All About Solid Dish Soap!
Solid dish soap is a great, plastic-free alternative to liquid dish soap. Generally, solid dish soaps require less water to produce and yield much less waste than liquid soap and while you can certainly purchase liquid soap in bulk, the option isn't available for a lot of people who might not have access to a refill store (especially now with the pandemic).
The brands we carry in the shop are made by small businesses and don't contain ingredients that a lot of traditional dish soap has like Triclosan, Phosphates, and Chlorine to name a few.
I would agree that liquid soap is more convenient overall, but the ingredients used and waste that comes with it aren't my jam...I've been using solid dish soap (in conjunction with a dishwasher) for a few years now and I love it! I find that solid dish soap cleans just as well as liquid and my hands don't get super dried out.
I'll go over the options we carry in the shop! Keep reading to learn more and see if making the switch from liquid to solid dish soap is right for you!
1) First up are the bars from Make Nice Company! Make Nice is based in Vancouver, BC and is Leaping Bunny certified cruelty-free, palm oil-free and free from fragrances. Bars are available in regular and charcoal which contains activated charcoal for an extra deep clean. Each bar replaces about 3 bottles of dish soap and they also have an XL bar which replaces about 8 bottles. The XL bar is only available in the regular version.
These bars can be used to remove laundry stains, and spot clean around the house too!
Ingredients: Cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, olea europaea (olive) oil, aqua, sodium hydroxide (and the charcoal bars are the same but contain activated charcoal as well)
2) Next up is the Dish Washing Block from No Tox Life. These blocks are made in California and are 100% biodegradable, vegan and palm-oil free. They're fragrance-free, and septic & grey water safe. Each block replaces 3 bottles of dish soap.
Like the Make Nice bars, these blocks can even be used for cleaning laundry stains, and spot cleaning too!
Ingredients: Sodium Cocoate*, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate*, Decyl Glucoside*, Quillaja Saponaria Extract**, Glycerin*, Aloe Vera, Purified Water, Sodium Carbonate (*Cleansers From Coconut **From The South American Soap Bark Tree)
3) Inspired by zero waste products made in South America and Europe, the dishwashing cake is a great option as well! These ones are made by Savonnerie des Diligences in Quebec.
Dishwashing cakes are effective and also simple to use! Rub a dish brush or dishcloth on the dishwashing cake to lather and wash your dishes as usual. It's long-lasting and very concentrated. You can also use it to clean your oven, tub, sink, etc.
Because they have a vinegar base, they're great if you have hard water. (Please be aware that they smell like vinegar though!)
How To Use Solid Dish Soap:
Although the process is a bit different, the overall idea is the same as liquid dish soap. You want to get a good lather going and then get washing.
Start by getting any excess food off of your dishes.
Then rub it onto your dish block to create suds. I actually usually hold the block in my left hand and the brush in my right to later up as it has a tendency to slip around on the soap dish.
Start cleaning your dishes! Create more lather as needed. Rinse well after washing.
I find that the method where you fill your sink first and then add soap doesn't work as well as this method where you wash each dish individually...but that isn't to say it can't be done! This is just what works well for me.
For pots, pans and bakeware or anything with cooked-on food, try soaking for a few hours before washing. If you're in a rush, use a pot brush, scouring pad or scrubber to create suds and wash. Be aware that using a more abrasive cleaning tool on solid dish soap will wear is down considerably faster than a soft brush (like the one pictured above, or a cloth).
If you have hard/mineral-rich water, your dishes might benefit from a vinegar rinse after washing if you notice white spots on your dishes after they've dried. I live in Guelph, ON where the water is pretty hard and this is something I have to do when I hand wash dishes. Spray down with diluted vinegar in a spray bottle or fill a sink about half way with water and 1/2 cup of vinegar and rinse your dishes.
And that's about it! I should also mention that you should store your soap in a dish that has good drainage so it can dry out between uses. This will prevent it from sitting in water and getting mushy which makes it wear out faster (this actually goes for all forms of bar soap- hand soap, shampoo bars, etc).
PLEASE NOTE: if you have coconut allergies, all of these soaps contain coconut-derived ingredients. If you make/know of a solid dish soap that doesn't contain coconut, please email me at email@example.com! I'm on the lookout for more coconut-free products for those with allergies/sensitivities!