Lucian, a friend of mine, considers doing the dishes a form of Zen meditation. I’ve witnessed him in action many times after a fancy dinner party, cheerfully whistling to music as he cheerfully wipes the pans clean and polishes the glassware until it sparkles.
Me? Sometimes I’ll brag about how great it is to load the dishwasher, which I consider to be the best kitchen appliance ever made. Cookbooks, recipe development, and the desire to spend most of my free time in the kitchen satisfying my own curiosity about food means that I am constantly in a state of cooking and cleaning. That appliance is one of my favorites, and I use it practically constantly.
However, there are many kitchen utensils that should not be washed in the dishwasher, such as the dishes I use for my dog Jasper, the glasses I use, the ceramic platters I use, and so on. Not everyone has a dishwasher either. You need a quality sponge and some top-notch soap for that stuff/that scenario.
A good dish soap makes washing dishes much less of a chore and, as I’ve lately (reluctantly) realized, can even be kind of fun.
One can choose from a wide variety of soaps, most of them belong to either the eco-friendly or conventional categories. We collected 15 popular brands of dishwashing liquid and randomly selected an equal number from each major category to determine the best dish soap.
Before I turned on the hot water and rolled up my sleeves, I noticed that different product types use different language to describe what they’re offering. Marketed as “ultra-concentrated” “grease fighters” with “power,” “sparkling” results with “less scrubbing,” and “gentle on hands” are typical claims made with traditional soaps. The green kinds tend to hang their hats on being “concentrated and mild,” are often “biodegradable, plant-derived, and non-toxic,” and sometimes “sulfate-free and/or hypoallergenic.” They are effective “grease cutters” without being tested on animals and are “free of dyes and synthetic fragrances.”
How we test dish soap
The Good Housekeeping Institute’s Cleaning Lab uses a “greasy” soil mix consisting of mayonnaise, solid shortening, canned spinach and green beans, and a stack of similar dinner plates to assess the efficacy of liquid dish washes. In spite of the unpleasantness, we put on rubber gloves and begin cleaning once the smear has dried for two hours. Each drop of dish soap and every ounce of water that goes into the sink are carefully measured and monitored.
When we begin, we take note of the amount of suds produced, and then we count how many dishes each tester can wash before the suds “break” or flatten out. We also evaluate the contents and the packaging of the soap, as well as its viscosity or thickness and its ability to disseminate oil. Finally, we send unlabeled bottles of our final product to consumer testers so they may try it out at home and provide feedback. After testing kitchen appliances like stoves and dishwashers, we utilize the dishwashing liquids to clean up the lab.
Platinum Dishwashing Liquid
Dawn is the benchmark by which all other cleaning products are measured in the GH Cleaning Lab testing because of how effectively it removes grease and grime. Even in our GH Test Kitchen and Kitchen Appliances Lab, you can expect to find a bottle at every sink. Dawn’s ability to produce copious amounts of suds while also suspending oil prevents it from redepositing on plates. Squeezing out a small amount is all it takes to clean a large pile of dirty dishes, and it works wonders on burned-on filth.
You may get one ounce for twenty-one cents.
This Seventh Generation Dish Liquid is proof that “green” products like those made from plants can be effective cleansers. This formula is a winner in our test of clear plant-based dishwashing liquids since it contains no added colours or scents, is biodegradable, and is recognized as an EPA Safer Choice product. The bottle itself is manufactured from post-consumer recycled plastic.
It costs $0.12 per ounce.
Concentrated Liquid Dish Soap
Using Lemi Shine ensures spotless dishes and a clean bottle and countertop. This bar soap has a no-drip valve that allows it to be dispensed from the bottom. If you want to use it, just pull back the tab and squeeze. Do not worry about any spillage, even if you leave it open on the counter. Literally not a drop is wasted. This composition is biodegradable and approved by the EPA as a Safer Choice; it also makes use of citric extracts to improve cleaning power.
It costs $0.26 per ounce.
