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Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Taxes and Can Ordinary Bath Soap Be Used For Dishes?

I'm working on our taxes this week. I need to get them done before I get bogged down with more dental and medical appointments. On top of those, we have 4 spring birthdays, a spring wedding anniversary, a week where my hubby will be out of town, Easter, and a possible surgery for me. So, while my mind is clear I want to get the 2 sets of taxes in.

Now to the question about mild bath soap used on dishes. You know I like to experiment. This morning, I was melting a bar of Jergens soup, the very mild kind. I blend melted bar soap with a little laundry detergent and enough water to fill 2 large jugs of pourable semi-homemade laundry soap. My husband prefers this for his clothes and the towels and bedding as it leaves fabric very soft. 

Anyway, as I was washing up the breakfast dishes I wondered to myself if this melting bar soap would work on the dishes. So I poured a little of the melted soap into the washpan of dishes. Here's my conclusion. Melted Jergens soap works on dishes, glasses, silverware and cooking utensils, but not on anything really greasy. The skillet from frying my eggs and turkey bacon needed additional dish detergent. Apparently, bar bath soap is much gentler than dish soap.

The reason I went down this path is my first of two bars of actual dish soap given to me at Christmas has about 1 week to 10 days left on the bar. I still have the second bar for washing, though. So there's no hurry to find a substitute that I like or buy more of these bars myself. This one bar will have lasted about 2 months for us. Buying new bars myself will be more expensive than buying Dollar Tree dish detergent. So I wanted to see if there's something else I could use that would be in bar form. I really dislike the plastic bottle waste and want to find alternatives where I can. So I had to try out ordinary bath and face soap to see if it would work.

One of my original thoughts was I wouldn't like the fragrance of bath soap on my dishes. Then I remembered my grandmother's favorite liquid dish soap -- Ivory. Ivory definitely had a non-kitchen fragrance to it, a lot like their bath soap, as I recall. So, if Jergens soap has a non-kitchen fragrance, at least there's something of a history to dish soap with this sort of scent. It's funny that we like a floral scent on our bodies, but not on our dishes. And we like a citrusy or fruity fragrance on our dishes but not necessarily on the soap we use on our bodies.

Back to my experiment. This is good to know that in a pinch, we could wash the non-greasy dishes and cookware with ordinary bath soap if we began to run very low on the dish soap and couldn't get out to buy more, such as in a storm or when convalescing from an illness or surgery. I'll file this tidbit of information away in a back corner of my mind.

One note of caution -- I made sure to rinse those dishes really well this morning. Bath soap may contain additives that are not food-safe. And I wouldn't want to get any of that stuff on a plate where I plan to put my food. Just so you know, none of the dishes or cookware from my experiment had a soapy fragrance after rinsing. And they passed the finger test for squeakiness, indicating no soap residue left after rinsing.

It seems as if I'm not the only one who has ever had these curious thoughts. Apartment Therapy offers some info in this article about washing dishes without actual dish soap. If you'll recall a post I wrote a while ago about using baking soda to wash dishes, this article suggests baking soda as one of the best dish soap alternatives. Hmmm, now I think I need a second experiment. . . .


  1. It's good to know what kinds of items you can use in a pinch. I have been using baking soda (in addition to dish soap) frequently to help with stain removal (tea mugs, I'm looking at you!) and I think it helps cut some of the grease if I'm having a hard time getting something greasy clean.

    1. Hi Kris,
      It's nice to know that there's something that would work. I use baking soda to clean the kitchen sink. It gets stains out pretty well and I always have some on hand.

  2. I don't like scented anything, but especially not with my dishes. Although the scent may not linger, my mind doesn't like to think about my food mixing with a perfumed smell. Looking forward to your next experiment.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      Then baking soda would be a better option for you in a pinch, I'd think.
      There are some bar soaps with better fragrance and that are okay for dishes, like Dr. Bronners peppermint soap. Dr. Bronners has long been a camping/backpacking favorite, as it can be used as toothpaste, shampoo, for dishes, and washing clothing or bodies while in the rough.

  3. Are any of you soakers? I don't own any non-stick, and of course I don't soak cast iron (just run a lot of hot water to loosen stuff off, and I'm careful not to use them for acidic things); but I like my glass/pyrex/corelleware, my enamelware, and my stainless w/ copper equipment, and have had most of it a LONG time. I'm very careful about scrubbing things, and I find that most of my cookware responds very well to hot water with maybe a drop of dish detergent, IF I'm able to be patient about it spending a little time in the sink. Obviously, this would not work if I was more type A about dishes than I am; but I notice when other people wash, they don't come any cleaner, and they DO have a lot of scratches.

