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15 Things You Can Clean Using a Dish Soap

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I’ve been learning about household cleaners, and wondered what you can clean with dish soap. I did a little research and put together this list of 15 things you can clean with dish soap.

So, what can you clean with dish soap? You can clean:

  • Your cat
  • Your hands
  • Carpet
  • Your hair
  • Your oven
  • Puppies
  • Leather boots, seats, and sofas
  • Dogs
  • Bikes and bike chains
  • Walls
  • Bathtubs
  • Granite
  • Pipes

Dish soap is neutral on the pH scale, and the soap in it cuts grease and grime and cleans much better than water alone.

Woman in rubber gloves holding a bottle of dish soap

Below, I’ll explain how dish soap can be used on each of the items I listed above, as well as, some helpful tips on how to clean each of them using dish soap.

Can You Use Dish Soap to Clean Cats?

Cat getting a bath in a tub

You can use dish soap to clean your cat. Cats normally clean themselves, and rarely need to be cleaned. But, sometimes they can get into something really mucky like oil. Or they might have trouble cleaning themselves after a surgery.

Dawn dish soap has become a popular choice to use on pets after they ran an advertisement about how they used it to help clean animals affected by an oil spill. And it’s also good for removing fleas.

However, standard dish soap like Dawn is typically too hard for kittens, and shouldn’t be used on pets that have a skin infection.

They also say that you shouldn’t wash your cat more than once a month with dish soap, because it dries out your cats skin and fur too often. And doesn’t give enough time for their natural oils to secrete into their fur, and keep your cat healthy.

Can I Use Dish Soap to Clean My Hands?

Washing hands with soap

You can use it to wash your hands. However, you shouldn’t use it to wash your hands regularly because it’s not specifically designed to wash your hands and can dry out your skin.

Dish soap should be used to wash your hands if you don’t have any other option, and body wash is a better alternative to hand soap because it’s designed to be used on your skin.

It’s a good idea to use a moisturiser after you use dish soap to wash your hands to stop your skin from drying out which can be a bit uncomfortable.

If you do use dish soap to wash your hands it’s recommended to use cold water. Cold water causes your pores in your skin to shrink which protects them from chemicals getting into your skin, before you wash it off.

It’s a common myth that hot and warm water open your pores. Myth busted!

Can You Use Dish Soap to Clean Carpet?

Scrubbing carpet stain with sponge

Dish soap can be used to clean carpet, use a ratio of a ¼ teaspoon of dish wash to one cup of water, and to mix it up in a spray bottle. Then spray it on your carpet and leave it to sit for 5 minutes. After that blot the area using a cloth.

If you’ve just had a spill you’ll want to first start by using a paper towel or a dry cloth to absorb as much of the spill up as possible. Then spray it with the solution and blot it up.

In light colored carpets there is almost always some trace of the stain remaining, and you’ll need to clean it a few times. If it still doesn’t come out you’ll want to use a specialist stain remover, or hire a professional carpet cleaner to have a go at it.

Do not to scrub the carpet at all because it can ruin the carpet fibers, and push the stain down in the carpet pad, where it’s very hard to get out.

The longer a stain sits in the carpet the harder it is to remove. So, you’ll want to remove any spills as soon as possible.

Can You Use Dish Soap to Clean Your Hair?

Washing a kid's hair in the tub

Anecdotal evidence online suggests that washing your hair with dish soap is perfectly fine. Shampoo though is specifically designed to wash hair, and therefore, should be your first option.

Companies that sell soaps make use of experiments and scientific literature to come up with the ingredients they use in the different kinds of soaps and shampoos they make.

Shampoo usually has ingredients that are designed to nourish and protect your hair. Also, dish soaps smell different to shampoos, and the smell remains on your hair after you wash it.

And although dish soap doesn’t smell bad, shampoo can give your hair a better smell overall.

Can You Use Dish Soap to Clean Puppies?

A puppy getting a bath in the tub

Dish soap works really well to wash your puppies, but you should be careful not to get any in your puppies eyes, because it stings. It’s recommended to also use white vinegar, as the white vinegar will kill bacteria that causes odors.

The recommended amount of each ingredient is:

  • 2 cups of water
  • ¼ a cup of dish soap
  • ½ a cup of white vinegar.

Pour each of these into a spray bottle.

To wash a puppy with it, first wet down your puppy with warm water – warm water is more comfortable for your puppy than cold water.

Then spray the shampoo all over their body, without getting any on their eyes. Then massage it in using your fingers until it all lathers up.

Then rinse it off, and dry your puppy off gently with a towel.

