Skip to Content

Can Soap Residue On Dishes Make You Sick?

Sharing is caring! Spread The Love!

Last updated on September 24th, 2022 at 01:17 pm

Dishwashing is a very important household chore that isn’t neglected in any home. So most times, careful consideration is put into selecting a particular soap product.

However, choosing a good soap is not the only thing to be concerned about, as most times, you’ll have to worry about some little soap residue. So, is this something to be worried about?

Yes, soap residue on dishes can make you sick when taken into the body over a long period. Soap is naturally not meant to be taken into the body to cause poisoning due to its chemicals.

Is Soap Residue On Dishes Harmful?

Can Soap Residue On Dishes Make You Sick

Soap residue on dishes is harmful because it mixes with whatever food is served, and this food is subsequently consumed. This food now contains chemicals never meant to be found inside the body. Some of these chemicals accumulate gradually in various parts of the body, which ultimately damages these body parts.

The degree of harm caused by soap residue on dishes usually depends on the amount of soap residue consumed over time.

Soap residues result from improper dishwashing, as thorough washing would leave no room for leftover soap to accumulate on the dishes.

A large amount of soap residue consumed over a long period causes more harm than a case of consuming food contaminated with soap residue just once or twice.

Dishwashing methods can also contribute to the level of harm soap residue can cause. Washing dishes manually or with a dishwasher leaves traces of soap residue on dishes in varying amounts.

1. Washing Dishes Manually

Thoroughly washing your dishes by hand means you consciously spend more time on each dish through the cleaning process. This means that when the hand washing of dishes is done properly, less soap residue is left on the dishes during rinsing. The level of harm, in this case, is minimal.

2. Using A Dishwasher

We clean many dishes all at once with a dishwasher, meaning the machine cleans the dishes as a group, not individually, instead of handwashing. This results in a large amount of soap residue left on the dishes after washing.

New research claims that six out of ten dishwashers contain an alarming amount of tiny fungi, which feed on the food particles on the dirty dishes that go into the dishwasher.

As soap naturally traps microbes, the mold is distributed through the water, and these tiny fungi are spread all over the dishes with the soap residue. This unhygienic combination drastically raises the level of harm soap residue can cause in the body.

Do You Have To Rinse Soap Off Dishes?

Rinsing soap off dishes is a paramount step in dishwashing. Skipping the step of thoroughly rinsing the dishes with warm or cold water can undo the entire goal of washing the dishes in the first place. This means that washing with soap alone does not clean a dish. It only makes the particles and stains on the dishes lose and easy to be rinsed off.

Once more, it is important to note that soap does not kill germs and other microbes on dirty dishes. It only creates an emulsion that loosens and traps these microbes, dirt, and food particles, making it easy for you to rinse them off.

In some parts of the world, not rinsing dishes is common. However, this is a very unhygienic method of washing dishes. 

When dishes are left to dry off without getting rinsed with clean water, all the microbes previously retained in the soapy water stay on the dish surface.

An alarming amount of soap is also left behind, and when these dishes are used to serve food that is later ingested, it causes problems in the body that could have been easily avoided by rinsing the dishes.

What Happens If Dish Soap Gets In Food?

When your food is exposed to dish soap, they absorb the chemicals in larger quantities. Dish soaps are already minimally poisonous in small amounts, with toxicity increasing as the amount also increases.

Not only does dish soap affect the smell, taste, and overall palatability of food, but it also negatively affects the individuals who consume it. These effects may not be apparent immediately, but prolonged exposure would make you sick.

Food containing small amounts of dish soap causes symptoms that are generally mild. Similarly, food containing large amounts of dish soap triggers extreme negative symptoms.

1. Mild Symptoms

These symptoms include swollen tongue and lips, stomach cramps, mild nausea, and vomiting. The abrasive perfumes present in dish soaps damage the tissue in the throat over time, causing pain.

Consuming an abrasive soap can also cause the development of low blood pressure. In a few uncommon cases, your heart rate can be affected. These chemicals are also capable of stopping the heart once they reach it.

2. Extreme Symptoms

These include permanent burns in the throat and stomach, death of the skin cells, and excessive vomiting, containing large amounts of blood. Skin death, otherwise known as necrosis, occurs when an individual constantly consumes food containing soap residue.

These symptoms require immediate medical attention. However, these fatal effects are more commonly triggered when contaminated food containing soaps is used commercially.

Does Dish Soap Give You Diarrhea?

Yes, diarrhea is also a symptom triggered by the consumption of dish soap. The soap irritates the intestines, which causes the over-stimulation of bowel movements and results in loose stools. In some cases, blood is present in the stool.

As soap is not supposed to be eaten, the body finds it very difficult to digest, which generally leads to diarrhea. This is why soap suds are injected into the rectum to act as a laxative in extreme cases of constipation where other treatments have failed.

This procedure is considered a last resort because soap and its residue are poisonous to the body cells.

However, an individual experiencing persistent diarrhea should seek medical intervention immediately as this symptom can be fatal.

If the case of diarrhea is not as persistent, you should add foods containing starch and a low amount of fiber, like rice, toasted bread, and bananas, to the diet. These foods make the stool bulkier because they bind to the digestive tract.


The ingestion of food contaminated by soap residue spread over dish surfaces can make you sick, and in prolonged and extreme cases, it can also result in soap poisoning.

Soap poisoning causes life-threatening symptoms, which include drastic changes in the pH level of the blood and damage to the vital organs in the body.

To prevent accidental soap poisoning, thoroughly rinse all dishes with clean water after washing.

In addition, people who use dishwashers should ensure that only a small amount of soap is put in the machine to avoid the accumulation of soap residue on the dishes.

Watch Our Youtube Video

Sharing is caring! Spread The Love!