Is Dawn Dish Soap Toxic To Humans, Dogs, Cats, And Plants?

By - Ron Singh

Updated -

Dawn dish soap is a popular dishwasher used in different homes. However, based on use and experience, many customers complain about the effects of the soap on the skin.

Hence, many wonder if the soap is toxic to man and animals. Here is detailed research that tells all you need to know about the Dawn dish soap’s components, uses, and toxicity.

This soap has toxic effects on humans, pets, and plants. Some chemical components are corrosive and carcinogenic, even in small quantities. These features make it unsafe for use at home. The good news is that there are substitutes that are better and safer. 

Is Dawn Dish Soap Toxic to Humans?

Is Dawn Dish Soap Toxic to Humans, Dogs, Cats, and Plants

Based on research and reports, the dawn dish soap can be toxic to humans. The soap claims it is non-toxic.

However, many wonder if this is true due to users’ burning feelings during and after use. It is pretty impossible to use soap for your dishes without contact with your skin.

While the primary function of the detergent is to clean the dishes, its effect on the human skin and eyes is worth consideration. 

To understand this soap’s actual effects, you should look at the different chemicals in the soap.

This knowledge will help specify this soap’s possible effects and dangers.

Here are some substances you need to check out.

#1. Methyl isothiazolinone

It’s a corrosive substance that leads to severe irritation regarding prolonged contact with the skin or eyes.

The eyes are susceptible to this corrosive chemical. Studies show that the substance is also slightly related to acute aquatic toxicity. 

#2. Benzidine

It’s an artificial chemical manufactured and contained in dyes. Dawn soap also contains this particular dye and, in effect, the chemical.

Studies in the past show that this substance is a known carcinogen. This term means that it (benzidine) can cause cancer of different types and forms.

By extension, the dawn dish soap itself is carcinogenic. Another fundamental reason is to stay clear of soap. 

#3. Formaldehyde

Another ingredient in Dawn dish soap is formaldehyde. This component is a smell preservative agent added to some soap.

However, there are reservations across many health organizations regarding this ingredient’s use in home products. 

Formaldehyde is suspected by many to be a carcinogen, just like benzidine. While its cancer-causing properties are not confirmed, its effect on the digestive tract is noticeable.

It is another proof of Dawn dish soap toxicity. Some of Dawn’s dish soaps confirm their toxicity to humans. 

Is Dawn Dish Soap Poisonous To Dogs?

When ingested, Dawn dish soap can have a devastating effect on the digestive tract of dogs.

Dogs tend to suffer from soap poisoning when they consume it. The Dawn dish wash is no exception. 

Pet dogs at home, due to their inquisitive nature, can consume Dawn dish soap when spilled on the floor.

They can also come in contact with the soap when used for dish-cleaning purposes. Hence, you should know of its effects on dogs upon consumption. 

The effect of this soap often depends on the level of consumption and concentration. Most times, if the dog should drink soapy water, the results are minimal.

That is because the Dawn dish soap is in its dilute form. Hence the effect is minimal. If the dog should consume the Dawn dish soap without dilution, the effects can be severe.

Symptoms might include vomiting, sickness, excessive drooling, and diarrhea. In such cases, it is better to seek professional help in dealing with the situation.

Quickly take the dog to your veterinarian for a checkup. Sometimes, dogs tend to consume soap in very small quantities.

However, due to its smell and inquisitive nature, they return later for another. The best preventive measure is to keep the soap from sight. 

Is Dawn Dish Soap Poisonous To Cats?

Dawn dish soap can cause vomiting and intestinal disturbance to cats when they consume it.

They also tend to look dull due to their effect on their system. The cat acts lethargic while the impact of the soap lasts. 

Aspiration pneumonia is another infection to worry about when cats consume this dish soap. It affects the lungs and often proves fatal. 

However, Cats are relatively safer around the Dawn dish soap than dogs. Cats do not have the exact inquisitive nature towards dish soap.

The smell does not attract them. Hence the chances of consumption reduce drastically. 

Can You Use Dawn Dish Soap On Plants?

Dawn Platinum Dishwashing Liquid Dish Soap, Refreshing Rain Scent, 54.9 fl oz (Pack of 2)

Using Dawn dish soap on plants depends on the plant type and the soap concentration.

If you take careful measures, it is safe to use soap on plants. But to do it right, it is necessary to understand the properties of this soap. 

The dawn dish soap has oil-removing properties to help clean your dishes when washing. This property also affects the plants.

They can remove the protective oil and wax on the plant. The removal of oil makes the plant more susceptible to pests and infection. 

