Your guide to dishwasher tablets and the toxic ingredients to avoid

Your guide to dishwasher tablets and the toxic ingredients to avoid

When it comes to dishwasher tablets, not all are created equal. Many non-eco brands found in supermarkets contain harmful toxins, so it’s always best to choose eco products. But how do you know which ingredients are toxic or not? Below we’ve listed the main culprits found in non-environmentally friendly dishwasher tablets to help you shop smarter.

While the main toxic ingredients found in non-eco dishwasher tablets might do a good job of cleaning your pots and pans, they can also lead to various health issues such as skin irritation, respiratory problems, and even cancer if there is long-term exposure to the toxins. Moreover, some of these harmful ingredients will contaminate water sources when washed down the drain, causing danger to aquatic life and ecosystems.

What ingredients should I avoid in dishwasher tablets?

If you want to make sure you are buying safe and eco-friendly dishwasher tablets, the first thing to do is check the label before handing over your cash. Look out for the wording such as 'phosphate-free', 'chlorine-free', 'dye-free' or 'SLS-free'. And don’t forget to check for certifications that show the product is vegan and cruelty free. 

Here is a quick guide to main ingredients you should AVOID if you want eco-dishwasher tablets, a safer alternative for your eco home.


Phosphates were once commonly used in dishwasher tablets to help break down food particles and remove stains. However, government legislation has now put a cap on the amount that can be used in household cleaning product. Indeed the chemical causes significant environmental harm when it enters our waterways. Phosphates promote the growth of algae in bodies of water, which uses up the oxygen needed for fish and other aquatic life to survive.

However, even a small amount of phosphate is too much, and choosing phosphate-free dishwasher tablets is the best way to ensure our wildlife stays protected long after the dishes are done.


Another common ingredient found in non-eco dishwasher tablets is chlorine. While this chemical is effective at disinfecting, it comes at a cost as chlorine can bring on respiratory issues if inhaled, as well as cause skin irritation upon contact.

Furthermore, when mixed with other ingredients from other cleaning products it can form toxic fumes, which are unpleasant and often dangerous to inhale. If you or any member of your household have asthma, eczema or allergies, then it’s best to ditch the non-eco dishwasher tabs for a healthier choice.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)

SLS is a common surfactant found in many cleaning products including dishwasher tablets. This ingredient is known for its ability to create foam and cut through grease, however, SLS has been linked with skin irritation and eye damage. There is also some concern over the harm SLS does to our ecosystems. In other words, choosing chemical-free dishwasher tablets that do not contain SLS is the smartest way to clean up.

Why choose eco dishwasher tablets instead?

Switching from conventional supermarket-bought dishwasher tablets laden with harmful chemicals to eco-alternatives has plenty of benefits:

  • A healthier home environment – non-toxic dishwasher tablets do not release harmful fumes into your home or leave toxic residues on your dishes that could be ingested later on.
  • Safer for skin – if you have sensitive skin, switching to eco dishwasher tablets is a smart choice if you want to minimise contact with potential skin irritants.
  • Environmentally friendly – choosing eco dishwasher tablets that are biodegradable and toxin-free will help minimise harmful substances entering our ecosystems after water is washed down the drain.

Find out more about our Bower eco dishwasher tablets!

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