Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
Feb 19, 2007 09:34 PM

Can you taste dish soap on your dishes?

I have trouble finding a dish soap that I can tolerate. Most are so strongly perfumed that the taste never comes off the dishes - especially water glasses.

Can you taste dish soap, too? If so, please help me find a dishwasher detergent that isn't perfumed. I'm about to get a dishwasher (never had one before), and I'm dreading the search for a non-perfumed detergent.

I'm still cringing from when I tried Dawn's "new scent" dish soap. I swear I could still taste it on my water glasses months later. (I exaggerate - luckily, I've learned that vinegar helps to remove the scent.) I now use Seventh Generation dish soap, which is truely unscented.

Does Seventh Generation make a dishwasher detergent? Is it unperfumed? Does it lkinda work? I'm less picky about cleaning power than I am about obnoxious perfumes....

Help me, please!


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I recently bought a dishwasher--my first ever, too--and, first of all, I have to say, it's practically life-changing. I love having one. It's wonderful to be able to keep the dirty dishes out of sight until you're ready to wash them, which no longer needs to be immediately. I have one of the roll-away dishwashers since my kitchen isn't set up for a built-in. This actually adds surface/counter space to my kitchen, whereas a dish drainrack used surface space. It does, of course, take additional floor space, which can be at a premium in a small kitchen--our dishwasher is a little less than full-sized, which is adequate if you don't have a big family.

    I have never had a problem tasting the dishsoap on my dishes after a round in this dishwasher, although, I do remember having that problem in the past with dishes I washed by hand, even when I swore I'd rinsed them thoroughly. My dishwasher has two propellers (I don't know what the part is actually called) to move the water, which I think ensures that all the dishes get thoroughly rinsed. Some dishwashers have only one. It also has several settings, e.g. "quick rinse" to "pots and pans," which I think helps ensure the dishes get the proper amount of rinsing. (I've never used the pots and pans setting--I still wash those by hand.)

    Finally, when I had the local power company do a home energy audit, he applauded us for keeping our water heater at a relatively low temperature (we thank the former occupants for the earth-friendly water temp setting.) However, he did say, "This is not hot enough to wash your dishes" and he suggested that we turn on the "hi temp wash" setting on our dishwasher to make sure our dishes really get clean. I've noticed a definite difference in the cleanliness of my dishes when I use the "hi temp wash."

    We've never bought any special kind of detergent--just Cascade--and every couple of weeks or so, we refill the "rinse" solution the manufacturer recommends. I don't know what that rinse solution does, but since everything seems to be working fine (and I can't taste it), I'm sticking with it.

    On their website, Seventh Generation features an "automatic" dishwashing detergent (powder.) I cannot personally recommend it, but it sounds intriguing. if you want to try it, you should make sure the manufacturer of your dishwasher doesn't recommend liquid or gel detergents only.


    9 Replies
    1. re: The Dairy Queen

      I wash all my dishes by hand and I find that the green palmolive works best for me.
      it has more suds and i rinse all my dishes with hot water. and they come out fine.

      1. re: bigjimbray

        To me, green Palmolive's smell is so strong that it gags me. It may work well, but I don't think sensitive people would like it.

      2. re: The Dairy Queen

        Seventh Generation also makes a liquid dishwasher detergent.

        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

          I see "free and clear dishwashing liquid", but it doesn't specifically say it's for "automatic" dishwashers the way the powder one does, so it would imply that it's only for handwashing. Is the "free and clear dishwashing liquid" the same product you're referring to? Is it suitable for use in dishwashing machines? Or do they have another product I'm overlooking?


          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            The link and Caitlin's info was helpful - thanks! Seventh Generation has a dishwasher detergent for me to try.

            I currently use the Seventh Generation free & clear dishwashing liquid for my handwashed dishes. And I use Dawn original scent for really greasy stuff - I can just barely tolerate the smell and it seems to rinse away pretty well. (But my hands stink for a while after I've been washing dishes. Sigh.)

            I never looked at the label of liquid dish soap to see if it could go in a dishwasher - I guess I just assumed that all dishwasher detergent was powdered. I'll bet I have a lot to learn... (The dishwasher arrives on Friday - I'm so excited!)


            1. re: AnneInMpls

              I hand wash all my dishes as i load them into the dishwasher so i use a very small amount of dishwashing soap. My theory is that i don't need much soap and by using a small amount the dishes will be more easily rinses during the rinse cycle. I am also someone very sensitive to perfumes and i have never tasted soap on the dishes -- i use cascade.

              1. re: AnneInMpls

                Never, ever, put dishwashing liquid in a dishwasher. You will have an incredible mess to clean up, let alone the possibility of harming your machine. These soaps sud up too much and will ooze out of your machine. (I speak from experience.) We use Cascade Complete with the silver cap. I think the fact that these detergents are made for a machine has removed the manufacturer's need to assalt your senses the way they do for hand washing liquids.

              2. re: The Dairy Queen

                Seventh Generation makes a gel detergent for dishwashers in green apple or lemon scent, but not unscented, which is why it's not in the "free and clear" section.

                You definitely CAN NOT use regular liquid dish soap, the sort you use for hand washing dishes, in a dishwasher. There are bottled detergents available nowadays as well as powders, just as for washing machines.

