The 12 Best Dish Soaps of 2022

Dawn Dish Soap is the best dish soap because of its affordability, effectiveness, and reliability.

In This Article

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Tout: 12-best-dish-soaps-of-2022-tout

Target

Whether you prefer to clean your dishes, pots, pans, and any other kitchen utensils by scrubbing with a sponge, soaking, the two-basin method, or some other combination, dish soap is key to getting all your kitchenware clean. 

There are a variety of dish soaps on the market, and while the formulations vary, they all have the same primary purpose. Alexandra Wojenski, sustainable cleaning expert and Grove Guide at Grove Collaborative, shares, “Powder, foam, bar, and liquid dish soap have different formulas but all function similarly which is to clean and remove grease from dishes.” 

To find the best dish soaps, we researched multiple dish soaps while considering factors like type, size, scent, effectiveness, versatility, and more. We selected Dawn Dish Soap as the best overall dish soap because of its affordability, reliability, and effectiveness against grease. 

Here are the best dish soaps.

Best Overall: Dawn Original Dish Soap

dawn-original-dish-soap

Target

Why You Should Get It: 

  • 35% less post-consumer waste in bottles
  • Affordable 
  • Easy to find

Keep in Mind: 

  • Only one scent

Dawn Original Dish Soap is a standby, well-known dish soap—and for good reason. This classic pick is the best overall dish soap because it requires less scrubbing than other dish soaps. It’s also a versatile choice since it can be used on more than just dishes. Dawn can remove grease and grime from a variety of surfaces, and you can even use it to tackle grease and oil stains on clothes.

It comes in one original scent, and the original formulation hasn’t changed much over the years. The concentrated formula is thicker than other dish soaps while effectively cleaning your dishes with less product. While Dawn has expanded the product line to include spray cleaners, free and clear options, and more, the original dish soap is our top choice for the best dish soap because it’s affordable, easy to find, and effective. 

Additionally, the dish soap brand is dedicated to sustainability and wildlife with its “Dawn for Good” initiative. Their products are free of phosphates, phthalates, and triclosan, and their original soap is used to gently and effectively clean birds and other wildlife after major oil spills. 

Price at time of publish: $6

Product Details:

  • Type: Liquid
  • Size: 19.4, 28, 38, 56, and 75 ounces
  • Scent: Original scent

Best Budget: AJAX Dish Soap

ajax-dish-soap

Walmart

Why You Should Get It: 

  • Effective
  • Inexpensive
  • Widely available 

Keep in Mind: 

  • Orange scent and color 
  • Not particularly attractive on the countertop

Ajax dish soap is the best dish soap for those looking for an effective and affordable option. It comes in a range of sizes, from 14 to 90 ounces. Whether you need a small sized dish soap for a week at a vacation rental or want some cost savings with a giant bottle, Ajax is a widely available, go-to cleaner. 

The formula is said to be safe and gentle on hands, so much so that it will eliminate bacteria on hands and can be used as a hand soap in addition to dish soap. Phosphate-free, Ajax is hard to miss with the bright orange liquid filling the bottle. It has an orange scent that is derived from 100% “real citrus extract.” If you have a sensitive nose, the smell may be overpowering, but it works well to cut grease and leave dishes clean. 

For some kitchens, the bright orange look and oversized logo on the bottle may not be a welcome addition to the sink or countertop. If you don’t like the look of it in the bottle, simply decant the liquid into a more attractive dish soap dispenser. 

