazon

Final Thoughts on the Best List of Septic Safe Dishwasher Detergents

There’s a wide range of septic safe dishwasher detergents available to us, and here we have listed just a few. When looking out for new septic safe household products, there are a few key things to check for. These are:

  • Non-Antibacterial Ingredients List
  • No phosphates, chlorines, or other harmful chemicals
  • Biodegradable packaging and ingredients
  • Eco-friendly Ingredients

By choosing products that tick each of these boxes, you can rest assured that your dishwasher detergent will not be harmful to the effective functioning and longevity of your septic waste system. And as a nice little bonus – these products are also much less harmful to the health of you, your family, your pets, and the environment. You are sure to find the best one for your and your family’s needs on our list of septic safe dishwasher detergents!

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