Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Some dishwashering detergents contain dangerous chemicals that can affect the health of your dog!

Dogs.....we lick and lick and lick!

We've learned before that eating out of safe, radioactive free, stainless steel bowls are the healthiest and safest way for us dogs to enjoy our food and water. But what about washing them?

You can do what we do and wash them out regularly with water and vinegar. But sometimes putting them in the dishwasher is faster and easier for the dog Moms and Dads out there.

So we wanted to be sure that you know all you can about healthier, safer dishwasher detergents on the market, and how you can make your own!

Did you know that some of those dishwashing detergents contain ingredients that can be very harmful to people and dogs, causing anything from skin irritations, to allergies, to respiratory issues, organ toxicity and even cancer. And many are not good for the environment either, contributing to acute aquatic toxicity and more.

These dishwashing detergents on the market can contain:
  • Zinc Carbonate that is of high concern for skin irritation/allergies/damage, chronic aquatic toxicity, acute aquatic toxicity; and some concern for general systemic/organ effects, damage to vision.
  • Colorings that are of high concern for general systemic/organ effects, damage to DNA, and cancer; moderate concern for chronic aquatic toxicity; and some concern for acute aquatic toxicity, skin irritation/allergies/damage.
  • Fragrances which have some concern for skin irritation/allergies/damage, acute aquatic toxicity, nervous system effects, respiratory effects, biodegradation.
  • Preservatives which have a high concerns for cancer; and a moderate concern for general systemic/organ effects, acute aquatic toxicity, respiratory effects.
  • Surfactants which have a high concern for acute aquatic toxicity; and a moderate concern for respiratory effects, general systemic/organ effects.
Sadly even some of the eco-friendly brands (like Seventh Generation) can contain some nasty chemicals like:
  • Sodium Borate which has a high concern for developmental/endocrine/reproductive effects; and some concern for skin irritation/allergies/damage, respiratory effects
  • Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil which has some concern for acute aquatic toxicity, respiratory effects, skin irritation/allergies/damage, cancer, general systemic/organ effects

So how do you know which dishwashing detergents are safer?

Our friends at the Environmental Working Group have tested and rated 100's of dishwashing products currently on the market. You can visit their site and search for your favorite brand to see if it contains any toxic chemicals that can be harmful to you and your dog. They rate the products from A (healthier and safer) to F (very, very dangerous to health).

Another idea to be sure that your dishwasher detergent is healthy is to make your own! Here's our favorite recipe that doesn't contain any borax, which has lately become one of those on our 'don't' list.

  • Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl with a spoon.
  • Just add a tablespoon to your washer dispenser and wash as usual and store in a glass airtight jar. 
  • If your powder starts to harden in jar, simply take a clean sock, fill it partially with rice and add it to the container to keep out the moisture and prevent hardening.
You can review 100's of dishwashing products on the market and gauge their level of health concern by ingredient via the Environmental Working Group's website.

Photos courtesy of Jeb and Chalon Handmade.


  1. I use dawn dish washing liquid, and I think it is ok. They often show the ad where they wash wild animals with it, when they get themselves into something they should not have got into.

    It was a very popular ad, years ago, when we had a couple of major oil spills in the ocean, and the ducks got covered in oil.

  2. Despite what the advertising says, I still wouldn't use Dawn. There are so many other dish washing liquids on the market that are much safer:


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