Price at time of publish: $3

Product Details:

  • Type: Liquid
  • Size: 28, 52, or 90 ounces
  • Scent: Orange 

Best Antibacterial: Palmolive Antibacterial

palmolive-antibacterial

Walmart

Why You Should Get It: 

  • Antibacterial formula removes germs
  • Bottle is made from 100% recycled plastic
  • Readily available
  • Made from 100%biodegradable materials 

Keep in Mind: 

  • Antibacterial dish soap is not necessary
  • Orange citrus scent may be too strong for some

If you’re immunocompromised, have a house full of sniffles, or just want some extra peace of mind, an antibacterial dish soap may be the best dish soap for you. Palmolive has created a line of antibacterial dish soap that claims that it can clean 99.99% of bacteria on dishes and kitchen surfaces. In addition to being an effective dish soap, this product line can also double as a hand soap, so you can use one product for all your hand and dish hygiene needs. Besides doing the tough job of removing germs, the soap comes in a bottle made from 100% recycled plastic and the Palmolive ingredients are 100% biodegradable. 

Do note that most experts agree that antibacterial dish soap is not necessary for cleaning your dishes and kitchen items. Cleaning with standard dish soap and warm soapy water will remove bacteria from your dishes. While you enjoy your peace of mind, you may be paying a bit more for the antibacterial agents. 

Price at time of publish: $4

Product Details:

  • Type: Liquid 
  • Size: 20 and 46 ounces
  • Scent: Orange 

Best for Grease: Dawn Platinum Powerwash Starter Kit

dawn-platinum-powerwash-starter-kit

Amazon

Why You Should Get It:

  • Kit includes refill
  • Cleans caked-on mess
  • Long trigger spray bottle 

Keep in Mind: 

  • Expensive
  • Doesn’t replace regular dish soap

The Dawn Platinum Powerwash Starter Kit is the best dish soap for stubborn grease stains. The formula is different from standard liquid dish soap. Unlike pourable soap, this power wash comes in a spray bottle that sprays out foamy soap. We love the smooth, continuous trigger, which results in an extended spray when you engage the trigger. More expensive than other cleaners, this is an excellent dish soap to have on hand, but it may work best in addition to your regular dish soap. If you’ve got everyday dirty dishes, stick with everyday dish soap. Call in the big guns of the power wash when you need to wash a very greasy item or to loosen caked-on messes. 

To use it, spray the wash onto your kitchen items, wipe them down with a sponge, and rinse off. For hard-to-budge stuck-on messes or greasy baking sheets, you can spray the wash, leave the cleaner on for a few minutes, and then scrub off. Because of the extended trigger spray, one pull of the trigger will emit enough product to cover a whole pan, sheet tray, or another big item. 

We love this as an option for greasy or stubborn messes. It’s not cost-efficient or necessary to use this soap on everyday items that aren’t messy. We like that this starter kit comes with a second refill bottle, so you’ll already have one on hand when you use all of the original bottle. 

Price at time of publish: $9

Product Details:

  • Type: Spray
  • Size: 16-ounce bottle with a 16-ounce refill
  • Scent: Fresh scent

Best Unscented: Seventh Generation Free & Clear Dish Soap

seventh-generation-free-clear-dish-soap

Target

Why You Should Get It: 

  • Scent-free
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Widely available 

Keep in Mind: 

  • Refill bottles are harder to find

For those with a sensitive nose or skin or if you just prefer soaps without a scent, this hypoallergenic dish soap from Seventh Generation is the best unscented dish soap we’ve found. Dermatologist-tested, the Free & Clear line features a plant-based formula and is never tested on animals. Seventh Generation is a Certified B Corporation, meaning it’s certified better for workers, communities, and the environment. 

The dye-free formula is inexpensive, effective, and available at grocery stores and major retailers. The soap is 100% biodegradable and the bottle is also made from 100% recycled plastic. Seventh Generation also sells 50-ounce refill bottles of dish soap, so if you like the formula, you can stock up and save. If you do prefer a scented soap, Seventh Generation also makes dish soaps that are naturally scented with options like clementine, lavender, and lemongrass. 

