Are Dishwasher Tablets Poisonous?

Whether dishwasher detergent tablets are poisonous or not, they are a must-have household item. They are commonly wrapped in polyvinyl alcohol or PVA, and debate whether PVA is biodegradable or not continues. 

Dishwasher tablets tend to be more expensive than alternatives, but they have other advantages. They are more compact than liquids, and their individually wrapped packaging is often compostable. Despite the environmental benefits, dishwasher tablets are not without controversy.

Read on to learn more about the harmful effects of this detergent. 

Are Snake Plants Really Toxic?
Are Snake Plants Really Toxic?

Are Dishwasher Tablets Toxic?

Dishwasher tablets contain enzymes, biological protein compounds designed to speed up chemical reactions. However, the biological ingredients do not always equal eco-friendly. Despite the environmental benefits of enzymes, some ingredients in dishwasher tablets are toxic to humans. Weigh the risks of using them to make an informed decision.

Plastic is a problem when it comes to a product like dishwasher tablets. The plastic used to wrap the product is from crude oil. The manufacturing process is heavy and causes greenhouse gases to be released into the atmosphere. 

While some synthetic chemicals come from natural sources, many of these chemicals contained in these products still end up in water systems. Water treatment facilities are needed to remove these chemicals from the water. To avoid this situation, use an eco-friendly dishwasher tablet.

Enzyme-based cleaning agents are found in dishwasher tablets. The chemical ingredients in the detergents break down food particles and add shine. Enzymes are protein-based and contain amylase and protease enzymes. 

Is Finish Dishwasher Detergent Toxic?

If you’re wondering “Is finish dishwasher detergent toxic?” you’re not alone. Some companies have made the mistake of using ingredients that aren’t safe for you or your family. In fact, one of the most popular dishwasher detergents, Easy-Off, contains several toxins. Read the label to find out which ingredients are best avoided.

Is Dishwasher Detergent Residue Harmful?

Dishwasher detergent and dish soaps are notorious for leaving chemical residue on your dishes and clothes. While a standard dishwashing detergent like Dawn is less acidic than most others, it still contains a few ingredients that are harmful to your health. 

One such ingredient is 1,4-dioxane, which has been classified by the EPA as a Group B probable human carcinogen. The EPA recommends that you store dishwasher detergent in a locked, dry place, far away from children.

The ingredients in dishwasher detergents end up in waterways because consumers do not mix them. Most of these detergents are in plastic bottles that cannot be reused or recycled. The bottles are discarded when they are empty. 

However, if you have hard water, you can opt for environmentally friendly options such as dishwasher detergent pods or tablets. These products are biodegradable but still contain plastic packaging. In the case of liquids, the National Institutes of Health advise against using them.

To avoid excessive detergent buildup, do not overload your dishwasher with dishes. When you overload the dishwasher, the spray arm cannot reach the upper dishes, resulting in a messy set. 

If this happens, leftover food will spray on the dishes and cause them to hit each other, so it’s better to leave some breathing space. You should also use less detergent than you’re currently using, as too much can damage the dishwasher.

Can Dishwasher Detergent Residue Make You Sick?

Many dishwashing detergents contain chemicals that are toxic even at low concentrations. These chemicals include sodium carbonate and potassium carbonate. Ingestion of these chemicals can lead to severe gastrointestinal symptoms, including painful burning of the tongue, lips, and mouth. 

In addition, they can damage the lining of the esophagus and abdomen. It is necessary to wash your dishes regularly and avoid ingestion of dish detergent residue.

In 2016, US poison control centers received over 18,000 calls about ADDs. Most cases were from curious toddlers exploring their surroundings. 

Automatic dishwashing detergents contain various ingredients such as enzymes, corrosion inhibitors, perfumes, and foam suppressors. Many of these chemicals have been linked to adverse health effects. If you’re concerned about potential exposure to these chemicals, consider purchasing a different detergent.

Dishwasher detergents can cause health issues because they clean a lot of dishes at once. They also leave behind a large amount of soap residue. It’s believed that about six out of ten dishwashers contain an alarming amount of mold and tiny fungi, which feed on food particles.

What Should I Do If My Child Bites a Dishwasher Tablet?

Dishwasher tablets are extremely alkaline. If a child ingests one, the resulting burn can cause significant damage to the skin. 

They can also burn the esophagus and airway, making the child unable to breathe. Dishwasher tablets come in a child-safe box, but it is necessary to keep them locked away and out of reach of children. Here’s what to do if your child bites a dishwasher tablet.

  • If you suspect your child has swallowed a dishwasher tablet, don’t hesistate to call a poison helpline immediately. It may be necessary to call an ambulance if the poisoning is not apparent. In the meantime, keep a bottle of the poison in a handy place. 
  •  If your child accidentally swallows it, they’ll react by coughing or even gagging. If your child has swallowed one, remove it from their mouth and immediately wash exposed skin with soap and water. 
  • Don’t try to induce vomiting. Instead, try to calm down the child and make sure they drink plenty of water.

What Happens If a Child Eats a Dishwasher Pod?

Many children look at dishwasher detergent pods as lollies and mistake them for edible treats. But these little packets can be highly toxic. In one study, two-year-olds were more than four times as likely to end up in the hospital when they ate the detergent pods than those who didn’t. 

In addition to the toxicity of the liquid detergent, a child’s ingestion of the pods can result in respiratory distress and metabolic acidosis.

Note that Dishwasher tablets are highly alkaline and can burn the skin if swallowed. If they enter a child’s esophagus or airway, the resulting burn will render them unable to breathe. Although dishwasher tablets are in child-safe containers, parents should keep the container closed and never leave it in a child’s reach.

If your child accidentally ingests a dishwasher pod, the next step is to call your local Poison Control Center. They will perform a thorough review of your home to determine whether your child has been exposed to the detergent. 


If you have a dishwasher and want to save money, you can make your own dishwasher detergent tablets. You can use ice cube trays or silicone candy molds to make your own detergent.

Once made, remove them from their molds and store them in an airtight container. These dishwasher detergent tablets work well in hard water and clean dishware without leaving streaks. You can even make your own rinse aid by mixing a teaspoon of baking soda with water.