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Your dish soap is toxic

The main purpose of a dish is to clean your dishes so that you stay healthy. This makes it quite counterproductive to include ingredients in dish soap that could harm your health. Unfortunately this is the case with most dish soaps on the market, even the ones that claim t be “green” and “natural”. Some of the worst ingredients that you will find in many conventional but also “natural” dish soap are silicate salts, sulfuric acid, formaldehyde, certain fragrances, and ammonium sulfate.

Here’s a list of common ingredients in dish soap that you should look out for. Better avoid buying products that use some of these ingredients.

Silicate Salts

Silicate salts are common to appear on the ingredients list of many conventional dish soaps like Palmolive. However, they may cause eye and skin irritations. This ingredient can also be dangerous if inhaled or consumed. While minor quantities are classified as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) by the harmful dish soap ingredients, concerns do exist regarding allergic reactions, organ system toxicity and respiratory issues.


Formaldehyde is another ingredient that appears frequently in dish soaps. Examples are Palmolive, Ajax, Dawn and many other conventional dish soaps. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has done some research about this ingredient and came to the conclusion that there is quite some concern especially with regard to skin allergies and irritation, but also more serious illnesses such as cancer. There is also moderate concern regarding asthma and respiratory issues. And there is more: This ingredient may cause severe skin burns and eye damage. Not what you’d expect in a dish soap.

Sulfuric Acid

Palmolive and Ajax use this ingredient in their formula. According to the EWG there is evidence that this chemical causes severe skin burns, eye damage, dermatitis and skin allergies/irritation. If that’s not enough for you to keep it off your dishes, it was also found to be a known carcinogen. And the list continues… Sulfuric acid is also an asthmagen and cause respiratory irritation. It’s best to stay way from this chemical.


It’s hard to say what’s hiding behind this ingredient because it serves as a bundle that disguises a number of substances only known to the manufacturer. This is unfortunately a legal way for companies to protect trade secrets. However it does not instill trust in a brand. It can only be assumed that these are dangerous ingredients that the company doesn’t want you to know.

Ammonium Sulfate

Ammonium sulfate appears on the ingredient list of many conventional dish soaps. The EWG suggests that this chemical is of some concern because it is a skin irritant and there are risks for asthma/respiratory issues and cancer.

If you want to avoid chemicals on your dishes and protect your and your kids’ health then you can make your own soap. There are many DIY recipes available online. Another solution is to buy from small brands like Yaya Maria’s that only include very safe and 100% natural ingredients. You can give their natural dish soap a try if you want to be sure you stay away from toxic substances.

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