By: Jason Guanso

May 23, 2020

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What Can Be Used in Place of Dish Soap?

Have you ever realized that not only are all of your dishes dirty but you’re also out of dish soap? Or maybe you know you need dish soap but you don’t want to get dressed to go to the store, or you’re trying to stay in as much as possible to help with stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19.

Whether for cost-saving reasons, eco-conscious motivations, or just plain laziness, we got you covered because we are also very curious about what can be used in place of dish soap.

First, here’s how dish soap actually works. Dish soap works by breaking oil and dirt into smaller pieces that then mix with water and can be washed away. So, when you’re looking for alternatives, keep in mind you need something that can break apart oil and dirt.

Three Alternatives to Dish Soap

1. Baking Soda

The more we write about cleaning, the more we understand how no home is complete without baking soda. Baking soda can keep your refrigerator fresh, can clean your teeth, and it turns out it can also clean your dishes.

To use baking soap in place of dish soap, here’s what you do:

  1. Fill your sink up with hot water.
  2. Squeeze out one or two last drops from your practically empty bottle of dish soap. (If you need to, add water to the bottle to get more soap out from the bottom.)
  3. Then add 2 to 3 tablespoons of baking soda.
  4. From there just scrub your dishes clean like normal.

Now you have a nice lathery, foamy dish soap substitute.

2. White Vinegar

White vinegar is great for cleaning dishes because of its acidic properties. You can use it in several ways.

First, you can add it to your baking soda and soap basin you made in step one to make it even more effective.

Second, you can use salt and vinegar to fight really tough stains. Take two to three teaspoons of salt and coat it over the stained dish. Then add two to three teaspoons of white vinegar. Let the vinegar and salt solution sit on the dish for at least fifteen minutes. Then scrub it down and rinse.

You can also use white vinegar to remove cloudy stains from glass dishware

Whether it’s wine glass or a storage container, after repeated use dishware can get a film coating. It’s not nice to look at and it makes a dish, no matter how clean it is, look dirty.

Simply dip the dish in a solution of one part vinegar and three parts water, then wipe the film coating away.

3. Bleach

Washing your dishes with bleach isn’t a straight substitution for soap or the two methods we talked about above. But bleach is a great way to sanitize your dishes, to rob them of any unwanted bacteria, and make them incredibly clean.

Because bleach is stronger than soap, you’ll need to be careful when you’re using it to clean dishes.

Take 1-2 tablespoons of Clorox bleach and drop them in a gallon of water. Make sure you’re using an unscented bleach.

Before you fill up your sink, make sure it isn’t stainless steel because stainless steel and bleach do not go together, and you can actually end up staining your stainless steel with bleach stains.

Fill up your sink with the bleach-water solution, then soak your clean dishes in the sink for two minutes. After those two minutes are up, take the dishes out and let them air dry.

Note: When using bleach, we recommend you use rubber gloves.

How About a Bar of Soap?

Okay, maybe all of our solutions above don’t work for you. Maybe you’re really desperate and are thinking, “can I use a bar of body soap to clean my dishes?”

And, of course, you can use bar soap to wash dishes! It has the same benefits as normal dish soap, but it’s also not as practical. Bars of soap don’t last as long, aren’t as easy to use, and take more work to scrub into a lather.

How About Laundry Detergent?

Laundry detergent is sudsy, strong, and you’re likely to have a bunch of it in your house. But can you use laundry detergent to clean your dishes?

The quick answer is sure, you can. But we don’t recommend it.

Here’s why.

Laundry detergent uses a different kind of sulfate than dishwashing soap, making it harder to foam up and scrub away grime.

Laundry detergent also has all kinds of added scents, brighteners, and enzymes designed to work on clothes. This is not needed for dishes and could have potential adverse effects if consumed.

We hope you enjoyed reading! If you have any questions, ask them below and we’ll respond. 


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