Dish soap is known to be a key ingredient in many cleaning hacks and homemade solutions. It’s true that this accessible and inexpensive material is indeed a great multitasker, but it’s important to know it isn’t actually a jack of all trades.
Dish soap isn’t actually a soap but a detergent. What’s the difference? Soaps encapsulate dirt and oil so they can be washed away under running water. Detergents, on the other hand, actually break up the dirt so it can’t settle back onto what’s being cleaned. That means some detergents, including dish soap, will be too strong for some materials. These are 10 things you should avoid cleaning with dish soap, or you might leave them permanently damaged.
The main reason dish soap is so handy is its ability to combat even the greasiest surfaces. Well, this is also the reason why you should never try to use it as shampoo. You will end up completely stripping your hair of all its natural oils, which are crucial for its growth. Most dish soaps contain sodium lauryl sulfate, an ingredient that is now extremely rarely found in shampoos since a whole campaign was started against it in 2001 claiming it causes frizz, dryness, and damage to hair.
If you struggle with oily locks, skip the dish soap. There are plenty of products that are specially designed for hair care you could choose from.
Hardwood floors require the right kind of cleaning, otherwise, you risk leaving them scratched and dingy. Firstly, sweep or vacuum them to remove any sand or grit that could leave tiny scratches in the finish. Then wet-mop the floor with a gentle cleanser made especially for wood flooring. That is the only way to do it, according to experts. Avoid trying any hacks on your hardwood floor, including dish soap. “Your soapy dishwashing water won’t do it—and can leave behind a film,” says Bruce Johnson, a DIY wood restoration expert.
If dish soap is so efficient with foods and oils it will certainly do a good job with removing a day’s worth of makeup, sweat, and oil right? According to skin professionals, this is very wrong! The same as with your hair, you should avoid using dish soap on your face as it will remove all the oil - even the coat that you need to protect your skin.
In fact, dish soap is probably even too strong for your hands, which is why many people prefer to wear gloves while washing the dishes.
While dish soap is great for cleaning a pair of dirty sneakers, avoid using it on fine leather. The harsh materials of the dish soap will strip away the natural emollients of the leather and the next thing you know, your favorite leather shoes, purse, or car seat will start to crack. To clean leather the correct way, simply wipe it away with a damp cloth, then apply a moisturizing product to keep the leather supple.
As much as we love them, we must admit sometimes our furry friends simply stink. If you’re wondering what the best way to make your dog’s fur shiny and rosy again is, the answer isn’t dish soap. It’s not that it isn’t safe. In fact, Dawn dish soap is used by marine rescue organizations to remove environmental oil and tar from seals and sea birds. But if your pet didn’t come in touch with any industrial muck, those oil-removing ingredients may be too harsh and dry out its skin and coat.
Human shampoo isn’t a good idea either. Since it’s formulated for a human’s pH level, it could irritate your pet’s skin. Your best bet will be a shampoo that is designed for dogs, cats, or any other pet that you own.
The internet is full of DIY formulas for insecticidal soaps intended for your houseplants. Our advice is, don’t shy away from trying them - they’re inexpensive, safe for the environment, and won’t leave residue on your plants. However, make sure the formula you’re using doesn’t contain any dish soap. According to gardening experts, not only is dish soap too harsh for your plants, but it’s not all that great at warding off pests, either.
Blotting a dinner stain with a little dish soap and water is a great way to help banish it before it sets - but you should never use this trick on silk, or other delicate fabrics. Silk is a protein similar to the protein that makes up human hair, so you need to use a fabric-specific formula and treat it with care. If the garment doesn’t have a dry clean only tag, you may wash it gently in the sink or use the silk\delicates program on your washing machine. Use a low temperature and let the item dry naturally, but never hang outside as the sunlight could yellow and weaken the fibers.
While dish soap can be very effective at bringing the oil and dirt stuck in the glass to the surface, there is one problem with this method. Unless you’re willing to bring a hose to your mirror to rinse away the soap, it’s nearly impossible to wipe away the sticky mess it leaves behind. “Dish soap does have a way of leaving streaks if it isn’t rinsed,” confirms Jessica Ek of the American Cleaning Institute. For mirrors and windows, it’s best to stick with store-bought or homemade designated products.
You’d think auto paint, which shrugs off everything from hail to chemicals, will be strong enough to handle some dish soap but that isn’t the case. If you use dish soap to wash your car you will permanently damage the finish. That’s because dish soap strips away the protective coating applied to the paint by the manufacturer, leaving it vulnerable to fading and oxidation, which turns the finish dull and chalky.
Dish soap creates lather clouds that work really well in the sink but are really bad for your dishwasher, which wasn’t built to handle all those bubbles. Experts recommend using the only detergent specifically designs for dishwashers, which will both provide the best clean for your dishes and is friendly to the dishwasher itself.
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