Septic systems aren’t exactly pleasant conversation over a cup of tea, but even though we mostly ignore their existence, it doesn’t mean that they are not there.
Of course, do the wrong things, and you won’t be able to ignore the septic system at all because you’ll end up with a load of waste products ruining your day either from the smell or the sight of them.
One of the worst mistakes you can make is using phosphate-based detergents. These will undoubtedly cause major issues for your septic system.
Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of the best dishwasher detergent for septic systems so that you end up with clean dishes and no issues later down the line.
Comparison Chart of top 10 Dishwasher Detergent for Septic Systems
Grab Green Natural Dishwasher Detergent Pods
No. Of Pouches: 132
Recyclable Packaging: Yes
Lemi Shine Dish Detergent Booster
Phosphate Free: Yes
Finish Quantum Max Powerball
No. Of Tablets: 36
Wrapper Free: Yes
Biokleen Automatic Dishwashing Liquid
No. Of Washes: 32
Phosphate Free: Yes
Artificial Fragrance: No
Finish Powerball All-In-One
No. Of Tablets: 96
Wrapper Free: Yes
Cascade Complete Dishwasher Pods
No. Of Tablets: 78
Prewash Needed: No
Seventh Generation Ultra Power Plus
Form: Detergent Packs
No. Of Packs: 70
Scent: Ultra Power Plus
Method Dish Dishwasher Soap Packs
Form: Detergent Packs
No. of Packs: 45
Toxin Free: Yes
Artificial Fragrances: No
Sun & Earth Concentrated Liquid Dish Soap
USDA Certified Biobased Product: 71%
Ecover Automatic Dishwasher Soap Tablets
No. Of Tablets: 45
Phosphate Free: Yes
5 Best Dishwasher Detergents for Septic Systems Reviews
1. Grab Green Natural Dishwasher Detergent Pods
It’s not just the septic system that you should be considering when buying a detergent. You should also be considering the harmful effects chemicals can have on your body and overall health as well.
Grab Green has created a dishwasher detergent with ingredients that have been naturally sourced. Despite the lack of chemicals, their detergent pods work just as well as detergents boasting artificial additives.
This detergent packet comes with 132 naturally scented pods. We especially love the tangerine and lemongrass scent, which leaves everything in the dishwasher with the most gorgeous aroma imaginable. It’s like a Thai Spa has opened up in the kitchen.
One pod is effective against even the most hardened food on plates. You’ll be able to say goodbye to grease being leftover on any of the dishes because the detergent cuts right through everything.
Best of all, the detergent ensures that no white marks or streaks are left on your dishes.
Finally, other chemical-based detergents leave a microscopic residue that ends up in your body when you eat. You don’t have to worry about that with Grab Green.
- Biodegradable, toxin-free septic safe dish detergent
- Effective cleaning power and incredible fragrance
- It comes in easy to open, Velcro-seal bag
2. Lemi Shine Dish Detergent Booster
This Lemi Shine product alone will not wash your dishes. You need to use it along with a regular, phosphate-free detergent to aid that detergent in getting the best out of your dishwasher.
If you are living in an area with hard water, then you already know how difficult getting anything washed properly can be.
Hard water contains elements that make it very difficult for soap and shampoo to get into a lather when showering. The exact same thing is happening in your dishwasher. Without a booster, some detergents just can’t get the job done.
Lemi Shine is a booster that will help your usual detergent immensely. If you are regularly seeing white marks on your glassware, streaks across your plates, and also hearing your dishwasher grumble, then you really do need this product.
Using Lemi Shine booster and its natural ingredients will balance the PH inside your dishwasher, meaning that all the deposits hard water usually leaves won’t be there.
Additionally, the Lemi Shine booster will help in maintaining your dishwasher, protecting it against the effects of hard water, meaning it will last longer.
- Biodegradable, phosphate-free septic safe dishwasher soap
- Looks after your dishwasher and works against hard water
- It prevents water spots and film from developing on your washed items
3. Finish Quantum Max Powerball | best septic safe dishwasher detergent
What more do we need to say about Finish other than it’s the world’s leading brand for dishwasher detergents? When Finish says that the Quantum Max Powerball results in the ultimate clean and shine, we can find no evidence, on the contrary, to suggest otherwise.
Such is the cleaning power of Finish; you’d expect there to be some ridiculously strong chemical in the product that will ruin a septic tank. But there isn’t. In fact, Finish assures you that none of their products contain chemicals harmful to a septic system and that every Finish product is biodegradable.
Finish tablets (these seem more like pods to us than tablets, even if they are listed as tablets) work with three separate chambers. They come with one chamber of powder, one of gel, and a liquid Powerball.
It is the powder and the gel that do the brunt of the cleaning work, while the Powerball takes effect at the end to give that incredible Finish shine.
- World’s leading biodegradable, phosphate-free septic safe dishwashing detergent
- Shifts food that has been drying on for 24 hours
- Excellent performance even with hard water
4. Biokleen Automatic Dishwashing Liquid| best dishwasher detergent for septic tanks
Take a look at every ingredient of the Biokleen Automatic Dishwashing Liquid. First listed is water – very obviously natural – and then you will see ‘plant-based surfactant’ written next to most of the others. And if not that, you will see ‘vegetable based’ or ‘plant-based chelate’. Add to that some essential oils, and you have a natural detergent that works in harmony with your dishwasher.
All Biokleen products are free of artificial fragrances and colors and have been that way for thirty years. The product is as great for your dishes as it is for the environment.
A combination of enzymes, citrus extracts, and oxygen bleach work together to create supremely clean dishes, glasses, pots, and pan. You could coat your cutlery with the stickiest toffee, and the Biokleen detergent would break that toffee down for it to be washed away.
