Best Dish Soaps of 2020

Updated
Categories Dishwashing
Squeeze, scrub, rinse and shine.

After a delicious meal, it’s time to get those dirty dishes back to sparkling clean. No two dish soaps are the same, and we’re here to help match you with any of the best dish soaps on the current market.

These soaps will clean your dishes in less time. Whether you’re looking for something scented, eco-friendly, natural, or antibacterial — have we got recommendations for you!


What Is the Best Thing to Hand Wash Dishes With?

The perfect combo for handwashing dishes is a quality dish soap and quality dish scrubbers or cloths. Water temperature doesn’t matter, but warm water is easier to work with. We also recommend a good drying rack.

Can You Use Dish Soap in the Dishwasher?

Substituting dishwasher detergent or tablets for regular dish soap can damage your dishwasher, cause it to overflow and create a big mess. So, when you buy your dish soap, although it’s very versatile, don’t introduce it to your dishwasher.

Types of Dish Soap

There are two main types of dish soap: liquid and bar. Let’s look at the differences.

Liquid

Palmolive Ultra Dish Soap Oxy Power Degreaser, 32.5 Fl Oz (Pack of 4)
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Liquid dish soap is usually found in a plastic bottle. A little goes a long way. One squeeze will create suds that pull off dirt and grime from your dishes, leaving them sparkling clean.

PROS:
  • A little goes a long way.
  • Affordable.
  • Comes in different scents.
  • Great at cutting through grease.
  • Removes bacteria and germs (1).
CONS:
  • Plastic packaging.
  • May contain ingredients that irritate skin and eyes, and cause headaches.
  • May be unconcentrated, meaning you’re essentially paying for water.

Bar

Pre de Provence Marseille Shea Butter Enriched Artisanal French Soap Bar
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Bar soap isn’t very popular yet, but there’s definitely a calling for it on the market. It’s a more eco-friendly and zero-waste approach to washing dishes. But can it tackle the dirtiest grime and nastiest bacteria in the kitchen?

PROS:
  • Cuts down on packaging.
  • Multi-purpose.
  • Natural ingredients.
  • Lasts for a long time.
  • Gentle on hands.
CONS:
  • Won’t cut grease as well as liquid dish soap.
  • Harder to use.
  • May not suds up.
  • Bacteria can sit on the bar soap, potentially contaminating your next lot of dishes (2).
  • Not as cheap as liquid.

How to Choose the Best Dish Soaps

With many different types of dish soaps on the market, how should you decide?

Efficacy

How effective will the dish soap be? Does it have good grease-busting potential? Is it antimicrobial? If you’re a meat-eater, can it wash away animal fat? Look at what the dish soap is best for and make sure to match that to your dishwashing needs.

Versatility

There are many multipurpose soaps on the market, and we have a couple recommendations. If you want something you can use across the house — for example, removing stains, washing surfaces, cleaning your hands — then make sure to shop with that in mind.

Good for Hands

Dish soaps can often be irritating for sensitive skin. While you could combat this issue from wearing rubber gloves, you could also shop for something that’s good for hands.

Budget

The most expensive dish soaps are bar soaps and natural soaps. If you don’t have a huge budget, we recommend sticking to name brands that have great bulk buy prices.

Value for Money

Does a little go a long way? Is the soap concentrated? Many dish soaps are diluted with water, making their value for money a little lower.

Water Type

Consider your water type — is it hard or soft? If your water is hard, look at the ingredients and check if there is a water softener.

Try This

Can’t find anything that works for you? Try adding some white vinegar or baking soda to your soapy water — as long as the dish soap manufacturer allows it — to soften the water.

Eco-Friendly

There are lots of eco-friendly dish soaps on the market. This may be a bar soap — as it cuts down on harsh chemicals and packaging — or it may be a more conscious liquid soap. For instance, it may have natural, plant-derived or biodegradable ingredients.

Toxicity

While dish soaps aren’t going to be toxic and dangerous to use, some still contain harsh chemicals. For example, many contain sodium laureth sulfate which can irritate skin and eyes (3).

