Doing the dishes is a dirty job—especially if you suffer from sensitive skin. These hard-working dish soaps will tackle grease and grime without leaving hands cracked, chapped, or itchy.
You’ve finally mastered weeknight dinners. But you know what that means—more dishes to do. No matter which way you cut it, washing those pots and pans is a bummer. And, to add insult to injury, doing the dishes can wreak havoc on your hands, especially if you have sensitive skin or a condition like eczema or psoriasis.
Many standard dish soaps irritate skin, because they contain phosphates, fragrances, and dyes, says Ava Shamban, MD, a dermatologst based in Beverly Hills and founder of SKINxFIVE. "[Phosphate] destroys the lipid layer of the skin; [fragrances and dyes] activate the T cell arm of the immune system, which can mistakenly attack normal cells."
In addition to contact dermatitis—rashes, hives—harsh dish soap, particularly those containing fragrances, can cause headaches, sneezing, nausea, itching, or burning eyes, adds NYC-based dermatologist Debra Jaliman, MD. "Even dish soaps that claim to be natural can be irritating for some people with skin sensitivities," she explains.
When choosing products, look for words like dye-free, no phosphates, no phthalates, fragrance-free, and hypoallergenic. And, no matter what product you use, it’s important to take precautions to protect your skin. Both Dr. Shamban and Dr. Jaliman recommend wearing cotton-lined gloves. Cooler water can help, too. Although hot water may rinse the dishes better, it’s more irritating to skin, says Dr. Jaliman. Finally, Dr. Shadman suggests applying a heavy-duty moisturizer after cleansing to help keep skin healthy. Here, the seven best dish soaps for sensitive skin.
Fragrance-Free Babyganics Foaming Dish and Bottle Soap
Safe enough for washing baby bottles, this fragrance-free, plant-based cleaner is non-irritating and non-allergenic. It’s formulated without phosphates, phthalates, dyes, or synthetic fragrances, too.
Dawn Free and Gentle Dishwashing Liquid Dish Soap
This formula has the same grease-fighting power as the regular version, but is hypoallergenic and dye-free. As an added bonus, it’s made with biodegradable cleaning ingredients and packaged in a bottle made from 25% recycled materials.
Fragrance-Free Eco Me Dish Soap
A greasy pan is no match for this chemical-free, plant-derived dish soap. Because it’s formulated without dyes and colorants, preservatives, sulfates, or fragrances, it’s a great choice for those with psoriasis, eczema, or extra-sensitive skin.
AspenClean Dish Soap
This 100% vegan dish soap is one of few scented formulas suitable for those with sensitive skin. Organic geranium and orange essential oils take the place of synthetic fragrances, so it won’t irritate.
Fragrance-Free Ecover Zero Dish Soap
This plant-based, biodegradable formula has major sudsing power, so you can tackle a whole sink full of dishes with just a few drops.
Puracy Natural Liquid Dish Soap
Freshly steeped tea leaves, real lime, and herbs lend a soft and soothing scent that won’t irritate sensitive skin. And the ultra-concentrated non-toxic gel cuts down on scrubbing time—that means healthier hands.
The Honest Company Dish Soap
Specially designed for sensitive skin, this gentle yet effective dish soap is ideal for families with children and pets. The hypoallergenic plant-based formula cuts grime and grease without harsh and harmful ingredients.