Companies and Brands

Avoid All Dish Soap Brands, Except These 7

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No one enjoys doing the dishes, but that is nothing new. The undesirable task has been spurned for centuries, so much so that Joe Hoghton invented the first dishwasher all the way back in 1850. It required manual operation, but it still demonstrates just how much people wanted a better option for cleaning dishes. The first electrical dishwasher was invented 74 years later by English inventor, William Howard Livens.

Though most modern homes are now equipped with efficient and effective machines that wash dishes automatically, those devices have not completely eliminated the need for handwashing dishes. For a variety of reasons, many of us still often find ourselves reaching for the dish soap to manually wash the dishes.

Which Dish Soap Is Best?

Woman in apron and gloves washing dishes at home kitchen.
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Even with the proliferation of dishwashers, many of us still handwash dishes regularly.

If you’re going to handwash the dishes, you might as well make it as easy and effective as possible. That means choosing a high-quality dish soap. If you stroll the dish soap aisle at your local grocery store, you’ll find the shelves filled with different brands. Some of these brands are more effective than others, though. We found seven dish soap brands that are worthy of a place at your kitchen sink. (But if clean carpets rather than clean dishes is your highest priority at the moment, here’s a look at eight vacuum cleaner brands that you should definitely consider.)

24/7 Wall St. consulted six different product review websites as well as customer reviews on retail sites. We weighted reviews equally and tabulated the results using an aggregate scoring system. Seven brands landed at the top of our score sheet. The brands are ranked from seventh to first place.

We only reviewed traditional dish soap. Many of these brands also offer other dish-cleaning products, such as sprays. While those were not included in our survey, it is reasonable to assume the effectiveness of those products would be comparable to these brands’ conventional dish soaps.

The prices listed reflect the brand’s baseline dish soap. Most brands offer multiple variations of sizes, scents, and formulations of their dish soaps. The prices listed were accurate at the time of publication and may vary by store or location.

7. Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day dish soap
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Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day is a great eco-friendly dish soap.
  • Parent Company: SC Johnson
  • Expected Price: $4.99
  • Size: 16 fl oz

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Review

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day dish soap
Source: Courtesy of Mike Edmisten via 24/7 Wall St.
Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day dish soap comes in a variety of scents.

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day dish soap is a great biodegradable option. It is made with essential oils and plant-derived ingredients. All products from this brand are cruelty-free and Leaping Bunny certified.

This brand is a wonderful example of an eco-friendly product that is also quite effective. Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day dish soap cuts through grease and grime. It also comes in a wide variety of delightful and unique scents, including Dandelion, Tomato Vine, Fresh Cut Grass, Mint, Daisy, Iowa Pine, Lilac, Honeysuckle, Lavender, Snowdrop, Peppermint, Rain Water, and many others.

One customer said, “This dish soap is excellent and I’m recommending it to everyone I know! Most importantly to me, it is cruelty-free, but it packs a major punch when it comes to cleaning too. It works much better than other natural products I’ve tried and smells great.”

6. Ajax

Ajax dish soap
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Ajax is an effective dish soap at a bargain price.
  • Parent Company: Colgate-Palmolive
  • Expected Price: $2.74
  • Size: 28 fl oz

Ajax Review

Ajax dish soap
Source: Courtesy of Mike Edmisten via 24/7 Wall St.
Ajax dish soap is available in lemon scent.

Ajax is a great budget-friendly dish soap. One reviewer noted, “[Ajax] works to remove baked-on food and grease from dishes, and it can also be used as a hand soap to remove bacteria from your hands after handling raw meat or other contaminants.”

One loyal customer noted, “As a brand I’ve used for more than fifty years, Ajax holds its own in a world of modernized detergents and cleaning products.”

Another said, “Some dish soaps make my skin dry and split, but Ajax is gentle yet it is antibacterial and cuts through tough grease…[it is] excellent for everyday dishwashing.”

Ajax Ultra dish soap is available in five varieties: Super Degreaser Lemon, Bleach Alternative Grapefruit, Vinegar + Lime, Citrus Scent + Salt, and Triple Action Orange.

5. Great Value

Great Value dish soap
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Great Value dish soap is overlooked by many, but it is a very effective product at a super low price.
  • Parent Company: Walmart, Inc.
  • Expected Price: $2.46
  • Size: 28 fl oz

Great Value Review

Great Value dish soap
Source: Courtesy of Mike Edmisten via 24/7 Wall St.
Great Value dish soap is available in Crisp Apple scent.

This may be the most surprising entry on our list. Generic store brands often have a reputation for being substandard, especially compared to major brands. In this case, though, Great Value dish soap from Walmart more than holds its own against the big brands.

One reviewer who tested the product reported, “The dirty bowl only needed only two rinses before it was squeaky clean. After the first scrub, all the dirt was off which meant the second rinse was just to remove any excess soap from the bowl.”

Customers concur with this report of Great Value dish soap’s effectiveness. One said, “ It works great in not only cleaning our dishes but on everything else in our home from cleaning bathrooms to floors to mirrors and windows and so much more!”

Another customer said, “At first, I was skeptical about this product due to the fact that most off-brand dish soaps are mainly water and don’t get [the job done]. This one, in fact, was awesome. I love it and will continue to buy it.”

Great Value Ultra Dish Liquid currently has 4.6 out of 5 stars in over 2,700 customer reviews. Considering how these reviews can be brutal at times, this may tell you all you need to know about this dish soap. As the most affordable dish soap on this list, Great Value certainly lives up to its name.

4. Gain

Gain dish soap
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Gain Ultra Clean dish soap will do just that…get your dishes “ultra clean.”
  • Parent Company: Procter & Gamble
  • Expected Price: $3.44
  • Size: 38 fl oz

Gain Review

Gain dish soap
Source: Courtesy of Mike Edmisten via 24/7 Wall St.
Gain is more famous for its laundry detergent, but the brand’s dish soap ought not to be missed.

