Do One Small Thing: Dish Soap

Dishes dryingIt takes days to fill up my dishwasher, and I’d be out of dishes before it got full, so I wash my dishes by hand. It only takes a few minutes. I used to buy whichever dish soap was on sale. But the older I get, the more I understand about how our individual habits combine to affect the health of the environment for generations to come. Hence this Doing One Small Thing series and switching my dish soap to one that is environmentally friendly.

My first try was switching to Palmolive Clear and Clean Dish Liquid, which they advertised as being better for the environment than their standard dish detergents. I used it for a couple of years. Then they changed the formula and it didn’t clean the dishes anymore. It was time to go looking again.

Here’s what I looked for. A dish soap that: washes dishes really clean; doesn’t smell like perfume (preferably doesn’t smell at all); rinses off easily; costs about as much as I was paying for the store brands; and does as little harm to the environment as possible.

A friend told me about Costco’s Kirkland Environmentally Responsible Dish Soap. It contains no detergents, which are destructive to aquatic life. I tried it and it gets my dishes clean and sparkly. For hard to clean post and pans, I leave them to soak in the soapy water for a while and they always come clean. You only need a squirt to clean a sinkful of normally dirty dishes. I add an extra squirt for very dirty dishes. Even in our hard-as-a-boulder water, the soap comes off with much less rinsing than it took to get the commercial brands off. It has a faint, citrusy smell, comes in a gallon size and is reasonably priced. It’s available in Costco stores, but not online. FYI, it is also called Kirkland Eco Friendly Dish Soap.

Wonder Woman washing a glassI also tried  BioKleen’s Natural Dishwash Liquid. It also contains no detergents. It takes one tablespoon to clean a sinkful of normally dirty dishes and two tablespoons to clean a sinkful of very dirty dishes. It cuts grease and cleans well. There is barely any smell. It rinses off easily and with less water. It’s more expensive than the store brands at regular price, but you use less of it at a time and I get it at a discount from an online retailer. There are several BioKleen dishwashing products, liquid and powder, for hand and dishwasher use. You can sometimes find it in health food stores like Whole Foods, but it’s much less expensive online.

Give these a try or do your own research and see what you come up with. There are many other eco friendly dish soaps available. If you find something good, let us know about it.

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