What’s in Your… Dish Soap?

Yes, I’ll admit the title is unusual.  But there is a serious reason behind it.  My dish soap got an “F”.

Martha Stewart’s dish soap got a “B” and one from Whole Foods got an “A.”   Something has got to change.

Dish Soap

Dish Soap

The Environmental Working Group, famous for their analysis of pesticides in produce (the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen”) has recently taken up a new cause.  They now have a rating system for household products–things like laundry detergent, shower cleaner and, yes, dish soap.

According to their website, the new  guide, “reviews and rates more than 2,000 popular household cleaning products with grades A through F, based on the safety of their ingredients and the information they disclose about their contents.”

Now most of us have some level of concern about toxins we might consume in our foods, but far fewer have thought about the chemical in other products that they use.  But harmful ingredients can also be absorbed though the skin (“what goes on you, goes in you”) or breathed in.   And I won’t get into the issues their manufacture can pose for the environment.  Why go there when there are safer alternatives?

Bathroom Sink

Toxins in the Bathroom?

In this new analysis, the EWG says that my dish soap, which I have used since I was a child, contains formaldehyde (isn’t that the smelly stuff they keep dead animals in?) which may cause cancer, methanol which may cause damage to vision along with a number of other things I can’t begin to pronounce.  And it isn’t even one of the antibacterial soaps that are drawing increased scrutiny!

I hate to think about what’s in the mildew remover!

Over the next couple of months, I plan to try new products  as my cleaning supplies run out.  (This means dish soap will come quickly, dusting supplies, not so much).  Stay tuned and I will try to share what I learn.

Want to read more in the meantime?  Check out the EWG guide.

What’s Under the Sink with Dori’s friend?

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18 thoughts on “What’s in Your… Dish Soap?

    1. Inger Wilkerson

      You can make a surprising number of things at home. However, one thing that many people use–especially in homemade laundry soap is borax–which got a bad rating as an ingredient, so I’m not sure how that version would compare with commercial. Hope your exams have gone/are going well.

  1. Lynn

    I’ll be interested to hear how your investigation goes! I’ve tried several natural cleaners, but they don’t seem to work as well. I like the Method brand of cleaners – I think they are supposed to be more “natural” and they do a good job of cleaning. I might be looking at the EWG guide incorrectly, but it didn’t look like they had evaluated this brand yet.

    The plastics engineers I work with have told me in the past that formaldehyde gas is dangerous to inhale (I accidentally burned solid formaldehyde at work once…whoops!), but is safe in cleaners (and in solid form so long as it’s not exposed to high temps that would cause it to out-gas), so your dish soap might not be as unsafe a it might seem.

    1. Inger Wilkerson

      When we “greened” our personal care products, some were relatively easy to find (probably tried just a few shampoos to get one we loved and none were horrible) and others were really hard (tried over a half dozen hairsprays and only one worked well). I know from studying that guide carefully (I used to have an internet retail store), that there were different opinions on some of the ingredients, but in the end, it was impractical to examine all of the ingredient lists myself, so I decided to just go with the ewg evaluation. Alas, why didn’t I study chemistry! But I’ll let you know how my new trials go…

  2. Angela

    I love making our household cleaners, the kids really enjoy it as well. I am still tweaking my dishwasher detergent, it still leaves our dishes cloudy.

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