Is Dawn Dish Soap Non Toxic: Is Dawn Dishwashing Soap Safe to Use?

Published Categorized as Life Tips

With sudden advancements in technology and peaking interest in the safety of common household products, it can be quite jarring to realize that some of our favorite cleaners are, indeed, quite bad for our health. This is problematic as many of the chemicals, dyes and inorganic substances found in cleaning products today can be found to be toxic, carcinogenic and bad for the environment. Today, we’ll examine the ingredients in Dawn dish soap in an effort to answer the question, “Is Dawn dish soap non toxic?”

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Table of Contents

Dawn Powerwash Starter Kits, Dish Spray, Dish Detergent, Fresh Scent Bundle, Spray Bottle, 2 Refills…

Is Dawn Dish Soap Non Toxic?

Short Answer? No, it isn’t. Dawn dish soap has several concerning ingredients, and those ingredients will change depending on the type of Dawn being referred to.

Long answer? Read on to learn in detail about Dawn dish soap’s toxicity and whether or not it’s really safe to use.

Is Dawn Dish Soap Safe?

Is Dawn soap toxic?

Dawn dish soap is toxic because it contains ingredients that are harmful. The Environmental Working Group, otherwise known as EWG, rates Dawn as a “D” for using several harmful ingredients in its recipe, including methylisothiazolinone which is noted for causing acute aquatic toxicity and also has been linked to lung and nerve damage.

Moreover, Dawn dish soap contains dyes, synthetic fragrance and 1,4-dioxane which is known to be a contaminant in groundwater.

Is dish soap toxic to humans?

Unfortunately, nearly all dish soaps have the aforementioned ingredients. The  methylisothiazolinone works as a preservative within the dish soap. As a result, you’ll be hard pressed to find any that don’t have it.

Some dish soaps can be found without dyes and fragrances, however, there will still likely be some concerning ingredients lurking within the soap. We’ll mention some brands below this post for you to check out.

Dawn Dish Soap Ultra Dishwashing Liquid, Dish Soap Refill, Original Scent, 2 Count, 56 oz (Packaging May Vary)

Is Dawn dish soap bad?

How bad is dawn dish soap?

When compared to other dish soaps, Dawn is about the same as all the others.

You may be wondering about “organic” and “natural” dish soaps. While it is true that these dish soaps might have some plant-based ingredients and may not use synthetic coloring or dyes, the truth is that most of them still have the toxic ingredients mentioned above. As such, Dawn dish soap is about just as bad as any other dish soap, and vice versa in most cases.

Why Dawn Dish Soap is Bad

Dawn dish soap contains heavy colorants, strong and unnatural fragrances and a whole host of ingredients that are hard to pronounce and are known to cause skin irritation and health issues.

Cons to Dawn dish soap?

Though highly effective, most Dawn dish soaps contain additives that could be harmful to your health.

It is worth noting that Dawn does have free and clear liquid dish soap available, but it still contains harmful preservatives and contaminants.

Dawn Ultra Botanicals - Aloe Water Scent 270 ml / 7 fl oz - 2X More Grease Cleaning Power - Phosphate Free

What Chemicals Are in Dawn dish soap?

What is Dawn dish soap made of?

Dawn dish soap is made up of a slew of ingredients, each which serve their own function. These ingredients include stabilizers, cleaning boosters, colorants, fragrances, thickeners, pH balancers and more.

Bear in mind that the ingredients in each Dawn dish soap will vary depending the type of Dawn being considered.

Dawn Detergent Ingredients

Specific ingredients in Dawn will vary.

Dawn antibacterial soap has an active ingredient of triclosan and inactive ingredients that are as follows:

2 Pk. Dawn Ultra Antibacterial Orange Scent Dishwashing Liquid 7oz. (14 Fl. Oz Total)

Blue Dawn dish soap ingredients

Blue Dawn Dish Soap ingredients are as follows:

Dawn Dish Soap Ultra Dishwashing Liquid, Dish Soap Refill, Original Scent, 2 Count, 56 oz (Packaging May Vary)

Dawn dish soap ingredients list

Active ingredient in dawn dish soap

Tricolsan is the active ingredient in some Dawn dish soaps. This is an antibacterial chemical that used to be utilized in healthcare settings and has now been incorporated into everyday consumer goods that cleanse and wash.

