Hand Soap vs Dish Soap | Difference Between Both

Apart from other places in a house, the kitchen requires more consumption of soap since you do different kinds of work here. We use hand soap to wash hands frequently during cooking and dish soap to wash dishes.

Using both dish soap and hand soap in the kitchen may seem a hassle. Changing soaps between work can create confusion and buying these two can add more cost.

Some people prefer dish soap to wash both hands and dishes, whereas some people think hand soap is the best cost-effective substitute for dish soap.  However, such thoughts will bring nothing but disaster.

Hand soap vs dish soap – which ultimately rules the kitchen? To know the answer, read the following sections describing details of each soap.

Hand Soap vs Dish Soap | Difference Between Both

Hand Soap Vs Dish Soap

Both soaps clean the surfaces (skin and dish) as intended. You may use hand soap as a dishwashing agent and dish soap as a skin cleaner in emergencies.

However, hand soap is not strong enough to deal with burnt or greasy pots and pans. Likewise, dish soap is not mild for handwashing.

Hand Soap Overview

Hand soap is a cleaning agent manufactured only for hands. It comes in various forms, including bars, flakes, granules, liquids, and more. This soap has sodium salts, glycerine, fatty acids, and natural oils as its ingredients.

The mild components present in hand soap clean and nourish the skin. Not only that, hand soap contains good quality fragrance, which is not a pain to the respiratory system.

Among all the forms, bar soap and liquid hand soap are commonly used. Bar soap captures dirt and germs better than liquid hand soap but leaves a lot of suds. In contrast, liquid hand soap produces less suds. In terms of removing more dirt in a single wash, the liquid one is a bit weaker than the solid one.

When it comes to washing dishes on a temporary basis, liquid hand soap is more effective than bar soap. However, some hand soaps contain additives that are skin-friendly but poison foods.

Hand Soap vs Dish Soap | Difference Between Both

Pros And Cons

Dish Soap Overview

As the name suggests, dish soap is meant for washing dishes. It refers to a thick liquid dishwashing agent.

Dish soap contains synthetic materials like sodium laureth sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate, triclosan, amino-alcohols, and more. Unlike hand soap, the ingredients of dish soap build more foam to make dishwashing easier.

Dish soap’s harsh chemicals deal with stubborn stains and grease from dishes and other kitchen items. They loosen bacteria from the surface so that water can wash them away. What’s worse is, these chemicals rip off the natural oil of the skin. No need to mention what they will do to sensitive skin.

Prolonged dishwashing by hands with dish soap and without gloves will take a toll on the hand health. Hence, washing hands with dish soap two or three times maximum is okay if there is no hand soap available.

Pros And Cons

Hand Soap Vs Dish Soap: Similarities

There are very few similarities between these two soaps. One thing is common between them- both of them are cleaners. Despite having entirely different components, both soaps are similar in their functionalities. They produce foam to remove dirt from respective washable surfaces.

Hand Soap vs Dish Soap Difference Between Both

Hand Soap Vs Dish Soap: Differences

Hand soap removes germs, dirt, and dead cells from the skin. On the other hand dish soap breaks down and removes oil, burns, germs, metallic elements, bacteria, and other nasty stains from the dish surface.

Dish soap is based on synthetic salts of ammonium and sulfates. Whereas hand soap is based on sodium salts of fatty acids and oils.

The fatty acids of dish soap irritate and dry out the skin. However, hand soap’s fatty acids are non-irritant and moisturize the skin.

Hand soap includes animal fats, plant oils, glycerine, additives, colorants, and fragrances. Dish soap includes polyphosphate, petroleum products, emulsifiers, pH control compounds, colorants, fragrances, and other ingredients.

Due to having natural ingredients, hand soap is biodegradable. However, dish soap is based on artificial ingredients and not biodegradable.

Hand soap makes greasy dishes more greasy since the soap contains oils and fats. In contrast, dish soap has synthetic ingredients which effectively wash away any kind of dirt.

Hand soap cannot produce as much foam as dish soap can.

Hand Soap Vs Dish Soap – Which One To Use?

Perhaps all the previous sections have made it clear to you which soap to use when and where. If not, let’s be brief again.

Each time you cook food and touch anything full of germs and bacteria, you must wash your hands. Liquid hand soap is better to use since it minimizes mess and wastage.

Dish soap contains strong detergent elements and high irritant additives to cut through the grease on dishes.

However, things may get complicated if you have only one sink dispenser in your kitchen. ‘Liquid hand soap vs dish soap – which is to put in the dispenser’ is the question that might have crossed your mind at this point.

The answer is, you should have two sink dispensers for both hand soap and dish soap in the kitchen. They will do their job and can substitute each other when necessary.


What Can I Use To Wash Dishes Instead Of Dish Soap?

You can use a dishwashing bar instead of dish soap when washing dishes by hand. If you have a dishwashing machine, use distilled white vinegar, borax, baking soda, washing soda, lemon juice, wood ash, or citrus drink powder as alternatives. Avoid putting body wash, dishwashing liquid, all-purpose cleaners, laundry detergent, shampoo in the automatic dishwasher.

Can You Wash Dishes With Hand Soap?

Yes, but the liquid one would be easier to use. Liquid hand soap is milder, contains more glycerine, dissolves easily, and protects the skin when dishwashing by hand. You must rinse off the dishes repetitively to prevent the soap residue from nesting. If liquid hand soap is unavailable for some reason, you can use a bar soap. Make sure that the liquid or bar soap is antibacterial and without scents or other additives.


The goal of hand soap and dish soap is to ensure a healthy environment by keeping hands and dishes germ- and dirt-free.

No matter if you put hand soap or dish soap in the sink dispenser, make sure the purpose you are using either soap for is well served.
As long as you use these two soaps properly, there will be no issues. The details regarding hand soap vs dish soap written here will surely help you to avoid unexpected happenings in future.

Here is our best smelling dish soap list and eco friendly dish soap list.

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