Please note that this post may contain affiliate links and sales through those links may reward Bigger Better Days with a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Over the next several months I’m going to be releasing a TON of toxin free zero waste guides for you guys. When I first started Bigger Better Days I was focused on living a toxin free life. The more time I spent researching and seeing other influencers as inspiration I realized living toxin free is only part of the equation.

The environment is the other.

There are a ton of *great* toxin free products that come in terrible packaging. It’s 2020, and I’m no longer accepting that as good enough!

I’m looking for toxin free products that are zero waste, or at a minimum more eco consciously packaged and shipped.

We’re looking for the unicorn companies and products that care about people AND the environment people, and we’re gonna find them.

What are we starting with? Dish soap my friends. Yes, dish soap.

A lot of these guides are going to seem too small. Such a small product, such a small impact. But I’m here, happy and proud to tell you that you are SO wrong.

One small change impacts your thinking. Just wait.

You buy toxin free, zero waste dish soap and this nagging thing is going to happen in your brain. 

You bought the zero waste dish soap, but what about all the other plastic sh*t in your house?

Yes my friends, we’re gonna DO IT ALL. But we’re starting with dish soap.

Let’s get comfy and cozy with the idea of toxin free zero waste products for the home, and then we’ll move to bigger stuff. After all, this is Bigger Better Days.

The Scary Truth About Traditional Dish Soap

Most of us use dish soap every day. Even if you’re an avid dishwasher user like me (we run it every night, and no, I’m not willing to give that up yet), you still need dish soap.

There are the dishes and items that need to be hand washed, there’s pre-soaking extra dirty dishes, there’s a million other uses for dish soap too.

So why the heck am I talking to you about dish soap?

Because I bet if you went and opened your kitchen cabinet under the sink (just taking a guess here) you’d find a plastic bottle of dish soap. It’s probably a big name brand. It’s probably the brand your parents grew up using. And it’s probably the first one you see at the store.

Today, we’re going to do better.

Most dish soaps contain anywhere from 8-10 ingredients that could be harmful to your health.

This matters for a variety of reasons:

  • Someone is touching the dish soap to wash the dishes, and our skin absorbs substances and chemicals which then enter our bloodstream
  • Most dish soaps are difficult to rinse of entirely and leave a film behind that everyone in your household is then eating their food from
  • These toxins are heading out in the water system and environment after you rinse them off and most water treatment plants can only remove a fraction of the chemicals

So how is something that is supposed to be cleaning actually making things worse?

Let’s take a look.

Toxic Ingredients Commonly Found in Dish Soaps

Sodium laureth sulfate/Sodium lauryl sulfate

Commonly referred to as SLS, these ingredients are among the most common in liquid dish soaps. PS. Even the “natural” and “organic” ones.

SLS can affect your respiratory system, reproductive system, nervous system, and digestive system. Oh, and it’s also carcinogenic. 

As an extra bummer, once it heads down the drain the chances are high that a local water treatment will only be able to remove a fraction of the SLS from water.

It’s rated a 4 in the Think Dirty app for reference.

Both SLS and it’s close cousin (sodium laureth ether sulfate, SLES) are both banned in the European Union, but not in the US.


Looking to cause damage to your DNA, or even cancer? Then definitely add this ingredient to your daily routine. It can also cause developmental, reproductive, endocrine, respiratory, digestive, skin, vision, and nervous system issues.

Wow, is there anything this ingredient, CAN’T do?

Dipropylene glycol

Another good one. This ingredient can lead to cancer, DNA damage, and respiratory, digestive, nervous, endocrine, and productive issues. It’s also a skin and vision irritant.


I can’t harp on the “fragrance” ingredient enough. I will never buy another product that lists fragrance as an ingredient. Fragrance is not a single ingredient. It’s a general term that manufacturers can use to hide over 3,000 chemicals you will never know about. 

Think about it, would they hide them if there was nothing to hide?

As a consumer literally paying to buy a product, I deserve and have the right to know what’s inside.


All of these three ingredients can irritate your skin, cause allergic contact dermatitis, and are also harmful to ecosystems by killing anything that lives in water.

Hydroxylpropyl methylcellulose

This ingredient commonly found in dish soaps can harm your digestive system.

Cocamidopropyl betaine

This fun little chemical contributes to water pollution and is harmful to ANY living creation inside water. Yikes!

Sodium polyacrylate

Another ingredient that contributes to water pollution and harms aquatic life.

So what should you use instead?

Luckily, there are a ton of great toxin free dish soap options out there, and there are zero waste ones too!

