Dish soap is one of the true household essentials. Dirty dishes are a common feature in all homes, so having the best dish soap will make this daily chore much more manageable. 

After extensive research, we think Seventh Generation is the best dish soap on the market. Its EPA-certified, plant-based formula offers exceptional cleaning power while also being hypoallergenic, free from harsh chemicals, and gentle enough for sensitive skin. 

Read on to find out more about why this product was crowned our top pick, as well as our other dish soap recommendations.

  • 6 x 25 fl.oz. bottles
  • Plant-based cleaning power
  • Suitable for sensitive skin
  • Fragrance, dye, phosphate, and triclosan free
  • Dermatologist tested
  • EPA certified

  • 2 x 21.6 fl.oz
  • Double-concentrated cleaning power
  • Popular brand
  • Fragranced formula

  • 3 x 16 fl.oz
  • Natural cleaning power
  • Hypoallergenic and non-irritating
  • Sulfate-free
  • No harsh chemicals
  • Naturally scented


This dish soap by Seventh Generation is our top pick as it combines excellent cleaning power with a formula that is better for the environment than the majority of conventional dish soaps. Available as a six pack of 25 fl ounce bottles, this bundle offers great value. 

Containing no fragrances, dyes, phosphates, or triclosan, this soap is also hypoallergenic and suitable for sensitive skin. Certified as 95% ‘biobased’ by the USDA, this product is gentle on the environment too.

While this dish soap works great for a mainly all-natural product, bear in mind that you may need a second lather on extra greasy cookware and dishes. All in all though, if you’re looking for a dish soap that is good for the environment, gentle on the skin but that also cleans well – we think Seventh Generation Dish Soap makes an excellent choice for the best of both worlds.

Pros

  • Six pack/25 fl oz per pack is great value
  • Safe and effective plant-based formula
  • No irritating fragrances, dyes, phosphates, or triclosan
  • USDA Certified Biobased Product 95% is good for the environment
  • Hypoallergenic formula for sensitive skin

Cons

  • May need second lather for really greasy plates

If you need a dish soap that’s extra tough on grease, then try out Dawn Dish Soap – our best pick for cleaning power. Available as a set of two 21.6 fl ounce bottles, Dawn is renowned for its powerful grease-busting properties. If you struggle to remove baked-on foods and extra-greasy messes, then this classic household name could be a perfect choice.

Another advantage of purchasing this dish soap is that its ultra-concentrated formula is not only extremely effective against grease, but it’s also long-lasting. This makes it a great value, as a single bottle will last you much longer than a standard formula one. Its powerful formula means it isn’t the most environmentally-friendly dish soap out there, but being ultra-concentrated does mean less packaging when you consider you’ll need fewer plastic bottles over time. This comes at a price, though: dawn dish soap is the most expensive dish soap per fluid ounce on our list. 

Available in Dawn’s popular original scent, many people will recognize this as the typical “clean” smell that adds an extra element of freshness to washing dishes. Just be aware that its powerful formula can dry your hands out over time, so if you tend to have sensitive skin you may wish to use gloves. All in all, if you need extra cleaning power or your household has a lot of greasy dishes to get through, we think this is the best dish soap for you.

Pros

  • Two pack/21.6 fl oz per pack
  • Long-lasting – ultra-concentrated
  • Tough on grease
  • Popular original scent

Cons

  • Can dry hands out
  • Less environmentally-friendly

If you are looking for the best eco-friendly dish soap, then check out this excellent option by Puracy. Marketed as the only dish soap without sulfates, this non-toxic soap is derived from all-natural ingredients. What’s more, it is free from parabens, certified cruelty-free and never tested on animals. You can purchase it as a three-bottle pack for a bulk discount, with each bottle containing 16 fluid ounces.

