Is Dish Soap Antibacterial? Best Guide

After serving food, a through cleaning process is crucial to remove the food residues from the dishes and make the dishes clean. But is a normal cleaning process enough? Or Does it need to be an antibacterial wash?

Yes, an antibacterial wash needs to be done to clear all the bacteria, germs and food residues from the dishes.

So, the need for antibacterial dish soap is critical for every home. In this regard, you may ask ask, is dish soap antibacterial?

There is always a controversy about the genuineness of dish soaps’ antibacterial features. We are going to dive deep into this controversy in this article.

Is Dish Soap Antibacterial?

Is Dish Soap Antibacterial?

It is quite disappointing to inform that most of the dish soaps available on the market are not antibacterial. Those soaps do not contain any chemical components that will kill the bacteria from dishes after washing.

But yet to be  disappointed. Let’s explore lots more regarding that.

Does Dish Soap Kill Bacteria?

It is quite a common question for the chemical engineers that does dish actually kill the bacteria? Basically, the main objective of dishwashing soap is to remove grease and clean food residue from the dishes. Though the dishwashing soap makes suds and removes the gems from it and makes it clean, it does not kill the germs and bacteria.

Similarly, a similar statement is also made by experts. As per the research assistant and professor of immunology at San Diego State University, Joy Phillips, PhD, dish washing soap does not do the work of killing the germs from the dish.

Dishwashing soap, while applied to dishes, crates a surface over them. That surface lifts up the bacteria and germs from the dishes. After that, while washing with water, those lifted up bacteria and germs get washed off.

This process is also the same for hand washing soap.

Is All Soap Antibacterial?

In the first place, we have to know about the definition of antibacterial and its features. Antibacterial refers to a mixture of special kinds of chemical components, use of which entirely kills the bacteria or slows the growth of bacteria at a significant rate.

There are many kinds of soap that are available in the market and they have different purposes as per their chemical composition. Face washing soap, dishwashing soap, body washing soap, cloth washing soap, wall washing soap, dry washing soap, and so on.

In fact, all soaps perform similar functions, such as cleaning dirt from an object. But for ensuring proper hygiene, most soaps must have the ability to remove bacteria and germs from any object while in use.

While soaps are used in the object, it creates a layer or surface over the object. This surface lifts up the bacteria and dirt from the object. The longer the soap suds remain and are rubbed over the object, the more dirt and bacteria they will lift up. After that, when the object gets watered, the dirt get washed away.

In fact, this process doesn’t kill the bacteria, rather it just removes those bacteria from the object. As can be seen, the manner in which soaps remove bacteria doesn’t comply with the definition of an antibacterial feature. So, obviously, all the soaps are not antibacterial.

Does Hand Soap Need to be Antibacterial?

It will be quite beneficial for the users if hand soaps contain an actual antibacterial feature.

As mentioned above, soaps do not kill the bacteria; rather, they just remove the dirt and bacteria from the object. So, the more the suds remain over the object, the more dirt and bacteria it will lift up.

In terms of using soap while bathing, dishwashing, and for other purposes except washing their hands, people take a long time. This long duration of staying of suds over the body or any other object ensures the complete removal of bacteria.

But on the other hand, people usually take less time to wash their hands with hand soap compared to other kinds of useage of soaps. Generally speaking, the average duration of hand washing with hand soap is 15 to 20 seconds.

In this short period, bacteria won’t be killed properly. Henceforth, an overwhelming percentage of bacteria still remains on the hand even after washing the hand soap.

So, in this regard, such types of soaps are necessary which will actually kill the bacteria within a short span of time. All things considered, of course, hand soaps need to be antibacterial.

Is Dish Soap Antibacterial?

Is Dawn Dish Soap Considered Antibacterial?

“Dawn” is one of the most renowned dishwashing liquid brands in the United States of America, owned by Procter & Gamble. Dawn Company soaps are typically liquid in nature.

The Dawn company has the term “antibacterial” in the title of every dishwashing and handwashing liquid soap. And yes, it is true that Dawn Company’s liquid soaps are more capable of removing germs than other liquid soap brands available on the market.

As per their claim, their liquid soaps remove 99% of germs and bacteria from objects. Even though Dawn dishwashing dish liquid soap has more power to remove bacteria, in fact, it doesn’t kill the bacteria.

To be an antibacterial soap, it must have the quality of killing the bacteria, not removing them. So, Dawn dish soap is not an antibacterial soap, technically.