Can You Use Dish Soap to Clean Your Oven?

Cleaning the inside of an oven

Dish soap works well to clean your oven, oven trays and racks. You can also soak the trays in water and dish soap for a long time – over night is ideal. But, for the interior a paste made of baking soda and water works best.

Most people typically can’t soak the trays in your kitchen sink because they don’t fit, and a good place to soak them is in your bathtub.

However, the trays can chip and scratch the bottom of the bath, so you’ll want to put down an old towel at the bottom of the bath, so the trays don’t come in contact with the bottom and sides of the bath.

For the interior a mix of baking soda and water is the best, and when you make it you want to use just enough water with the baking soda so that it turns into a paste.

You then smear it on all the interior surfaces of your oven including the inside of the door, and leave it to sit for a few hours. After that you then wipe all the baking soda paste off using a dish cloth.

As you do this, gunk, ash, and grease will come off onto the cloth. When washing the cloth in between wipes, hot water works really well because it melts all the oil and grease. And it comes out of the cloth much easier.

Can You Use Dish Soap to Clean Leather?

Cleaning a leather sofa

Dish soap can be used to clean leather and it’s recommended to mix it together with water in a bucket with 1 part dish soap to 5 parts water. Then apply it to the leather using a spray bottle or by wiping it on. After that use a clean cloth to wipe it off.

You should repeat this process until you can’t see any grime on the cloth, and means you’ve removed everything and it’s completely clean.

Some people like to apply a leather conditioner, however, most leather products have a coating which protects the leather. And when you clean leather you’re not actually cleaning the leather directly, but, instead wiping the dirt off the protective layer that the leather has.

Can You Use Dish Soap to Clean a Dog?

A dog wrapped in a towel after a bath

You can use dish soap to clean a dog. A good general purpose dog shampoo can be made by mixing dish soap with water, and vinegar. Because vinegar is a weak acid it kills bacteria which live on your dog which eliminates any odors.

This mixture can be used on dogs of any age, even puppies. The ingredients are:

  • 2 cups of water
  • ¼ a cup of vinegar
  • ¼ a cup of dish soap

If you want to make a little or a lot you can divide or multiply the amount by the same amount.

For example, if you want to make twice as much multiply the amounts of each ingredient by 2. Which would be 4 cups of water, ½ a cup of vinegar, and ½ a cup of dish soap.

How to clean your dog using the dish soap mixture

To clean your dog with this mixture mix it all in a bucket or in a spray bottle. Then wet down your dog using warm water, or cold water if it’s a hot day. Then spray the mixture all over your dog. Or soak the cloth in the mixture and wipe it all over your dog.

Then rub it all in using your hands and fingers until it gets all soapy. After that rinse it all off, and dry off your dog using a towel, or let your dog shake it all off and run around if it’s a hot day.

Can You Use Dish Soap to Clean a Bike and Your Bike Chain?

Close up of bike chain and pedal

You can clean a bike and a bike chain using dish soap. This works better than degreasers specifically made for bikes. To clean your bike chain and the rest of your bike use some dish soap mixed with water.

Specialty made degreasers can strip the lubricant from your chain, and cassette. When that happens you need to apply lubricant again. So, using dish soap rather than bicycle degreasers saves you time.

To clean your entire bike and the chain, make a mixture using a ratio of 1 part dish soap to 5 parts water. Then spray it onto your bike, or use a cloth to wipe down your bike.

You can also give it a scrub with a soft brush – nothing too hard that it will scour or scratch the surface of your bike.

Then rinse it off again and repeat again as necessary. To clean the chain you can remove it and soak it in water and dish soap mixture. But this is typically a major, and requires a chain link too. So, it’s typically easier to clean it while it’s still your bike.

Just be sure to rotate the pedal so that you don’t skip the parts of the chain that are against the cassette.

Can You Use Dish Soap to Clean Clothes?

Laundry in a basket that's sitting on a white sofa

Dish soap works just as well as laundry powder to clean clothes. Use 1 teaspoon of dish soap for small loads, 2 teaspoons for medium sized loads, and 3 teaspoons for large loads.

This is a good amount for clothes that are sweaty, or have been worn once. But, if they contain oil, dirt, or food stains, it’s best to soak them for a few hours or overnight. This will give you a much better clean.

You also might want to put dish detergent directly onto the stains. For mud, you’ll want to soften it first by soaking it, and remove any of it that will come off using your hand or a cloth. Then apply some dish soap directly onto the area.

But, don’t do this on garments that have delicate fabric, or that could potentially be ruined by the dish soap. And you’ll want to test out the dish soap on an area of the garment that you won’t see, to make sure it doesn’t change the color, or change the fabric.

