What’s In Your Dishsoap?

Hey all:

I’ve been working on getting toxic cleaners out of our house for awhile now, and moving to using green alternatives. I had it almost completely done. Then I hit a snag: some of these natural cleaners require a lot of elbow grease and give a diminishing return. With all of my and Mrs. Linc’s various disabilities, we can’t wear ourselves out cleaning just to be green.

What we need are products that won’t break our bank, actually get things clean, last awhile, and won’t negatively affect our health. Every now and then I’ll write a post reviewing something we use at home. I’ll let you know about the ingredients, how easy it is to use, and whether we’re going to keep it or toss it.

Let’s start with our dishsoap.

We were paying almost $3/bottle for some all natural stuff. Then I was up at the dollar store and got a couple of bottles of Sun with Bleach Alternative. I felt a real difference almost immediately. Our dishes felt a lot cleaner and crud seemed to come off much easier. I am very much pleased with Sun dishsoap. Now, about the ingredients.

Hi! I get stuff really clean and don’t cost much.

Tonight it occurred to me that I don’t know what “with bleach alternative and clean scent” means. At first, I just turned the bottle around to look at the back. Nothing listed. In fact, there was no label at ALL!

Uh-oh! I’m naked back here! No ingredients for you.

Which means it’s time to go to the internet. Apparently lots of people want to know, because the link for the part of the site with ingredient sheets ranks higher than the home page does! Here is the sheet we need:

But we can’t just stop there. I read this through and am still at a loss. What do these words even mean? Let’s try and find out.

1) Sodium Dodecylbenzenesulfonate: According to Wikipedia, this is a colorless salt that is the main ingredient in laundry detergent. Apparently also in dishsoap, since it comes right after water. It’s called a “surfactant“. I looked that up too. That’s a blend word coming from the phrase “surface active agents“.

2) Methyl Ester Sulfonate: Looks like this is an alternative source of laundry detergent that comes from palm oil and coconut derivatives. It’s cheaper to use and has a much lower carbon footprint.

3) Palm Kernelamide DEA: SkinDeep says that this ingredient is a foaming agent and helps control viscosity.

4) Urea: Of course this is derived from urine and the urine process. Mostly used in fertilizer, urea has branched out into a LOT of different uses, including dishsoap and toothpaste. It can be (and usually is) man made. You’ll have to read the rest here.

5) Tetrasodium EDTA: Truth In Aging says this is a water soluble that helps preserve product formula and prevent microbial growth. I guess that would be a good thing to have in dishsoap. It may be a risk for the environment.

6) Methylchloroisothiazolinone: An anti-fungal preservative. Though it can cause reactions in pure form, it is often included in products that will come in contact with sensitive skin.

7) Methylisothiazolinone: This controls microbial growth in water-based products. (I wonder if it’s an ingredient in lube?) It may or may not have toxic effects in cellular growth. Experiments have been done.

8) Sodium MA/Diisobutylene Copolymer: A sodium salt polymer. I have no idea what it’s function is.

9) Sodium Citrate: It seems there are three different types of sodium citrate. Looks like it may be an acid buffer and stabilizer as well.

10) Sodium Benzotriazolyl Butylphenol Sulfonate: This one protects the products from being ruined by exposure to light.

11) Buteth-3: It’s another solvent. I guess when you make dishsoap you need a LOT of solvent ingredients.

12) Tributyl Citrate: According to this site, it occurs naturally in lemons and limes, and is also a plasticizer. Which is a fancy way of saying it makes things more fluid.

13) Liquitint® Yellow: It’s just there to make the product a pretty shade of yellow. Like a more natural version of Yellow #5, I think.

There it is! We’ve made our way through the entire list of unpronounceable and vague ingredients in the dishsoap Mrs. Linc and I use. And the final verdict?

Since it’s got a decent balance of chemical and more green leaning ingredients (if I read this right), costs a dollar a bottle, and gets the dishes REALLY clean, I hereby pronounce Sun dishsoap with bleach alternative a keeper!

What about you? What’s in your dishsoap? Take a look at it and let me know!