The old adage that “doing the dishes is hard work” is just not true. Caldrea won first place in our survey of the most luxurious dishwashing liquids because of its wonderful aroma and effective cleaning power. In our experiments, a small amount went a long way, and each of the eight fragrance options was so luxurious and dare we say delectable that we couldn’t stop washing our hands.
At $0.78 per ounce, the price is right.
Simple Pleasures Scented Dish Soap
Simple Pleasures Dish Soap, which has earned the coveted Good Housekeeping Seal, is free of common allergens and harmful chemicals like parabens and phthalates. In addition to being an effective grease cutter, the mint, rosemary, lavender, and lemon essential oils in this basic composition make it a pleasure to use. All of the soap’s ingredients are mentioned for your convenience and ours, and if it doesn’t live up to its claims, you’ll get your money back in full.
Hand Renewal Dishwashing Liquid
This Dawn mixture is not only effective at cleaning, but it is also kind to your hands if you prefer not to use rubber gloves when doing the dishes. We found that it cleaned just as well as leading competitors while being much gentler on the skin. All the different kinds of Dawn dish soap have the same great efficiency.
It costs $0.44 per ounce.
Limited Edition Dish Soap
The aesthetic value of a dish soap bottle isn’t what leads most people to buy it, yet Method has both a sleek design and effective cleaning ingredients. The characteristic pump dispenser on Method’s pyramid-shaped bottle makes it simple to distribute the precise amount needed, minimizing waste. If you leave your dish soap out on the kitchen counter, however, the label will be the center of attention.
Method frequently collaborates with textile designers, painters, and others to create limited edition labels that are bright, quirky, and seasonal. Choosing a favorite will be a challenge!
An ounce costs $0.19.
Overall Best Liquid Dish Soap: Seventh Generation Free & Clear
The Seventh Generation liquid dish soap not only came out on top in my comparison of 15 popular brands (including eco-friendly and conventional varieties), but it also impressed me as the most effective dishwashing product overall.
This plant-based detergent efficiently cleaned my oily pots and pans through numerous rounds of dishwashing. Whether I put it directly to my sponge or let it suds up in a basin of warm water first, the soap did a good job of cleaning the dishes and glasses that I washed. The plates and glasses I cleaned and rinsed came out spotless and completely clean.
To be as open and honest as possible is a core value at Seventh Generation. All package clearly states what ingredients it has. The hypoallergenic dish soap is labeled as “Free & Clear,” and it comes in a variety of pleasant aromas. Seventh Generation, like all of my other eco-friendly picks, does not use animal testing at any stage of product development.
Seventh Generation offers one of the most competitively-priced green dish soaps on the market, with a price point that is, interestingly, right in line with leading conventional dish soap brands, and it is available at most large conventional supermarket chains, including Walmart, as well as Whole Foods, Amazon, and Thrive.
Seventh Generation Free & Clear Dish Soap
The most effective liquid dish soap is gentle on the environment while being tough on grimy dishes.
A BUCK THREE AT TARGET
Best-Smelling Dish Soap (That Also Works Like A Champ): Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day
The genuine Mrs. Meyers (first name Thelma) who founded the company was reported as stating, “I wouldn’t put my name on something that didn’t work hard and smell great.” She used the perfect amount of dish soap for both purposes. This environmentally friendly cleaner is effective in removing grime and washes away easily with warm water. There are several delightful fresh garden-themed scents to choose from, like lemon verbena, geranium, mint, honeysuckle, lavender, basil, and radish, the latter of which is my personal favorite and really motivates me to do the dishes.
Mrs. Meyer’s Liquid Dish Soap: Radish Scent (3-Pack)
Finally, a dishwashing soap that cuts grease and smells like radish, which actually makes us look forward to doing the dishes.
Prices start at $22 at Amazon.com.
Factors We Evaluated
1. How well does the dish soap cut grease and baked on food bits?
Of course, a high-quality dishwashing liquid should be able to quickly and cleanly remove stubborn oil from cookware. I kept this in mind as I went through my potential starters, and discovered that many of them cut through grease well, while a select few were especially potent.