Even if you use ECO or quick mode on the dishwasher, you won’t see any decrease in this product’s performance. It works well under all conditions.
- Natural, biodegradable septic tank safe dishwasher detergent
- Highly concentrated for a more effective clean
- Packaging is fully recyclable
5. Finish Powerball All-In-One | best dishwasher for septic system
We end this review section with the second Finish product on the list, and that is the Powerball All-In-One. This one is definitely what we would more traditionally call a tablet.
Again, the world’s leading dishwasher detergent brand is giving you a product that lives up to its reputation. With the Powerball All-In-One well on its way to racking up 40,000 Amazon reviews, it is still almost close to 5-star. That is a lot of satisfied customers.
This Finish detergent works much like the Quantum Powerball, with three distinct sections to the tablet, including the Powerball itself. Finish says that each tablet has eight power actions and who are we to disagree with them?
What we do know is that the product is spectacularly effective regardless of the cycle you use, the dishwasher brand you use, and the type of water in your area.
There isn’t much that the Finish Powerball All-In-One fails to break down, and it does that all without the use of chemicals that will harm the work of your septic system.
- All residues are rinsed away during a wash cycle
- No need to pre-rinse dishes even with the toughest baked-on foods
- Removes even the worst tea and coffee stains
Dishwasher Detergent for Septic Systems Buying Guide
You always have to be careful when buying a detergent that will end up in a septic system. The best dishwasher detergent for septic won’t cause any harm to the system, and so you have to make sure that the detergent you are buying meets certain requirements. Here, we will go through some of the features a great septic tank-safe dishwasher detergent requires.
Any detergent that will end up in a septic tank must be phosphate-free. This lack of phosphate is to ensure that the good bacteria and enzymes that break down waste do not get killed.
Most detergents will make it very clear that they are the eco-friendly, phosphate-free kind.
If unsure, you can go to the manufacturer’s website and find out exactly what is in their products.
b) Natural Ingredients
The best detergents to put through your dishwasher are those with as many natural ingredients as possible. For a start, these ingredients are biodegradable and environmentally friendly.
With some products, you will see a USDA Certified Biobased Product rating. If you are looking for an all-natural product, this should be as close to 100% as possible.
c) Natural Scents
Detergents with natural scents or with no scents at all are best for your septic tank.
By getting a non-scented or naturally scented product, you ensure that few unnatural, artificial chemicals are working their way through the septic system.
d) Detergent Form
There are many forms of detergent now, from liquid to powder, tablet to pod, and other variants that are essentially the same things but with different names.
If you are looking to be environmentally friendly, then check if any tablets or pods have a wrapping. These are unnecessary. Most pods should come with a biodegradable film that dissolves in the dishwasher, while tablets should survive being in a tub without extra wrapping – it’s just excessive.
Equally, check any packaging for power and liquids made from recycled materials that can then be recycled again. The throwing away of single-use plastics is one of the biggest problems the environment is facing.
Is dishwasher detergent safe for septic systems?
Septic systems work through a combination of good bacteria and enzymes that break down all the waste within the system. Without this good bacteria and enzyme combination, none of the waste in the septic tank would decompose.
Therefore, it is important to note that not all dishwasher detergents are safe for septic systems. In fact, there are some that will kill and destroy the good bacteria and enzymes required for a septic system to work.
If you want to use a septic system-safe dishwasher detergent, you need to ensure that it is phosphate-free. Detergents with phosphates must not be used under any circumstances.
Is Dawn dish detergent septic safe?
Yes, Dawn dish detergent, though a powerful cleaner, is safe for a septic tank. This brand of detergent is both biodegradable and free from the chemicals that would kill the enzymes and bacteria a septic system requires.
Is Finish dishwasher detergent septic safe?
We can tell you directly from Finish themselves that all Finish detergents are 100% safe to use with septic systems. Finish has stated their detergents are biodegradable and phosphate-free.
Will vinegar hurt a septic system?
Vinegar will not harm your septic system.
In fact, a combination of baking soda and vinegar is known to be a highly effective, and extremely efficient way of cleaning the drains at home.
Neither vinegar nor baking soda contains the harmful chemicals that can cause problems for a septic tank.
What should you not flush in a septic system?
Essentially, you should only be flushing biodegradable items down into a septic system. Ideally, this will only be human waste, water, and biodegradable toilet paper.
You will often see warnings not to flush certain things down the toilet. These warnings come because particular items will decompose very slowly and easily clog up pipes, leading to blockages.
Items not to flush include: wet wipes, diapers, condoms, sanitary pads, cigarette butts, condoms, and any types of household waste.
Equally, if your sink or dishwasher has a garbage disposal, overuse of this feature could also cause a problem due to the amount of solid waste going into the system.
Furthermore, any lint and fibers that flow out of a washing machine into the septic system will not get broken down.
What will ruin a septic system?
First and foremost, as you are reading an article about dishwasher detergent, you shouldn’t use detergents with phosphates and other harmful chemicals. In fact, anything with phosphate shouldn’t be used with any household appliance or system that leads to the septic tank.
Equally, you do not want to put a large amount of fat and grease into the septic system as this will create fatbergs that can really clog things up.
Gasoline, pesticides, oils, and solvents will all harm the septic system, as will flushing any non-biodegradable or slow-to-break-down items.
It is also recommended if you want to help the septic system, that you do not run your dishwasher or your washing machine with full loads.
So there you have it! Our search for the best dishwasher detergent for septic systems is complete, and while we couldn’t narrow the list down to just one detergent, we are happy with the results we’ve come up with.
If in doubt, market research suggests that Finish is your best bet for a really good clean. However, we are certain that some of those lesser-known brands can give the Powerball a run for its money.