Can You Wash Your Hair With Dish Soap?

You may have read on the internet that dishwashing liquid may be used to wash your hair. Or perhaps you’ve run out of regular shampoo, and your scalp has turned into a greasy mess.

So, can you wash your hair with dish soap?

Can You Use Dish Soap To Wash Your Hair?

Yes, you can use dish soap as a shampoo alternative in an emergency. However, please do not make it a habit because it’s not good for your hair in the long term.

Dishwashing liquid is known for fighting oil, so it should work on grease also.

As these alkaline solutions primarily remove cooking oil from dinner plates as well as pans and pots, they will eliminate all the essential oil on your scalp.

Consequently, you might end up with a highly dry scalp if you use it as a substitute for shampoo. But for scalp’s health purposes, you would want a moderate amount of oil in your locks and on your scalp.

Overall, we suggest you avoid using dish soap as a shampoo, especially if you have dry hair.

Shampoos Hub x
Shampoos Hub
You Can Wash Your Hair With Dish Soap But Shouldn’t
You Can Wash Your Hair With Dish Soap But Shouldn’t

Dish Soap Vs. Shampoo Comparison

Shampoo Dish soap
Ingredients Sodium laureth sulfate Sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium chloride, Cocamide DEA, and SD alcohol
Concentrations A wide range of formulations, which are gender for scalp Require more heavy-duty cleansing, making them more extensive surfactant content

Similarly, dish soap and shampoo contain water as a primary component. They are all the primary active agents and have other stabilizing and thickening agents, such as surfactants, salts, hydrotrope, preservatives, perfumes, and colors.

On the other hand, they also create foam when you mix them with water. And, they are well-known for removing oil.

That’s why many people tend to use dish soap whenever their shampoo is running out. In an emergency, dish detergent can replace shampoo.

Controversy, shampoos and dishwashing liquids are totally different from each other. From the consistency to the ingredients are all distinct. It is their differences that lead them to their different using purspose.

For example, shampoos are designed to clean a variety of hair types to varying degrees, under a variety of situations, and to provide a variety of additional advantages – resulting in a plethora of various ingredients.

Therefore, shampoo comes in a wide range of formulations. Meanwhile dish detergents only have simple formulaes. shampoos offer a vast range of compositions. 

Most surfactants, mainly sodium lauryl sulfate, in Dishwashing require more heavy-duty cleansing than shampoo. Meanwhile, Shampoos containing sodium lauryl sulfate are now exceedingly rare. Most of them contain sodium laureth sulfate, which is much gentler.

Sodium chloride is usually present in dishwashing solutions, which can be drying (salt) and it is also not ideal to apply to the scalp. Additionally, that two principal components, Cocamide DEA and SD alcohol, potentially cause drying, are also incompatible with specific hair care products which you might be using.  

What Will Happen If You Use Dish Soap On Your Hair?

You Can Remove All The Muck On Hair With Dish Soap
You Can Remove All The Muck On Hair With Dish Soap

It may be helpful if you are dealing with product build-up and require a thorough cleaning. The advantage is that it will remove all the muck, effectively enabling you to feel fresh.

But, if you plan to use it for a long time, there are a few things to keep in mind.

It Dries Out Your Scalp

It is the most negative consequence. The sodium lauryl sulfate is particularly effective in dissolving all types of oils, including those that keep hair and skin hydrated. 

Your skin loses moisture quickly as it tears away these natural hydrating lipids. Dishwashing liquid, which commonly contains sodium lauryl sulfate.

Dishwashing liquid contains salt, which will severely dry out your scalp. Those who have ever gone to the seaside know that just breathing the salt air can make your head look like tumbleweed. 

A plunge in the sea without adequately preparing your hair may leave it parched for weeks. 

Then there’s SD alcohol, which is included in several dishwashing liquids and is very astringent, allowing it to break down your excess oil easily. If it is too much, your strands may enlarge to the point of breaking.

It Removes The Outer Layer Of Your Hair

The cuticle’s function is to safeguard the inner layers. However, there is a protective layer on the cuticle that protects it. That is the epicuticle. It is primarily made up of oil and serves as a chemical shield.

Once the epicuticle has been dissolved, it moves on to destroying the entire cuticle. One of these cuticles is the cellular membranes – the “adhesive” that binds the cells together.

