How to Identify Toxic Chemicals in Dish Soap! (Also, Here Is How to Choose the Best Dish Soap!)

Have you ever read the label on your dish soap? If so, you may have found it challenging, as most ingredients are actually listed by their chemical name. In fact, the common ingredients present in dish soaps are connected to asthma, skin irritation, neurological problems, cancer, and many other health issues.

People typically wash dishes once on a daily basis. What they are not realizing is that they are absorbing a wide range of toxic chemicals via their skin. In addition, if toxins are absorbed via your skin, they bypass your liver as well as enter your tissues and bloodstream, thus increasing your risk of the above listed health issues.

Here Are the Most Common Toxic Ingredients Found in Dish Soaps:

The most common ingredients in dish soaps include color, fragrance, preservatives, surfactants, and inactive or active ingredients.

Here are the most common toxic chemicals present in dish soap:

– Triclosan: Even though triclosan was originally developed and labeled as a pesticide in 1969, it was introduced to the marketplace in 1972. It is present in various products like deodorants, cosmetics, toothpastes, soaps, clothing, kitchen ware, anti-microbial coolers, paints and sponges, first aid products, air filters, school and office products, and more.

– Fragrance: It is a fact that artificial fragrances possess a variety of chemicals, such as phthalates. Additionally, the full ingredients are not listed on the product label as fragrances are protected as a trade secret. Unfortunately, they can result in allergic reactions.

In addition, phthalates are synthetic chemicals that are used in many products like food packaging, personal care products, plastic tubes, and jar lids. These chemicals could have a negative impact on testosterone and estrogen levels.

– Methylisothiazolinone: It is a preservative used in rinse-off products. This chemical is linked to allergic reactions. Moreover, lab studies done on brain cells of mammals showed that it could also act as a neurotoxic agent. The concentrations in leave-on products are limited to a minimal amount to decrease the possibility of negative reactions.

– Propylene Glycol: It is a chemical used in anti-freeze for car radiators. However, it can also be found in shampoos, conditioners, baby products, hand sanitizers, moisturizers and dish soaps. The frequent exposure to this chemical has been connected to kidney damage and liver abnormalities.

– SLES (Sodium Laureth Sulphate): This ingredient could become contaminated with Dioxane, i.e., a potential carcinogen. As your liver has difficulty metabolizing this ingredient, it can remain in your body for a prolonged period of time.

– SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulphate): It is a surfactant and detergent used to break down surface tension. This ingredient allows the shampoo to become a powerful cleanser. Furthermore, it is also associated with Nitrosamines, i.e., a carcinogen, which causes your body to absorb nitrates.

The Environmental Working Group Tested 165 Different Liquid Dish Detergents:

The results showed that nearly 11.6 percent of the liquid wash detergents were found to have low potential for hazards to the environment and human health. On the other hand, the remaining 88.4 percent of the detergents were found to have potentially great hazards to the environment and human health.

Here Are the Common Ingredients Found in Palmolive:

Palmolive is a quite popular household cleaning product. Furthermore, Palmolive products possess all of the above listed chemicals. But, they are free of triclosan

Other Chemicals Found in Palmolive Dish Soap Include:
  • Sodium Xylene Sulfonate could lead to respiratory tract, skin and eye irritation;
  • Sodium Dodecylbenzene Sulfonate could also contribute to skin irritation.

Other ingredients in Palmolive dish soap include Lauramidropropyl betaine (serves as a foaming and cleaning agent), Poloxamer 124 (helps control thickness), Pentasodium pentetate (serves as a product stabilizer), and Sodium bisulfite (serves as a product stabilizer). These ingredients have low or no potential for hazards to the environment and human health. However, with products that contain synthetic chemicals, there is cause for concern.

The good news is that you can see positive shifts in many brands, including Palmolive, but there is actually a lot of work to be done for much safer, cleaner products.

How to Buy the Best Dish Soap:
  • Start by researching the companies you are purchasing products from. All you need to do is visit the company websites. Also, check out their product lines in order to find out if they are using synthetic chemicals.
  • Always read product labels. As mentioned previously, most ingredients are listed by their chemical name, so you may find this challenging. You can get started by using these 2 resources: the book A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients by Ruth Winter and EWG’s Skin Deep data base.
  • It is important to understand that organic and natural aren’t the same. Namely, natural means that the product was derived from a natural source, whereas organic means that the plant was grown without using any pesticides or toxic chemicals. Also, as a few organic products were used in a product, it does not mean that the whole product is organic.
  • Sоme terms could be ambiguous. Are you familiar with the fact that there is not any federal regulation for the term natural? This means that if a product label says the product is natural, it does not have to mean that it is safe.
  • Opt for organic products that have ‘3rd party certification.’ Specifically, NSF certification indicates that 70 percent of the ingredients used in the product are organic, whereas USDA organic certification indicates that nearly 95 percent of the ingredients used in the product are organic.
  • – Opt for organic ingredients. The National Sanitation Foundation notes that products that possess about 70% organic ingredients could use the label “made with organic ingredients”.
  • You can also make homemade dish soap. Luckily, you can select the best ingredients for your homemade dish soap recipe.


  • Winter, Ruth. ˮA Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredientsˮ;
  • The Soap and Detergent Association. ˮSoaps and Detergentsˮ;