If you asked any of our technicians what the most-used product in their cleaning caddy is, we can almost guarantee that their answer will be dish soap. This unlikely answer is due to dish soap’s versatility and gentleness. Dish soap is safe to use on almost any surface and is more environmentally friendly than a lot of other common household cleaners.
Dish soap is a surprisingly green cleaning product
One of the many reasons we love cleaning with dish soap is because it is naturally an environmentally-friendly product. Dish soaps used to contain phosphates, which can pose an environmental hazard. When phosphates get into lakes and streams, they can trigger algal blooms which reduce the oxygen levels in the water. Luckily, phosphates have been eliminated from most major brands of dish soaps.
If you’re buying a dish soap for its environmentally-friendly benefits, it’s important to note that some brands do still contain triclosan, an antibacterial ingredient. When triclosan gets into the environment, it can break down in dioxins which are taken up by plants. The main concern about triclosan in soaps is that it might inhibit microbial breakdown of wastes at processing plants. Clean & Simple’s choice for dish soap, Ivory, contains neither phosphates nor triclosan.
Dish soap does not have a strong chemical scents
Another reason we love cleaning with dish soap is because it’s powerful but it doesn’t leave a strong chemical scent lingering in the homes and offices we service. One of the biggest special requests we get from our customers is to use products that don’t have a strong smell. Heavy artificial fragrances can cause headaches and breathing problems for both humans and pets. When it comes to tackling grease especially, many effective degreasers also have strong artificial fragrances. Not so with most dish soaps, which tend to be more mild in scent, while still packing a degreasing punch.
Dish soap is safe to use on many surfaces, but still highly effective
Dish soap is safe to use on many surfaces: granite, marble, sealed wood, ceramic, and more. That’s because most mild dish soaps have a pH of 7 or 8, which is more or less neutral. Most other cleaners, like glass cleaners and all purpose cleaners, are either acidic or alkaline, which makes them riskier to use on easily damaged surfaces like marble that are susceptible to staining and etching.
Even though dish soap is gentle, it is still a highly effective cleaner. One of the first steps our technicians are trained to take when they start cleaning a kitchen or bathroom is to make a soapy water bucket. They will turn to this all-purpose tool throughout the cleaning process. Dish soap is designed to cut through food grease, which makes it a natural choice for cleaning kitchen surfaces—strong enough for removing stubborn grease from stove tops and microwaves, while remaining safe for granite or marble countertops and stainless steel appliance fronts. Dish soap is also incredibly useful in the bathroom. We use it to tackle soap scum in tubs and showers, to wash out porcelain sinks, to wipe down counters, and to scrub tile and linoleum floors.
7 unexpected uses for dish soap in your home
Beyond being a great cleaning product for all your standard cleaning needs, dish soap can also be really useful in other tasks (and even for some fun with the kids). We’ve put together a list of seven of our favorite unusual dish soap uses.
- Shine up jewelry. A drop or two of dish soap mixed with seltzer water makes for an effective cleaning solution to shine up grimy jewelry. Just drop your jewelry into the mix for five minutes and then remove (you can use a clean toothbrush to gently scrub particularly dirty jewelry)
- Remove oil stains from the concrete floors. Dish soap is also effective for removing oil stains from concrete floors in the garage, or even the driveway. Just cover the stain with a layer of baking soda, then a layer of dish soap. After letting it sit for several hours, scrub the spot with a strong-bristled scrub brush.
- Keep bugs off your plants. Make a highly effective plant spray for both indoor and outdoor plants with dish soap. Mix 1 cup of safflower or sunflower oil (helps the spray stick to the plant’s leaves) with 1 cup of water and 2 tablespoons of dish soap in a spray bottle. Tip: test your spray on a small part of the plant to make sure it is not harmful to the plant. In general, dish soap spray is safe to use on most plants.
- Remove oil & grease from delicate fabrics. Remove oil and grease stains from delicate wool and silk fabrics using hot water and dish soap. Use 1 tablespoon of soap to a gallon of hot water. Submerge the garment and scrub the stain gently.
- A camping essential. Bring a small bottle on camping trips for all your cleaning needs—including personal grooming! Dish soap is so gentle it is safe to use as a shampoo and bodywash substitute in times of need.
- Make bubbles. Need a break from cleaning? Make super bubbles! This is a great activity to do with kids. Pour 1 cup of dish soap into 6 cups of (preferably distilled) water. Stir carefully to avoid creating bubbles. Next add ¼ cup of corn syrup and stir again. Put a lid on your container and let the solution sit overnight (this yields stronger bubbles).
- Remove stickers without leaving the sticky residue. Use dish soap to remove stickers and sticker residue. Cover the sticker with dish soap and let it sit for five minutes. The sticker should slide right off, though you can also use a scrub brush and hot water for more stubborn stickers.
If you really want to see what a difference simple dish soap can make in your home, give Clean and Simple Cleaning a call. Dish soap is one of many tools we use every day to keep our clients’ homes bright, shining, and free of grime and dirt. We have refined and improved our cleaning process over decades of careful training and improvement. We are here to help and can’t wait to hear from you.