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Dish soap & Hand soap

I know there are dish soaps out there that are formulated to be less harsh on your hands, but I cannot stand having my dishes smell so strongly and I haven't found an unscented one yet. For my dishes I like Dawn Direct Foam because it handles the tough cleaning jobs but rinses really clean and doesn't leave an overpowering scent. However, I'm looking for a separate hand soap because the Dawn is pretty drying when I'm washing my hands four or five times during dinner prep. The problem though, is every hand soap I've found has a strong scent or it leaves some sort of residue behind. Have any of you Chowhounds found a hand soap for the kitchen that you really love, or do you just use your dish soap when washing up in the kitchen?

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  1. I tend to rely on Method handsoap--the clear one--in the kitchen. But I have to admit that part of the reason I use that handsoap in the kitchen is that it works well with my sensor hand soap dispenser (so I don't have to touch a thing when my hands are covered in raw poultry juices). But I actually really like much of the Method line anyway. I don't think it's too harsh on my hands.

    1. Trader Joes has a lemon antibacterial kitchen soap that I like (although I haven't bought it in a while, so god knows if they still carry it). I don't find the scent overwhelming; right now I have some Softsoap in the kitchen that is way way too smelly.

      I'm not generally a fan of antibacterial soap but the nice thing about the TJ soap is that it takes away onion/garlic smells on your hands.

      1. Method sells unscented dish and hand soaps and can be found at any Target store. Target's store brand, Up and Up, also makes a line of hand soaps that are lightly scented and won't leave much of a scent. I think there is even an unscented version, but can't remember for sure.

        In any case, there are quite a few brands that make unscented hand soap. I think even Dial makes one now. Shouldn't be too hard to find.


        1. Bath and Body Works has 8 oz pump bottles that I've found for about $1/bottle. I usually stock up with 5 or 6 bottles - perfect for bathrooms as well.

          I checked their web-site and they list it @ 4 bottles (8 oz) for $16. Either they've gone up in price or I've caught it on sale every time I've gone to their store - which would only be once a year if I happen to pass one during Christmas shopping. At $1 for 8 oz, it's a wonderful moisturizing soap. At $3+..... there's probably something better and cheaper.

          5 Replies
          1. re: CocoaNut

            I also use the B&BW soaps. They have a line specifically for the kitchen called Kitchen Odor Neutralizer. I've gotten the Kitchen Lemon, Cucumber and Tangerine scents and I think they have a couple more too. They come in foaming and regular liquid soap versions. They all smell great, without being overpowering and they really do remove those strong smells like garlic and onions.

            1. re: boogiebaby

              I dunno. I mean, I LOVE B&BW's handsoaps, and I have a basil one in my kitchen right now, but if someone really can't stand scented soaps, then they are not the ones to buy. I guess it depends on your skin type/chemistry, but I buy B&BW's soaps BECAUSE the scent is strong and lingers after you rinse your hands.

              I guess what the OP could do is go to a local B&BW and try out the handsoaps at the testing sink and see for himself/herself how strong they are to her?

              1. re: yfunk3

                I don't find the lemon scent strong, but it's particularly hard to find. What I like about them is I don't feel the need to "lotion up" after hand washing with these soaps.

                1. re: CocoaNut

                  This is part of my dilemma. I don't mind a strongly scented soap for the bathroom, but I don't want anything strongly scented in the kitchen, because my nose is an important tool while cooking.

                  1. re: LoBrauHouseFrau

                    I just noticed that the Lemon B&BW is labeled "Kitchen Lemon".

          2. I keep a bar of L'Occitane soap with shea butter next to the kitchen sink. I too have problems with dry skin and I find the shea butter bar soap is much less drying than any liquid soap I've tried. I don't bother with anything labeled "antibacterial" since all soap is.

            1 Reply
            1. re: agoodbite

              >> I don't bother with anything labeled "antibacterial" since all soap is.

              That very fact was in the news a few months ago. I always thought it was kind of weird, ie, did that mean the soaps that have been used for generations weren't getting the job done??

            2. We use Dove hypoallergenic unscented hand soap. No scent whatsoever and kind to the hands.

              1. I just use my dish soap. I've been using the Dawn regular stuff (orange color) for about 8 years now and don't find it too drying. I like the orange stuff because it's not overly scented and it cleans the dishes well with just a little bit of soap. When I wash my hands, I literally use a drop. I'm washing my hands a bazillion times while cooking and the hot water and soap hasn't dried my hands out yet.

                1. I use Softsoap's Aloe Vera hand soap, currently. It's white and I don't think it has much of a scent to it. It's very gentle on my very dry skin. If you have Trader Joe's nearby, they also have an unscented glycerin hand soap that's nice.

                  1. Our "house soap" is Yardley Oatmeal and Almond which is non-drying and only very lightly scented. I use Palmolive original because the scent reminds me of setting up house for the very first time.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: buttertart

                      I like the Yardley line, even the overly scented rose. I use Dawn for dishes and handwashing, does a great job but is murder on my hands, ( I never remember to use gloves) so I keep a tube of Aveeno 24 hour Intensive hand cream nearby.

