There are many products available to clean your house, but they aren’t always great for the environment. In recent years, there has been a rise in the number of products that claim to be eco-friendly, but how environmentally safe are they, and which are the best at keeping our homes clean?

In this article we look at green detergents, covering the spectrum from hand washing dish liquid, washing detergent, and dishwasher pods. We selected the four most popular green detergents available on Amazon to see if they are worthy of their label as eco-friendly.

  • Cruelty-free
  • Made from plant-based materials
  • No phosphates or caustic chemicals
  • Responsibly sourced ingredients
  • For use in the U.S. and Europe

  • Non-toxic
  • Plant-based ingredients
  • No artificial fragrances, colors, or preservatives
  • Contains citrus and grapefruit seed extract

  • No animal testing
  • No fragrances, dyes or chlorine
  • Packaged in a recycled box
  • Made with renewable plant-based material
  • Phosphate-free

  • Dermatologically tested
  • Hypoallergenic formula
  • No dyes, phosphates, or triclosan
  • Not tested on animals
  • USDA certified biobased product


Grab Green Dishwashing Pods

Grab Green was started by a mother with two children and two dogs, and she had the philosophy that cleaning should not only be about what you remove, but what you add too.

Grab Green dishwashing pods are certified by the USDA, like Seventh Generation Dish Liquid Soap, and they are also certified by the Whole Foods Market Green Seal Scale and the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) as a safer choice product. These pods contain no caustic chemicals like phosphates and ammonia and are guaranteed cruelty-free. Like the rest featured, the formula is 95 percent plant-based, meaning that the planet will thank you.

The packaging is recyclable, and Grab Green has gone to great lengths to make their pods as plain as possible to deter children from trying to pick them up and swallow them.

On the downside, the pods have skins that degrade when they come into contact with moisture, so make sure you store them in a dry place if you don’t want them all to fuse together. Moreover, because these pods have a scent, many have complained that it leaves a residue and a strange taste to their dishes.

Pros

  • Cruelty-free
  • EPA certified
  • No caustic chemicals
  • Recyclable packaging

Cons

  • Pod skins disintegrate in the slightest moisture
  • Scent can leave a strange taste to dishes

Biokleen is a family owned business that operates from a naturals only facility to ensure that the production line isn’t contaminated with hazardous chemicals that could lay waste to their claims of being eco-friendly. They also produce other eco products for your home, such as Biokleen Fabric Refresh, and a stain remover.

This 150 ml bottle of washing detergent should see you through 300 high-efficiency loads, or 150 standard loads. It leaves no residue and tackles tough stains with ease. It is a great product to use if you are allergic to some chemical-based detergents, and because it has no adverse effects on rivers, plants, and wildlife, you can use it with a clear conscience.

The cleaning power comes from the extract of citrus and grapefruit seeds that lift the toughest stains and do the work that other chemical-based detergents do without the environmental impact. Biokleen is so passionate about producing a genuinely eco product that they’ve even packaged this detergent in a recyclable, biodegradable bottle.

On the downside, the company has recently updated the formula to make the detergent less viscous, which some people think has affected the performance. Also, many people report that online deliveries leave much to be desired, with many bottles arriving broken or leaking.

Pros

  • Plant-based ingredients
  • Recyclable bottle
  • 300 high-efficiency washes
  • Good for skin irritations

Cons

  • New formula doesn’t seem as effective
  • Delivery quality issues


Ecover is popular with those who want to do their bit to help save the planet. Like Biokleen, Ecover has branched out to produce many household products that help you replace the chemical-based varieties, so you can now cover most chores with an eco version of your favorite cleaning product.

This Ecover dishwasher detergent has plant-based and mineral ingredients, is never tested on animals, and is biodegradable and phosphate-free. What’s more, it is produced in green factories, and the packaging is made from recycled cardboard. It comes in a 25-tablet box, and the company claims that it powers away the most stubborn stains while not damaging waterways with its dye-, chlorine-, and fragrance-free formula. 

On the downside, while the box may be recyclable, the individual tablets are wrapped in a plastic film that is both awkward to remove and creates a lot of plastic waste. In addition, many report that these tablets leave a white residue, especially around the inside of glasses and bowls.

