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The Best Plastic-Free Dishwasher Detergent and Tablets in 2021

plastic-free dishwasher detergent

Hello!  In an ongoing quest to try and reduce my plastic usage let’s talk plastic-free dishwasher detergent and tablets.

In Fresh Clean Home I show you how I make 95% of my own cleaning products.  This saves on so much plastic.  The other 5%?  Dishwasher detergent and washing up liquid.  Both have eluded me.  Dishwasher detergent and tablets in particular.

After trying countless formulations and re-formulations, nothing cut the mustard.  Everything I tried either left a white film on all of our dishes, or a greasy film.  Sometimes, it even left the double-whammy – a white greasy film.  The worst.  The homemade dishwasher powder experimentation era in our house was a grim time.

I sat down and did some extensive research to see where I was going wrong.  What I discovered was that pretty much all commercial dishwasher tablets and powders, even eco-friendly brands, contain an ingredient called sodium silicate powder.  Sodium silicate rinses away food and soap deposits and is completely soluble in water.  As a result, dishes always come out clean and streak-free. 

Dishwashing & The Law

Great, you’re thinking.  Just add sodium silicate powder to the ingredients of your homemade plastic-free dishwasher powder or tablets.  It’s not that simple I’m afraid.  Sodium silicate powder is only available commercially.  Its sale is very heavily restricted.  One supplier of sodium silicate powder says “we have a duty to control the supply of these chemicals and any private individual attempting to purchase these chemicals may have their details passed to the police in their area“.  

Eco-friendlier shop-bought dishwasher detergent/tablets it is then.  The pursuit of homemade dishwasher powder is simply not worth the very real threat of getting listed as a suspected terrorist!

The Best Plastic-Free Dishwasher Tablets

Eco-friendly dishwasher detergents/tablets are one or two a penny.  However, eco-friendly and plastic-free dishwasher detergent or tablets has proved to be a trickier thing to source.  Even Ecover tablets are wrapped in polypropylene plastic. However, I have tracked down some zero-waste and eco-friendlier dishwasher tablets (that won’t get you in trouble with the law). Here’s what I found.

In order to help support the running costs of Moral Fibres, this post contains affiliate links, denoted by *. Moral Fibres may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to readers, on items that have been purchased through those links. This income helps keep this site running.

Ecoleaf Dishwasher Tablets

plastic free dishwasher detergent UK

Ecoleaf Dishwasher Tablets (£13.49 for 70*; or £5.45 for 25*) are a great eco-friendlier AND plastic-free dishwasher detergent/tablet.  Made from plant-derived ingredients, the dishwasher tablets are free of phosphates, SLS, SLES, parabens, triclosan, and synthetic fragrances.  They are also certified cruelty-free and vegan-friendly.  The one downside is that they do contain palm oil.  However, as in all aspects of ethical living, it is practically impossible to find a product that is 100% perfect in every way.

Each tablet is wrapped in a water-soluble wrapper, that dissolves as your dishwasher starts running.  I initially worried that this wrapper might break down into something bad for the environment, or contribute towards microplastic.  The good news is Grist says no.  It breaks down to carbon dioxide and water.

The dishwasher tablets are designed to leave your dishes sparkling clean. They have a built-in rinse-aid, degreasing agents, and powerful cleaning action.  I’ve been using them in our soft water area and I concur.  I have found that they perform great on our dirty dishes and glassware.  I’ve also had no issues with their cleaning ability.

Smol Dishwasher Tablets

Want plastic-free dishwasher tablets without the fuss? With Smol, you can set up a subscription whereby a box of dishwasher tablets will arrive at your home at a frequency that suits you.

Try Smol out for free* (just pay £1 postage) and then 30 tablets cost £4.60.

Smol dishwasher tablets come packaged in a cardboard box that fits through your letterbox. As Smol’s pink and white tablets look like sweets, Smol have considerately made their cardboard box childproof. This means, if your child gets to the post first, they can’t get into the box, which is great. The only problem I’ve found is that as well as being childproof, the box is also adult-proof too. Between us, my partner and I have three university and college degrees, and we have been completely unable to open the box beyond tearing it to shreds. If you have mobility problems you may well struggle with Smol.

