Never Clean These 7 Things With Dish Soap

dish soap don'ts

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you probably already know that Dawn dish soap is one of my top cleaning ingredients — I use it for a myriad of cleaning tasks, both by itself and in my favorite DIY cleaners.

But as wonderfully as it works in many situations, there are certain things you should never clean with dish soap! I may or may not have discovered some of these the hard way, and I wanted to share these things so you don’t end up making the same mistakes.

7 Things You Should Never Clean With Dish Soap

don't clean with dish soap

1. Leather

Your skin isn’t the only thing that suffers when stripped of its natural oils. Dish soap strips away the natural emollients in leather, and you could easily find your good leather shoes, purses, furniture, and car seats cracking under the pressure.

Learn all about how to clean and care for leather the right way.

don't clean with dish soap

2. Hardwood Floors

The wood floors in your home are meant to be durable, but improper cleaning can leave them scratched and dingy. To clean them the right way, start by sweeping or vacuuming to remove sand and grit, then wet-mop them with a gentle cleanser made specifically for wood flooring. Get more details.

don't clean with dish soap

3. Silk

Have you ever wondered if you really need to buy a special detergent to clean delicate fabrics like silk? Unless you’re willing to risk damaging your best silk blouse, the answer is yes.

Because silk is protein-based, it’s especially important to avoid using harsh or strong detergents when cleaning it, and dish soap definitely counts as a strong detergent! See how to wash silk to learn the proper technique to keep your silks looking beautiful.

don't clean with dish soap

4. Cast Iron

Cast iron aficionados know how important it is to maintain a layer of baked and hardened oil (AKA “seasoning”) on their pans to prevent food from sticking. When cast iron pans are cleaned correctly, the seasoning will get better and stronger over time.

Dish soap is formulated to cut through grease and oil, so using a lot of it (or, heaven forbid, soaking the pan in soapy water) can break down the seasoning on your pan and put you back at square one. Most of the time, you won’t need any soap to clean out your cast iron — find out the best way to clean it.

don't clean with dish soap

5. Cars

Automotive paint may be tough enough to withstand the elements, road salt, bugs, and other road hazards, but it’s not meant to be washed with dish soap, and doing so could permanently damage the finish.

Dish soap can easily strip away the protective coating over the paint and leave it vulnerable to fading and oxidation. To avoid leaving your car’s finish looking dull and chalky, use a cleaning solution made for washing cars.

don't clean with dish soap

6. Your Dishwasher Or Washing Machine

Whether you’re trying to clean grime out of your dishwasher or you ran out of dishwasher detergent, you definitely don’t want to reach for dish soap. Dish soap and dish detergent may both clean dishes, but the formulas are totally different, and the amount of suds generated by dish soap could harm the machine (or else lead to bubbles galore and a big mess to clean up!)

The same goes for your washing machine — don’t put dish soap in it! It’s fine to use a small amount to spot-clean clothing stains, but otherwise dish soap produce more suds than your machine can handle.

Related: How To Clean Your Dishwasher in 3 Easy Steps (And Fix Most Dishwasher Problems)

Related: How To Clean A Washing Machine The Right Way

don't clean with dish soap

7. Coffee Makers

While it might be tempting to clean a coffee machine with grease-fighting dish soap to remove the oily residue coffee leaves behind, you’re better off avoiding it. This applies doubly to your machine’s water tank — putting soap into it will only create a bubbly mess and may prove impossible to rinse completely clean.

Instead, rinse your coffee maker well after each use, and when your coffee pot or tank does need a more thorough clean, use equal parts water and white vinegar to eliminate any hard water stains or mineral deposits. Be sure to rinse everything really thoroughly afterward too. (You can also use a descaler formulated for cleaning coffee equipment!)

Have you ever had an “uh-oh!” moment with dish soap?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


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