Gain is probably better known for its laundry products, but don’t sleep on this brand’s dish soap. It is highly effective at cleaning dishes, plus it contains the fresh scent that has come to be associated with Gain’s laundry products.

One customer said, “Gain is the only kind of dishwashing liquid I use. I love how it gets my dishes clean and [has] a beautiful smell to go along with it.”

Another raved, “This is my favorite dish soap! [Gain]…leaves my dishes feeling squeaky clean with no lingering smell later when you drink out of a cup or use a bowl…Even super greasy dishes come clean quickly and it bubbles up really nicely. We’ve been using this for about 4 years now and I’ll never go back to another brand!”

Along with the Original Scent, Gain dish soap is also available in Honey Berry Hula.

3. Palmolive

Palmolive dish soap
Source: Courtesy of Mike Edmisten via 24/7 Wall St.
Palmolive’s claim that it “instantly cuts through grease” was verified by our reviewers.
  • Parent Company: Colgate-Palmolive
  • Expected Price: $2.85
  • Size: 20 fl oz

Palmolive Review

Palmolive dish soap
Source: Courtesy of Mike Edmisten via 24/7 Wall St.
Palmolive is available in multiple varieties, including Ultra Strength and Antibacterial.

The Palmolive brand dates back to 1898 with the introduction of its bar soap. It quickly became the best-selling soap in the world. Today, the Palmolive name is synonymous with dishwashing products. It remains one of the most steady and dependable brands found in millions of American kitchens.

One reviewer noted, “Palmolive is a trusted brand, and its Ultra Strength formula is designed to cut through grease and baked-on food. It’s an affordable and effective choice for everyday dishwashing.”

Another noted, “When you really want to get things clean — you have to use the good stuff. My go-to is…Palmolive…”

One customer said, “I absolutely love this product! This is all that I use. Most dish soap has a perfume smell that won’t rinse off. But not this one. It gets the job done.”

Another noted, “This is the best [dish] soap I have ever used. It is very good to get any dishes and pots and pans very clean. Gentle on my hands too. And the price is very low too. I will never use any other dishwashing soap.”

Palmolive dish soap comes in several varieties, including Ultra Strength, Oxy Power Degreaser, Antibacterial, Pure + Clean, and Experientials. Several of these varieties are available in various scents.

2. Seventh Generation

Seventh Generation dish soap
Source: Courtesy of Mike Edmisten via 24/7 Wall St.
Seventh Generation is an environmentally-friendly dish soap.

Parent Company: Unilever
Expected Price: $3.53
Size: 19 fl oz

Seventh Generation Review

Seventh Generation dish soap
Source: Courtesy of Mike Edmisten via 24/7 Wall St.
Seventh Generation dish soap is Safer Choice certified by the EPA.

Seventh Generation is another eco-friendly choice. It is a plant-based biodegradable product with no artificial dyes or fragrances. The brand’s products are cruelty-free and Leaping Bunny certified. They are also certified by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safer Choice program. The brand’s name comes from its commitment to consider its impact on the next seven generations. 

Seventh Generation is gentle on the environment, but it is one tough customer on dirty dishes. It cuts through grease with minimal “elbow grease.” And, as one reviewer noted, it won’t leave a sponge smelling “mildewy” over time, unlike some other dish soaps.

One customer noted, “The Seventh Generation Dish Liquid is high quality and easy to use! It’s great for scrubbing daily dishes in addition to tough food residue. The scent is pleasant and gentle, and the bottle is a great deal. The packaging is easy too. The environmental impact is reduced as well, as it has natural ingredients.”

Another said, “The cleaning power of this dish soap is impressive. It tackles grease and grime with ease, leaving my dishes spotless. I also like that it’s gentle on my hands; I don’t experience any dryness or irritation after washing dishes.”

Seventh Generation’s Free & Clear dish soap is made with no added fragrances. The brand also offers several naturally-scented varieties including Clementine Zest & Lemongrass, Lavender Flower & Mint, Fresh Lime & Ginger, and Yuzu Basil Scent with Phytogaia.

1. Dawn

Dawn dish soap
Source: Courtesy of Mike Edmisten via 24/7 Wall St.
Dawn is the best-selling dish soap in the U.S.
  • Parent Company: Procter & Gamble
  • Expected Price: $2.94
  • Size: 18 fl oz

Dawn Review

Dawn dish soap
Source: Courtesy of Mike Edmisten via 24/7 Wall St.
Dawn was the top dish soap in our survey.

Dawn is the best-selling dish soap in the U.S., and the reason is simple: this stuff just works.

One reviewer who rated Dawn as the top dish soap said, “The dish soap works by breaking down the bonds that hold grease together, allowing you to easily remove it from your pots, pans, and dishes.”

Another reviewer, who also placed Dawn in the top spot, said, “Dawn produces lots of long-lasting suds and holds grease in suspension so it doesn’t redeposit back onto dishes. It’s great for soaking and softening burned-on messes, and it takes only a little squirt to clean a big pile of dirty dishes. And it makes a handy grease stain remover for clothing, too.”

Not only is Dawn super effective at cleaning dishes, but it is also gentle enough to be the go-to product for cleaning aquatic birds and animals after catastrophic oil spills.

One customer noted, “I use a lot of olive oil in cooking so my dishes are always in need of degreasing….Dawn does the trick. You only need a teaspoon per sink full of dishes…”

Another said, “When there is a job to really clean deeply and degrease, this product wins… [It is] one I have trusted and recommend to anyone. It is not just for dishes either…”

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