                      1. re: bushwickgirl

                        The rose is strong, isn't it. I liked the oatmeal better before they reformulated the scent. Can't deal with the lavender due to unfortunate childhood associations with that scent.

                    2. I use cheap shampoo as liquid hand soap. You can get it lightly scented fairly easily, and I've seen it unscented. You can put it in a pump dispenser and it looks just like gel hand soap.

                      13 Replies
                        1. re: buttertart

                          Thank you!

                          My son thinks I'm crazy. He spends a fortune on those liquid hand soap refills. He really really believes liquid hand soap is different in some important way from all other forms of gel soap, LOL!

                          1. re: ZenSojourner

                            By the way, missed your posts - you were off CH for a while, right?

                            1. re: buttertart

                              Health stuff. It's why I'm living with my son. Consistency is not to be expected of me right now, LOL!

                              Thank you for saying I was missed. Usually people only say that about me while they're reloading . . . .

                              1. re: ZenSojourner

                                Good one. As usual.
                                Sorry to hear about the health stuff.

                                1. re: buttertart

                                  No worries. I'll get over it. Eventually. LOL!

                            2. re: ZenSojourner

                              Re liquid/gel soap being different from say cheap shampoo: There's a certain literalmindedness about many male brains.

                              1. re: buttertart

                                Everybody has their little quirks. From my son's point of view, mine is that I would use cheap shampoo as handwash. From mine, his quirk is that he WON'T, LOL!

                                1. re: ZenSojourner

                                  And mine is why not use bar soap rather than buying another product.

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    Because bar soap dries out my hands. ALL of it. Feels sticky and yucky. Ivory. Dove. Even "gel" bar soap. There's no bar soap anywhere in my household and hasn't been since I moved away from home 35 years ago. Also didn't like having to clean the bar soap to keep it from looking icky, and constantly cleaning the soap dish as well.

                                    But that's just another of MY little quirks, LOL!

                          2. re: ZenSojourner

                            Good idea. I remember years ago being in a public restroom when the cleaning lady was refilling the soap dispensers, and reading that the refill bags that go inside the dispensers had "Dial Shampoo" printed on them. Quickly realized that liquid soap is liquid soap is liquid soap.

                          3. Try Dermassage dish detergent. Gentle on hands, not overscented, and very inexpensive too.

                            1. I like diluted Dr. Bronners castile soap in one of those bottles that creates foam.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: Vetter

                                Wow, I used Dr Bronners back in the hippie days of the 70's and forgot about it, although I know many larger pharmacies in NY carry it, even in gallon sizes. Maybe I should get back into the habit; it was good for washing everything.

                                1. re: bushwickgirl

                                  It's alive and well in my post-hippie burg. Trader Joe's even carries it - though the co-op has every scent. I started with it because it's environmentally friendly and stayed with it because it works well. If you add some to water, borax, vinegar, and the essential oils of your choice, it also makes a nice all purpose spray.

                                  1. re: bushwickgirl

                                    Yep, we use Dr Bronner's here. I put the peppermint scented liquid in my ex-Dial dispenser. It has a strong scent at first, but it doesn't linger. Our TJ's carries it.

                                    1. re: Isolda

                                      Seems pepperrmint was the scent I used back in the day, and we used to dilute it quite a bit. It was great in the shower in the morning as the scent would WAKE YOU UP. If I bought a gallon, I'd have it for years...

                                2. "I haven't found an unscented one yet"

                                  There should be many unscented dish soap and hand soap. For dish soap, any of those "free and clear" dish soap are unscented, like:




                                  or http://www.amazon.com/Clorox-Green-Wo...

                                  I have used all three.

                                  For hand soap, same thing, same idea.

                                  1. Method. It also won't leave your sponges with that sour smell that is characteristic of ordinary commercial dish detergent.....

                                    1. Method now makes a "Kitchen Hand Wash" which 'eliminates stubborn food odors from hands'.

                                      Lemongrass/Citronelle scent. It is in a larger size container (18 oz) (vs 12 oz for hand wash).

                                      Found it at Vons/Safeway in San Diego this week. (It's not at Target. Yet.)

                                      1. I use the same bar soap in the kitchen that I use in the bath.

                                        1. I like Dr. Bronner's Liquid Soap in the almond flavor. It says it's almond, but in my experience it's essentially unscented. You can get a 2oz. bottle to see if you like it enough to invest in more.


                                          I also keep a pump dispenser of unscented hand sanitizer in my kitchen. This is just alcohol in a gel base.

                                          1. 1. When washing dishes, we use gloves.
                                            2. When prepping dinner, I handle protein and greasy things last to avoid excessive hand washing. (No, I don't wash my hands with soap after cutting a cucumber.)

                                            Finally, any "green" detergent should be relatively mild in terms of scent. Method, ecover, 7th gen, whatever's on sale...

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: cutipie721

                                              I won't use anti-bacterial products and like you, I don't like strong scents. The only hand soap I've found that fits the bill is Ivory Liquigel. It's lightly scented and even so, once I use a partial bottle I dilute it halfway with water.