Are Dishwasher Pods Septic Safe? (Find Out Now!)

Matthew Mountain
by Matthew Mountain

These days, liquid detergent isn’t the only thing one can use to get their dishes clean in the dishwasher. Now there are dishwasher detergent pods, and these are beneficial because they pack a good cleaning punch while also being convenient and easy to use. But are dishwasher detergent pods safe? Such is the question that this article will answer.

In general, dishwasher detergent pods that don’t include any phosphates can be used with septic tanks. If your pods do have phosphates in them, don’t use them, as they could kill enzymes and bacteria that your septic tank needs. Also, you should keep in mind that using too much dishwasher detergent could harm the bacteria and enzymes in the septic tank.

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Why Dishwasher Pods Are Preferred

A good detergent pod will clean utensils, glassware, porcelain, etc. quite well. Detergent pods enhance the cleaning power of other cleaning agents, and often detergent pods are used during a regular wash to pack an extra punch.

Detergent pods dissolve in water, and they fight germs and stains at the same time. Detergent pods combine detergent with softener and other ingredients, and this is why they’re so good at delivering effective cleaning.

They work fast once they’re dissolved, and when you use a detergent pod in the dishwasher, you’ll know immediately after opening the dishwasher door that this was a good move.

But Are Detergent Pods Safe for Septic Systems?

If you have a properly functioning septic system, then you should only use septic-safe dishwasher pods. Septic-safe dishwasher detergent is detergent that doesn’t contain any phosphates. Phosphates shouldn’t be used in a dishwasher, and that’s because—when they’re drained—they can neutralize the good bacteria and enzymes that naturally exist in a septic tank.

These enzymes and bacteria are what break down wastewater in a septic tank, and without these a septic tank would reach max capacity faster. Phosphate is the result of a salt-phosphorus reaction, and when properly harnessed, it can help clean dishes and remove grime. The downside, however, is that using phosphate could damage the septic tank.

Why Are Septic Tank Bacteria Important?

Septic tank bacteria are important because they break down the wastewater that’s in the septic tank. Usually, dishwasher detergent that goes into the septic tank has been so diluted that it doesn’t harm the septic tank bacteria, but this is speaking quite generally. If you use a more-than-recommended amount of dishwasher detergent—even stuff that’s safe for a septic tank—you could damage your septic tank and neutralize the bacteria that live there.

Dishwashers also utilize surfactants for cleaning, and one should keep in mind that even if bacteria and enzymes are not killed off in the septic tank, the products used in the dishwasher will eventually exit the drainage system, where they could pollute both ground and surface water.

Watch Out for Sudsy Dish Soap

You should also refrain from using dish soap that creates a lot of suds, as this could damage the machine. Then there’s dish soap that’s harsh on the environment; this should also be avoided.

If you’re in an area that has really bad hard water, operating a dishwasher is going to require that you use some chemicals. Therefore, you’ll always be introducing new chemicals to your septic system. Here are some dishwasher detergents that are friendly to septic systems.

Grab Green Natural Dishwasher Detergent Pods

These pods come in a variety of fragrances, including tangerine and lemongrass. Using them is easy, and they’ll make your glassware and silverware spotless—without using harsh chemicals. The green chemical formula they utilize has been researched extensively, and it’s proven to deliver effective cleaning without a cost to the environment.

These products are sought by those who have families, and they don’t include phosphates, phthalates, chlorine, toxins, dyes, or masking agents. They are also cruelty-free and made in the United States.

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Finish All In 1 Dishwasher Detergent – Powerball

These will get rid of tough food residue. They remove deep stains as well. They are individually wrapped to provide a pre-measured dose of detergent, and therefore they eliminate guesswork. They wash away residue easily while removing spots, and when you use these your glassware will sparkle again.

Finish is a worldwide leader in dishwasher cleaning products, and they’ve been referred to as an industry leader for several years.

Cascade Advanced Power Liquid Machine Dishwasher Detergent

If you want to stay away from dishwasher pods, you can go with Cascade’s Advanced Power Dishwasher Gel. This is a bio-friendly formula that’s pretty powerful, so you can rely on it to get your dishes clean. Food residue will be washed away, and this stuff will make stains history. This detergent performs well in old dishwashers too.

The only downside to using a liquid dish detergent is that it could clog the dishwasher. Therefore, using liquid detergent frequently will require dishwasher cleaning more often.

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Matthew Mountain
Matthew Mountain

Matt loves everything DIY. He has been learning and practicing different trades since he was a kid, and he's often the first one called when a friend or family member needs a helping hand at home. Matt loves to work with wood and stone, and landscaping is by far his most favorite pastime.

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