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Consumer Reports finds that pricey dish soaps are not better at cleaning

Posted Thursday, April 14, 2011

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Yonkers, NY - Store shelves are lined with dozens of dish liquids in a row of rainbow colors and a garden of scents but do the products heavily touted on TV have superior cleaning power? Not necessarily, according to Consumer Reports tests, which found that cheaper dish liquids clean just as well as their costlier counterparts.


Ajax and Kirkland Signature (Costco) were both very good at cleaning and cost just $0.06 per ounce, the least per ounce of the brands Consumer Reports tested, making them CR Best Buys. The full report is available in the May issue of Consumer Reports available on newsstands April 5 and online at

“Our tests show you don’t have to pay a lot to get your dishes clean,” said Jim Nanni, Associate Technical Director for Consumer Reports. “All dish liquids contain surfactants, enzymes and other chemicals to aid in cleaning.”

Consumer Reports testers baked a mixture of evaporated milk, flour, egg yolk and sugar onto glass plates, put the plates in trays of warm water with equal amounts of each detergent, and used a machine that holds a sponge to rub each plate with equal pressure.

To test grease removal, testers dipped stainless-steel panels in lard, let the fat congeal for at least an hour, then cleaned them using the same process as with the glass plates. In both cases, scores were based on the number of rubs it took to remove the soil.

All the products tested were very good at removing food and grease, but some cost just a few cents per ounce while other cost up to $0.94 cent per ounce. The makers of DuoDish ($0.16/ounce) and The Laundress ($0.94/ounce) claim they can be used in the sink and the dishwasher. Makers of “green” brands claim they’re safe for septic tanks, have minimal impact on aquatic life, are free of fragrance and dyes, or are “natural” (but there’s no official definition of that term except on meat and poultry products).

Since all the tested products are recommended, Consumer Reports suggests consumers purchase dish liquid based on the price. Plus skip antibacterial cleaners. The government says they don’t clean any better, and they might lead to tougher bacteria. For more tips on cleaning up kitchen messes, log on to

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Consumer Reports finds that pricey dish soaps are not better at cleaning
Ajax and Kirkland Signature (Costco) dish soaps were both very good at cleaning and cost just $0.06 per ounce.
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