Likewise, speaking of Dawn liquid dish soap, people often ask, “Is blue dawn dish soap antibacterial?”.

Blue Dawn dish soap is the dishwashing liquid soap variant of the Dawn brand. Dawn also has green and orange handwashing liquid soap variants. So, to speak about the blue dawn dish soap’s antibacterial feature, the answer will be the same as discussed above. This blue dawn dish soap removes the bacteria from the dishes but does not kill them.

Henceforth, though Blue Dawn dish soap has the word “antibacterial” in its title, it doesn’t match with the definition of antibacterial.

Is Dish Soap Antibacterial?

What Kind of Soap is Antibacterial?

There are special kinds of chemical components whose presence in a soap ensures the antibacterial feature of that particular soap. Those chemical components are:

  • Triclosan
  • Triclocarban
  • Benzalkonium chloride,
  • Benzethonium Chloride, and
  • Chloroxylenol

Among them, Triclosan and Triclocarban are the most commonly used chemical ingredients to make liquid soap antibacterial.

Triclosan is basically an antibacterial and antifungal agent which has the capability of killing and destroying germs and bacteria.

Similarly, Triclocarban is also an antibacterial chemical ingredient which also kills germs and bacteria.

By the same token, benzethonium chloride, benzalkonium chloride, and chloroxylenol are also types of chemical components that fight against germs and bacteria and kill them.

The presence of these mentioned chemical components in any soap makes that particular soap antibacterial in nature.

Is Dish Soap Antibacterial?

Antibacterial Dish Soap vs. Regular Soap

People often ask about the difference between antibacterial dish soap and regular dish soap.

In terms of effectivity, antibacterial dish soap doesn’t do anything more than regular dish washing soap. Antibacterial soap removes the bacteria and cleans the food residues from the dishes.

On the contrary, regular soaps also do the same thing of removing the bacteria and cleaning the food residues. Moreover, the antibacterial soaps are more costly than regular soaps.

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) states that they did not find any concrete evidence or any result of an experiment that establishes that antibacterial dishwashing soaps are better than regular dishwashing soaps.

In a matter of fact, regular soaps do not harm the good bacteria on human skin. But, in the aspect of antibacterial soaps, there remains a possibility that human skin may be harmed by the use of antibacterial soaps.

Is Dish Soap Antibacterial?

Antibacterial Dishwashing Liquid Ingredients

The ingredients for antibacterial dishwashing liquid and normal dishwashing liquid are quite different in chemical composition. In the antibacterial dishwashing liquid, there are some special kinds of chemical ingredients. The ingredients of antibacterial dishwashing liquid are:

  • Sodium chloride
  • Sodium carbonate
  • Disodium Ethylenediamine Tetraacetate
  • Essence
  • An ionic surfactant
  • A non-ionic surfactant
  • Preservative
  • Nano Copper
  • Water

The making of dishwashing liquid starts with the production of nano-copper. First, the production of nano copper begins with the dissolution of a copper salt in either ethylene glycol or diethylene glycol. It is followed by the addition of polyacrylic acid as a protective agent and the execution of a microwave hydrothermal reaction.

At this stage, on the basis of ensuring the stability of all the components, the addition of nano copper and other components has a synergistic facilitation effect. Eventually, that makes it possible for common bacteria.

After completing the entire process, the liquid is now ready to use. These chemical components and the making procedure of the liquid give the dishwashing liquid a dirt-removing effect and an oil-removing effect.

Is Dish Soap Antibacterial?

What Can I Use In Place Of Antibacterial Soap?

It is a matter of fact that normal regular soap or plain soap can work as an alternative to antibacterial soap!

Many people do not prefer antibacterial soap because the chemical components of antibacterial soap might be hazardous in many cases. Moreover, it may also cause harm to the human skin. So, the alternative of using antibacterial soaps is a matter of serious concern for many people.

In this case, the alternative to antibacterial soaps is regular dishwashing soaps or plain soaps without antibacterial components. In fact, plain soaps or regular soaps do the same thing as antibacterial soaps.

Both soaps create a surface over the object while applied. This surface lifts up the grease, oil strain, bacteria, and food residues from the object. After that, while watering the object, that surface of grease, oil, and bacteria gets washed away.

Neither regular soap nor antibacterial soap can kill the bacteria in dishes while washing. It is important to realize that these soaps only remove the bacteria from the body. So, the fact is there is no special benefit to antibacterial soaps’ “antibacterial” feature.

