15 Things Never to Wash with Dish Soap

15 Things Never to Wash with Dish Soap

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You might be tempted to use dish soap on everything since it’s something you always have on hand. It seems to work well, and it’s less expensive than other cleaners. You may even think that it’s safe since you use it on dishes.

Surprisingly, however, there are many things you should never wash with dish soap. You might accidentally ruin things if you clean them this way, or you’ll make them even harder to clean. Even worse, when misused, it could cause physical problems for you and your pets.

While dishwashing soap is still a must-have in any kitchen, you’ll think twice about using it on certain things in the future.

Fifteen Things Never to Wash with Dish Soap

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Knowing what not to wash with dish soap will protect your family, your belongings, and even the flavor of your food.

1. Coffeemaker

There are a couple of reasons you shouldn’t wash your coffeemaker with dish soap. The first reason is that it can leave a residue that is hard to rinse off. Even when you think you have got it all off, there will likely still be a soap flavor in your next couple of pots.

The other reason depends on your coffeemaker. Many coffeemakers have a coating that makes your coffee taste better and prevents burning from the sides of the pot. Washing with dishwashing soap will remove this coating over time.

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2. Your Pet

You shouldn’t wash your pets with this kind of soap, but it is especially harmful to dogs. A dog’s skin will become dry and irritated, causing your dog to become itchy all over. Plus, it can damage their fur, leaving their skin exposed in areas.

You might think dish soap is pet-safe because of the video you see of rescuers bathing sea life in the blue Dawn soap after oil spills. Vets seem to agree that it’s okay for this emergency application. However, you should find a shampoo created specifically for pets. The dish soap can cause dry skin, flaky patches, and irritation if you use it regularly.

An article published by Washington State University states the following on the matter:

“While dish soap or your favorite shampoo might strip away the dirt, and more importantly the odor, from your pet’s coat, it will also strip natural oils from their fur and may irritate their skin.”

3. Windows or Mirrors

While this soap will remove build-up from the windows and mirrors, it still won’t look good. Since it isn’t designed to clean glass, it will cause streaks that are hard to wash off. Instead, save yourself some time and hassle and opt for the glass cleaner in the beginning.

4. Food

While you may think that washing your fruits and vegetables with this soap will be beneficial, it isn’t. Fruits and vegetables have pores that the soap can easily get inside. This will be impossible to rinse off, leaving you to consume the soap completely.

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Not only will this taste bad, but it could have physical effects, as well. It could cause gastrointestinal problems or nausea.

5. Your Dishwasher

Soap cannot be used in place of dishwashing detergent. The soap is much sudsier, and it will produce too many bubbles for the dishwasher. The way the dishwasher rinses the dishes will not effectively remove all of the soap suds, either.

It is also important to note that using soap in the dishwasher can damage it. All of the soap build-up and the expanding suds can cause your machine to stop working properly.

6. Your Face

It is important to wash your face, but it is also important to use the right cleanser. Dish soap is not the answer you are looking for. It removes your skin’s natural oil, leaving your skin exposed and vulnerable.

7. A Cast Iron Skillet

Cast iron skillets have a seasoned layer of oil on the surface. This layer is removed when soap is used on it, causing it to heat unevenly and changing the taste of the food.

8. Plants

Many people believe soap is safe to use on plants in place of an insecticide, but that isn’t true. The soap is harsh and can kill the plants, and it doesn’t seem to keep pests away, either. As you can see, there truly is no benefit to using soap on your plants.

9. Your Car

Since you spend quite a bit of time in your car, you want it to look good on the outside and the inside. In a pinch, the dish soap may seem like an easy option for washing it. It would help if you avoid this, however, because it isn’t good for the car.

First, the soap is too harsh and can damage the paint job. Plus, it can ruin protective wax that you may have on your car, as well. However, that isn’t it, as the soap can also leave spots on your car that are seemingly impossible to get off.

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10. Washing Machine

The reasoning behind this is similar to why you can’t use soap in your dishwasher. Your washing machine isn’t designed to have so many suds in it, and the expanded suds can cause it to burst. Plus, the soap won’t even get your clothes clean because it isn’t harsh enough.