Dawn Ultra dish soap ingredients

In Dawn’s Ultra Dish Soap you can find:

  • Alcohol Denatured
  • C10-16 Alkyldimethylamine Oxide
  • Colorants
  • Fragrances
  • Methylisothiazolinone
  • PEI-14 PEG-24/PPG-16 Copolymer
  • Phenoxyethanol
  • PPG-26
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Sodium Hydroxide
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Water

These ingredients will be stronger and less diluted than the original.

Dawn Platinum dish soap ingredients

The ingredients for Dawn Platinum are:

  • Alcohol Denatured
  • C10-16 Alkyldimethylamine Oxide
  • C9-11 Pareth-8
  • Colorant
  • Fragrances
  • Methylisothiazolinone
  • PEI-14 PEG-24/PPG-16 Copolymer
  • Phenoxyethanol
  • PEG-26
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate
  • Water
Dawn Platinum Power Clean Dishwashing Liquid, Refreshing Rain, 18 Fluid Ounce (Pack of 2)

What Enzymes Are in Dawn Dish Soap?

Does Dawn dish soap have enzymes? Yes, it does.

Amylase is an enzyme that can sometimes be found in Dawn Platinum dish soap. As can be seen above, this enzyme is not currently listed in the ingredients for Dawn Platinum.

Dawn Dish Soap Facts

Is Dawn dish soap biodegradable?

Yes, Dawn dish soap is biodegradable, in that it can be broken down by bacteria.

About Dawn Dish Soap

Dawn was first created in 1973 by Procter and Gamble. It was the leading dish detergent in 2017 in the United States, and remains a popular pick amongst most American households.

Where is Dawn Dish Soap made?

All of Dawn dish soaps are made in the USA, according to their label.

Why does Dawn work so well?

Dawn dish soap is highly touted as being most effective in its category. The reason for this can be chalked up to the fact that Dawn’s makers are tight lipped about the entirety of Dawn’s secret recipe..something that buyers, and competitors, find annoying.

Nevertheless, makers of Dawn claim there are “uniquely powerful surfactants” that bolster Dawn’s effectiveness.

Palmolive vs Dawn Ingredients

Is Palmolive dish soap toxic?

Palmolive, like Dawn, is also found to have toxic ingredients. Its chemical makeup is very similar to that of Dawn. According to the EWG, Palmolive Original earns a “D”, while any of their other product types have earned an “F”.

Palmolive is cheaper though, and many claim that it works just as well as Dawn but for a lower price tag.

Palmolive Ultra Dish Soap Oxy Power Degreaser, 32.5 Fl Oz (Pack of 4)

Facts About Dish Soap

What chemicals are in dish soap?

Dish soap chemicals will vary depending on brand and even within the brands themselves.

It is safe to say, however, that most dish soaps contain methylisothiazolinone, fragrances, triclosan, SLS/SLES and various cleaning agents.

If the dish soap is colored, then it can be assumed that there are also synthetic dyes used, unless otherwise stated on the label.

In some cases, formaldehyde, chlorine and even ammonia are present.

How is dish soap made?

Dish soap is made using detergents, rather than actual soap. This is due to soap’s tendency to form scum when it reacts with minerals in water.

Several types of stabilizers, thickeners and other additives are included to end up with the final dish soap product.

What Is Dish Soap Made Out Of?

Chemicals in dish soap

Chemicals in dish soap vary by brand and type. Most dish soaps will have preservatives like methylisothiazolinone, and many will have chemicals in them that will have adverse effects on your health.

Ingredients in dish soap

Though many ingredients in dish soap can be deemed dangerous, not all ingredients in dish soap are necessarily bad for you. Some ingredients such as water, denatured alcohol and sodium chloride pose low risk to human health.

What is in dish soap?

As mentioned, dish soap is mainly composed of water and detergents, with added ingredients like preservatives, dyes, colorants, salt and other components, depending on the type and brand.

Is Dish Soap Toxic?

Is dish soap poisonous?

