triclosan

Hand soap has become an even more important household staple during the coronavirus pandemic. Hand washing these days is constant. The hand soap supply can’t always keep up.

Can dish soap step in and become a regular hand soap alternative? It’s convenient, affordable, and already waiting by the sink. The short answer is yes, dish soap can fill in temporarily when hand soap isn’t available.

However, it’s probably best not to use it long-term. Consider these dish soap cons before permanently trading your hand soap for dishwashing liquid.

4. Dish Soap Chemicals Could Be Unsafe

Zero Dish Soap

There are good reasons many people wear gloves when washing dishes. It’s not just because gloves prevent pruney hands and can save your manicure. A high percentage of dish soap formulas contain chemicals that could be unsafe for skin if used daily as hand soap.

Toxic chemicals in some dish soaps like phosphates, synthetic fragrances, ammonia, and more can be absorbed easily by the skin. Switching to a non-toxic dish soap is a good idea for skin and overall better health, even if you’re only using it to wash the dishes.

3. It Strips Your Hands of Natural Oils

Hands

Even the safest dish soaps aren’t usually formulated to moisturize your skin. In fact, quite the opposite. Dish soaps can strip the natural oils from your hands, causing increasingly worse skin dryness.

If using dish soap as hand soap on a regular basis, you’ll want to pair it with an emollient moisturizer. And try to use dish soap that’s very mild. That’s not always possible due to dish soap’s purpose of being tough on grease and dried food residue, but some brands claim to be milder than others.

2. Dish Soap Could Irritate Eczema

Eczema

For those with skin conditions like eczema or contact dermatitis, regular use of dish soap can cause painful and unsightly irritation.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association lists the symptoms of eczema as skin that is red, chapped, dry, scaly and inflamed. Eczema flareups can cause burning sensations, blisters, and bleeding or “weeping” from deep skin cracks.

Adding dish soap with harsh chemicals to those conditions could feel like dowsing a fire with rubbing alcohol. Either avoid dish soap as hand soap, or test a few different non-toxic dish soaps first for possible eczema irritants.

1. Hands Are OK, But Not the Rest of Your Body

showering

If dish soap is all you’ve got, then it’s certainly better than nothing for washing your hands. But don’t take the dish soap bottle in the shower, if you can help it. Washing your body with dish soap would likely lead to skin irritation for even the healthiest epidermis — the top layer of your skin.

What you do hopefully have in the shower is a better alternative for hand soap. The better choice than dish soap is body wash. Unlike dish soap, body wash is formulated specifically for cleaning the skin.

When you run out of hand soap, go for the body wash first. When that runs out, make dish soap a temporary third choice.

Related: How to Choose a Safe and Effective Dish Soap
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