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May 27, 2018  |  Login

Use Earth-friendly Dishwasher Detergents

Clean up your dishwashing with earth-friendly soaps.

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In the process of cleaning and disinfecting your home, you could be exposing your family to harsh, unnatural chemicals. According to the EPA, levels of pollutants indoors can be from 2 to more than 100 times higher than those outdoors, simply due to the volatile organic compounds that evaporate from home decorating and cleaning products. Luckily, you can take actions, like changing your dishwasher detergent, to drastically reduce the amount of pollutants that you introduce into your home and the environment.
The conventional detergents used in an automatic dishwasher can contain very harmful substances, like chlorine and phosphates. Chlorine creates harmful toxins that can accumulate in humans and animals and cause cancer, birth defects, and developmental and reproductive disorders. At the same time, dishwasher detergents account for about a third of the phosphates that build up in U.S. waterways and cause problematic algae blooms that choke out other life forms.

Look for non-toxic, biodegradable dishwashing liquids that do not contain chlorine or phosphates. Be wary of labels that boast, “green” or “natural,” and instead steer toward those that claim specific qualities, like “chlorine-free” or “phosphate-free.” Even better, check out the ingredients. If substances like butyl cellosolve, petroleum, triclosan or phosphates are present, then the product is not earth-friendly and should be avoided. This small substitution will be kinder to the environment, especially waterway ecosystems, while creating a safer place for your family.


Take Action / Next Steps

-Find a local recycling center near you to dispose of old dishwasher soaps.

-Check out a review of some environmentally-friendly brands

-Check out recipes for making homemade detergent.

-Top ten tips to green your dishwashing routine.


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Did You Know?

Click below for more facts about this tip.


1. Hunter, Linda Mason & Mikki Halpin. Green Clean. “Automatic Dishwasher.” New York: Melcher Media. 2005.

2. Great Lakes Pollution Prevention and Toxics Reduction. “The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.” Available from: . [28 July 2008]

3. National Center for Environmental Assessment. “Health and Environmental Effects Profile for Trimethyl Phosphate.”
Available from: . [28 July 2008]

4. “Seventh Generation Natural Automatic Dishwashing Detergent Free and Clear.” Available from: [28 July 2008]
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