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Liquid hand soap is OK for dishes in a pinch

The sink at the office where I work has liquid hand soap. Is it OK to wash out my coffee mug or lunch plate with liquid hand soap instead of dish soap? What’s the difference anyway?

— Shannon, Medford

Nothing too terrible will happen to you if you wash your coffee mug with liquid hand soap, but it’s wise to take a few precautions.

Apartment Therapy published an article addressing this very question in 2019.

According to experts they consulted, liquid dish soap is designed to cut through grease, while liquid hand soap is designed to be more gentle on your hands.

You might not get your dishes as squeaky clean if you use hand soap, but it’s better than nothing.

A lot of hand soaps have additives such as essential oils, moisturizers and fragrances. Apartment Therapy says to rinse your dishes well if you use hand soap because of the additives they often contain.

As for using laundry detergent in a pinch, that’s a no-no, according to cleaning experts.

Laundry detergents contain chemicals such as brighteners, fragrances, stain removers and anti-soiling agents that might not rinse well off your dishes and could be harmful to your health, Apartment Therapy warns.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.