2. How quickly and cleanly does it rinse?
Not all dish soaps are created equal when it comes to residue-free rinsing (even a little residue on plates can leave a soapy taste). Dish soaps that left washed items residue-free after a warm water rinse gained points.
3. Is it easy to find and well priced?
Some dish soaps leave behind more residue than others when rinsed (even a little residue on plates can leave a soapy taste). Dish soaps scored higher if they removed all traces of soap after being rinsed in warm water.
4. Is it eco-friendly?
It’s great news for eco-friendly dishware brands that also leave our dishes sparkling.
Other Soaps We Tested
I voted for Seventh Generation and Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day, but there were three more strong contenders. There was a lot of bang for my buck when it came to washing dishes with any of them, as they all did an excellent job of cutting through oil. Prior to my extensive research into dish soap, I had always used Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid (also known as “Original Dawn” or “Blue Dawn”), and I soon discovered that I was not alone; Dawn has a large and devoted fan base. Its moderate, pleasant aroma and the fact that only a small amount is needed make it the greatest grease-fighter we tested. Dawn’s reputation as an outstanding and mild degreaser is bolstered by the fact that it is the sole soap used by the International Bird Rescue Research Center to clean birds after oil spills. Although this brand was the only traditional option I considered that seemed to include most of its contents, it does contain synthetic scent and dye, and the firm says it is moving toward eliminating product testing on animals but has not yet achieved its goal. As a biodegradable cleaner that effectively cut through grease and rinsed clean, Dr. Bonner’s Sal Suds caught on with consumers. However, the strong spruce and fir aroma was too overpowering for me to use it for dishwashing. This all-purpose cleaner has a pleasant aroma that I’m looking forward to using around our tiny Maine home, especially as the weather becomes colder. We (and many Amazon customers) are big fans of Planet Ultra, a biodegradable soap made from a few simple ingredients that is safe to use on everything from dishes to fruits and vegetables to pets. However, it works best when used in a soak or dish tub and not on a sponge.
Some of the less effective brands include Puracy, which is one of the few (if not the only) sulfate-free dish soaps on the market (which can be good for people with allergies or sensitive skin). Although it was created by a firm in Austin, Texas that places a premium on environmental and community responsibility, this cleaner did not make the cut because of its lack of effectiveness. And the cost is quite high. While the Pink Geranium Liquid Dish Soap from Ecover has a pleasant scent and is biodegradable and non-toxic, it is not as effective as our top pick and typically costs close to twice as much. I was excited to try ECOS Dishmate Dish Liquid because of its “carrot top” scent (I’m always looking for new ways to utilize carrot tops), but I was disappointed to find that not only was the scent unremarkable (it didn’t smell anything like carrot tops), but the formula was also thick and failed to live up to its “a little goes a long way” claim. Thrive Market Dish Soap had a pleasant light lavender aroma, however its sticky/tacky substance necessitated additional scrubbing power in order to be as successful as our top pick. To us, the French Lavender scented Method Dish Soap was too heavily perfumed, and the pump-style dispenser was cumbersome and messy. Only two of the traditional dish soaps I tested, Clorox Ultra Concentrated and Dawn Ultra, had ingredient lists on the packaging; however, Clorox only included inactive components, and it was unclear whether or not the list on Dawn’s packaging was comprehensive. Dawn Ultra was the most effective grease-cutter, and it had the least overpowering smell, of all the conventional products we tested (which included Ajax Ultra Super Degreaser (Lemon), Joy Ultra (Lemon), Palmolive Ultra Strength Liquid Dish Soap, and Gain Ultra). Palmolive, Gain, and Clorox all smelled overly chemical to us.
Why Does Dish Soap Cut Grease?
When it comes to washing dishes, floors, automobiles, and RVs, the tiny molecules of liquid dish soap really come through.
