top of page
  • Hugo Douglas-Deane

5 Eco Friendly Washing Up Liquid Brands

If you’re looking for washing up liquid that is as squeaky clean ethically as your dishes, look no further than this guide.

Dig into the science and learn about our top picks in this grime-busting product category.

What makes a good eco friendly washing up liquid?

There are a couple of key things to bear in mind when shopping for a good eco friendly washing up liquid. We encourage you to use what works best for you, and prioritise the things that are most important for you. That could mean zero or low-waste options, hypoallergenic.


It’s good to think about how washing up liquid affects our planet and water systems once it’s been washed down the drain. Finding eco friendly washing up liquid that breaks down quickly means less of a risk to animals, plants and humans later on in its lifecycle. Finally, getting an eco washing up liquid which hasn’t been tested on animals will mean you can get on with guilt-free grime busting.


Lots of eco friendly washing up liquid brands will use less packaging, more eco friendly materials, or a higher proportion of recycled materials. Some brands can drastically reduce packaging over the lifetime of a product by offering refill options, which we’ll get into below.


You may want to make the switch to eco friendly washing up liquid because it is often made with fewer irritants that could be harmful to your skin. While this isn’t a must by any means for washing up liquid to be considered eco, it’s a great side effect. So whether you’re looking to limit toxic chemicals in your house, reduce plastic waste, or limit harm to animals, this Greenr guide can help you make an informed (and hopefully more eco friendly!) choice.

What’s the difference between regular and eco washing up liquid?

Many standard washing up liquids contain harsh chemicals that not only take a long time to break down, but also utilise animal testing when they are developed.

The detergents used to form the basis of many standard washing up liquids are chemicals called surfactants (surface active agents).

Surfactants do the work of degreasing and work by dissolving partly in water and partly in organic material – like the food or grime you are washing off.

Some surfactants used in standard washing up liquid are not only toxic but also take a relatively long time to break down, especially those that are derived from petrochemicals.

Synthetic perfumes and colourings may also be used in standard washing up liquid. These are usually based on petrochemicals, can take a long time to biodegrade, and may irritate sensitive skin.

Eco friendly washing up liquid is usually colourless and employs natural fragrances like plant oils. A good eco friendly washing up liquid may use natural, plant-based ingredients, and do away with colourings and extra fragrances.

The Packaging Problem

As with many household cleaning products, washing up liquid often comes in newly-made plastic bottles. This means more single use plastic in your home and more microplastics in the environment.

Of course, you can recycle some everyday plastic packaging, including high density polyethylene which is usually used for washing up liquid bottles. It should bear the label PE or HDPE somewhere on the bottle, and to be recycled in UK kerbside collection if should have either the number one or two inside a recycling symbol.

Unfortunately, it’s been widely found that a fraction of household waste actually ends up being recycled here in the UK. Greenpeace found this figure to be less than 10%, and they also discovered that a lot of waste sent abroad was not processed properly as promised.

With that in mind, reducing anything going into your bin is the best way to reduce household waste, and to reuse and up-cycle anything you buy wherever possible.

Refilling Options

The refill revolution is here. Products made with a longer life in mind are beginning to find their ways to supermarket shelves and the idea is much better understood than ever before. That being said, let’s recap.

If you’re going to be refilling from a shop locally, you’ll naturally want to pick an eco friendly washing up liquid that they stock. They will often have options for refilling containers with everyday household products, too.

If you don’t have a refill shop near you, many eco friendly washing up liquid brands have refill options which you can buy and keep in the cupboard ready for when you need to refill, or purchase regularly as a subscription. These products usually come in powder or tablet form and mean you’re not only getting extra use out of your container or bottle, but you’re also reducing the amount of water that is shipped unnecessarily.

Our Top 5 Eco Friendly Washing Up Liquids

Credit: Bio-D

1. Bio-D

⭐️ Bio-D eco friendly washing up liquid consistently comes out top in buying guides.

🐇 It’s vegan and Leaping Bunny cruelty-free certified and its bottle is made from 100% recycled material.

🤲 Their fragrance-free option can help those with skin conditions or asthma avoid potential unwanted reactions, though their Pink Grapefruit version is also hypoallergenic so may already be suitable for most.

👨‍👩‍👧 Bio-D is a B Corp-certified company, which means they meet a number of standards, not only regarding their environmental impact, but for fair wages and policies for staff.

Bio-D have been on the scene for some time, having been founded in 1989.

Credit: Ecover

2. Ecover

❓ Ecover was founded in 1979 with the goal to create more eco friendly washing powder. Since then they have brought out a whole range of other cleaning products including eco friendly washing up liquid.

🌿 Ecover washing up liquid is plant-based and vegan friendly. It’s also totally biodegradable so you know it’s going to break down in a short period of time once it goes down the sink, instead of lingering in our water systems.

♻️ Their bottles are made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic, while the caps are made from 50% post-consumer recycled plastic. If you want to go further in preventing new plastic being produced and reducing your own waste, you can extend the life of your bottle by refilling it at one of Ecover’s refill points across the country.

🥇 This pioneering cleaning brand has won many awards, from the UN’s Global 500 Roll of Honour for outstanding achievements in protecting and improving the environment back in 1993, to Time Magazine in 2008. Ecover certify that their factories are zero-waste, which is a nice touch.

Credit: ekologik

3. ekologik

🌿 ekologik make effective and affordable zero-waste cleaning products that can reduce the carbon emissions of your cleaning cupboard by up to 95%.

💧 Add their concentrated refill pods to warm water, agitate, and they’re ready to be used. Their zero plastic Washing Up Pods are effective and easy to use alternatives to standard washing up liquid. 1 pod can can be used per washing up bowl (up to 10 litres of solution) and will create a powerful foaming solution.

🧪 These pods are non-toxic, and are free from harsh chemicals such as phosphates and phthalates, parabens, ammonia, and triclosan.

♻️ The pods are completely biodegradable and the FSC-certified pouch these pods come in is 100% compostable and can be put into your food waste bin for kerbside collection or composting. If you don’t have a food waste bin, your regular black waste bin will do as they can compost in landfill, though ekologik recommend tearing up the packaging into tiny pieces in order to speed up the composting process.

Credit: Homethings

4. Homethings

Homethings make the UK’s first powder-to-gel washing-up liquid and have set out on the mission to ‘keep your home (and our planet) clean’.

💧 Their eco-friendly solution for washing up ‘Washupthings’ is a powder-to-gel solution that you can simply dissolve in tap water at home, with each sachet creating 325ml of washing up liquid.

🐇 They’re certified vegan and Leaping Bunny cruelty-free

♻️ Homethings bottles are made from 100% recycled plastic, though of course the idea is that you can reuse the bottle over time with their powder-to-gel sachets, increasing the bottle’s life for years to come and reducing your plastic waste.

Homethings were featured on Dragon’s Den and have been on a steady upwards trajectory ever since, which just goes to show how everyone from investors to shoppers are looking for sustainable products more than ever.

Credit: Ecozone

5. Ecozone

Ecozone started out more than 20 years ago with the goal of giving more people than ever access to cleaning products that work, but which have no nasty hidden ingredients or compromise on quality.

🐟 Their washing up liquid is plant-based and safe for aquatic life, so you don’t need to worry about it after it goes down the sink.

🐇 This eco-friendly washing up liquid is Leaping Bunny and PETA cruelty-free certified, as well as vegan.

It’s also fragrance and colour free, and certified as an Allergy UK allergy friendly product, though there are other different varieties.

bottom of page