Dishwashing Liquid or Bar can cause Cancer?

Dishwashing Liquid or Bar can cause Cancer?

Dishwashing liquid or Bar

Have you ever imagined that simple dish cleaning can cause dreadful disease like cancer and many other health disorders? Dangerous imagination, isn’t it? But this is true!!! Various household cleaning products available in market are loaded with toxic chemicals and dishwashing liquid or bar is one such product which is used on daily basis and becomes a medium for chemical to reach our body. These chemicals are not just harmful for our body but it equally threatens the environment.

Dishwashing liquid or Bar
Dishwashing liquid or Bar

Since the FDA hasn’t mandate the disclosure of ingredients to the household products therefore you can’t pin point what is safe for you and what not. Commonly, dishwashing products are made from petroleum based combination of chlorine bleaches and other harmful components. These chemicals can cause various health complications such as respiratory and eye irritation, intoxication, hormonal imbalance and even cancer.

If you buy the dishwashing products by looking at the labels such as “bio based” and “solvent free” then you should know that these terms have broad meanings and don’t ensure that the product is absolutely safe. For example, bio based cleaners such as citrus and pine based cleaners have constituent which can harm your health and environment. Solvent free products also have an array of chemicals ranging from highly toxic to mild chemicals. Let’s find out how these chemicals can pose risks to your health.


It is used as an effective cleaner because it can give you soapiest abundance of soapsuds. But this is a volatile compound and can irritate your eyes, respiratory tract and skin. If it is mixed with bleach then it can be more toxic to the user.

SLS (Sodium Laureth Sulphate)

This is a frother used to create foam in any dishwashing soap bar. However, this is a safe ingredient for formulating any soap and shampoos. It is characterized as an irritant but not as a carcinogenic agent. But it might provoke other carcinogenic properties if already present. Dish wash bar soap formula contains sodium Laureth sulfate under 30%, which is the approved percentage.

APE’s (alkyl phenoxy ethanols)

Research studies have found that this compound can activate estrogen receptors and stimulates the growth of breast cancer cells in the body. This is commonly used as a preservative in the dishwashing product.

Coal tar dyes

If you like the lime green or dark green color of your dishwashing liquid then its metallic components like arsenic, cadmium and lead will make them soar to your eyes. These elements can contaminate the petrochemicals from which these colors are obtained and these can be ingested accidently in form of soap residue on dishes or can be absorbed by the skin while hand dishwashing. These heavy metals have been found to be carcinogenic.

Cocamide dea

This is commonly used in dishwashing products as a foaming agent. It is a synthetic chemical produced by modifying coconut oil. It is found to have carcinogenic properties and thus harmful for body.

Chlorine bleach

This is a main ingredient of dishwashing products due to its bleaching properties. Its high content in the cleaning products can cause household poisoning because it gets stuck to the dishes each time you wash your dishes. Besides that, chlorine fumes can cause respiratory problems like asthma. It can cause disruption in thyroid functioning.

Ethanolamine compounds

These constitutes DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (monoethanolamine) and TEA (triethanolamine) which are used a emulsifier or foaming agents in dishwashing products, health care and household cleaning products. The serious concern about these compounds is that its regular and prolonged use can increase the risk of cancer in the body. It can cause chemical burn and inflammation if skin comes in contact with these compounds. Animal studies have shown that these compounds can increase the tumor formation and developmental abnormalities in the fetus.


It is used as preservative to prevent bacterial buildup in the product. It is also known as Quanternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, methanol, methyl aldehyde and methylene oxide. Its most common form is formalin which is a water solution as formaldehyde can be more harmful in its pure form. It is recently added in the list of possible carcinogen.

Dishwashing liquid or Bar
Dishwashing liquid or Bar

Glycol ether

It is used as grease cutting compound in the dishwashing products and other household cleaning items. Repeated and prolonged use of this compound can cause anemia, intoxication, and irritation of the eyes and nose. It can adversely affect the developmental and reproductive system by causing birth defects and damaging testicles and sperms. The common glycol ether (2-butoxyethanol) has found to be the cause of liver cancer.


This is commonly used in dishwashing products for facilitating removal of food, grease and calcium which binds the food particles. It also helps in controlling water hardness and prevent the removed soil from binding back to the dishes. High level of phosphate in serum has been found to be correlated to renal failure and cardiovascular diseases. Dishwashing products increase the chance of its ingestion of this compound in the body.


This compound is present in variety of products besides dishwashing soap and liquids as fragrance. So if your dishwashing product has “fragrance” labeled on it then there are chances that this component is present in your product. It is known as endocrine disruptors and according to 2003 study by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Harvard School of Public Health, men with high content of Phthalates in their blood have reduced sperm count. It can enter your body by inhalation or absorption by the skin.

Sodium borate

It is a naturally occurring mineral but it can affect the development of body and disrupt important body functions such as reproductive and endocrine system.


It is used as an antibacterial in majority of dishwashing products but it can promote the growth of drug resistant bacteria. It is dangerous for hormonal system it can negatively affect the thyroid and other organs of endocrine system. Prolonged exposure to this product can enhance the growth of pathogens in the body and weaken the immune system.

How much harm do these ingredients cause?

Despite the widespread usage of dishwash bars, they are also proven to accumulate toxins inside the liver. These toxins will slow down the immune system and increase the activities of pathogens inside the body. In addition, they can disrupt the body’s hormonal balance and sometimes provoke skin allergies and other infections.

When the dishwasher bar soap is not washed off properly, it might damage the mucous layer of your gastrointestinal tract, which can, in turn, result in causing ulcers and openings inside the epithelium of the gut.

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