Some users share that in colder temperatures, the soap turns a cloudy or white color. This is just a reaction to lower temperatures and won’t impact the formula or its effectiveness. To bring it back to a liquid state, the bottle of soap just needs to warm back to room temperature, or at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Price at time of publish: $4

Product Details:

  • Type: Liquid
  • Size: 19 or 50 ounces 
  • Scent: Scent-free

Best Scented: Caldrea Dish Soap

caldrea-dish-soap

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: 

  • Nature-inspired scents
  • Each scent has a full product line
  • Aesthetically pleasing bottle 

Keep in Mind: 

  •  More expensive than traditional dish soaps

If you want to enjoy pleasantly fresh aromas while washing your dishes, the Caldera dish soap is the best dish soap for you. With nine luxurious scents to choose from, this soap choice is a splurge-worthy addition to your kitchen counter. Since it is more expensive than other options, swapping the Caldrea dish soaps out during holidays is a nice way to use them for special occasions.

Made from plant-derived ingredients, the formulation is gentle on skin. One downside is since it’s concentrated, the formula is thicker and more viscous than others. When there’s less than half a bottle left, it takes a little time to pour the soap out of the bottle. There’s no pump and the bottle can’t be stored upside down because of the shape of the lid. 

The Gilded Balsam Birch scent is lovely for the winter holidays–it smells of balsam wood, cardamom, and eucalyptus. If you find a fragrance you like, Caldrea makes items within each fragrance line including room spray, countertop spray, candles, hand soap, and more. High-quality dish soap also makes a lovely hostess gift; soap is useful and a splurge you might not always spend on yourself. 

Price at time of publish: $10

Product Details:

  • Type: Liquid
  • Size: 16 ounces
  • Scent: Gilded balsam birch, lavender cedar leaf, sea salt neroli, juniper laurel mint, basil blue sage, ginger pomelo, pear blossom agave, rosewater driftwood, tangelo palm frond

Best Spray: 9 Elements Spray Spray

9-elements-spray

Target

Why You Should Get It: 

  • Three step process
  • Cuts grease, hard water residue, and caked-on mess
  • Dye-free

Keep in Mind: 

  • Only one scent is available

This option from 9 Elements is the best dish soap if you’re looking for a spray option. As the name suggests, this brand is made with “never more than 9 ingredients” and all the ingredients are free of dyes, synthetic fragrances, preservatives, and more. While vinegar is one of those nine ingredients, so is lemon peel oil, so this spray has a fresh, lemony scent. 

This spray cleaner is made to be used instead of liquid soap. Simply scrape any food off your dishes, fully squeeze the trigger and spray directly onto the dishes, wipe off your mess with a sponge, and then rinse to remove soap. For heavily soiled dishes or pans, allow the sudsy spray to sit for a minute or two and then wipe off. 

While it’s made of vinegar, users say there’s no overpowering vinegar scent, and the lemon scent is subtle but present. If you don’t like lemon, you may want to opt for another dish soap since the spray is only available in one scent. 

If you do purchase this bottle, when you’re done, keep the reusable sprayer. The brand sells refill bottles that come without the sprayer. Once you save the sprayer, just screw it onto the refill bottle.

Price at time of publish: $6

Product Details:

  • Type: Spray
  • Size: 16 ounce 
  • Scent: Lemon scent 

Best Refillable: Grove Co. Ultimate Dish Soap Refill

grove-co-ultimate-dish-soap-refill

Target

Why You Should Get It: 

  • Packaged in infinitely recyclable aluminum
  • Made with 100% natural fragrance
  • Eight scents available 

Keep in Mind: 

  • Dish soap dispenser not included

Refillable dish soaps are smart for the environment and your wallet, and this option from Grove Co. is the best dish soap for those looking to make more eco-friendly decisions. The refillable dish soap comes in a slim aluminum container that holds 16 ounces of liquid dish soap. Grove Co. has five year-round scents and four limited-edition holiday fragrances. 

All of their formulas are free of dyes or parabens. The aluminum container is easily recyclable, and the brand also sells a soap dispenser separately that you can pour the dish soap into. 