Zero Waste Dish Soap Options

Luckily, once you realize the toxic reality of standard dish soaps you’ll find that there ARE better options.

Yes there are toxin free dish soaps that are zero waste too!

Because if you’re going to get rid of the toxins, you might as well make it eco friendly too.

Here are our favorite options for toxin free dish soap.

Meliora Cleaning Products Zero Waste Dish Soap Bar

We are currently using the Meliora Cleaning Products Zero Waste Dish Soap bar at our house. It sits on a cute little dish that I thrifted right next to the sink.

bigger better days meliora zero waste dish soap

To use the soap bar I either get my cleaning rag or scrubber a little damp and then rub it on the soap bar to create a lather, or I plug the sink and run the bar under the sink to create a washing tub. It really depends on what I am washing, and in general, how you like to hand wash your items.

You can get the Meliora Plastic Free Dish Soap in either lemon or unscented and it comes in a recyclable paperboard box. Meliora dish soap is vegan, dye-free, preservative-free, brightener-free, synthetic fragrance-free, and Leaping Bunny certified as cruelty-free. Plus, it’s 100% biodegradable and septic safe.

All Meliora Cleaning Products are also MADE SAFE Certified and A rated by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

There are quite a few other things I love about Meliora Cleaning Products too. For one, they are in Chicago. That means when I order from them my products aren’t having to travel across the country or world to get to me. As a rule of thumb, if I can buy from a company closer in proximity to me, I will.

I also love that the founders are real people (a husband and wife) who really care about every aspect of their company from clean ingredients to responsible packaging. They are also a B Corporation, and you all know how happy that makes me.

I got a chance to tour their factory and get some of the inside scoop on their manufacturing and process. You can check out the whole Meliora Cleaning Products Factory Tour Video to learn even more.

The full range of Meliora Cleaning Products is available here on Amazon, but keep in mind, if you buy directly from their website, you can ensure you’ll receive your products shipped in responsible packaging. 

Clean Cult Refillable Dish Soap

My first recommendation will always be the dish soap block above, because there is simply less necessary packaging. But if a dish soap block is a little too crazy, don’t worry we’ve got a liquid option too.

CleanCult offers a liquid dish soap option that’s toxin free and eco conscious too. You simply buy one evergreen glass container and then get the refill containers delivered in recyclable 100% carton containers. They are working on eliminating single use plastic from the home cleaning industry.

bigger better days clean cult zero waste dish soap

CleanCult lists every ingredient for all of their products right on their site. No toxins hiding here. They just launched new glass bottle colors too, so you can even express a little individuality with your cleaning suite. 

This unique brand has also committed to carbon-neutral, sustainable shipping practices.

Bulk Buying Zero Waste Dish Soap

Another option for buying dish soap without the single use plastic bottle is to grab it at a local bulk store. You can bring your own container and simply refill at the store. You’ll have to do some research into local options. Many co-op grocery stores offer bulk buying options.

You can search for a co-op in your area using this directory.

The Right Zero Waste Dish Soap Accessories

Make sure you get the right zero waste dish soap accessories too. Getting the soap is great, but if you’re using and throwing out plastic scouring pads or brushes, that’s kind of a damper on your new progress.

I’ve been using these ENEY natural sponges for months now and they are amazing. They actually last a million times longer than the typical plastic ones I was using before, plus they don’t smell at all. I will literally never go back!

zero waste dish soap eney natural sponge

ENEY sponges are 100% plant-based, making them 100% plastic-free. They are made from unbleached Loofah, a fast-growing vegetable that’s part of the cucumber family. Pretty weird!

The packaging is also 100% plastic-free, and will naturally biodegrade in your compost, or a landfill when you’re done.

If you need something heavier-duty, check out a wooden scrub brush with a replaceable head. This zero waste bamboo dish brush set comes with it all!

zero waste dish soap brush set

Other Dish Soap Block Options

There are actually quite a few other companies who have zero waste dish soap blocks too. I haven’t personally tried these. If you’ve tried them, I’d love to know what you thought!

If you truly want a high quality dish soap that isn’t going to harm your family or the environment, you have to do a little digging. Or let me do the digging for you.

You are not going to be able to grab the first thing you see at the store, at least not for now. Hopefully one day all we have to choose from is high quality products that don’t harm the earth, but right now that’s not the reality.

I highly recommend checking out Meliora Cleaning Products, or checking out some of the other options listed above.

Stay tuned for even more zero waste toxin free product guides so you can keep improving life for yourself, and the planet!