How Dirty is Your Dish Soap?
Whether you hand wash your dishes like Cinderella or use a dishwasher, chances are you use a chemical detergent to get the dirty work done. Dish soap may help get your dishes squeaky clean, but unfortunately, most common brands of detergent are made from petroleum products with a whole bunch of chemical additives which aren't always good for you or the environment. Below are some top issues to look out for next time you are in the cleaning section of CVS or Target:
Sulfates are used to make soaps foam. And though foam doesn't necessarily make the dish detergent more effective, consumers have come to expect a lather of bubbles to form whenever they do dishes. During the manufacturing of sulfates, a chemical called dioxane is often formed, which is both carcinogenic and an environmental contaminant. Because dioxane doesn't easily break down, it remains in waterways long after running down the drain with the dishwater.
Due to an FDA loophole, companies do not need to include the contents of their fragrances on ingredients labels for cleaning, bath, and body products. Fragrance is considered proprietary (company secret), so there could be all sorts of chemicals lurking in your soaps without your knowledge. Some common fragrance ingredients are known allergens and carcinogens. Avoid exposure to these chemicals buy purchasing only soaps that are unscented or scented with essential oils.
Home products in plastic packaging may have traces of nasty stuff like BPA and phthalates that have leached into the product whenever the packaging changes temperature drastically. Look for glass packaging, BPA-free packaging, or number 5 recyclable plastic packaging - these are all safer options.
The best thing you can do is be mindful when you shop, or make your own cleaning supplies from natural ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice whenever possible. If that sounds like too much of a hassle, choose a dish soap that is approved by the Environmental Working Group, like Eco Me. I recently tried a free sample of Eco Me dish soap, and not only does it get the job done, it is also sulfate-free, artificial fragrance-free, and packaged in BPA-free plastic! Plus, at $6 per bottle, it is definitely affordable!