Widespread plastic pollution, caused by an unshakable dependence on plastic in manufacturing and packaging processes and our broken recycling system, continues to wreak havoc on our world and endanger entire ecosystems.
And with plastic’s long shelf life (upwards of 1,000 years) and the growing threat of microplastics, it’s not looking like it’ll stop soon.
As the old Chinese proverb says, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now. You can’t undo what is done – you can’t go back and time and prevent yourself from using plastic straws or Q-Tips, but you sure as hell can choose to never use them again.
Lucky for you, now is the best time to start. The zero-waste lifestyle is more popular than ever, and with such a large and continuously growing user-base, companies have begun catering products to profit off this lucrative niche. And that’s an awesome thing – it means there are tons more options when looking for plastic-free products, and you don’t have to settle for the only one on the market. (which is how it was only a few years ago)
That being said, finding good zero-waste products can be difficult, to say the least. In particular, finding a decent plastic free dish soap can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. To make your life a little easier, I’ve put together a list of some of the best plastic free dish soaps I’ve used and love. I hope it’ll make your search for a zero-waste dish soap, dish tab, or detergent pod a breeze.
1. rE: Dish Washing Soap Bar
This bar is less well-known than some of the others on this list, but I really like it. I repurchase it often, and genuinely enjoy both the soap and the principles/manufacturing processes of the company that creates it.
The soap is zero waste, plastic free, palm oil-free, free of artificial dyes and fragrance, and arrives in 100 percent biodegradable packaging. It also comes with a biodegradable loofah that is a much better alternative to traditional plastic dish sponges and gives you a nice bang for your buck.
And as for the soap itself, it does a killer job of cleaning dishes, and is surprisingly effective at dissolving grease. It’s also formulated with ingredients that I love, including olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, and lemon extract for a fresh scent.
2. Generic Store’s Farmhouse Soap
This bar of soap is another one of the lesser-known dish soaps on this list. I recommend it to anyone with sensitive skin, or anyone who enjoys supporting small-businesses. The generic store is a company that has been making handmade soaps for the last 25 years, and their multi-purpose farmhouse soap is one of my favorites.
It can be used on anything from dishwashing, produce cleansing, animal bathing, floor cleaning and more. My favorite version is their unscented variety because it’s made of only two ingredients – saponified coconut oil and filtered water. This makes it fitting for individuals with sensitive skin because the fewer ingredients there are in a product’s formulation, the less likely you’ll be to have a reaction to it.
It’s the only soap I’ve ever found that has that few ingredients, my eczema prone skin has never had a reaction to it, and I love that it’s handmade.
3. Somjy Dish Washing Soap
If you’re looking for a dish soap that has a good enough scent to replace your candles, this is the one. It smells *chef’s kiss* exquisite. That might be biased though, because I have a weakness for all things coffee scented.
These dish soap bars made by SOMJY come in three different sets of scents – coffee & cinnamon, sweet pumpkin & chlorella, and rice & paprika. My favorite of the three is coffee & cinnamon, but the others smell great too. Each bar is 100% biodegradable, comes in plastic free packaging, are palm oil free, cruelty free, vegan, and are hand made ethically by a small team in Korea.
The dish soap bars are formulated with a minimal number of effective, sustainable ingredients such as coconut oil, sunflower oil, purified water, sodium hydroxide, and coffee powder.
4. Cleancult Dish Soap
Bar soap is the type of soap I prefer to use daily. It’s my favorite for washing dishes, washing my body, and washing pretty much anything else. It’s also much more sustainable, because it requires much less energy to manufacture and package than liquid soaps. That being said, liquid dish soap has its pros.
Need to scrub a super narrow vase or container that you can’t fit your hand into? Liquid soap will do the job. Need a cheaper dish washing option? Liquid soaps tend to be more affordable than solid dish blocks. And like it or not, out of all the solid dish soaps I’ve used, liquid soap tends to do a better job of cutting through heavily soiled and greased pans.
So if you really, really prefer liquid soaps, Cleancult Dish Soaps are a more sustainable option than traditional liquid dish soaps. They’re non-toxic, plant based, cruelty free, vegan, packaged in a paper-based carton to eliminate plastic waste, and are sustainably shipped. They come in a variety of scents, including juniper sandalwood, sea spray aloe, lavender, grapefruit, blue sage, and lemongrass, but my favorite scent (and my momma’s as well!) is sweet honeysuckle.
One reason I really like this soap is that it’s formulated with skin friendly ingredients such as glycerin, aloe juice, and vitamin E. I’ve never had a reaction to using it, and this is pretty much my holy grail liquid dish soap.
5. Beyond Natural Dishwasher Tablets
As I said before, I prefer using solid dish soap on a daily basis rather than liquid dish soap. But that’s only for pots, pans, and big kitchenware. For your everyday dirty dishes like plates, bowls, spoons and whatnot, I prefer using the dishwasher. It’s easier than washing everything by hand, and surprisingly enough, is more energy efficient in most cases.
I yo-yo between two different dishwasher soaps, and one of them is Beyond Natural Dishwasher Tablets. They are a more eco-friendly version of most store-bought dishwashing tablets. They are cruelty free, septic safe, the film they’re packaged in is plastic free and 100% biodegradable, and they are packaged in a cardboard, recyclable container.
6. Dropps Dishwasher Detergent Pods
Dropps Detergent Pods are the other dishwasher safe soap I use and are really the only one I use unless they’re out of stock. They’re amazing.
They do such a fantastic job of cleaning dishes. Like, such a good job that I don’t even have to pre-rinse anymore – I can put in a dried-up spaghetti or pancake plate, and it’ll still come out sparkly clean. I like not having to pre-rinse because it’s both easier and more eco-friendly, and that’s only one of the things I love about this detergent.
It’s sustainably formulated, cruelty free, dye free, chlorine free, packaged in a 100% recyclable/compostable cardboard box, and leaves way less residue than other eco-friendly dish soaps I’ve tried. 10/10 would recommend.
Those are all of my favorite plastic free dish soaps. More and more sustainable products become available each year, so if I’ve missed one that you love, feel free to let me know about it in the comments below!
Please note that this article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of them, I earn a commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I 100% stand behind.
Hi, I’m Ash!
I’m a laid back traveler who loves experiencing new things and spontaneity. My favorite hobbies are hiking, gardening, skincare, and all things tea.
My biggest goal is to spread the word about sustainable travel and show everyone how easy it is to partake in. If you wanna learn more about that or get to know me better, feel free to click here.