Fragrance

Fragrance is also a popular ingredient in dish soaps. Synthetic fragrances can cause respiratory or allergy attacks (4).

If you want a scented dish soap, we have lots of recommendations. But if you’re looking for something eco-friendly, we recommend dish soaps scented with essential oils.


The Best Dish Soaps of 2020

Now that you’re all clued up on the different types of dish soaps, and everything you should consider when shopping, it’s time for our product reviews.

We’ve spent hours researching expert advice, product ingredients and real customer reviews to create this list. We’ve also applied our own dishwashing insight, let’s look at the 10 best dish soaps on the market!

1. Dr. Bronner’s - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap

Best Multipurpose Dish Soap

Dr. Bronner’s - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap (Peppermint, 16 ounce) - Made with Organic Oils, 18-in-1 Uses: Face, Body, Hair, Laundry, Pets and Dishes, Concentrated, Vegan, Non-GMO, 2 pack
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Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap can do more than just wash your dishes. You can also use it for laundry, mopping, cleaning surfaces and appliances, washing pets, shaving and much more. If you’re looking for an all-in-one product, this is definitely one to try.

Plus, this soap is both kind on your body and the planet. It’s made with biodegradable and all natural ingredients. It’s vegan, too. There are no synthetic preservatives, detergents or foaming agents. Lastly, it’s all wrapped up in a 100% recyclable bottle.

If you want a lot of bang for your buck, Dr. Bronner’s soap is two to three times more concentrated than conventional cleaners. Follow the instructions on the back to know how to dilute it for various purposes.

Finally, if you aren’t a fan of the peppermint scent, this soap is available in seven other scents, including unscented.

PROS:
  • Made with natural and biodegradable ingredients.
  • Multipurpose.
  • Very concentrated.
  • Eight scent options.
CONS:
  • Strips skin and hair of moisture — gloves recommended when dishwashing.
  • May leave residue on dishes.

Additional Specs

Main Strength 18-in-1 multipurpose product
Versatile Yes
Soft on Hands No
Value Great
Eco-Friendly Yes

2. Palmolive Ultra Dish Soap

Best Grease-Busting Dish Soap

Palmolive Ultra Dish Soap Oxy Power Degreaser, 32.5 Fl Oz (Pack of 4)
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Sometimes, you just need something with extra power. The Palmolive Ultra Dish Soap is well-loved for its grease busting qualities. So if you’ve got big messes to clean, then this is the dish soap for you.

It has five main superpowers: easily cutting grease, fighting odors, leaving behind zero residue, super-concentrated, and it removes 24 hour stuck on food. We think these superpowers are unbeatable. If you hate washing dishes, this soap might make the task a little less daunting.

But that’s not all it’s good for. It can clean bacteria from hands, wash your car and it can pre-treat laundry stains. And finally, it can clean your BBQ grill.

This concentrated formula is tough on grease and soft on hands. Plus, it’s phosphate-free.

PROS:
  • Tough on grease.
  • Multi-purpose.
  • Leaves zero residue.
  • Removes stuck on food.
CONS:
  • Strong, overwhelming scent.
  • Hard to fully rinse off, so may leave a soap taste on dishes.

Additional Specs

Main Strength Grease busting
Versatile Yes
Soft on Hands Yes
Value Okay
Eco-Friendly No

3. Seventh Generation Ultra Power Plus

Best Value Dish Soap

Seventh Generation Ultra Power Plus Dish Liquid Soap, Fresh Citrus Scent, 22 oz, Pack of 6
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Are you looking to save money in the long run, and are able to buy in bulk? Then we recommend the Seventh Generation Ultra Power Plus.

This pack of six includes a total of 132 ounces of dish soap for a very fair price. Plus, it has 20% more cleaning power than Seventh Generation’s original formula. A little goes a lot further with this one!

You’ll also love that this product is made with 95% biodegradable and plant-derived ingredients. The only synthetic ingredients are the preservatives. As for the other ingredients? Zero synthetic fragrances, dyes, phosphates or triclosan. The nice fresh citrus scent is made from 100% essential oils and botanical ingredients, making your dishwashing routine safe and effective.

