We scrutinized the list of ingredients on 41 dishwasher tablets, pods, gels and powder for unwanted chemicals such as suspected endocrine disruptors and substances that can be harmful to the environment.
We examined dishwasher detergents from Shine, Neophos, Salling, Fairy P&G W5, Coop, Miele, Vel, Ecover, Ânglamark, Rema 1000, Hello Sensitive, Neutral, 365 Minirisk, Grøn Balance, Ideel and Irmas Tusindfryd.
Every third dishwasher detergent contains unwanted chemicals
13 of 41 dishwasher products contain the suspected endocrine disruptor benzotriazole.
Benzotriazole is a corrosion inhibitor and it is included on the authorities’ list of endocrine disruptors.
In the test, we also found substances that can damage your organs or possibly be cancerous.
Perfume in every other dishwasher product
18 of 41 dishwasher products in the test contain perfume, which can cause allergies.
Perfume has no other function than adding a fragrance. In some instances, you can taste the perfume on clean plates and cutlery after the dishwashing is done.
If you wish to lower your exposure to unwanted chemicals and the risk of perfumed aftertaste, you can choose dishwasher detergents without perfume. You can choose ‘Allergy Certified’ products, which always are without perfume.
These dishwasher detergents contain unwanted chemicals
In the test, 13 products get the lowest rating, C, because they contain substances that can be problematic for your health. The products are:
- Shine Dishwasher Tablets All in 1
- Shine Dishwasher Tablets Classic
- Neophos Power All In 1 opvasketabs
- Neophos Quantum All In 1 opvasketabs
- Neophos Powerball Ultimate all in 1
- Salling Opvasketabs All-In-One
- Fairy P&G Original All in One
- Fairy P&G Platinum all in one maskinopvask
- W5 Dishwasher Tablets All-in-1 Power
- Coop Power Tabs maskinopvasktabletter All-In-1
- UNA All-in-one opvasketabs
- Miele Power disk All in 1
- Miele Ultra Tabs All in 1
Four tips for dishwasher detergents
- Check your dishwasher detergents for unwanted chemicals with our app Kemiluppen (only products on the Danish market).
- Choose products with the Nordic Ecolabel ‘The Swan’. This way, you are sure the dishwasher detergent fulfills strict requirements in protection of the environment.
- Always follow instructions on the packaging and keep the product out of reach for children.
- Check and be aware of warnings labels on the packaging.
Dishwasher detergents contribute to your overall exposure of unwanted chemicals
If you use dishwasher detergent with suspected endocrine disruptors, you do not need to be alarmed. Your dishwasher detergent is not damaging to your health in itself.
It is your overall everyday exposure to unwanted chemicals, which could be problematic. This is also known as the cocktail effect. Even though the individual product itself is safe, your overall exposure to many products (and their chemicals) might be too high.
Therefore, it is a good idea to avoid e.g. suspected endocrine disruptors where you can. Further, by not buying products with endocrine disruptors, you limit release of the substances to the aquatic environment.
About the test
The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals bought dishwasher detergents from Danish stores and scrutinized the ingredients for a number of unwanted chemicals such as suspected endocrine disruptors and allergenic preservatives.
We found the products’ ingredients on the websites listed on the packaging. Afterwards we asked the companies to confirm the content or send a list of ingredients when it was not available online.
We also contacted the companies to make sure all the products are still on the market. Lastly, we checked if the ingredients were listed as problematic on a number of lists of unwanted chemicals.
We examined 41 dishwasher detergents for unwanted chemicals.
The test does not consider quantities.
- Twenty dishwasher detergents without unwanted chemicals. They get the best rating, A.
- Eight dishwasher detergents contain perfume and/or substances that can be problematic in the environment. They get the medium rating, B.
- Thirteen dishwasher detergents contain suspected endocrine disruptors or substances that may promote cancer or damage your organs. They get the lowest rating, C.
Suspected endocrine disruptors
Thirteen products contain the substance Benzotriazole, which is a suspected endocrine disruptor. The substance is a corrosion inhibitor and listed on the authorities’ list of endocrine disruptors.
The substance is not required to be labelled on the packaging.
Other unwanted substances
Two products contain Manganese sulfate, which can damage your organs and be problematic for the environment.
One product contains Trisodium nitrilotriacetate, which is suspected of promoting cancer.
Environmentally damaging substances
Fourteen products contain a mangan-based catalyst that can be problematic for the environment. It appears on the lists of ingredients as Bis (N, N, N Trimethyl 1.4.7 triazacyclononane)trioxo dimanganese (IV)di(hexafluophosphate)monohydrate, Manganese methyltriazacyclononane , MN-TACN or MN catalyst.
One product contains LAS in the form of Benzene, C10-13-alkyl deriv. LAS can be problematic for the environment, as it cannot decompose under oxygen-poor conditions.
Eighteen of the tested products contain perfume.