However, applying a diluted version of the plant is useful as an effective insecticide in pest control. Dilute the soap to about 2% concentration and spray on plants. 

The diluted Dawn dish soap solves the problem but should not be a frequent exercise as this would come to affect the plants in the long run. 

Another factor to consider before using this soap on the plant is the type of plant. Some plants are better suited to specific environments and chemicals than others.

So before applying Dawn dish soap to the plant, research the effects of chemicals on such plants.

What Is the Safest Dish Soap To Use?

There are various and numerous brands of dish soap out there for use. Many of these soaps are non-toxic soaps, and those are the safest to use.

Most of these non-toxic soaps contain natural elements that help to keep the dishes clean without any toxic addition to the skin. Many dish soaps are available for safe use.

Here is a list of top selections:

#1. Mrs. Meyer’s Dish Soap

Mrs. Meyer's Hand Soap, Made with Essential Oils, Biodegradable Formula, Limited Edition Rose, 12.5 fl. oz - Pack of 3

The outstanding feature of Mrs. Meyer’s Dish Soap is its natural content. It is a natural grease remover manufactured from plant-derived cleansers. The chemical content is naturally occurring and safe for use.

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Liquid Hand Soap Rose (12.5 Fl Oz (Pack of 3))
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Last update on 2024-01-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#2. Grove Co Dish Soap

This brand produces dish soap of different types and washing capabilities. There are three types of Grove Co brands; “High Performance,” “Ultimate,” and “All Purpose Hand.”

These three products can remove grease and food stains while remaining soft on your hand.

It also includes shea butter and aloe; these natural ingredients moisturize your skin while you do the chores.

#3. Seventh Generation Liquid Dish Soap and Hand Wash

Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Packs, Free & Clear, 45 count, Pack of 2

The Seventh Generation Liquid Dish Soap and Hand Wash stand out because it is dye-free. Hence it does not contain colorants or carcinogenic effects. 

Just like Mrs. Meyer, this product comes from a plant-derived cleanser. What more? It is biodegradable. It is not toxic to the environment.

One reason is that it does not contain dye, phosphate, phthalates, and triclosan. These are some of the top-rated dish soaps that are safe for use.

Not toxic to the skin and not poisonous when pets consume this product.

Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Packs for Sparkling Dishes Free & Clear Dishwasher Tabs 45...
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Last update on 2024-01-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Can I Wash My Dog With Dish Soap To Kill Fleas?

Based on the chemical composition of dish soaps, you can use them to kill and remove fleas from your dog’s skin.

They damage the exoskeleton of the fleas by reducing their surface tension and allowing penetration of water and air. This penetration kills off the flea.

The different types of dish wash have an extra level of safety. Some detergents have a more corrosive effect on the skin.

Dawn dish, for example, can kill fleas on dog skin. However, it is better not to use it frequently due to its long-term effects. 

To be on the safer side and keep everyone happy, use designated flea killers for your dogs.

Alternatively, you can drown the flea in water by dipping your dog in water for about 30 minutes. These are more effective methods to keep the fleas out. 

Chemical Composition In Toxic Soap

Most toxic dish soap does not list all the ingredients on its product. Some not listed are toxic to humans.

It would be best if you learned to identify non-toxic soap even where it is not on the product.

Here are some of the ingredients you should watch out for in determining the toxicity of a dishwashing soap

#1. Colorants and Dye

They often contain heavy chemicals that can affect the digestive system if consumed or inhaled. It is also irritating to the eyes. 

#2. Fragrance

The fragrance seems like an excellent addition to your dishwasher because of the scent it leaves when washing.

However, it is safer to use dishwashers that do not contain fragrance for several reasons. 

The fragrance is often a result of a mixture of elements and chemicals in the soap. Some of these chemicals are toxic and poisonous to humans and pets.

One common component in fragrance is phthalates, a chemical that disturbs the endocrine system

Another reason why fragrance is not what it seems is that they often stay long on plates, affecting the taste of the food you dish out on these plates.

Some other ingredients that contribute to soap toxicity include;

  • PEGs
  • Dipropylene Glycol
  • Amidopropyl
  • Artificial Preservatives

Here is a table showing the different categories of chemicals of Dawn dish wash and its effects on Humans, cats, dogs, and plants.


Dawn dish soap is not the safest. There are many other alternatives. However, if, for some reason, you prefer to use this soap, maintain safety.

Always use gloves while washing and avoid skin and eye contact. Please keep it safe and out of reach from pets. That way, you enjoy the benefits of the soap with minimal health risks.

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