The Irony of Traditional Dishwashing
It’s a quiet Sunday afternoon and zero-waste dish soap is the last thing on your mind. You’ve just enjoyed a perfectly-cooked dinner, complete with fresh pumpkin pie and homemade whipped cream. Yum. But now the meal is over, and you realize there’s something left to do: the dishes.
Do you look forward to the satisfaction of turning a heap of used plates into a stack of sparkling dishes? Or do you jump to bribe whoever’s nearby to do the dirty work for you?
However you feel about dishwashing, there’s a hidden irony in the process. While your dishes end up clean, you may be polluting the environment without realizing it. Two major downfalls of traditional liquid dish soap are potentially harmful ingredients and excess waste.
1. Harmful Ingredients
Most conventional dish soaps contain ingredients that are anything but squeaky-clean. Not all chemicals are bad — many are helpful. But others can severely disrupt the balance of our ecosystem.
Some harmful chemicals are easy to spot, like sodium lauryl sulfate (commonly called SLS). Others may hide behind vague labels like “fragrance” or “surfactant.” And when you’re washing up, these damaging ingredients find an easy path into waterways.
2. Unneeded Waste
Dish soap often comes in plastic containers. Even if you refill them a few times, these bottles wind up in the waste cycle and take hundreds of years to break down. That one empty soap bottle you toss every month may not seem like much. But picture your neighbors, friends, and everyone else doing the same — then it starts to add up.
Other elements of traditional dishwashing also contribute to global waste. Disposable sponges, plastic scrubbers, and paper towels all wind up in landfills on a daily basis.
THE GOOD NEWS.
These habits run deep, so it’s easy to reach for these familiar cleaning tools. But it’s just as easy to make some small adjustments. You can be an instrument for change by being more conscious about your choices, even the basic ones.
With simple swaps for eco-friendly products like zero-waste dish soap, you can clean up your dishwashing routine in no time. The ripples of these seemingly inconsequential choices travel far beyond your kitchen sink — they have a huge positive impact on the planet and you.
Here’s why you need to try out zero-waste dish soap:
1. Zero-waste dish soap is better for the planet.
Where traditional dish soap leads to plastic waste and potential water contamination, zero-waste dish soap creates no extra trash to dispose of. Our vegan zero-waste washing block is handmade in Bali with 100% organic ingredients. Without empty bottles or excess packaging to throw away, you reduce the waste leaving your kitchen.
Our soap bar works on more than baked-on muffin batter. You can ditch some of your old cleaners and use your new soap for removing stubborn laundry stains, cleaning carpets, and more. This further cuts down your waste by decreasing the number of products you need to buy.
And since natural dish soap is made with simple, non-toxic ingredients, you know your washing up isn’t polluting water for someone else.
2. It’s safer for you and your family.
Keeping harsh ingredients out of the mix isn’t just good for the planet — it’s good for you, too. Yes, you’ll still end up with prune fingers. They’re a dishwashing badge of honor.
But the gentle formula of natural soaps doesn’t dry out your skin or leave you with a leftover film on your hands. You don’t have to worry about chemical residue on your dishes, either. This makes it perfect for washing baby bottles and sippy cups for your littlest ones.
3. You save money in the long run.
Have you ever bought a brand new bottle of dish soap only to find it mysteriously empty a few days later? Something about liquid soap makes it easy to use way too much. Extra bubbles can be fun, but the habit is hard on your wallet.
Natural, high-quality block soaps are often more expensive than their cheap liquid counterparts, but they make up for it by lasting much longer. Our zero-waste dish block typically lasts a single person six months with normal use — or even longer if you only wash the dishes that don’t fit into the washer.
You won’t need to buy soap as often, which means savings for you. As an extra perk, it also means you won’t be adding water to the bottom of a soap bottle at midnight, trying to squeeze out the last few suds to clean that ice cream bowl. (Don’t worry, we won’t tell. We like midnight ice cream, too.)
4. It changes up your old routines.
There are some things in life you can’t escape, like death, taxes, and washing dishes. Swapping to a dish soap block can get you out of your dishwashing rut and spice things up. Even if you live by routine, periodic change can promote mindfulness and make everyday tasks more fun.
Soap blocks work differently than liquid soap, so you may need some practice to get the hang of things. Our advice? Flick on your favorite playlist and enjoy the process!
5. It can get you started on a larger journey.
Can something as simple as switching your dish soap make a difference? Definitely. Imagine if everyone made the change. While that won’t happen overnight, you can make a difference in your own sphere of influence.
Think of this as a starting point — it starts with the everyday act of sudsing up your zero-waste dish soap block. Next, you may be testing out a reusable eco-friendly sponge, a recycled cotton dishwashing cloth, plastic-free dish scrubber, or even a roll of unpaper towels. Wherever your zero-waste adventure takes you, you’re headed toward a worthy goal.
Don’t wait to start the journey.
Your journey can begin as soon as you decide to take the first step. This week, have a closer look at your dishwashing routine and choose one way to make it more environmentally friendly.
Our zero-waste dish soap is a great place to start. It’s affordable, easy to use, and safe for you and the planet. While you’re anxiously waiting for it to arrive, there’s no need to wait on forming greener cleaning habits. You could begin with something as small as using less water or waiting to start the dishwasher until it’s full. There’s no wrong way to start!
Next time you find yourself on a lazy Sunday afternoon, we hope you’ll look forward to eating the pumpkin pie and to doing the dishes afterward. Because when you choose eco-friendly practices like using zero-waste dish soap, you’re working toward a better future for everyone.
CHECK OUT OUR ZERO WASTE KITCHEN ESSENTIALs
Save the trees & eliminate paper waste from your kitchen with these UNpaper towels made from felt & wood.
Swap your family's disposable sponges for these reusable, washable sponges made from cotton.
VEGAN DISHWASHING BLOCK
Cuts stubborn grime and grease, without drying out your hands.
Writer, baker, and lover of nature.