Dish soap could have negative effects on your health if you were to consume large amounts of it. However, dish soap, when used correctly, is not poisonous to humans.

Is dish detergent toxic?

Dish detergent can have questionable ingredients depending on the type and brand you use. Whenever possible, avoid ingesting such a product as doing so may prove toxic to your health.

Is dishwasher soap toxic?

Dishwasher soap is chock-full of high risk chemicals. Whenever possible, always do your best to avoid ingesting dishwasher soap, as doing so may prove toxic to your health.

Worst Dish Soap Brands

Many of the most popular dish soaps rank nearly the same in terms of harmful ingredients and overall toxicity.

Nevertheless, here are a few brands you’ll want to watch out for:

  • Dawn
  • Palmolive
  • Ajax
  • Kirkland

List of Non Toxic Dish Soap: What dish soap is non toxic?

The safest way to use dish soap is to make your own at home.

However, if you’d rather forgo going that extreme, there are a few brands with the least toxic dish soap you may try including Honest brand, J.R. Watkins soaps and more.

What is the safest dish soap?

There are several types of dish soap that have better ingredients than your standard Dawn and Palmolive. Check out the following dish soap alternatives:

  • Dish Soap Environmentally Friendly: ECOS Free and Clear is an eco-friendly option is ultra concentrated, naturally, pH balanced, free of dyes and fragrances.
  • Plant based dish soap: Honest Dish Soap can be found lining many shelves. Many of its components are plant-derived, so you can feel good about what you are washing your dishes with.
  • Petroleum based dish soap: If you are looking for a petroleum based dish soap, Dawn Ultra Original has been said to contain petroleum, which is partially why it is so effective according to some sources.
  • Chemical free dish soap: Planet Ultra Dishwashing Liquid is unique in that it claims to have no preservatives, dyes, fragrances, enzymes or ammonia.
  • Alcohol free dish soap: Better Life Natural Dish Soap is unscented, non-toxic, biodegradable and marine-life friendly. What more could you want?
  • Phosphate free dish soap: Though the jury seems to still be out on whether or not the Seventh Generation Dish Soap Free and Clear is much different than Dawn, we know for a fact that Seventh Generation is free from phosphates and always has been. Score!
  • Organic dish soap:  Organic dish soap is hard to come by, so True Green Organics is an exciting find! This dish soap is cruelty-free, biodegradable, organic and skin friendly.
  • Ammonia free dish soap: JR Watkins Liquid Dish Soap is ammonia and cruelty-free, and has a shorter ingredients list than many dish soaps on the market.
  • Best natural dish soap:  If you’re looking for a powerful clean but without all the icky ingredients, give Better Life Dish it Out a try. Just be aware that there is less foaming action with this one despite its ability to clean…and for some, that may be a problem.
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So…Is Dawn Dish Soap Non-Toxic?

In closing, it’s safe to assume that Dawn is not non-toxic considering all of the ingredients that comprise the dish soap. Still, most other dish soaps have similar ingredients.

If you want to avoid unnecessary and potentially harmful ingredients, you’ll need to look into some of the aforementioned alternatives. Most readily available dish soaps that line store shelves might not be your best bet.

For more information about Dawn and toxicity, check out Dawn’s FAQ page about soap safety.

For more articles about safety, toxicity and soap, see the following posts:

By Ellis James

We design luxuriously glamorous bags, organizers and life essentials for you. At Ellis James Designs, it’s all about YOU. Your bag, Your way. Our exclusive designs are timeless, indulgent and most importantly inspired by you. What will be your first Ellis James Design?


  1. I was just wondering where you found the information on the ingredients in the dawn ultra soap, as I am dong this for a school project.

  2. You’re most welcome, Sophie! However, Dawn isn’t non-toxic, though it is generally considered safe to use.

  3. It’s good to know that Dawn dish soap is non-toxic! I try to find products with natural and safe ingredients wherever possible. Thank you for this detailed and informative post! x

  4. It’s awful how many ‘bad’ ingredients are in a lot of our everyday products, and natural products don’t always perform the same way. in terms of quality I don’t think we have this brand here in the UK though, I’ve never seen any of these products before x

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