Although it’s mostly natural, Seventh Generation still uses a PlantTech formula to cut grease. This advanced technology fights through stuck on foods using only plant-based ingredients. You’re left with sparkling clean dishes, even if the food has been sitting on the dishes for a while.

PROS:
  • 95% natural ingredients.
  • PlantTech formula to fight through grease.
  • Great value for money.
  • 20% more cleaning power than the original formula.
CONS:
  • Lids may come loose and bottles may leak.
  • Some customers said the fragrance was minimal.

Additional Specs

Main Strength Removes stubborn grease with 20% more power
Versatile Yes
Soft on Hands Yes
Value Great
Eco-Friendly Mostly

4. Ecover Zero Dish Soap

Best Dish Soap for Hard Water

Ecover Zero Dish Soap, Fragrance Free, 25 Ounce (Pack 6)
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If you live in a hard water area, you may be familiar with the stains on all your dishes, glassware and silverware. Well, with the Ecover Zero Dish Soap, hard water stains can be a thing of the past. This product contains water softeners — sodium citrate and citric acid — to make the soap work better in hard water areas. This also prevents hard water stains.

This soap is also made from plant-based ingredients, so it’s an eco-friendly, non-toxic and biodegradable option. It has no fragrance, no dyes and no chlorine. Plus, it’s never tested on animals.

However, it’s still fantastic at cutting grease and sudsing up so your dishes feel cleaner than ever before! One squeeze is enough to clean a sink full of dirty dishes, removing stuck on food, while still being gentle on your skin.

Caution

The packaging is a little misleading. This soap does contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate which is sometimes fully plant-derived, and sometimes synthetically made. Ecover claims theirs is plant-derived, but they don’t say if it’s 100% plant-derived (5). It may still have negative side effects, such as being a skin irritant when left on skin for a long time.
PROS:
  • Good for hard water.
  • Plant-based ingredients.
  • Fragrance-free.
  • Fights grease.
CONS:
  • Not very concentrated, quite runny.
  • Contains Sodium Lauryl Sulfate.

Additional Specs

Main Strength Grease-busting and sudsing
Versatile Yes
Soft on Hands For some
Value Good
Eco-Friendly Possibly (packaging is misleading)

5. Farmhouse Basic Collection Soap Bar

Best Eco-Friendly Dish Soap

Kitchen dish, cleaning, veggie and hand soap, solid bar. Handmade, organic, mild, cuts grease and grime. Plastic-free soap and eco-friendly packaging. Vegan-friendly and cruelty-free soap. Unscented
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While many of our liquid dish soap recommendations are eco-friendly, why not go the extra mile with a soap bar? This Farmhouse Basic Collection bar can help you cut down on plastic waste and packaging.

This bar of soap is made with only three ingredients: saponified coconut oil, filtered water and essential oils (unless you choose the unscented option). Simple, but pretty effective!

You can use it for your dishes by swishing the bar in the water, running it under the faucet or lathering it up on a sponge or cloth. Then wash your dishes as normal.

We love that you can use this in other areas of the home, too. It’s great for cleaning floors, your hands, walls, surfaces, high chairs, baby toys and stains on laundry!

Customers love how long this lasts in comparison to standard dish soap. So while it may be a bigger upfront cost, you could save money in the long run.

PROS:
  • Three natural ingredients.
  • Multi-purpose.
  • Zero plastic waste.
  • Lasts for a long time.
CONS:
  • Not great at cutting grease.
  • Works best in really hot water.

Additional Specs

Main Strength Light cleaning of dishes
Versatile Yes
Soft on Hands Yes
Value Good
Eco-Friendly Yes

6. Dawn Ultra Gentle Clean Liquid

Best Dish Soap for Hands

Dawn Ultra Gentle Clean Dishwashing Liquid Dish Soap, Pomegranate & Rose Water Scent, 24 fl oz
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Many dish soaps can be irritating on hands. In our house, we always use rubber gloves to do our dishes. But not everybody likes the feel of rubber gloves. If that’s you, and you still have sensitive skin, then we recommend the Dawn Ultra Gentle Clean.

