Eco-friendly Dishwasher Pods – Are They Effective?

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If you’re looking for ways to be more sustainable around your house, you may be curious about eco-friendly dishwasher detergent pods.

I’ve recently been looking into eco-friendly pods after a friend told me she was concerned that they wouldn’t work on her dirty dishes. So, are eco-friendly dishwasher pods effective? 

Eco-friendly dishwasher detergent offers a sustainable alternative to regular dishwashing pods and detergents. They contain biodegradable non-toxic ingredients and fewer or no harmful chemicals. When used correctly, eco-friendly dishwasher detergents and pods are just as effective as standard ones for producing sparkling clean dishes.

So, what makes eco-friendly dishwasher detergents different, and how effective are they at cleaning the dishes?

This article covers everything you need to know about eco-friendly pods’ sustainability, effectiveness, and ingredients, and my top picks for sustainable pods that actually work!

How Do Eco-friendly Dishwasher Tablets and Pods Benefit The Environment?

Conventional dishwasher detergents have come a long way in terms of harsh chemicals, but many still contain harmful substances that disrupt the environment, water system, and even potentially your health. 

The difference between standard dishwasher powder and eco-friendly dishwasher detergents are that they prioritize using sustainable ingredients which are less environmentally damaging or toxic for human health than regular dishwasher tablets and pods. 

Regular dishwasher powder often contains environmentally damaging and potentially toxic chemical residue and a form of plastic, polyvinyl alcohol (PVA).

These make their way down your drain with the water after a wash.

In contrast, more environmentally friendly pods are typically made from organic, biodegradable ingredients that do not leech into or poison the water table. 

Do Eco-Friendly Dishwasher Tablets and Pods Use Plastic?

Regular pods are made from PVA, which dissolves during the washing process. These microplastics may then join the water cycle, with an international study on Environmental Research and Public Health finding that up to 75% of plastic waste from these pods enters the environment. 

In contrast to this, in greener alternatives, the biodegradable dishwasher detergents contained inside a biodegradable pod break down without harmful environmental impact on aquatic systems and the animals and plants that live there.

These differences mean that using non-toxic eco-friendly dishwasher detergent pods releases far fewer chemicals and plastics like polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) into the environment compared to regular dishwashing pods.

Many eco-friendly dishwashing products come with sustainable packaging (in cardboard or recycled plastic packaging), which reduces waste too! 

Do Eco-friendly Dishwashing Pods Work Effectively?

You may be wondering whether the dishwasher powder in more ecologically responsible pods is as effective at giving you sparkling clean dishes as traditional options are. 

While results vary depending on the brand you select and the amount of product you use, generally, the ingredients used in eco-friendly dishwasher detergent are as effective and will leave your dishes as sparkling as regular dishwashing detergent or pods! 

When choosing your eco-friendly detergent pods, look out for those containing plant-derived ingredients i.e. plant extracts or plant-based natural enzymes and natural mineral-based ingredients.

These effectively cut through dish grease and remove food scraps from your crockery while keeping the planet a priority. My list below contains a few suggestions to get you started!

What Are The Best Eco-Friendly Dishwasher Pod Brands?

Sometimes, finding the time for research or a ‘trial-and-error’ process when selecting a new product is hard to do or daunting.

That’s why I’ve assembled a short list of some of the most effective eco-friendly dishwasher detergent options available for you below. 

These are just a few starting suggestions of the best dishwasher detergent for the eco-minded, with many other excellent non-toxic green products available online or locally. 

1. Dropps Dishwasher Detergent Pods. These dishwashing pods, available fragrance-free or with zesty lemon (citric acid) are made from natural mineral ingredients.

The detergent cuts easily through even the thickest grease, for which it has received glowing reviews. The pods are also compatible with rinse aid.

2. Puracy Natural Dishwasher Detergent Pods. These effective pods are plant-based and cruelty-free. They are effective too, in removing dried food without the need for pre-soaking.

3. Grove Co.’s Total Clean Dishwasher Detergent Packs. These pods use natural ingredients, are effective on even the most stubborn food stains, and are also plastic waste neutral.

They also have other products in the range like their ‘Seventh Generation’ Rinse Aid.

4. Eco’s Pods. These plant-based, efficient pods are produced in factories running entirely on renewable energy and are completely zero waste and plastic free.