    Interesting about the hand-soap, Lili. Shampoo might cut more grease (i use simple shampoos for handwashing with good results -- for instance, Suave or store brands which only have scent, not moisturizing, adding body, clarifying, etc.), but again, even with a "simple" shampoo, you're probably adding quite a few chemicals you wouldn't want to incompletely rinse. (I'm sensitive to a lot of things on my skin/hair, so really wouldn't want to ingest them. I even found recently I had trouble with even "all-natural" toothpaste!) I can't think which they are, but aren't there some old-time bar soaps that were considered "all-purpose"? NOT Fels-Naptha, because that's the poison ivy one, right? Some new-age-ier companies seem to have them, like the Grove Hand and Dish bar... but I assume those would be not budget savvy. ;) Sara

    1. Hi Sara,
      I'm curious about your opinion about Fels Naptha. It's a soap I use to fight stains and hard water deposits. I wouldn't use it on dishes though


    2. Hi Sara,
      I've used cheap shampoo to wash clothing in a pinch, or when staying in a motel/hotel to wash clothing in the bathroom sink. The cheapest shampoo is also great for washing out the bathtub. It really cleans up the soap scum and any oily film from my essential oil baths.

      I think the castile soaps like Dr Bronners may be what you're thinking of as all-purpose soaps. There's an olive oil block soap that I've read some people use both as a hand soap at the sink and to wash their dishes. It's about half the price of the dishwashing bars of soap and I may give one a try when my other bar is gone.

      For toothpaste, one of my daughters is sensitive to SLS, and it's in most brands of toothpaste, even Tom's of Maine. She uses either Hello toothpaste or Burt's Bees, both SLS-free. Both are more expensive than the big brands, but on the less-expensive side compared to other SLS-free boutique brands. I think Burt's Bees is usually slightly less expensive than Hello. She buys those at Target or Walmart -- better prices than Amazon.

    3. Hi, Laura,
      I actually don't have much experience with Fels Naptha. My grandmothers had it at their homes, as did an elderly woman we took care of. My husband recently bought some to have on hand, because his family used it for laundry stains when he was a kid. I know it as a famous product, and it seems like people who use it are loyal to it, but I haven't had an occasion to use it personally. As I said, I wouldn't use anything with ingredients like that on food-related items, though I know people use it in very multi-purpose cleaning applications. How do you feel about it?

    4. Hi, Lili. Didn't see your post, since I hadn't reloaded the page. Castille soaps would definitely be one of those types of multipurpose soaps. Yes, SLS is tough to avoid. I've used a bunch of different "natural" toothpastes -- PerioBrite, The Natural Dentist, Jason, and the one I liked the best I can't find anymore (might have been a Nutribiotic, but not any kind I can find anymore). I buy through Vitacost for decent prices and lots of options. I actually rotate toothpastes, a different one each day. But if I brush too close to bedtime, I have sleep maintenance insomnia, even with the "best" toothpaste. Who'd'thunk'it? ;) Sara

    5. Sara, no one in my family ever used it before me. I just saw it on Amazon one day and thought I'd try it. A bar was less than a dollar. It removes difficult stains on clothing and on carpet without much scrubbing. I grate the bar and dissolve a pinch of flakes in hot water to make a solution. Laura

    6. Laura, thanks for the information. That was my husband's general plan, too. And yes, he said it was quite inexpensive. :) Have a great day. Sara

  4. We buy a cheap dish liquid made by EcoLab from Sam' s Club, a little over $5 for a gallon. I like other Ecolab products like the No Rinse Floor Cleaner, Degreaser, and Carpet Cleaner solution, all sold inexpensively in gallon sizes. I try to order washing dishes starting from the cleanest, non greasiest. If the dish is extra greasy, I squeeze a small drop on the dish to boost the cleaning power. The gallon lasts forever and I don't mind the extra steps to accommodate using the cheap dish liquid.


    1. Hi Laura,
      Those sound like good products that are very affordable.

      I try to do the same, wash the least greasy first, and move up to the more greasy items. I figure that I get those least greasy items really clean without extra soap, then can use a bit of extra soap, like you, on the pots and pans or other greasy items.


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