A refillable soap is a good opportunity to purchase an attractive dish soap dispenser but does require an added purchase. From Wojenski’s point of view, refillable soaps are a wise option, “The soap in refills is the same quality that comes in the bottle originally, and it creates less waste.” Because of its recyclability, focus on the environment, and effectiveness, this is the best dish soap if you’re looking for a refillable option.

Price at time of publish: $5

Product Details:

  • Type: Liquid
  • Size: 16 ounces
  • Scent: Year-round: Apple and pear blossom, free and clear, lavender blossom and thyme, lemon and eucalyptus, orange and rosemary; Limited edition: crisp balsam fir, frosted sugar plum, mulled apple, and spiced pumpkin

Best Natural: Public Goods Dish Soap

public-goods-dish-soap

Public Goods

Why You Should Get It: 

  • Minimalist bottle 
  • Organic

Keep in Mind: 

  • Only available in one scent
  • Can only be purchased online

An effective, plant-based ingredient list makes the Public Goods dish soap one of our top picks and a smart choice for natural soap. It features ingredients like sea salt, coconut-based elements, mandarin orange, and purified water. Though it contains gentle ingredients, the concentrated formula is still able to tackle grime and reviewers note that it soaps up well and is effective. Made in the U.S., the formula is vegan, cruelty-free, paraben- and sulfate-free. It’s also fully biodegradable. The bottle is plastic, but can likely be recycled. 

With all of this in mind, there’s no skimping on power with this choice. The soap is effective, produces bubbles, and works well at tackling dishes and hard-to-remove residue. The minimalist style of the bottle and clear formula is attractive enough to leave on your counter without worrying about decanting. This pick is only available in one scent, which reviewers praise as mild and lovely. If you’re not a fan of mandarin basil, you may want to choose a different option. One drawback, this soap is not readily available and must be purchased online, so there’s no opportunity to smell the scent in-store before purchase. 

Product Details: $6

  • Type: Liquid
  • Size: 16 ounces 
  • Scent: Mandarin basil 

Best Powder: Bar Keepers Friend Powdered Cleanser

Bar Keepers Friend

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: 

  • Useful for household cleaning 

Keep in Mind

  • Formulation has a distinct smell and feel
  • Rubber gloves are suggested for anyone with sensitive skin 
  • Powder should be stored upright

This powder cleaning agent should be a standby in every kitchen. While the bleach-free formula is not for everyday use, it’s an amazing go-to for many food-related cleaning needs. Barkeepers Friend will clean the inside and outside of pots, pans, and cookware as well as remove stubborn food residue. To use it, simply wet the surface that needs to be cleaned, sprinkle some Barkeepers Friend on the item, and then use a damp sponge or cloth to clean the residue off. Rinse thoroughly after removing any leftover powder. 

Besides cleaning all those kitchen items, it’s a useful cleaner for oven doors, soap-scummed bathrooms, and outdoor grills or equipment. While there is no scent listed, the formula does contain oxalic acid, so keep it away from your eyes. You may also want to wear rubber gloves when you use Barkeepers Friend. 

This formula is a great option for super stuck-on messes, super greasy pots or pans, or any situation where you think traditional dish soap just isn’t going to clean the mess. While it is a little more time-consuming, Barkeepers Friend is an effective product to keep on hand for big messes. It’s not necessary to use it for everyday dishwashing, but for the moments you need something stronger, this is a helpful choice to have in the kitchen.

Price at time of publish: $7

Product Details:

  • Type: Powder
  • Size: 21 ounces 
  • Scent: No scent listed

Best Solid: No Tox Life Vegan Dish Block

No Tox Life Vegan Dish Washing Block

Courtesy of Amazon

Why You Should Get It: 

  • Environmentally friendly
  • One soap block can last for months

Keep in Mind: 

  • Soap dish and scrubbing brush not included

Solid dish soap is a plastic-free alternative to liquid dish soap. This vegan formula is unscented and gentle on the skin, making it a safe choice if liquid dish soaps irritate or dry your skin. Made of plant-derived ingredients, the biodegradable formula is free of fragrance, dyes, sulfates, and other skin irritants. 