Hypoallergenic and skin-softening, it’s lack of harsh ingredients means you won’t need to wear gloves to do the washing up. In spite of its all-natural formula, this dish soap suds fairly well using coconut-based ingredients. You may find, though, that you need to use more of it to get a comparable amount of suds to other more concentrated dish soaps. Another drawback is that the strong herbal scent is not to everyone’s taste and some users even find it off-putting. 

Thanks to its fast-rinse formula, you won’t need to waste excessive amounts of water to clean the suds off after washing. This is yet another reason to opt for this fantastic all-natural dish soap if you’re looking for a popular, eco-friendly choice to get your dishes sparkling clean.

Pros

  • Pack of three/16 fl oz
  • No harsh chemicals or sulfates
  • Fast-rinsing formula
  • Suds from coconut-based ingredients
  • Hypoallergenic and skin-softening

Cons

  • Strong herbal scent
  • Need to use a greater amount for better suds

Comparison Chart

Seventh Generation Dish SoapDawn Dish SoapPuracy Dish Soap
Volume (fl.oz)15043.248
HypoallergenicX
Fragrance-FreeX
Cleaning Power*********
Plant-based X
Dermatologist TestedXX
EPA CertifiedXX
Suitable for Sensitive SkinX
VeganX
Cruelty-FreeX
Contains SulfatesX
Cost per fl.oz$$$$$$

Buyer’s Guide:

Dish Soap

Soap is also known as a surfactant, which means it works by breaking down oil, fat, and dirt and then holds it in suspension in the water. To do so, surfactants need to dissolve fat whilst remaining water soluble. They achieve this as they are made up of components containing two distinct groups of molecules, those which have a hydrophilic (water-loving) head and those with a  hydrophobic (water-hating) tail. 

The hydrophobic tails repel water away but are attracted to and dissolve fats. The hydrophilic heads are responsible for ensuring that the broken down fat is then carried away in the rinse water, preventing it from becoming deposited onto your dishes and glassware.

Cleaning Power

Cleaning power is one of the most important factors when choosing a dish soap. If it doesn’t get your dishes clean, then you will have to use unnecessarily large amounts of soap to shift the grease. This will be expensive, take more time, and will also require excess water for rinsing. 

When you’re considering a dish soap’s cleaning power, you should also take into account whether or not it’s a concentrated formula. Concentrated dish soaps, or even ultra-concentrated versions, tend to provide higher levels of cleaning power as they are designed to be extremely effective at removing dirt and grease at low quantities. Our comparison chart above has a handy indication of the cleaning power for each of our recommendations.

Skin Sensitivity

If you suffer from sensitive skin, you’ll want to make sure that your chosen dish soap is suitable for sensitive skin. Even if you don’t have any particular skin sensitivity, you may still find that regular dish soap can leave your hands feeling dried out and in some cases itchy and uncomfortable. This is likely to worsen with increased contact. Some people wear gloves to protect their hands during dishwashing, but this is not the ideal solution for everyone.  

To ensure you remain comfortable during and after washing your dishes, you should opt for a dish soap like Seventh Generation or Puracy. These products have been specially formulated to be soft and gentle on your skin – thanks to their hypoallergenic, plant-based formulas. 

Fragrance

Whether or not you opt for a scented or fragrance-free dish soap all depends upon your personal preferences. As manufacturers are not obliged to disclose a list of fragrance ingredients, you cannot be certain what you will be putting your skin into contact with when you opt for an artificially fragranced dish soap. If you suffer from sensitive skin or allergies, then you should opt for a formula free of artificial fragrances, such as Seventh Generation or Puracy

While the fragrance won’t make a difference to a dish soap’s cleaning power, some people prefer a product with a scented formula, such as Dawn. Although your plates won’t smell of the product after rinsing, a pleasantly scented dish soap can leave your sink smelling fresh and clean, as well as your kitchen. 

Vegan/Eco-Friendly

Choosing a vegan and eco-friendly dish soap is one of the little gestures that you can easily make in your day to day life to help to reduce our impact upon the environment. While dish soap degrades fairly quickly, opting for a predominantly plant-based dish soap, such as our eco-friendly pick, will mean that less valuable or polluting resources are required to produce your dish soap. If possible, keep a lookout for formulas that are also certified as biobased by the USDA, such as our top pick

Cost

As an essential household product which you’ll need to buy regularly, it makes good economic sense not to overspend on your dish soap. Savings can often be made buying in bulk. For example, our top pick comes as a pack of 6 bottles, which works out at a very low-price per fluid ounce. You should also pay attention to the amount of the product provided in the bottle. Manufacturers often use differently shaped containers which can be a little deceptive to the eye. Working out the cost per fluid ounce will allow you to accurately compare the price of different products. 

Our comparison chart above ranks our recommendations based on cost per ounce.

  • Is dish soap bad for the environment?
  • It’s important that we make better choices to minimize our impact upon the environment. Fortunately, when used correctly and responsibly, dish soap has a very limited risk of damaging the surrounding environment after passing through a proper water-treatment plant. Soaps rapidly degrade after use, so once your dish soap disappears into the sewer system and has passed through a water treatment plant, it poses very little risk whatsoever to surrounding wildlife, even if it were to seep into groundwater, streams or lakes. This is true for all types of dish soap. 

    The reason for purchasing plant-based dish soap is that its creation will have caused less environmental damage than petroleum-based products. Also, if you’re using dish soap where it will not be passing through a treatment plant after use, such as when camping, then it makes good sense to try to limit the number of chemicals released into the environment by favoring an eco-friendly dish soap.

  • Does dish soap expire?
  • Hand washing dish soap has a long shelf life, although it is generally recommended that you use it within 12-18 months of purchase. After this time limit, you may notice that your dish soap begins to separate or look cloudy. Usually, shaking the bottle will help to restore it to its former appearance and its efficacy shouldn’t be impacted too much. 

    However, while you can continue to use your dish soap up to, and beyond, its recommended use date, it’s advisable to only stock up on enough dish soap to last you for the next year or two. Not only will this guarantee the best results, but it will also limit any possible packaging degradation over time.

  • Can I use dish soap in the dishwasher?
  • Whether you’re out of dishwasher detergent or are just looking for a cheaper alternative, we do not recommend using dish soap in your dishwasher. Dish soap has been specially designed to produce suds with minimal agitation for enhanced cleaning by hand. If you were to load your dishwasher with dish soap, the amount of soap suds produced would very quickly fill your dishwasher, before proceeding to overflow from your appliance, making a mess all over your kitchen floor.

  • How much dish soap should I use?
  • The amount of dish soap that you’ll need to get your dishes sparkling clean can vary considerably from one brand to the next. For best results, add one to two squirts of dish soap directly into your bowl of hot water. If you’re using an ultra-concentrated formula, bear in mind that you’ll only need to use a very small amount. Once you begin to swish the water around, your soap will start to form suds. This solution should be strong enough for your regular cleaning needs, but if you have particularly greasy or baked-on cookware, you may want to add an extra squirt to enhance degreasing power.

Final Thoughts 

Dish soap is an undisputed kitchen essential with a wide range of cleaning uses. If you are looking for the very best, offering great cleaning power as well as being environmentally friendly, then we recommend Seventh Generation Dish Soap. Certified 95% Biobased by the USDA, this plant-based product is also hypoallergenic and suitable for sensitive skin. Free from dyes, fragrances and phosphates, we think this dish soap makes an excellent choice for every home. 

Alternatively, if you need a heavy-duty, grease busting dish soap, we recommend Dawn Dish Soap. Its ultra-concentrated and fragranced formula isn’t suitable for sensitive skin, but will clean even the dirtiest of baked-on greasy cookware with ease. 

Lastly, if you want an all-natural dish soap, our best eco-friendly pick, Puracy Dish Soap is the one to go for. Containing no harsh chemicals, its grease-cutting, coconut-based formula offers great cleaning power with minimal effects on the environment.

Further Reading

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