Smol’s dishwasher tablets are cruelty-free, Leaping Bunny approved, and 100% free of any animal-derived ingredients. In terms of what they are made of, it’s a bit opaque. Beyond that, Smol doesn’t tout their tablets as being chemically environmentally friendly. All that Smol says is that “using Smol technology we have found a way to use lower levels of added chemicals per wash when compared to the other tablets brands“.  So although they use fewer harsh chemicals this means their ingredients don’t have particular sustainability or eco-friendly credentials. I’d really like to see Smol move towards more ecologically sound ingredients.

Ecozone

Looking for a plastic-free dishwasher detergent that’s allergy-friendly? Ecozone dishwasher tablets* (£5.29 for 25) are both plastic-free and carry proof of Allergy UK certification. This ensures that these tablets won’t cause any adverse allergic reactions. What’s more, their tablets are cruelty-free and suitable for vegans.

Ecozone’s mission is to ‘make your home an Ecozone’ to reduce the number of toxic chemicals in your home. They believe that homes should be safe and clean environments for all families and that the fight to keep germs at bay should come without compromise or toxicity. I have to agree with this – I’ve not had any problem cleaning my dishes with Ecozone.

Fill Dishwasher Powder

fill dishwasher powder refillable plastic-free

Fill dishwasher powder* (£7.36 for 500g) comes in a recyclable glass jar with a metal lid. Produced in Northamptonshire, Fill is made with natural and biodegradable ingredients which are also vegan and cruelty-free. What’s more, once you have finished with the 500g jar you can purchase a 10kg bulk refill bag* (£33) to reduce waste.  This comes in a plastic-free cotton stitched brown paper bag, so there’s no sneaky plastic in your dishwasher detergent here either.

Have you found any other plastic-free dishwasher detergents?  Or have you been able to make your own dishwasher detergent successfully, without the horrible white and/or greasy films?  If so, you have my eternal respect!  Let me know in the comments below!

Home, Home and Garden

Eco-Friendly Guide to Moving House | AD

eco friendly guide moving house
eco friendly guide moving house

This eco-friendly guide to moving house is paid-for content in association with Buzzmove.

What is the first thing that springs to mind if I was to mention moving house?  If you said stress then I’d have to virtually high-five you.  This is because the stress that moving house entails is normally the first thing that springs to mind when thinking about any potential house move.

In my adult life, I have personally moved house 17 times (17!) so I am well versed in house moving stresses.  Our last move was the most stressful move to date.  The house we were buying remained on the market right up until the point we got the keys.  What’s more, we didn’t receive the keys until 4:40 pm on moving day.  We ended up moving our stuff out as the buyer of our flat moved their stuff in!  Needless to say, I don’t plan on moving for quite some time!

Stress aside, is there anything else that springs to mind about moving house?  Your first or second thought might not be the environmental impact of moving house.  However, there are indeed a few eco-friendly factors to consider the next time you move house.

Guide to Moving House Sustainability

Here are a few of my tried and trusted pointers to allow you to move house sustainably.  

Declutter Before Packing

If I was to give anyone any moving advice, it is always declutter before you even start thinking about packing your stuff up.  Getting rid of stuff you don’t need means you need fewer boxes and fewer packaging materials.  It may also mean you need a smaller removals van, saving a whole lot of money.

Separating the wheat from the chaff also makes packing and unpacking so much easier.  I’ve found when I take this approach that I rarely have that rogue unopened box of junk leftover that takes, ahem, a year or more to get round to opening and dealing with.

Decluttering expert Marie Kondo measures decluttering success by how many bin bags are filled and thrown out.  I take a different approach.  I have many gripes with Marie Kondo, which I could discuss at length.  However, in the interests of brevity and sticking to the point all I will say is that there’s so much wastefulness inherent in this type of approach.

Decluttering is not a case of throwing everything in the bin that you no longer need.  In the past (pre-Marie Kondo), I wrote at length on how to declutter sustainably.  Before you reach for a bin bag I’d recommend giving it a read.  I offer advice on what you can do with your unwanted goods to help keep them out of landfill and in active use for longer.  If you have worn out or broken items I also offer advice on where you can responsibly dispose of items at the end of their lifespan.