Dish soap may quickly and effectively clean a wide variety of surfaces, including those that are smooth, porous, or otherwise commonly used, regardless of their size. Oil, grease, and dirt can be easily removed with grease cutting dish soap, which works by encasing, dissolving, and suspending the undesired particles in water.
The Basics of Dirt
Oil lurks beneath the grime you’re scrubbing with dish soap bubbles, whether it’s baked-on crust on pans or caked filth on bumpers and windows. Tiny amounts of oil in even dirt make it stick to wet surfaces like palms, window sills, and vehicles.
The molecules of oil are big and have no charged ends at the poles. Because of the attractive force between water molecules, water is a fluid rather than an oil. When you mix soap with oil, an attraction develops that eventually drives the oil off the surface you’re washing.
How Soap Works to Clean Dishes and Surfaces
Molecules of soap have two distinct ends. Soap molecules have a hydrophilic end that facilitates their dispersal in water. Water is repelled by the hydrophobic end of the soap molecules.
The combination of these two very distinct molecules allows oil and grease to be broken down into tiny drops that combine with water and are then easily lifted from the surface of the pans, countertops, or whatever else is slick. To remove grime and oil, soap molecules attach to the oil or grease at their hydrophobic ends, while water molecules bind to their hydrophilic counterparts.
After the oil is emulsified, it is suspended in the water by the soap molecules. This moisture can be simply rinsed from your belongings.
Ingredients that Matter
Traditional soap was made by combining a fatty acid, such that found in rendered animal fat, with an alkaline material, like the ashes left over from melting cow or sheep fat in a fire. The end product looked like thick, dark curd and wasn’t very appetizing. However, it cleaned just about anything really well.
This eventually developed into the liquid dish soap found on kitchen sinks everywhere today. Dawn is a popular name because its active ingredient, sodium lauryl sulfate, forms a strong connection with oil and grease, making it easy to remove. What goes into making Dawn dish soap?
- SLS (sodium laureth sulfate)
- Inorganic salt of laureth sulfate
- Compound Name: Dimethylamine Oxide, C12-14-16
- SD alcohol
- Drinking alcohol in the SD area
- The PEG-10 PEI-14
- Copolymer of PPG-7
- MgCl2 – Magnesium chloride
- Definition: Yellow 5
- Blue 1
Dawn Liquid Soap Facts
Even though it’s a simple product, Dawn dish soap has some rather astounding statistics. After a massive oil leak in the Pacific Ocean in 1989, this method was identified as the most efficient means of cleaning up the oil from birds and other animals.
Although no official study has confirmed it, it is commonly used as a dog shampoo that effectively repels fleas. A mixture of 8 ounces of water plus a few drops of Dawn can be used to repel ants and other insects.
How to Use Dish Soap for Laundry Stains
May dish soap be used in the laundry? Good dish soap can do wonders for your grimy pots, pans, and everyday dishware. However, while some dish soaps can be used in the laundry process, they should not be substituted for detergent. Find out more about the benefits of using dish soap as a pretreatment option for common laundry stains like those caused by pizza night, how to use dish soap properly so that your white mesh top doesn’t get ruined, and which type of soap works best to help fight unwanted, set-in stains on your family’s clothes.
How to Use Dawn® Dish Soap for Laundry Stains
A spill or stain can happen to anyone. Tomato sauce, blueberries, and oil are just a few of the stains that can be removed with the help of Dawn® Platinum.
- Use your fingers to apply Dawn® Platinum directly to the stained area of any cotton or polycotton fabric, covering the entire area.
- After that, simply run it through a regular cycle in the washing machine with some Tide.
- Never use Dawn® again on the same stain without first washing it thoroughly.
Stains happen, but with the power of Dawn®, pretreatment is So Dawn Easy.
Top-loading washing machines work best with less than two teaspoons (9.5 mL) of Dawn® Platinum per load; use with caution and avoid using on silk and other sensitive materials. To ensure sure the material will not be destroyed, perform a spot test with a little drop in an inconspicuous area.