                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                  Caitlin, thank you so much for the clarification. I swear I looked all over their website in the "dishwashing products" section, but I did not see the green apple and lemon automatic dishwashing gels at first. But, that's what I get for posting while having insomnia. With a little more clicking around, I found them. I definitely want to try these gel detergents out. Here's a better link for Anne and those of you who might be following along (scroll to the bottom of the page to see the links to the apple and lemon gel detergents):


                  Great suggestions!


          2. I would be worried that there was still soap residue on the dishes, more than just the smell. I do like to get lemon scented, at least it smells like food! But I only have that problem when handwashing, mainly tall glasses that I don't get down to the bottom, and I've been using a long handled sponge to solve that problem.

            1. can't say I have ever tasted dishwasher soap on my dishes.
              You might want to try running the dishwasher without any soap - I always rinse / wash before it goes in the dishwasher -- old habit.
              Dunno if it would be enough, but the water is darn hot.
              Also, once the wash is done, open it up to let everything dry before putting it away.

              ps- I know a bit of what you mean about the taste of soap though, I never use it to soak my Reidel as I swear it does get absorbed in those glasses.

              7 Replies
              1. re: orangewasabi

                I have a dirty little secret. I put my Reidel in the dishwasher. I have a crystal/china setting and I buy these diamond shaped things that snap onto the racks of the dishwasher. They are endorsed by Reidel, Villeroy and Bosh (sp?) and a couple of other higher end dish/glassware brands.
                I can't think of the name of them right off hand, but they say that they will reduce the "pitting etc" that can be caused by dishwashers. I just checked-there's no brand name on them. Sorry.
                They are in the same area as the rinse agents.

                1. re: troutpoint

                  I've seen those -- they really work, eh?

                  Are you using them on the Sommiliers or the Vinums? I can't even bear to put my Ovums in the dishwasher.

                  (my little dirty secret is that my husband must check the dishwasher before it runs because I am a somehow stacking inept and put things in the wrong places)

                  1. re: orangewasabi

                    I use it on both my Vinum's and O's...I've even (when we've had too much wine and I know that it is safer for them to be in the dishwasher than me wash them by hand) put my waterford in...
                    But, seriously, we got a new dishwasher about 2 years ago, and I have been putting them in ever since. And no problems so far. Knock wood.

                    1. re: troutpoint

                      I put my Vinum water glasses in the dishwasher, b/c they have short stems - haven't heard of this gadget. I would never put Sommeliers in the dishwasher.

                      1. re: troutpoint

                        That diamond-shaped device sounds brilliant! I just have Riedel's Target line (Vivant) so I was planning to put them in the dishwasher if I could figure out a way to keep them from rolling around.

                        Does the clip have four arms and a stem, as shown in this link?

                        Or in this link?

                        If it's different than these two, I'd love to know where to find one for myself.


                        1. re: AnneInMpls

                          there's also this style . . .

                          I have heard good things about both the arm style and the stand style. Don't have the balls to try either though.

                          1. re: orangewasabi

                            Wow these all sound like great items. I've seen them in nicer diswashers but didn't know you could buy them seperately. I have a bottom of the line portable D/W that does a superior job of cleaning wine glasses even with the hard water. This is great news, because I'd like to invest in better wine glasses. Gotta love all the tips and treasures learned through CH!

                2. You may also be using too much soap. The new dishwasher detergents are so strong that you need much less than the dispenser cup in the dishwasher says. Try using 1/3 less, or even 1/2 and see if your dishes are clean and they don't have the scent.

                  Also newer dishwashers are much more efficient than ones more than 10 years old and they clean without needing as much soap.

                  If you have a very old one, let's say 15-20, it may not be working all that well, even if the dishes are clean looking, and it may not be rinsing off the soap.

                  Personally I have never smelled dishwasher soap on my glasses and dishes. Maybe your rinse cycle doesn't work properly. How old is your dishwasher?

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: JMF

                    I don't have the dishwasher yet - it arrives in 3 days - so I have a lot to learn. Thanks for the tip about cutting back on the amount of detergent! I'll definitely try this.


                    1. re: AnneInMpls

                      Definitely use less soap than what the dispenser holds. I barely fill mine half full and I still think it's too much, so play around, try different amounts and see what happens.

                      1. re: cooknKate

                        well i too am having a problem with tasting something I think is soap, so I'm going to try to use half of the recommended. But if this is my problem then why would the manufacture tell plp to use that much if it makes the dishes turn out to be so bad.

                        1. re: jchacin

                          Because you'll use it up twice as fast and buy more. I always use half of everything the cleaning product companies tell me to. Especially the scented stuff.

                          1. re: coll

                            Yes so you'll use it twice as fast . . . just as shampoo twice was a scheme invented by an ad agency.

                    2. re: JMF

                      Yeah, newer dishwashers require less soap, even my bargain basement portable d/w requires less soap than my friend's 10 yr old state of the art then model. I learned this one night when I was down to the last dregs of d/w soap. I ran it on the hi temp heavy duty cycle just in case. Everything came out squeaky clean. I have used a smaller amount on the normal cycle with good results as well. I find I can get by with less soap but I can't cut back on the rinse product due to hard water.

                    3. The original comment has been removed