We ran out of dish soap the other day. Normally, I hit up the local co-op or Whole Foods for some hippie dish soap, but this time none of those places were on my errand list. Rather than drive out of my way, I popped into a run of the mill local grocery story to see what I could find.
What I learned sort of surprised me!
There were three options for "green" dish soap: Palmolive Pure + Clear, Seventh Generation, and Clorox Greenworks. Obviously, some photo-taking and label-reading were in order!
Palmolive Pure + Clear
The first bottle I grabbed was the Palmolive. The packaging was really visually appealing - clear plastic with minimal labeling, probably intended to show how pure and clear the soap inside is. Their label was so minimalist that it didn't list a single ingredient!
Nice try, Palmolive. If you're not confident enough to list what's in the bottle, I'm not confident enough to shell out $2.99.
Greenworks goes the nature themed route with their packaging, featuring a giant flower on the front and an endorsement from the Sierra Club on the back. They were kind enough to list their ingredients. Check it:
Filtered water, coconut-based cleaning agents (anionic and nonionic surfactants, alkyl polyglucoside, sodium lauryl sulfate, lauramine oxide), corn-based ethanol, fragrance with essential oils, biodegradable preservative, citric acid, blue and yellow colorant
The bottle also declares that it's free of phosphates.
Not so much an ideal ingredient list, but at least they're up front about what's in the bottle.
This is my fall back dish soap. Most places carry it, I believe in the brand, and it's not too pricey. For whatever reason, I was feeling curious that day though, so I decided to compare ingredients with Greenworks.
The back of the Seventh Generation bottle gives you a summary of ingredients and talks a bit about what's not in their product. If you want to actually access the ingredients list, you have to peel up the back label to see the hidden label underneath. Weird! Why wouldn't they just find space back there to tell us what's in their product?
So I peeled back the label to reveal their ingredients list:
Aqua (water), sodium lauryl sulfate, lauramine oxide, decyl glucoside and lauryl polyglucose (plant-derived cleaning agents), 1,3 -propanediol (plant-derived foam stabilizer), citric acid (cornstarch-derived water so_ener), sodium chloride (thickener), magnesium chloride (cleaning enhancer), essential oils and botanical extracts* (citrus aurantifolia (lime), lavendula angustifolia (lavender), mentha spicata (spearmint), mentha piperita (peppermint), cananga odorata (ylang ylang)), 2-Methyl-4-isothiazolin-3-one & 1,2-Benzisothiazolin-3-one (MIT/BIT) (preservatives). *d-limonene is a naturally occurring component of these ingredients.
It actually has far more ingredients than the Greenworks variety, and both contain sodium lauryl sulfate. Hmmm....
I'm feeling a little disillusioned with Seventh Generation right now! I ended up going with Greenworks' "free and clear" variety. It was on sale, and I was feeling like it was six of one and half a dozen of the other. What would you guys have done in my situation?
None of these were ideal choices. Maybe it's time to start making my own dish soap? At the very least, I need to research more to find brands I can feel better about. Do you guys have a favorite brand of natural dish soap? What about a recipe for making your own that's worked well? I'd love to hear about your experiences!
Washing Dishes. Creative Commons photo by jek-a-go-go
All other photos by Becky Striepe