Most of us don’t think about our dish soap. It’s one of those mundane items that, until you really start doing your research, seems all the same.
It might be surprising to know that all dish soaps are not created equal, but picking the right one can be a huge task.
Dish soaps, like all soaps are made to be emulsifiers. That’s a big word, but it is important in the foundation of the effectiveness of a dish soap.
Emulsifiers are products that are used to break down fats, and hold onto those fats, even in the presence of water.
Dish soaps work in a way that allows you to wash plates, glasses, pots and pans, collecting grease and food, without that grease cooling in your home’s pipes and clogging your pipes.
When you think about dish soap in the light that it cannot only care for your dishes and cookware, but it also protects your pipes, making the right decision is even more important.
Dish soaps should do a few things that you should keep in mind when you are considering dish soap. First dish soaps should break down stuck on foods.
Sure, you can accomplish this task by soaking dishes, but if you don’t have a dishwasher, and you do dishes daily, you may not want to soak dishes.
It doesn’t take harsh chemicals to accomplish this task but you should consider this when buying a dish soap.
Second, dish soaps should be able to manage both liquid and solid fats. Some dish soaps do fine with one or the other, some do great with both.
Pick one of those that manage both forms of fats and oils, this will ensure that you won’t have to deal with pipes clogged with grease.
Third, dish soaps should be tough but gentle. You should feel comfortable washing the most delicate of your dishes in the soap you choose.
You should also know that your dish soap won’t turn your hands in to dry, scaly messes, if you hand wash dishes daily.
If you are in the market for a new dish soap, you will probably notice the tons of options that line the shelves at your local store or that are available on-line. Trying to figure out which of these options are the best for your dishes, can be a chore.
We had the same problem, so we decided to do some extra work, and figure out once and for all, which dish soap is the best.
We washed dishes, lots of dishes. We read lots of user reviews. And from all of this work, we’ve come up with this list of the seven best dish soaps.
We think that this list of products is quite inclusive, and there should be a great option here for everyone.
We’ve also put together a buying guide, with all of the factors that we think are the most important when it comes to buying a dish soap. We hope that this guide will help you sort through the choices, to find your favorite.
Top 7 Best Dish Soap Review
1. Best Overall – Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid Dish Soap
- THE GREASE CLEANING ABILITY
- VERSATILE CLEANER
- 2 HANDY NON-SCRATCH SPONGES
- CLEANS MORE IN LESS TIME
- DOESN’T LATHER AS WELL
- Type: Degreaser
- Amount: 19oz – 4 pack
- Weight: 5.06 pounds
- Dimensions: 7.7 x 4.9 x 10.1 inches
One of the most important tasks for a dish soap is to hang on to grease. Dawn is by far the best at this task. We were able to wash a ton of pots, pans and greasy dishes, and our glasses still came out shiny and free from greasy residue. It also does well at breaking down, stuck on foods, which is an added bonus.
Dawn is phosphorus free, and biodegradable, so it is not only safe for all of your dishes, but it is also safe for the environment.
2. Runner up – Puracy Natural Dish Soap
- CLEANING ACTION IS GENTLE ON SKIN
- RINSES CLEAN WITHOUT RESIDUE
- NO HARSH INGREDIENTS
- PLEASANT ORGANIC LEMONGRASS SCENT
- YOU’LL NEED TO HAVE A BOTTLE FOR EASY DISPENSING
- Type: Plant-derived, hypoallergenic
- Amount: 16 Ounce (3-Pack)
- Weight: 3 pounds
- Dimensions: 2.4 x 2.4 x 8.6 inches
Our pick for the runner up best dish soap is a really great, natural product from Puracy. Puracy is known for making amazing cleaning products that are effective yet environmentally conscientious.
This dish soap is no exception. We found that it did a really great job at cleaning our dishes, and removing greasy films and stuck on food. It rinsed clean without a ton of water used. We liked the light lemon-grass scent, which was pleasant, but not overwhelming.
This soap is not only phosphate-free, but it is also sulfate-free which is an added benefit when it comes to being good to the environment.
3. Best Budget – Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Liquid Dish Soap
- CONTAINS PLANT-DERIVED CLEANING INGREDIENTS
- VERSATILE, CUTS THROUGH GREASE AND IS BIODEGRADABLE
- NICE FLORAL FRAGRANCES
- MADE IN CRUELTY FREE WAY
- DRIES OUT HANDS MORE THAN OTHERS
- Type: Biodegradable
- Amount:16 ounces
- Weight: 1 pound
- Dimensions: 2.5 x 2.5 x 8 inches
We love it when a great, natural product is affordable for every budget. Our pick for the best budget dish soap is the Ms. Meyer’s bluebell scented dish soap.
This dish soap uses plant based ingredients that do a really good job at cutting grease and breaking up stuck on foods. Because this product doesn’t contain any harsh, synthetic chemicals, it is a great option for the chef with sensitive skin.
This soap is also biodegradable and free of phosphates so not only does it work well, but it also is earth-friendly.
4. Best for Babies – Babyganics Foaming Dish & Bottle Soap
- BABY BOTTLE SAFE, FRAGRANCE FREE
- RINSES FREE WITHOUT ANY RESIDUE
- PLANT DERIVED- NON ALLERGENIC
- NO PHOSPHATES, PHTHALATES, SYNTHETIC FRAGRANCES OR DYES
- DOESN’T COME WITH A PUMP
- Type: Foaming
- Amount:32 oz. 2 pack
- Weight: 2 pounds
- Dimensions: 4.4 x 7.9 x 10.5 inches
If your dishwashing tasks include baby bottles and baby food containers, then you probably want to consider a dish soap that is safe for your little one.
Our pick for the best dish soap for babies is the foaming dish and bottle soap from Babyganics. This company makes great, natural products with your child in mind. It is safe for sensitive skin, and is free from dyes, fragrances, and harsh chemicals. However, it still does a great job of washing dishes.
We found that while this soap is designed for baby products, it did a reasonable job on the rest of our dishes as well. We really like that it is gentle on our hands as well as being safe for our children.
5. Best Biodegradable – Caldrea Dish Soap
- CONTAINS ALOE VERA
- NICE FRAGRANT SMELL
- CUTS THROUGH GREASE AND IS BIODEGRADABLE
- RINSES CLEAN NO RESIDUE
- NOT AN ANTIBACTERIAL SOAP
- HIGHER PRICED
- Type: Biodegradable Scented
- Amount: 16 ounces
- Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Dimensions: 2.5 x 2.5 x 8 inches
Our pick for the best biodegradable dish soap is the Pear Agave scented dish soap from Caldrea. Caldrea is another well-known company that is focused on producing effective yet environmentally safe cleaning products.
We liked their dish soap, though it didn’t work quite as well as breaking down stuck on foods. It was really good at cutting grease, and didn’t leave a greasy or soapy residue on our dishes.
The pear agave fragrance was pleasant, but not overwhelming. This soap was one of the few that also had Aloe Vera, which made our hands feel nice, even after washing a lot of dishes.
6. Best Degreaser – Palmolive Ultra Dish Soap Oxy Power Degreaser
- REMOVES EVEN THE GREASIEST STAINS
- VERSATILE POWERFUL CLEANER
- RESIDUE-FREE CLEAN
- LEAVES DISHES SMELLING FRESH
- NOT AN ANTIBACTERIAL SOAP
- Type: Power Degreaser
- Amount: 32.5 oz – 4 Pack
- Weight: 8.53 pounds total
- Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.6 x 11.7 inches
If cutting grease is your priority when it comes to a dish soap, then you’ll like our pick for the best degreaser. Palmolive Oxy dish soap, is a great product from another kitchen staple.
This dish soap uses oxygen to break through stuck on foods, and is gentle on even delicate china or porcelain dishware. The oxygen additive is also great for taking stains out of dishes you use frequently.
We liked the fresh scent of this dish soap, and that it uses a natural product to do the hard work. Palmolive is phosphate-free and safe for the environment.
7. Best Hypoallergenic – Seventh Generation Dish Liquid Soap
- CUTS THROUGH GREASE WITHOUT LEAVING BEHIND RESIDUE
- NO FRAGRANCES, DYES OR PHOSPHATES
- DOESN’T HAVE A STRONG SMELL
- GENTLE ON THE SKIN
- ONLY 95% NATURAL
- Type: Hypoallergenic fragrance free
- Amount: 25 oz each (6 pack)
- Weight: 1.8 pounds
- Dimensions: 2.3 x 3.8 x 9.4 inches
If you struggle to find cleaning products that do a good job, but are also gentle on your skin, consider the dish soap from Seventh Generation.
This dish soap has been tested by dermatologists and is hypoallergenic.
It is free of fragrances, dyes and phosphates so it won’t irritate your skin.
We found that this soap does a really good job of cleaning dishes. It didn’t leave a greasy residue, and it rinsed clean without needing a ton of water.
We did find that it wasn’t as foamy as some other soaps, but considering how gentle it is, that was a fair trade-off.
Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid Dish Soap is our pick for the best dish soap. We found that it was a quality product, and did a really good job of washing dishes. It maintained its cleaning ability through an entire load of dishes, and it did a good job of cutting grease and knocking down stuck on foods.
Dish soap is a pretty mundane and seemingly unimportant household product. But, if you hand wash dishes frequently the right product can make a huge difference in how hard you have to work. The right product is also important for maintaining a clean and sanitary kitchen for you and your family.
How to Choose the Best Dish Soap
Like we mentioned before, no two dish soaps are the same. There really is a big difference between brands and their cleaning ability. But how do you decide which is the right one for your needs? We’ve come up with this buying guide to help you sort through the choices. The factors we’ve listed below, we used to develop our list, and we think are the most helpful to consider when shopping for a dish soap.
Before we make any further statements about dish soap ingredients, we do want to point out that there are two things that you want to skip in any soap or cleaning product you buy. Look closely at the ingredient list of any soap you’re considering and look for “No Nitrates” and “No Phosphates”. Ingredients with nitrates and phosphates make really great soaps, but they are terrible for the environment. Many states have banned the use of nitrates and phosphates in soaps, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still out there.
Otherwise, ingredients to be aware of include things like natural soap bases, fragrances, and degreasers. Some soaps will also include anti-microbial products or moisturizers. Much of what you select is a personal preference. We do like dish soaps that have more Earth-friendly ingredients and use plant based oils for fragrance. These are generally safer for the environment, and require less energy and water to produce.
Size or Amount
There are two considerations when it comes to size and amount. The amount of soap you get in each container, and the amount necessary to do the job.
Buying larger containers can either be a way to save money and shop less frequently. However, many lower quality dish soaps come in large containers, and actually require you to use more soap to get the job done. In those cases you’re not saving money or shopping less.
There are a number of products out there that are dish soap concentrates. These products allow you to use smaller quantities of soap with each load of dishes, and achieve the same result. Dish soap concentrates will tend to be a bit more expensive, and come in a smaller bottle, however, you don’t need to use nearly as much to get the job done.
This is probably the most important factor you should consider when shopping for a dish soap. And it might take some time for you to find the product that works the best in your opinion. Some soaps work great at breaking down stuck on foods, some are made for cutting grease. Some use oxygen boosters or anti-microbial products to get a better clean.
One of the ways that we found handy in determining the cleaning ability of a dish soap was to wash a clear glass, after all the other dishes had been washed. With a sink full of murky water, food, and grease, a good dish soap should still be able to clean your dishes, and not leave a greasy residue.
No one likes the taste of soap. A dish soap that doesn’t rinse well, and leaves a layer of soap on your dishes isn’t a great product. Also, if it takes a ton of water to rinse your dishes, this isn’t a great thing either. You want a product that cleans well and rinses off completely, without using a ton of water. This will eliminate soap residues on your dishes, and will keep your dishes from imparting a “soapy” taste to your foods.
Cost can be a consideration for some people. And we honestly found that there were great products across a range of prices. Do you have to spend more for a dish soap that will do a great job? Not necessarily. However, we did find that products that came in concentrate form or were considered “natural” or “Earth-Friendly” seemed to come with a higher price tag. And in our opinion, higher price didn’t always equate to a better performing product.