There is a range in cycle times and sensitivity for high-efficiency washing machines.
When to Use Dish Soap for Laundry Stains
You went to a friend’s house for dinner and you just saw a stain on your favorite shirt. Are you not quite ready to do a full load of laundry? Dish soap can be used as a laundry detergent in a number of situations.
- Pretreat stains by using dish soap directly to them; this works for clothing, kitchen towels, and even sheets.
- Everybody has those moments when an oil splatter or a saucy trickle lands on their garment, but they don’t have time to wash it right away. When you need a quick solution on the fly, a bottle of dishwashing liquid like Dawn® Platinum can assist!
- In order to remove stains before loading: Are you not quite ready to do a full load of laundry? Applying dish soap to stains before washing can help keep them from becoming embedded in the fabric.
- Using Dawn® Platinum for handwashing small loads of clothes is a great alternative because it helps get rid of tough oil and food stains.
Dish soap works wonders as a pre-treatment for stains, but it shouldn’t be used in the washing machine itself. You don’t want your washing machine to get clogged up with foamy suds from a dish soap because they’re specially designed to dissolve fat and loosen stuck-on food particles. Washing machines can create a waterfall effect if too much soapy suds are used.
Best Dish Soap Options for Laundry
Use a dish soap that is tough on oil and food splatters but kind to fabrics for pretreatment and handwashing.
- A few drops of Dawn® Platinum applied directly to the stain will remove it most effectively. Leave it for a minute or two, and then scrub the area with a wet sponge and some water.
- Laundry is best washed by hand when there are only a few items to be washed, as this will conserve both water and electricity. Soak your clothes in a solution of water and a few drops of Dawn® Platinum. Scrub the stained areas, then rinse and pat dry.
To be prepared for any emergency, keep a bottle of Dawn® Platinum on hand due to its many household applications.
For Laundry Use with Dawn Powerwash
- Directly apply Dawn® Powerwash to the stained area of any cotton or polycotton fabric and rub in. It is recommended to let the product sit on the stain for 5-10 minutes before washing.
- Then, throw it in the washing machine with a normal load of Tide and wash as usual.
- Never use Dawn® again on the same stain without first washing it thoroughly.
Use Dawn® Powerwash, holding the nozzle at a distance of three to six inches from the cloth, washing in a top-loading machine, and being careful not to over-spray; avoid using on silk and other delicate textiles. Make sure the material is not damaged by trying a small amount in an inconspicuous location.
There is a range in cycle times and sensitivity for high-efficiency washing machines.
Does dish soap dissolve grease?
Dish soap formulated to cut grease and oil suspends the undesired particles in water, where they are swiftly dissolved and rinsed away.
What soap removes grease?
The reason for this is that liquid dish dishwashing soap made from petroleum works very well on oil and grease stains. Dish soap can be used to effectively clean clothes with minimal effort. If you want to remove a stain, just pour dish soap on it and leave it alone for a few minutes.
Is soapy water a good degreaser?
Grease on the chain is impossible to wash off with soapy water. Cleaning the chain will require the use of a degreaser solvent.
Does dawn break down grease?
Nevill says, “Dawn absolutely works the best,” in response to a question about whether they are required to use Dawn. Effectively removing grease without harming the birds’ skin.
What does dawn do to oil?
Dish soap is the oil dispersion, which reduces the surface tension between oil and water and allows oil droplets to separate from bigger clumps.
Any dishwashing liquid will do the trick. What we want to know is how simple (and maybe even enjoyable) they make the chore of scrubbing soiled dishes. Choose Seventh Generation if you’re looking for a product that’s good for the environment, does what it’s supposed to do well, is reasonably priced, has a hypoallergenic fragrance option, and doesn’t skimp on ethics. Mrs. Meyers is another another powerful eco-friendly dish soap with a pleasant garden scent. Planet Ultra is the product to buy if you want a coconut oil-based, minimally-ingredient, fragrance-free formula. Choose Dawn Ultra if you want a traditional dishwashing liquid.