This soap is specifically designed to be gentle on hands. So you can wash a sink full of dishes without that rough uncomfortable feeling on your hands.

But just because it’s kind on the skin doesn’t mean it’s ineffective on dishes. In fact, it contains two times more grease cleaning power than the leading bargain brand! So if you’ve got dishes with stuck-on food, it’ll be no match against this soap.

Scented with a nice pomegranate fragrance, this provides a fruity aroma in the kitchen as you’re cleaning up after each meal.

PROS:
  • Gentle on skin.
  • Pomegranate scent.
  • More powerful than other brands.
CONS:
  • Quite expensive.
  • Synthetic fragrance.

Additional Specs

Main Strength Fight grease but gentle on hands
Versatile Yes
Soft on Hands Yes
Value Low
Eco-Friendly Partly (includes biodegradable ingredients and synthetic)

7. Pre de Provence Soap Bar

Best Dish Soap Bar

Pre de Provence Marseille Shea Butter Enriched Artisanal French Soap Bar
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Looking to try out a dish soap bar? Check out the Pre de Provence soap bar. It comes in unscented, poppy or white citrus tea scents so you can find the perfect one for you.

This soap bar is a multi-use bar. You can use it for dishes, shampooing, laundry, stain removal and other various cleaning uses. It’s been specifically designed to remove stains and residue from grease, oil and grime which makes it perfect for dishes!

To use, shave off the soap flakes and add to the warm water before doing your dishes. It’s made with a minimum of 72% olive oil so it’s moisturizing on your skin, but also effective at removing dirt from dishes.

This soap bar is safe and natural, as well as being biodegradable. Although you may be skeptical of these ingredients, customers rave about it when it comes to dishes. If you’re unsure, purchase this and another soap just in case you’re not a fan of this bar.

Keep in Mind

It changes from green to amber as it ages which is natural so don’t worry when this happens.
PROS:
  • Natural and biodegradable ingredients.
  • Removes grease, oil and grime.
  • Moisturizing
  • Multi-use.
CONS:
  • Not aesthetically pleasing as it changes colors and may not be evenly cut.
  • Quite big and bulky.

Additional Specs

Main Strength Removes grease, oil and grime
Versatile Yes
Soft on Hands Yes
Value Great
Eco-Friendly Yes

8. Better Life Natural Dish Soap

Best Natural Dish Soap

Better Life Natural Dish Soap, Lemon Mint Scent, 22 Ounces (Pack of 2), 24068
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This scented dish soap is made with 100% plant-derived, non-toxic and biodegradable cleaning ingredients. If you want something without synthetic fragrances, SLS, SLES, ethoxylates, dyes, parabens and other nasties, this is the dish soap for you.

This dish soap is safe around your kids and pets. It’s never tested on animals. When you drain the soapy water away, you can rest assured that it’s kind on waterways and in the sea, ocean or lakes without harming aquatic life.

Often, people confuse natural with ineffective. But this natural dish soap is a good grease-buster. With hot water, a couple drops of this soap and a good dish scrubber, you can say goodbye to grease. It may not be as instantaneous as traditional dish soap, but we think the extra elbow grease is a small price to pay for an all-natural product.

PROS:
  • 100% natural.
  • Kind on hands and skin.
  • Good grease-buster.
  • Won’t leave behind a residue.
CONS:
  • Doesn’t lather up much, so you may have to use more product.
  • Many customers dislike the smell.

Additional Specs

Main Strength Natural grease busting
Versatile All cookware, except Delaware
Soft on Hands Yes
Value Low
Eco-Friendly Yes

9. Puracy Natural Dish Soap

Best Scented Dish Soap

Puracy Natural Dish Soap, Green Tea & Lime, Sulfate-Free, Natural Liquid Detergent, 16 Ounce (3-Pack)
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Green tea and lime — doesn’t that sound lovely? This naturally scented dish soap provides a refreshing and tropical scent while you’re washing dishes. The scent is quite strong, so if you don’t like powerful fragrances, we recommend looking at some of our other options.

