Can You Use Hand Soap As Dish Soap?

In a Nutshell, Yes! You can use hand soap like dish soap, but only as a stop-gap in case of an emergency or lack of proper dishwashing detergent, but you most definitely shouldn’t use soap as a detergent. 

If you’re a food enthusiast or a cook, you definitely know how to use your cutlery sets well. Treating a good number of people with your specialties during dinner, or even satiating your own hunger pangs in the middle of the night might come with a bag of burden – the sheer disappointment of being welcomed by your sink clamored with dirty dishes. To add to your misery, what if you happen to find yourself devoid of dish soaps at that point in time? The very next and best alternative to a dish soap would definitely be a hand soap for you, right? But No! Just hold on. You might just end up digging up a worse outcome for your sets. 

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So, you have hand soap, and you have dish soap. You are looking at both the bottles and saying to yourself that these look similar. We agree! They do look similar and surely identical depending on what brand or the kind you are using of these products. Even then, there is a distinct difference between both of these. One is just merely a soap. The other one is a wash-up liquid detergent (dish soap). 

What Is The Difference Between Hand Soap And A Dish Washing Detergent (Dish Soap)? 

Soaps are milder in nature, especially hand soaps, and they form a better foam when infused with warm water. They need to be rinsed several times with clear water to avoid any sort of residue which may be left. Soaps don’t do well in hard water; they just form into a scrum and fail to do a good job at cleaning anything. They need warm water to work well. 

Whereas a detergent-like dish soap, in this case, can tackle any level of water hardness. They do an excellent job of cleaning whatever it meant to clean, depending on the type of detergent you are using. They are heavy duty in nature, for lack of a better term, and most importantly, they do not leave any residues compared to normal soaps.

Here Is A Comparison Table Distinguishing Between Soaps And Detergent. 

Normal Soaps (Hand Soap)Liquid Detergent (Dish Soap) 
Works well only in soft warm and soft water.Works like a charm in any level of water hardness and any kind of temperature. 
Leaves residues of some sort and requires to be rinsed many times with clean water to get rid of it. Does not leave any sort of bad residues compared to a bar of soap and is easily rinsed. 
Milder cleaning agent and suitable for skin. Purpose made for specific items and in this case, to wash dishes, they are strong cleaning agents and cuts down on any debris, impurities, and waste. 
Made from natural ingredients. Made from chemical formulas and synthetic material.  

So, Does A Bar Of Soap Work?

If at all you’re in a place to absolutely resort to bar soaps, you might as well do so, only for about a few emergency washes. But since it’s bar soap, you’d often find it extremely difficult to wash the dishes if they’re huge in numbers. With bar soap, you do not have the ease of going fast like liquid soaps since they’re generally manufactured to cut grease. Also, they come with strong scents that you’d surely not like to experience during your next supper. So even if it comes handy for a handful, it might take you on a hectic roll once you start using them for heaps of soiled dishes in your sink. 

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Aren’t There Any Alternatives At All To Dish Soaps? 

Are you stuck in a dire situation of having run out of dish soaps? And there are guests coming over? And you’ve absolutely no time to take a trip to the grocery store? Worry not, for we’re here to cover for you. In cases like these, just head over to your kitchen and grab your Baking Soda. Yes! You read that right. Baking soda is the best alternative to dish soap. This being, very staple in every kitchen, serves handy during emergencies. They absorb a good amount of grease, that when fused with water, makes a lather paste that helps you get rid of food debris. 

Directions To Use Baking Soda as Dish Washer: 

1. Wear rubber gloves while using baking soda. 

2. Take ½ cup of baking soda  

3. Mix in a few tablespoons of water to the baking soda to form the paste. 

4. Make sure you’re using it to rinse with the hottest water that’s possible in order to disinfect. 

5. Try getting the dishes air-dried. 

Ways To Use Vinegar Mix As your Dishwasher:

For a stronger mix than that of baking soda and water, add a few drops of white vinegar to your paste for a richer lather. Smear your dirty dishes with the lather to work well on them. Rinse them off really well to help them get devoid of all sorts of grease or food bits.

Vinegar mix works like magic and can serve as a wonderful alternative to dish soaps. So, the next time you’re stuck with no dish soap at home, you can definitely give this makeshift soap a try. If you have your last exhausted dish soap bottle left, use it here.

1. Pour your vinegar mix and baking soda into the bottle, 

2. Add a small amount of water and 

3. Stir it all up to get it all mixed with the little layer of soap left in the bottle.

It’d surely be an added bonus to the cleansing effect. 


Finding an alternative in hand soap to a dish soap is a BIG no-no. Hand soaps contain antibacterial and antifungal agents and components which sure can sanitize your dishes, but they often come with additives, which absolutely aren’t safe for food. Experts have been dealing to resolve the dilemma between using hand soaps and dish soaps for a long and have been trivially divided into two segments vouching for the two alternatives. Even though for emergency purposes soaps can still be used if you don’t have anything available with you at that moment, but you have to be more cautious and use clean warm water in an effort to thoroughly rinse out any residue left of the soaps. We recommend that even if you don’t have the proper dish wash, just go buy a cheap one, it still works better than soaps and is much safer. 

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