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Ecological rating of washing-up liquids and dishwasher tablets

Published in October 2020.

What is this article about?

Find out the eco-friendliness of dozens of brands of dishwashing detergents and dishwasher tablets. The rating includes sustainable palm oil policy, the presence of aquatoxic chemicals, the use of recycled packaging, and the company's overall environmental ethos.

This page is an annex to the article: Choosing healthy and eco-friendly personal care and home care products, where you will find our methodology to rate the eco-friendliness of home and personal care manufacturers, as well as a list of toxic chemicals often found in cleaning products.

Contents

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How are products rated?

Brand Ethos includes the company's ecological values and its commitment to sustainability beyond other factors rated in other columns. Ecological brands that are carbon neutral (or even better carbon positive), have a reforestation programme, an efficient waste reduction system, or donate part of their profits to environmental charities (e.g. 1% for the Planet) obtained an A grade.

The company's palm oil policy is one of the most important factors in the global environmental impact. Vast palm plantations in Southeast Asia have caused untold ecological devastation, destroying the tropical rainforest and its biodiversity. According to ASAP 235 animal species are on the brink of extinction in Southeast Asia, including the Javan and Sumatran rhinos, the Sumatran tiger, and 80% of primates in the region, such as the Bornean Orangutan. This is why it can make a real difference to use products that do not contain palm oil derivatives (ideally) or at least choose sustainable palm oil. Companies can source their palm oil responsibly in part thanks to the criteria established by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Companies that use unsustainable palm oil did not get a A rating even if all other categories were outstanding.

Aquatoxic substances were rated from A (safe) to G (most toxic). Only chemicals rated D and above are listed, as those from A to C are considered reasonably safe. Sodium Laureth Sulfate is abbreviated as SLES. Whenever the composition does not specify the type of surfactant, the rating is set as D as the most common anionic surfactant is SLES (D) and the most common amphoteric surfactants is Cocoamidopropyl Betaine (D).

The health hazard column consists mostly of allergens and skin irritants, although some of the most noxious chemicals have also been linked to general body toxicity, endocrine disruption and cancer. In addition to being an allergn, Butylphenyl Methylpropional (aka Lilial) is toxic, an endocrine disruptor with suspected of damaging fertility, and accumulates in the body over time. Bronopol and DMDM Hydantoin are both formaldehyde releasers with potential carcinogenic effects. They can cause respiratory irritation, asthma and allergic skin reaction.

Isothiazolinones are the most common allergens. They are also biocides and therefore toxic to the environment. The most aquatoxic are Benzisothiazolinone (BIT) and Octylisothiazolinone (OIT). They are listed only in that category to avoid listing it it in both columns. Methylchloroisothiazolinone (CMIT) and Methylisothiazolinone (MIT) are less toxic to water life but more allergenic and are consequently listed under health hazard. All four are listed by their acronyms. Alpha-isomethyl ionone is another allergn that is also toxic both to the enviornment and to human health, although less in known about it.