This soap is created by doctors. It’s specifically manufactured to be gentle on skin but tough on dishes. The ingredients are all sourced from plants and minerals, too. Unlike some other natural soaps, this one suds up generously. It can clean an entire sink of dishes with just a teaspoon of soap!

What other benefits does this soap boast? Incredible cleaning power. It can quickly cut through grease, the suds rinse away quickly, it doesn’t leave behind residue, and it works in hard water! With one bottle, you can actually clean more than 150 sinks full of dishes.

PROS:
  • One bottle cleans 150 sinks worth of dishes.
  • No sulfates or harsh chemicals.
  • Gentle on the skin.
  • Nice scent.
CONS:
  • Suds disappear after a little while in the sink (doesn’t affect the efficacy).
  • Scent may cling to your skin.

Additional Specs

Main Strength Naturally suds up
Versatile Yes
Soft on Hands Yes
Value Good
Eco-Friendly Yes

10. Dawn Ultra Antibacterial Dishwashing Liquid

Best Antibacterial Dish Soap

Dawn Ultra Antibacterial Dishwashing Liquid 7oz. Orange Scent (Orange)
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While most soaps will remove bacteria, some families prefer something antibacterial. This ensures the bacteria is killed rather than removed.

The Dawn Ultra Antibacterial soap is super powerful so you can finish cleaning your dirty dishes in less time. It has twice the grease power of the leading bargain brand, so you can happily scrub clean your dishes, no matter what’s stuck on them.

It’s got a refreshing scent of juicy oranges. If you prefer, you can also opt for the apple scent instead.

Lastly, you can use this as a hand soap while you’re in a hurry. We don’t recommend it as a replacement to normal hand soap, because it’s not super moisturizing. But it will definitely kill bacteria on your hands.

PROS:
  • Antibacterial.
  • Two scent options.
  • Twice as much grease-cutting power than leading brands.
  • Gets dishes done quickly.
CONS:
  • Expensive for a small bottle.

Additional Specs

Main Strength Antibacterial, grease-fighting power
Versatile Yes
Soft on Hands For some
Value Low
Eco-Friendly No

Dish Soap Comparison Chart

Product Best Main Strength Versatile Soft on Hands Eco-Friendly
Dr. Bronner’s – Pure-Castile Soap Multipurpose 18-in-1 multipurpose product Yes No Yes
Palmolive Ultra Dish Soap Grease-Busting Grease busting Yes Yes No
Seventh Generation Ultra Power Plus Value For Money Removes stubborn grease with 20% more power Yes Yes Yes
Ecover Zero Dish Soap Hard Water Grease-busting & sudsing Yes Yes Yes
Farmhouse Basic Collection Soap Bar Eco-Friendly Light cleaning of dishes Yes Yes Yes
Dawn Ultra Gentle Clean Liquid Hands Fight grease but gentle on hands Yes Yes No
Pre de Provence Soap Bar Soap Bar Removes grease, oil & grime Yes Yes Yes
Better Life Natural Dish Soap Natural Natural grease busting Yes Yes Yes
Puracy Natural Dish Soap Scented Naturally suds up Yes Yes Yes
Dawn Ultra Antibacterial Dishwashing Liquid Antibacterial Antibacterial, grease-fighting power Yes Yes No
Jump to the Full Dish Soap Reviews

Squeaky Clean

With the best dish soap recommendations, your dishes will be squeaky clean in no time! Finding the right soap can make all the difference to your dishwashing routine. While no two dish soaps are the same, we fully recommend all these soaps.

Of course, our recommendations vary depending on your personal needs. So always check the main purpose of the soap, its versatility, and whether it’s kind on sensitive skin. Don’t forget to watch for the value of the soap and its eco-friendliness.

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About the Author

Beth McCallum

Beth McCallum is a 20-something freelance writer & book blogger with a degree in creative writing, journalism and English literature. Beth firmly believes that a tidy house is a tidy mind. She is always looking for new ways to sustainably clean and tidy her house, that's kind on the environment but effective in the house, too!
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