11. Hard Wood Floors

You wouldn’t want to ruin beautiful hardwood floors, so make sure you don’t use soap on them. It will leave the floors with scratches, dings, and an unsightly film on the surface if you do. This is the same for wood trim or architecture, as well.

It is okay to use this soap on other types of flooring, however. It seems to be safe to use on tile, linoleum, and vinyl flooring.

12. Your Body

Dishwashing soap is too harsh to use regularly on your body. It will dry out your skin and could cause rashes.

While using it one time likely won’t hurt, you shouldn’t make it a habit. Not only would it be uncomfortable, but it could lead to other conditions like eczema or dermatitis.

13. Your Hair

Similar to many other things mentioned before, dishwashing soap is too harsh to use on your hair. It will strip the natural oils from your hair and leave it dry and brittle. Plus, it can cause your scalp to become flaky, itchy, and irritated, too.

14. Silk

Silk is a delicate material that should be treated as such. This means using a harsh dishwashing soap on your silk clothing should never happen. It will ruin the fabric and cause it to fall apart much more quickly.

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15. Leather

Like silk, leather needs to be treated gently. The chemicals found in dish soap will quickly destroy the leather by drying it out. Cracks will appear when the natural oil of leather is gone, ruining the look entirely.

Surprising Things You Can Use Dish Soap For

While there are many things that you should never wash with dishwashing soap, don’t throw it out just yet. Many surprising uses for it will make your life easier and your home cleaner.

As a De-Icer

If you are preparing for a slippery sidewalk or stairs, you can use dishwashing soap as a remedy. Mix a little dishwashing soap with a little rubbing alcohol and half a gallon of warm water.

Stir it all together and then pour it onto sidewalks and stairways. You must do this before the ground gets cold and wet, so it wouldn’t work if you didn’t plan.

Capture Fruit Flies

If you notice a couple of fruit flies in your kitchen, you know there will be many more in a short timeframe. To get ahead of this problem, fill a bowl with white vinegar and add a couple of drops of dishwashing soap.

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Leave it on the counter for a full day. You will catch the fruit flies because they are attracted to the vinegar but get stuck to the soap. If you do this as soon as you notice fruit flies, they won’t even have a chance to multiply.

To Kill Weeds

As explained before, dishwashing soap can kill plants. So, it only makes sense that it can also kill weeds. Mix half a gallon of white vinegar with a cut of salt and a little soap. Then, pour the mixture over top of your weeds, and they’ll die quickly.

To Kill Fleas and Ticks

While you shouldn’t regularly wash your pet with this soap, it does help get rid of fleas and ticks. Fleas can’t stand up to the dishwashing soap, and your pet will be able to get some relief.

Unclog a Toilet

If you don’t have a plunger or just don’t want to use one, you can use dishwashing soap instead. To do this, you will dump one cup of soap into the toilet and let it sit for around 30 minutes.

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Then, get a bucket of hot water and hold it waist-high. Dump it into the toilet, keeping it at waist-level, which will force it to flush.

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Final Thoughts on Things Never to Wash with Dish Soap (and why)

While dish soap is handy for cleaning grease out of pans, it shouldn’t go much beyond that. It is too harsh for skin or fur, and it is much different from laundry and dish detergent. Avoid ruining your things or causing skin rashes by using the soap wisely.

Remember these tips the next time you want to use dish soap for something other than dishes. If you would be upset that it was ruined or cleaning a human or pet, avoid the dishwashing soap. Stick to cleaners made specifically for those things so that you don’t risk a bad situation.

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Sarah Barkley is a lifestyle blogger and freelance writer with a Bachelor's Degree in Literature from Baker College. She is experienced in all things related to parenting, marriage, and life as a millennial parent, but loves to learn new things. She enjoys the research that goes into a strong article, and no topic is off-limits to Sarah. When she isn't writing, she is immersed in a book or watching Gilmore Girls. Sarah loves reading classic novels but also enjoys a good thriller.

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