Environmentally friendly dishwasher tablets and pods are available in various compositions for different water types and dish usage.

They also come in several fresh plant-based scents, so there is an option for everyone! 

Dishwasher Detergent Ingredients To Steer Clear Of

There are several common ingredients in regular dishwashing detergent to avoid, especially if you see them in a product advertised as eco-friendly.

These harsh chemicals pollute the environment through the water system and may even be harmful to you and your family. 

My first rule for dishwashing is not to buy any dishwashing pods or detergents which contain the following:

  • Phosphates. Dishwasher detergent should be phosphate-free, as these enter the water system where they can cause mineral poisoning, killing aquatic animals and plants.

  • Polyacrylates. These chemicals can cause eye damage or burns in humans and are also incredibly toxic to aquatic animals when they enter the environment. 

  • Benzisothiazolinone. When your eyes or skin are exposed to benzisothiazolinone, the chemical can cause painful irritations and is an environmental pollutant in the water system. 

  • Fragrances. Most commercial artificial fragrances in regular dishwashing detergent are comprised of up to hundreds of undisclosed chemicals, some of which may be toxic to people and the environment. 

As many of the chemicals in standard dishwashing pods do not biodegrade, they can build up in aquatic ecosystems, where they can cause a lot of damage to the area’s micro and macro flora and fauna.

Does Eco-Friendly Dishwasher Detergent Contain Chlorine Bleach?

The answer is both yes and no. Some eco-friendly dishwasher detergents do contain chlorine bleach while others do not.

It all depends on the specific brand and formulation. However, most eco-friendly dishwasher detergents will have some form of chlorine-free alternative such as oxygen-based bleach.

So, why is it important to know whether or not your dishwasher detergent contains bleach? For one thing, bleach is a known irritant and can cause respiratory problems in some people.

Additionally, bleach can also be harmful to the environment if it’s not used properly.

Thankfully, there are a number of eco-friendly dishwasher detergents on the market that don’t contain bleach.

These products typically use natural ingredients like citrus extracts and enzymes to break down food and grease. This means they’re much gentler on both your dishes and your skin.

What Else Should I Look for in an Eco-Friendly Dishwasher Detergent?

When shopping for eco-friendly dishwasher detergent, there are a few other things you’ll want to keep in mind.

First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure the product is certified by a reputable third-party organization such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or Green Seal.

These organizations test and certify products that meet their strict environmental and safety standards.

This means you can be confident that the dishwasher detergent you’re using is not only safe for the environment but also effective at cleaning your dishes.

Additionally, the best dishwasher detergent would be non-toxic, synthetic fragrance-free, and without dyes or other harmful chemicals.

These ingredients can be irritating to your skin and may even cause health problems over time. Instead, opt for a product that uses natural ingredients and is scented with essential oils.

Finally, you’ll want to make sure the dishwasher detergent you choose is packaged in recyclable, reusable, or compostable packaging.

This will help reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills each year.

What Are Your Other Eco-Friendly Dishwashing Options?

Dishwashing pods are favored by many for their convenience; however, there are a lot of different eco-friendly dishwashing detergent options to choose from!

These include plant-based ingredients, such as Better Life ‘Soap Bark’ and coconut gel available on Amazon.

Plus, liquid detergents, powders, and Power Pebbles (which come in entirely recyclable cardboard packaging!)

Several homemade dishwasher detergent recipes are also reputably very successful.

These include using white wine vinegar instead of dishwashing detergent (the acidity cuts through the grease on your dishes). 

Another recipe recommends using a combination of washing soda, citric acid, baking soda, and sodium salt to create your own dishwashing powder. 


Eco-friendly dishwasher tablets and pods present an environmentally more sustainable way of keeping your dishes sparkling and reducing your carbon footprint.

Many are just as functional as regular dishwashing detergents, are vegan and cruelty-free, contain no toxic ingredients, and have ecologically thoughtful packaging. 

If you’re concerned about the ingredients in your dishwasher detergent, be sure to check the label before you buy. And, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact the manufacturer directly.

As I tell my friends, I wholly recommend shifting from regular dishwasher pods to a more ecologically conscious alternative (whether it be eco-pods or a DIY recipe).


If it’ll benefit your family’s health and help you keep your dishes clean in a way that’s safer for our planet, too, it seems worth it!

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