Ecological ratings of washing-up liquid brands

Best value A-rated washing-up liquid

Ecover

Seventh Generation

Bio-D 5L

Frosch

Product Brand Ethos Recycled bottle Palm oil Aquatoxic substances Health hazard RATING
Ecodoo
(Ekibio)
A+ 100% RSPO - - A+
Sodasan A+ 100% RSPO - - A+
Bio-D B 100% RSPO - - A
Ecover Zero %
(S.C. Johnson & Son)
A 100% RSPO - - A
Greenscents B no, but refill 0% - - A
Biovie
(Léa Nature)
A+ 100% RSPO
  • Cocamidopropyl betaine
  • SLES
  • - A-
    Frosch (Rainett) A 100% 0%
  • Cocamidopropyl betaine
  • SLES
  • - A-
    Seventh Generation A 100% RSPO
  • Coco-betaine
  • - A-
    Attitude A no, but
    carbon neutral
    not RSPO - - B+
    Bentley Organics B no no, but sustainable - - B+
    Etamine du Lys B 25% RSPO
  • Cocoamidopropyl betaine
  • - B+
    L'Arbre Vert A no RSPO - - B+
    Sonett B no organic - - B
    Le Chat Balsam
    (Henkel)
    C 100% partly
    RSPO
    Unspecified anionic surfactants - B-
    Le Chat Pro Nature
    (Henkel)
    C 100% partly
    RSPO
    Unspecified anionic surfactants - B-
    Ecozone B 100% RSPO
  • Cocamidopropyl betaine
  • SLES
  • - C+
    Ajax Boost
    (Colgate-Palmolive)
    B no partly
    RSPO
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • - C
    Maison Verte A- 100% not RSPO
  • Cocamidopropyl betaine
  • - C
    Eco Planet Washing-up Liquid
    (Carrefour)
    C no some
    RSPO
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • - C-
    Method Dish Soap
    S.C. Johnson & Son
    A 100% not RSPO OIT MIT D+
    Una
    (Aldi)
    B 70% RSPO
  • BIT
  • Phenoxyethanol D+
    MIR Eco Sensitive
    (Henkel)/td>
    B no partly
    RSPO
  • BIT
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • Phenoxyethanol D
    MIR
    (Henkel)/td>
    B no partly
    RSPO
  • BIT
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • MIT D-
    PAIC
    (Colgate-Palmolive)
    B no partly
    RSPO
  • Cocoamidopropyl betaine
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • MIT D-
    Palmolive
    (Colgate-Palmolive)
    B no partly
    RSPO
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • MIT D-
    Fairy/Dreft Extra Hygiene
    (Procter & Gamble)
    C no partly
    RSPO
    Unspecified anionic surfactants Phenoxyethanol D-
    Fairy/Dreft Original
    (Procter & Gamble)
    C no partly
    RSPO
  • BIT
  • Phenoxyethanol E
    ECOS A no not RSPO
  • Coco Betaine
  • Ethylhexylglycerin
  • Lauramine Oxide
  • Phenoxyethanol E
    PAIC Boost
    (Colgate-Palmolive)
    B no partly
    RSPO
  • BIT
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • MIT E
    Lemon Washing-up Liquid
    (Carrefour)
    C no some
    RSPO
  • BIT
  • Unspecified surfactants
  • MIT E-
    Modere Dish Soap D- no not RSPO OIT MIT E-
    Sunlight Pro Formula
    (Unilever)
    B no mostly
    RSPO
  • BIT
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine
  • MIT
  • Sodium Dodecylbenzene-
    sulfonate
  • SLES
  • Chlorine bleach
  • Chlorine bleach, MIT E-

    D : Avoid if possible

    • Dawn
    • Gain
    • Joy
    • Salvo

    Ecological ratings of dishwasher tablets brands

    Best value A-rated dishwasher tablets

    Ecover

    L'Arbre Vert

    Seventh Generation

    Frosch

    Note that as dishwasher tablets do not normally contain palm oil derived substances, the palm oil rating was not taken into account here.

    Product Brand Ethos Recycled box Aquatoxic substances Health hazard RATING
    Biovie
    (Léa Nature)
    A+ 100% - - A+
    Ecodoo
    (Ekibio)
    A+ 100% - - A+
    Ecover
    (S.C. Johnson & Son)
    A 100% - - A
    Frosch (Rainett) A 95% - - A
    L'Arbre Vert A 100% - - A
    Maison Verte 0% A- 100% - - A
    Seventh Generation A 100% - - A
    Sun/Sunlight All in 1 Powered by Nature
    (Unilever)
    B 100% - - A
    Attitude A no - - B
    Ecoleaf B no - - B
    Etamine du Lys B no - - B
    Sonett B no - - B
    Maison Verte with essential oils A- 100% - synthetic dyes E102 and E133 B-
    Eco Planet
    (Carrefour)
    C no - - C+
    FINISH Powerball Quantum
    (Reckitt Benckiser)
    C no (plastic) - - C+
    FINISH Gelpacs
    (Reckitt Benckiser)
    C no (plastic) - - C+
    Ecozone B 20% Benzotriazole - C
    FINISH Powerball Max In 1
    (Reckitt Benckiser)
    C no (plastic) Benzotriazole Synthetic dyes D
    Sun/Sunlight All in 1
    (Unilever)
    B 90% Phosphonates - D
    Sun/Sunlight Classic
    (Unilever)
    B 90% Phosphonates - D
    Sun/Sunlight Expert
    (Unilever)
    B 90% Phosphonates - D
    Una
    (Aldi)
    B 70% Phosphonates - D
    Claro All in 1 B no Phosphonates - D-
    Carrefour All-in-1
    (Carrefour)
    C no Phosphonates - E+
    Carrefour Classic
    (Carrefour)
    C no Phosphonates - E+
    Fairy/Dreft (all types)
    (Procter & Gamble)
    C no (plastic) Phosphonates - E
    Maison Verte Bioactive all-in-one A- 100% Isotridecanol Ethoxylated - F+
    Cascade (all types)
    (Procter & Gamble)
    C no (plastic) Isotridecanol Ethoxylated and Zinc carbonate - F


    In the same report


    Choosing healthy and eco-friendly personal care and home care products

    Ecological rating of laundry detergents

    Ecological rating of home cleaning products

    Ecological rating of hand soaps, body washes, shampoos and conditioners


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