What Happens if You Don’t Rinse the Soap Off Dishes?

Dishwashing is usually done in three steps: first comes the washing in soapy water, then rinsing with clean water, and finally drying. However, not everyone thinks that rinsing with clean water is necessary, especially with natural and biodegradable dish soap.

Read on to find out what happens if you leave soap residue on your kitchenware.

If you don't wash the soap off your dishes, food residue and harmful microorganisms will remain on them along with the soap. When this residue left on the dishes comes into contact with food the next time they are used, you will be at risk of ingesting bacteria-contaminated soap residue.

Why is rinsing dishes essential?

It is necessary to learn how soaps work in order to understand why it is important to rinse dishes after washing them in soapy water.

All soaps work the same, regardless of whether they are used for washing hands or washing dishes. Soap and detergent molecules bind to water at one end and to the greasy dirt at the other end. The soap molecules form micelles that trap soil and bacteria, which can be easily washed off the dishes with water.

This is how soap works

So, if you don’t rinse the soap off your dishes, you won’t be able to remove food residue and bacteria from them either. Therefore, it is important to rinse the soap off your kitchenware, even if it’s natural and biodegradable.

Sponges and dishcloths are usually the most contaminated kitchen items when not regularly changed or sanitized, and they can increase the number of bacteria during washing up. Dish brushes are more hygienic than sponges or dishcloths.


What can you do to reduce soap residue?

When washing dishes manually, don’t use more dishwashing detergent than necessary.

According to a study, excessive use of dish soap did not improve its washing efficiency but reduced it. Too much dish soap resulted in a large amount of foam that stuck to the dishes and reduced the purity and cleaning power of the rinsing water when using the two-sink method. Thus, food and soap residue remained on the dishes despite the rinsing. You may want to check the manufacturer’s recommendation for soap dosage.

Is it better to rinse dishes under running water or in a sink filled with water?

Based on expert recommendations, the most economical and environmentally friendly way to wash dishes manually at home is to use the two-sink method.

The two-sink dishwashing method consists of filling one sink with hot soapy water and the other with clean rinsing water. It’s also important to scrape off visible food residue before starting to wash the dishes so that the water in the sinks stays clean longer.

It is important to add the washing-up liquid to the first sink only after you filled it with water, otherwise, a large amount of foam will form. Fill the other sink, or a large bowl if you have a single sink kitchen, with cold water to rinse the dishes you washed in soapy water. And on a similar subject, you may be interested in what can you use instead of dishwashing liquid.

What to do after rinsing dishes?

After you have rinsed the dishes, the best and most hygienic solution is to let them air dry. Using kitchen towels is not a hygienic dish-drying solution, as it causes bacterial contamination. Talking of dish drying, you may be interested in some good alternatives to a dish rack.


Why is my dishwasher not rinsing the dishes well?

Only use special dishwasher detergent in your dishwasher. If you use too much or low-quality detergent, your dishwasher may not rinse the dishes completely. Also, the dishwasher may not be able to rinse the dishes well if it does not receive an adequate amount of water, for example, if the spray arms are blocked or the water pump fails.

For more information, you may wish to read my article about some common causes of dishwashers not washing properly.

What happens if you ingest dishwasher detergent residue?

A small amount of dishwashing soap left on your kitchenware after improper rinsing is probably not enough to cause poisoning.

However, swallowing any amount of dishwasher detergent can cause stomach irritation, as well as vomiting and diarrhea. In this case, it is recommended to drink a glass of water, and if the symptoms persist, consult a doctor.

Final thoughts

So, it’s very important to rinse off the soap residue from your dishes, as dirt and harmful microorganisms remain on them along with the soap. This way, you can avoid accidentally ingesting soap residue the next time you use those dishes. Also, soaps don’t taste nice.



My name is Debora, the founder of My Delicious Sweets, and a qualified confectioner with broad experience in the confectionery industry. On my blog, I will share important, interesting, and fun facts about food, along with some of my favorite recipes.


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