What is the Best Natural Antibacterial?

Scientists often discourage the use of antibacterial soaps or liquids as they contain many hazardous chemical components. In many cases, it might also be the reason for skin damage.

Scientists refer to the use of natural antibacterial ingredients, which are made of plants, vegetables, or herbals. That is why people often seek the natural alternative of antibacterial features.

In the substances of essential oils, herbs, pants and some rare types of metal, antibacterial characteristics can be found in many cases.

Some of the natural antibacterial agents are –

  • Tea Tree Essential Oil
  • Garlic
  • Copper
  • Caprylic Acid
  • Black Cummin Seed
  • Goldenseal
  • Mullein
  • Olive Leaf
  • Salt
  • Propolis
  • Oregano Oil
  • Honey

All of these mentioned ingredients can be found in nature. That is why these ingredients are often referred to as “natural antibacterials.”

That means use of these ingredients over the object can kill the germs and bacteria. These ingredients are natural alternative to antibacterial ingredients.

How Do I Know If Soap is Antibacterial?

If you are facing any difficulties in identifying the antibacterial soap or liquid, then you must read further to get it acknowledged. Soaps or liquids for washing dishes or hands, soaps or liquids for washing hands, and soaps for washing anything else that is antibacterial will have the word “Antibacterial” labeled on the product.

Moreover, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States of America passes the rules that every product that contains an antibacterial feature must be labeled with the word “Antibacterial” with a special identifying sign.

Is Dish Soap Antibacterial?

How Do You Make Regular Soap Antibacterial?

Now, you may ask, “is it possible to make regular soap into an antibacterial one?”

Yes, it is possible. If anyone is intending to make his/her regular soap into antibacterial soap, then they must follow a few steps. But first of all, you have to gather the following tools and materials.

Necessary Ingredients-

  • Tall Mixing Bowl
  • Distilled water
  • Neem Oil
  • Essential Oil
  • Vitamin E oil
  • The Soap
  • Optiphen Plus
  • Blender

Steps to Follow-

  • At the beginning, get a good and tall mixing bowl for mixing up all the ingredients.
  • Then get some distilled water in the mixing bowl.
  • Now, mix the soap that you want to make antibacterial with the distilled water.
  • Then mix in the neem oil.
  • After the neem oil, mix vitamin E oil, Optiphen plus, and essential oil with the distilled water.
  • Pour the whole mixture into a blender and blend it for a couple of minutes.
  • Keep blending it until the mixture becomes foamy.
  • Then let the foam settle.
  • Finally, shift the mixture into a soap making structure and wait till the mixture gets condensed.
  • Now the soap has become an antibacterial soap.

What Soap is Not Antibacterial?

One of the main ingredients of the antibacterial soaps is that they contain triclosan, a special kind of chemical component. These soaps are referred to as antibacterial soaps.

Now, on the contrary, those soaps are not antibacterial do not contain this triclosan chemical component in their chemical structure. However, these soaps are called “regular soaps” or “plain soaps.”

Is Dish Soap Antibacterial?


Does dish soap kill viruses?

No, dish soap does not kill viruses or bacteria. It just creates a layer of soap suds over the dishes. That surface lifts up the germs, dirt, bacteria, and food residues from the dishes.

After pouring the water over the dishes, that surface of soap suds gets washed away with all the bacteria, germs, and food residues in it. So, dish soap doesn’t kill the viruses, it just removes the viruses from the dishes.

Does dish soap kill bacteria from raw chicken?

No, dish soap can not kill the bacteria from the raw chicken. Dish soap just lifts up the bacteria from the raw chicken and gets mixed with the suds. After washing, bacteria gets removed but not killed.

Does dish soap get rid of germs and viruses?

Yes, dish soap gets rid of germs and viruses on the dishes. But no dish soap on the market can get rid of 100% of viruses. A small portion of viruses always stays in the dishes even after washing.


After a thorough discussion and research about dish soap and its antibacterial feature, many important facts emerged before us. In conclusion, it should be  clear to you that dish soaps are not actually antibacterial as they can’t kill the bacteria.

But it is true that antibacterial dish soaps remove the bacteria from the dishes. Another important thing to remember is that there is no difference between antibacterial soaps and regular soaps in terms of their functionality.

Be alert and avoid these kinds of awful unwanted situations. Also read Why Does My Mouth Taste Like Soap?

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