To use the solid soap, you’ll need to get a soap dish or caddy and a scrubbing brush (neither are included). You’ll also want to find a place to keep these items on your counter. Simply wet and scrub the brush into the block soap and then use the brush to clean your dishes. It has a shelf life of 5 years, and the bar of soap is equivalent to three bottles of liquid soap. 

Billed as a multi-purpose product, the block soap can also effectively remove sticky labels, remove stains from clothing, or spot-clean a carpet. When doing this type of cleaning for the first time, always test in an inconspicuous spot first. 

The dish and brush require an additional investment, but in the long run, you could save money because you won’t be buying multiple bottles of liquid soap. If you’re okay with some upfront costs and the loss of some counter space, this soap block is an innovative and effective soap alternative. 

Price at time of publish: $10

Product Details:

  • Type: Solid
  • Size: 6 ounces
  • Scent: Unscented 

The Bottom Line

Dish soap is a kitchen necessity that’ll keep your dishes, glasses, and other items sparkling clean. There are so many on the market; the good news is none of them are a major investment. Try a few and see what works best for your lifestyle, budget, and needs. Dawn Original Dish Soap is a grocery store basic that cleans dishes effectively, is gentle on hands, is readily available, and won’t bust your budget. For splurge-worthy soap with interesting scents, go for Caldrea Dish Soap. While it’s not for everyday use, Dawn Platinum Powerwash is the best dish soap for a caked-on mess. 

What To Know About Dish Soap Before Shopping

Effectiveness

The goal of dish soap is to properly clean your dishes, glasses, pots, pans, and other kitchen items. While sudsy bubbles may look like the symbol of cleanliness, they’re not necessary and don’t always indicate that a product is working well. To test if your soap is effective, just check that your items are clean after washing and no soapy residue is left behind.

Scents and Sensitivity

If you have sensitive skin or a strong sense of smell, you’ll want to consider the formulation and scent of your dish soap just as much as its effectiveness. Certain smells bother people while others love overly-scented soap. If you know you have sensitive skin, try a plant-based or free and clear soap product. Wearing rubber gloves while washing dishes is also a way to keep sensitive skin away from soap and warm water. 

Cost

A less expensive formula may be just as effective as a more expensive formula. While there is a range of costs for dish soaps on the market, none of the options on this list are exorbitantly expensive, so if a more costly option is within your budget and makes washing dishes more pleasurable, treat yourself! 

Your Questions, Answered

Can you put dish soap in the dishwasher? 

Short answer, no. “Dish soap and dishwasher detergent cannot be used interchangeably,” Wojenski says. “Detergents are formulated to produce low suds, which is necessary for a dishwasher. Running the dishwasher with regular dish soap will lead to a mess of overflowing suds leaking out.” 

Can you wash your car with dish soap? 

Although dish soap can be used to clean a variety of different items, it shouldn’t be used to wash your car. “It can be tempting to grab the readily available and grease-cutting dish soap to wash your car, but this is not recommended,” Wojenski says. “The grease-cutting surfactants in dish soap can be too abrasive and strip the protective top coat or wax on cars.” 

Who We Are 

This article was written by Maya Polton, an experienced freelance writer who has written for a wide variety of publications. In looking at dish soap, she aimed for brands that offered a variety of formulations, affordable prices, and effective cleaning. She also interviewed Alexandra Wojenski, sustainable cleaning expert and Grove Guide at Grove Collaborative, for insight on how to pick and use dish soap. Maya cooks a lot for her family of five but doesn’t love doing the dishes. Isn’t it fair that the person who cooks doesn’t need to wash the dishes?

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles