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Washing Dishes With Hand Soap? (11 Things To Know)

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Last updated on August 14th, 2022 at 01:28 pm

Hand soaps have become a standard item in the home, especially during the covid-19 pandemic, and would most likely continue to be a predominant item in the house after the pandemic.

A home user may wonder if this core component of washing the hands can be used to wash dishes in the kitchen, especially when dish soap is unavailable in the home.

What should you know about washing dishes with hand soap?

Hand soap makes plates clean and gives dishes a fresh and pleasant scent. However, hand soap can cause some health issues due to some toxic chemicals used for making it. Proper rinsing with lots of water is necessary to remove the contaminated materials. Nonetheless, this can cause strain on your budget when you need to pay for the water bills.

11 Things To Know About Washing Dishes With Hand Soap.

#1. Hand soap can get rid of germs and viruses.

Hand soap not only gets grease, oil, and food residues off your dishes, but it also kills some bacteria and inactivating viruses.

Apart from this, the water-intolerant part of the molecules of hand soap traps germs in them, which is then removed from the dish by rinsing with water.

#2. Hand soap lathers more than dish soap.

Hand soap lathers very well and washes dishes leaving them clean and fresh. However, you cannot use it to clean tough stains on dishes.

The ability to form a lather for hand soap is found in its chemical composition.

A hydrophilic head attracts water, and a hydrophobic tail that is water-intolerant and prefers to draw oils and fats. So why does hand soap wash so well?

When you wash your dishes with hand soap, you surround the dirt in the dish with soap molecules.

The water-intolerant part of the soap is attracted to the dirt or oil, and the water-loving part is attracted to water.

The individual soap molecules surround the dirt to form what are called micelles. These micelles cause the dirt to stop clinging to the dish.

This allows the dirt to be rinsed away easily with water.

#3. Hand soaps are scented.

Fragrances are nice! But imagine feeling the smell of an odor when eating from a dish washed with hand soap.

In some instances, it may be cool, but, in some cases, it may just spoil the dining experience. So, if you don’t like the fragrance of your hand soap, do not use it to wash your dishes.

But, if you must use it, rinse the dish with lots of water to pass off the fragrance if possible. You may also opt for hand soaps with no odor.

#4. Hand soap is mild to dishes and dishwashers.

Dish wash soap is usually corrosive to many kitchen dishes, especially those made of metals.

Hand soap is made to be mild on the skin when used to wash the hands.

In the same vein, hand soaps are mild to dishes and would not cause damage to your dishes after you use them.

The mildness of hand soap is a result of its components. It has a lower pH and features which are less alkaline.

As a result, you need expert hand soap to be mild to your kitchenware, especially those you cherish for their designs, luster, and strength.

#5. Hand soap is not good for your health.

It contains many ingredients such as olive oil extract, parabens, ammonium lauryl sulfate, urea, colors, fragrance, and triclosan (1,4 dioxane).

Some of these ingredients, especially triclosan, have adverse health effects such as cancer.

Using hand soap to wash dishes can leave traces of triclosan and other chemicals that have adverse health benefits on the user of the dishes.

If you must use hand soap to clean, rinse the dishes several times to wash off the harmful chemicals thoroughly.

You can also use hand soaps without any of such dangerous substances.

#6. It requires lots of water to rinse.

Hand soap can leave a slimy layer on dishes after washing. This slimy layer requires lots of water to rinse off.

One of the common ingredients used in hand soap is glycerin. Glycerin is a moisturizing agent that moisturizes the skin after washing with soap.

It is slimy to touch. When hand soap is used to wash dishes, it can leave this slimy substance. Removing this slimy layer is difficult and usually requires lots of water.

#7. Washing with hand soap is not economical.

Hand soap lathers a lot and has lots of harmful chemicals. To remove all the bubbles and chemicals, you should rinse with lots of water.

However, this is not economical as it requires a large volume of water.

The average dishwasher uses about 22 liters of water per cycle. The average efficient dishwasher uses up to 15 liters to 22 liters of water per cycle.

Washing dishes with hands would require more amounts of water than required by dishwashers.

Imagine using more than twice this amount of water because you used hand soap to wash rather than dish soap, whether washing manually with the hands or with a dishwasher.

That would take a significant chunk of your budget to pay for the water bills!

#8. Hand soap is not as effective as dish soap.

Dish soap is more effective than hand soap. This is because many dish soaps contain enzymes and chemicals that break down starches and proteins and effectively kill bacteria and viruses.

As a result, hand soap cannot be used for the tough job of cleaning, for example, washing your lasagna pan. That would require a good dish soap.

#9. Hand soap has a lower pH than dish soap.

Hand soap has a lower pH than dish soap. As a result, it doesn’t work as efficiently as dish soap.

So how does pH affect the degree to which hand soap cleans your dishes?

pH is a measure of how acidic a substance can be. For example, a pH of 7 is considered neutral; pH below 7 is acidic, while pH above 7 is alkaline.

The lower a number is from 7, the more acidic it is. While the higher a pH is from 7, the higher its alkalinity.

Dish soap has a pH above 7. Usually, it is 9 or 10. This high alkalinity is responsible for its ability to clean tough dirt.

On the other hand, hand soap has an acidic pH accountable for its mild effect on the skin.

Yet, this pH is not suitable for efficiently cleaning dirt with hand soap, adamant stains on dishes.

#10. Hand soap is less expensive than dish soap.

You want them to be as clean and sparkling as possible when you do the dishes.

However, you may also consider factors such as how long it takes you to deliver that cleanliness, how hard you need to work, and the cost-effectiveness of the soap used.

Traditionally, hand soap tends to be more affordable than dish soap.

So, if you’re concerned about cost, buy a hand soap rather than a dish soap since both do the same cleaning job.

#11. Hand soap is usually more available than other soaps.

With the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic and the increased awareness and campaign about the need to regularly wash our hands and its associated benefits, hand soap has become more popular and available in most places than other soaps.

So, where availability is a concern, opt for hand soaps. The good news is, it is just as effective at cleaning your dishes!


Hand soap is a realistic solution when you run out of dish soap. It can give you clean, fresh, and excellent scented dishes that are free from bacteria.

However, hand soap can cause some health issues due to some toxic chemicals used for making it.

Precautions such as proper rinses with lots of water to remove the toxic materials and the use of hand soap that do not contain some of the harmful chemicals should be taken to minimize its health risk.

Nonetheless, it doesn’t clean dishes as much as dish soap would.


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