Pros

  • Recyclable box
  • Phosphate-free
  • No chlorine
  • biodegradable

Cons

  • Each tablet is wrapped in plastic
  • Leaves a white residue

Seventh Generation has dedicated it’s cause to producing planet-friendly household products for the past 30 years, so they are no strangers to what makes a good plant-based detergent.

Their dish liquid soap is designed for those without a dishwasher, and because it is hypoallergenic and fragrance-free, you can be sure that those with sensitive skin are going to be okay using this product. As with others on this list, their soap is plant-based, meaning that it will be tough on dishes and kind to the environment. Furthermore, its formula is chlorine, phosphate, and triclosan-free, thereby earning the brand certification from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a biobased product.

They also have the accolade of being a certified B company, meaning that they are a firm that is better for the workers, the community, and the environment. Also, they guarantee never to test their products on animals and that they shall remain free from animal-based ingredients.

On the downside, many have reported that when the container gets wet it becomes too slippery to hold. In addition, similar to the Biokleen Laundry Liquid, it seems that the viscosity of the formula has changed, meaning that some claim it to be less effective at removing stubborn stains and engrained food.

Pros

  • USDA certified 
  • No animal testing
  • 30 years of experience
  • Hypoallergenic

Cons

  • The formula has changed
  • The container is tricky to hold when wet

Comparison Chart

FEATURESBiokleen Laundry LiquidEcover Dishwasher TabletsSeventh Generation Dish Liquid SoapGrab Green Dishwashing Pods
Plant-based
Caustic-free
HypoallergenicXX
Recyclable packaging
cruelty-free
Price$$$$$

Buyer’s Guide:

Eco Friendly Detergents

It seems that as we evolve, we look to the past for our answers. Plant-based cleaning products have been in existence for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Lemons, limes, and other citrus fruits have been working their natural wonders on our homes and dishes for generations, so it stands to reason that we should turn to them for environmental reasons. These eco-products, like the Biokleen Laundry Liquid, uses extracts from citrus seeds like the grapefruit as well as lemons in their formula to cut through the grease and grime, leaving you with sparkling dishes.

There are upsides and downsides to every option you choose when it comes to keeping your home clean. Do you prefer the convenience and availability of your favorite chemical cleaner, or are you willing to pay a little more for a plant-based product, knowing that it will reduce the damage to the planet? Let’s look briefly at some main pros and cons:

PROSCONS
Chemical detergent
  • Cheaper to buy
  • Instant results
  • More readily available
  • Damage the environment
  • Bad for our health
  • Dangerous to keep in the home
Eco-friendly detergent
  • Good for the planet
  • Produces less waste
  • Safer to use
  • More expensive to buy
  • Less availability
  • Less convenient

  • What is the best way to dispose of eco-friendly packaging?
  • Because the eco-products are packaged in recyclable and biodegradable materials, you can rest easy knowing that when the package is empty, you can pop it into your recycling waste so that it can be sorted and not placed in the landfill. If you have cardboard packaging, you could put it in your composting, and let the worms have some food.

  • Are these eco-friendly detergents septic tank compatible?
  • They are, according to the various websites. Because the formulas are plant-based, they should pose no threat to your septic system, and at the very least you’ll be reducing the amount of chemical waste entering the tank when you switch from your regular  cleaners.

  • Is liquid eco-cleaner better than the powder variety?
  • The advantage of using a liquid eco-cleaner is that the bottle has a lid, which means that when you’ve poured what you need, the top stops any spills or drips, and you don’t have to worry about storing it in damp conditions like you would a powder. 

    Powder tends to clump and be more temperamental when it comes into contact with moist conditions like the laundry room, so you may have to store it elsewhere, which is inconvenient at the very least.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking at dishwashing, then you could do no better than the Grab Green Dishwashing Pods. These pods are degradable, plain in color so they won’t tempt small hands, and are certified by the EPA as a safer option when choosing a detergent. That is why we have chosen them as our HowToHome choice.

If you want something on the cheaper side that doesn’t have you reaching for your old chemical brand, then our budget pick has to be the Seventh Generation Dish Liquid Soap. It is effective and plant-based but at a fraction of the cost of other detergents featured. 

Similarly, we feel compelled to recommend Biokleen Laundry Liquid as a great alternative to your usual washing detergent, and it won’t harm the wildlife and rivers.

Whichever detergent you choose, making the switch can only be a good thing, for you and the planet.

Further Reading

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