Cardboard Boxes

Once you’ve decluttered, you can move on to the packing stage.  Cardboard boxes are one environmental factor to consider when it comes to moving house.  Many removal companies supply their own brand new boxes and packaging materials at an additional cost to you.  You can also buy boxes and packaging online. Whilst you can easily recycle cardboard boxes after your move, I’ve always felt that it’s a bit of a waste of materials and resources to buy new cardboard just for the sake of moving stuff from one house to another.

To save resources (and a bit of cash) in the past I have always fostered a good relationship with my local shops.  Most shops won’t store cardboard boxes due to it being a fire risk.  However, what you can do is ask the staff when the delivery day is.  You can then pop in that day to collect some cardboard boxes before they are sent to recycling. 

After speaking to the manager of our local shop  I found out the delivery day was a Wednesday afternoon.  This meant every Wednesday evening for a few weeks I went along and collected as many boxes as I could carry.  This saved us from buying a ton of new cardboard and gave cardboard that was due for recycling a second life before being recycled.  Win-win!

Packaging Materials

Of course, you can’t move your goods with cardboard boxes alone.  Fragile items need some form of protection from knocks and bumps during the moving process.

Whenever I have an upcoming move I ask as many friends as possible to keep their old newspapers for us.  This saves us from buying packaging paper.  I also make a point of saving any packaging paper or bubble wrap that comes into our house prior to the big move.  I also ask my work to save any bubble wrap that comes in on deliveries.

If your work doesn’t get many deliveries. Or if you don’t work, then another option to check out is Freecycle.  From what I’ve seen over my years of using Freecycle is that if an item is no longer needed but can be of use to someone then a Freecycler will list it on Freecycle.  I have seen some strange things pop up on Freecycle in my time.  Therefore, I can assure you that invariably someone will offer a load of bubble wrap or a big bundle of newspaper or packaging paper that they have amassed and need rid of.  Other places to try include Gumtree and Facebook marketplace.

If you would rather avoid plastic bubble wrap there are eco-friendly alternatives to bubble wrap abound.  From corrugated cardboard “bubble” wrap to packing peanuts made of corn starch that can be dissolved in water or placed in your composter.

In terms of tape to seal your boxes, something to try instead of conventional packaging tape is eco paper packaging tape*.   This tape is made from 100% recycled paper, with a latex-based adhesive that is completely biodegradable.

Consider A Carbon Neutral Removal Company

Now that we’ve covered packing, that last important step is the physical process of moving house. Something I’ll admit I have never previously considered is the carbon emissions associated with moving house.  In particular, the carbon emissions generated by moving your possessions.

The next time I find myself moving house (which admittedly I hope isn’t for a long time!), something I will try is Buzzmove.

Buzzmove is an online price comparison site that makes it easy to find quotes for removal services in your local area.  What’s more, Buzzmove is aiming to make removals booked through their site carbon neutral in 2018.  They are doing so by partnering with removal companies that have pledged to plant trees. This will help offset the carbon dioxide emissions associated with removals.

Why Trees?

Because a tree can absorb up to around 22 kg of carbon dioxide per year. And as much as 907 kg by the time it reaches 40 years of age, Buzzmoze have calculated that planting 2,160 trees this year would offset the total carbon emissions their removal companies generate through using Buzzmove.

In order to plant the trees in a meaningful manner, Buzzmove has paired up with reforestation charity Trees for Life. This is an organisation that is working to restore the Caledonian Forest in the Scottish Highlands. This is an ancient forest and important wildlife habitat that has been severely deforested. It could disappear in a few decades if replanting does not occur. 

At the moment, the campaign is in its infancy. This means when you search for a removal company on Buzzmove you can’t see if they are part of the Trees for Life campaign.  After speaking to Buzzmove they say their next step is to display a badge next to the removal companies’ names. This will allow you to see if the removal company is part of the Trees For Life campaign or not.

In order to be featured on this page, and latterly with the badge, the removal company needs to make a commitment to donate to the Trees for Life Buzzmove removals grove. This means you can be sure of making a carbon-neutral house move.  

Do you have any other eco-friendly moving tips?  Do let me know in the comments below!