Can You Use Dish Soap to Clean Wood Floors?

Woman tired of mopping hardwood floors

You can use dish soap to clean wood floors. But, you should wipe up off any water and dish soap as soon as possible because any water that sits on wooden floors will absorb into the wood, and can change its shape.

So, it’s best to dry off your wooden floors using a dry mop, or towels as soon as possible after you’ve washed it.

When wood absorbs water it expands and when it dries it contracts. As the wood absorbs water it changes its shape, then when it dries it locks that shape into the wood. Which makes it uneven and not at perfect as when it was first installed.

The recommended method for cleaning wooden floors is to lightly spray one section of your floor with a cleaner, and then use a microfiber mop to wipe the area.

So, you’ll want to make a mixture of about 5 parts water to 1 part dish soap into a spray bottle, to clean your wood floors. The main thing to keep in mind is that you should only spray a little bit, and don’t completely wet down your wooden floors like you would on vinyl, or linoleum.

Can You Use Dish Soap to Clean Walls?

Woman that is cleaning the walls with a sponge

Dish soap can be used to clean both wallpaper, painter, concrete, and wooden walls. However, all walls are unique, and you should test out a mixture of dish soap and water on a small patch of your wall to see if it causes any discoloration.

The method for cleaning walls using dish soap is to:

Step 1: Wipe off any dust using a dry cloth, broom, and/or a feather duster.

Step 2: Spray the area lightly with a mixture of dish soap and water.

Step 3: Then wipe the area clean with a cloth.

Be sure to alternate the parts of the cloth you’re using so that you don’t spread any grime, mould, or dirt. And you can rinse your cloth in a bucket of clean water in between wipes, or once your cloth becomes really dirty.

You also want to try to wait for a hot day and open up all the curtains and windows so that your walls dry quickly. And you want to avoid spraying too much water/dish soap mixture on your walls, as it can soak in. When the water sits on the walls without drying mould can grow, and it can discolor and warp your walls.

Can You Use Dish Soap to Clean the Bathtub?

Person wearing rubber gloves and cleaning the bathroom tub

Dish soap is the best cleaner to use on your bathtub. A fast way to clean your bathtub with dish soap is to spread it out all over the surface of your bathtub, and then take a broom, or small brush and scrub the area down.

Then rinse or wipe it off using clean water. You can rinse it all off with the help of the shower head if it’s that type of bathtub, or use a cloth that is soaked with water to push the dish soap down the drain.

You can also grab a jug, large cup, or saucepan, fill it with water, and then pour it over the bath to rinse off the dish soap a bit faster.

Once the dish soap starts to dry it becomes hard to remove, and you’ll end up needing to scrub it down again. So, it’s best to rinse and wipe off the dish soap as soon as possible after you’ve scrubbed it down.

Can You Use Dish Soap to Clean Granite?

Person wearing rubber gloves and cleaning granite countertop

Granite is a very hard rock that is a combination of hard minerals like quartz and feldspar and amphibole, that are unaffected by dish soap, so you can use dish soap to clean granite.

To clean granite with dish soap simply add a few drops to a wet dish cloth and wipe it down. And if you have a really large area, you can mix water with dish soap in a spray bottle and spray down the area. Then wipe it down using a cloth.

If you have hardened food on it, for example ice cream or syrup, you should spray it and leave it to soak for a bit, or use a light brush to soften it up enough that it comes off.

Unlike wood, it’s unaffected by water, and you can let water sit on it for as long as you like.

Can You Use Dish Soap to Clean a Pipe?

Glass pipe

You can clean a glass pipe using dish soap. But, a wooden pipe is best cleaned using rubbing alcohol. To clean a glass pipe using dish soap you should boil it in a saucepan with a few drops of dish soap for 15 to 30 minutes. And then wipe out the gunk using a q tip.

As you boil it, some of the gunk will loosen and come off, rising to the surface of the water. Which is pretty easy.

Then when using a q tip insert it into your pipe and wipe it around to loosen the gunk. As you do this, it will also wipe the sides of the inside of your pipe making it look like new.

Then tap it out and run it under hot water to get the gunk out. Don’t use cold water after you’ve boiled it because it will make the gunk harden again which makes it harder to remove.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, 15 things you can clean with dish soap. As you can see dish soap is very versatile and can be used to clean your home, clothing, hair, hands, and pets. The typical amount you want to use is 1 part dish soap to 4 or 5 parts water.

And it works really well to cut grime and grease, and is easier and more effective than cleaning with just water alone.

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