Dish soap may be a product you don’t give much thought to. Yet, you probably use dish soap daily. You may soak your caked-on dishes in a sink full of bubbles to loosen food particles and ease cleaning. Next, you may plunge your hands into the hot, soapy water, exposing your skin to the detergents and additives. Finally, you likely scrub your dishes and give them a rinse, hoping all the soap and chemicals are washed away. The soap residue then travels down the drain and goes…where? When choosing a dish soap, it may be beneficial to seek out brands that are gentle to your skin, won’t be toxic if a residue is left on dishes, and won’t harm the environment if it is absorbed into the ground or seeps into water habitats.
10. De-Greasing Dishes
The goals when washing dishes are to clean away food residue, wash away stains, and sanitize for future use. Greasy pots and pans can be especially difficult to clean, as water alone will not break down grease or rinse it away. For grease-busting power, Best Advisor chose Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid as the best pick for its ability to break down grease and remove stains and grime. A more natural dishwashing liquid, Puracy Natural Liquid Dish Soap, also made Best Advisor’s list of top dishwashing soaps.
9. Non-Toxic to Humans
Some individuals may fear that dish soap residue left behind on dishes can be toxic to humans. However, there is little evidence that minute traces of dish soap are harmful to your health. The main ingredient in dish soap is water. Once the soap is further diluted in a sink full of water, there is not a great risk of toxicity from the soap. While you don’t want to purposely consume dish soap, diarrhea may be the most likely effect of ingesting dish soap.
8. Environmentally Friendly
Individuals may be concerned with the effects soap residue may have on the environment. A study reported in Science Daily found that the surfactants in soaps, shampoos, and detergents break down quickly and are easily removed by water treatment facilities. This is good news for those worried about the effects on aquatic life. To keep your dishes and cooking utensils clean while camping, Backpacker recommends washing them with just hot water and a stiff scrub brush. The Backpacker website asserts that biodegradable soaps are ideal for use while camping. However, you should not use these products directly in lakes or streams. Wash your camp dishes at least 200 feet away from a water source to prevent suds from affecting aquatic life.
7. Gentle on Hands
The phosphates, detergents, dyes, and fragrances in dish soap can be hard on your hands. Babyganics makes a foaming dish soap that is safe enough to use even on baby bottles and sippy cups. This soap is plant-based, non-irritating, and fragrance-free. Another way to protect your skin against harsh chemicals and hot water is to wear gloves while washing dishes. Rubber dish gloves will protect your hands from soap and water. Look for cotton-lined rubber gloves, which have the extra benefit of preventing that sticky, sweaty feeling from the rubber gloves on your skin.
6. Puracy Natural Liquid Dish Soap
Many individuals choose to decrease the number of artificial chemicals in their household. These chemicals can be found in dish soaps in the form of surfactants, detergents, fragrances, and dyes. Puracy Home Essentials is a company that manufactures cleaning products derived from plants, minerals, and natural fragrance sources. Puracy guarantees their products are safe, effective, and biodegradable. Additionally, the Puracy company never tests their products on animals. One teaspoon of Puracy Natural Dish Soap will clean a full sink of dishes, and the 16-ounce bottle will clean 160 sinks full of dishes. This soap has a pleasant green tea and lime fragrance.
5. Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Dish Soap
Best Advisor also recommends the natural dish soap Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Dish Soap to naturally and effectively clean dishes. Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Lemon Verbena Dish Soap contains soap bark extract as a natural grease buster and is free from parabens, phthalates, chlorine, and other chemicals. This soap, which is 97% derived from plants, cleans your dishes while imparting a fresh, lemony scent. Mrs. Meyer’s company is dedicated to creating products that work well, smell great, and are environmentally friendly.
4. Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid
Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid is 95% plant-based and contains no dyes or triclosan. The Seventh Generation company maintains the goal of protecting the health of future generations. They work toward this goal by using plant-based ingredients, choosing natural scents rather than synthetic fragrances, and utilizing recycled packaging. Seventh Generation makes a formulation that is free of fragrances and dyes. In addition, they offer a Lemongrass and Clementine Zest dish soap or a Lavender Flower and Mint scented dish liquid.
3. Bronner’s Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner
You can use this all-purpose cleaner to wash your dishes as well as your floors, countertops, and even your laundry. Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner is made from plants and contains natural fir needle and spruce essential oils. It contains no synthetic dyes, fragrances, or additives. This product is certified as cruelty-free, is fully biodegradable, and is gentle on your skin while being tough on dirt.
2. Ecover Zero Dish Soap
Ecover is another company that aims to leave our planet a better place. To that end, this company is committed to using recycled packaging, optimizing plant-based ingredients in its products, conserving water, and decreasing waste. Ecover liquid dish soaps come in three scents: a fragrance-free formulation, lime zest, or pink geranium.
1. DIY Dish Soap Recipes
If you prefer to know exactly what goes into the products your family uses, you may want to make a batch of your own dishwashing liquid. Wellness Mama has a recipe for a Natural Liquid Dish Soap that utilizes the cleaning power of Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner with the addition of washing soda and kosher salt for extra scrubbing strength. Lemon or grapefruit essential oils add a clean fresh scent. Sarah at Nature’s Nurture has a recipe for Homemade Natural Dish Soap using boiling water, Castile bar soap, washing soda, liquid Castile soap, and essential oils.Related: 10 Tips for Staying Safe When Using Bleach