Dish Soap May Eliminate The Protective Layer Of The Hair
Dish Soap May Eliminate The Protective Layer Of The Hair

It Triggers Dermatitis

The principal component in most dishwashing liquids, sodium lauryl sulfate, is so abrasive that specialists use it for causing contact dermatitis in research only. 

When you use sodium lauryl sulfate for washing, it triggers another skin disease called atopic dermatitis (eczema) causing the itch and redness on your skin. 

Your skin condition can be worse if combined with the sodium chloride often exposed to be drying (salt) also in dishwashing solution . 

When both of them are mixed, the situation is not only drying, or itchy, but also turns into a significant irritant. 

The only way getting out of that nightmare is eliminating that sodium sulfate-salt mixture. Unfortunately, that combination prefers to come into contact with keratin and the protein in your hair, so it is not an easy mission.

It’s much more strict than getting that off the normal dishes that dishwashing often uses for.  

If the residue it left behind surpasses that 1% quantity, it might be harmful. Therefore, if you use this product frequently, it gets collected on your skin.

Will Dish Soap Hurt My Hair?

Yes, dishwashing products cause a build-up within your strands, which causes them to break down from the inside out. This detergent can cause a third form of accumulation on your hair. 

The primary cleaner in liquid soap is tiny enough to penetrate the hair fiber to truly reach the strands.

Not only does the sodium lauryl sulfate penetrate your hairs, but it also recruits some surprising allies to help it out: your deep conditioners.

Cationic surfactants, which have a strong positive charge that adheres to the surface of your hairs, are found in most current conditioners. Sodium lauryl sulfate, a powerfully anionic surfactant, is included in most dishwashing solutions.

The powerful opposite charges attract each other. The surfactant in dishwashing liquid grabs the one in the conditioner and resides inside the hairs. 

The more frequently you do it, the thicker this layer of debris becomes within your strands. Inside the strand, they create a cationic-anionic compound. 

Now you’ve got something that is probably worse than the accumulation you attempted to eliminate with the dishwashing solutions.

Because this deposit is insoluble, it’s difficult to rinse off, and even using the harsh detergent will make things worse.

When Should You Wash Your Hair With Dish Soap?

Dishwashing liquid may be the best option for removing anything stubborn from your strands in a handful of situations. Let’s be clear: using it will damage your scalp, although it could be worthy in dire circumstances.

For example, you have put on a huge amount of greasy products, such as beeswax, Vaseline, or pomade, and now they do not go away, Dishwashing liquid will work very well on that.

Even a dry shampoo may not be able to cut away oil if it is dense enough. If the grease doesn’t budge, dishwashing solutions may be your only choice for removing it. 

While dishwashing liquid isn’t an excellent alternative for shampoo in daily usage, it will not harm you in a single usage. Just be careful not to get it in the eyes. 

However, because it can take away your scalp’s natural oils, certain persons with sensitive skin must avoid washing their damaged strands with it. You should not use dishwashing products on your scalp if you: 

  • Have dry hair
  • Have sensitive skin problems such as psoriasis, eczema, and dry scalp.
  • Have dyed hair  (unless your target is to eliminate some color)
Do Not Use Dish Soap On A Regular Basis
Do Not Use Dish Soap On A Regular Basis

What Dish Soap Can You Try On Your Hair?

You should wash your hair with the Blue Dawn soap, even though it is the “Original Scent” version. It makes perfect sense since the original one is always milder and contains as few harsh chemicals as ever.

We recommend this dish detergent to you instead of others on the market since many ladies on Instagram and YouTube are talking about it. Blue Dawn liquid appears most frequently in videos about washing hairs.

In other words, there’s nothing fancy about it, and there aren’t any additional features that may irritate your skin or harm your scalp. Dawn products may be used in your locks without damaging them. 

However, it will deplete the oils in your natural scalp (essential fatty acids for shaft development). It should be used as a cleansing shampoo rather than a normal shampoo for daily use.

How Do You Wash Your Hair With Dish Soap?

  • Wet your hair and massage some drops of dishwashing liquid into a lather, just like you would with shampoo. 
  • Use a tiny quantity and rinse well to avoid getting it in your eyes. To replenish moisture, finish with an excellent leather conditioner. 
  • Remember to rinse it entirely and carefully since this liquid is quite powerful and challenging to rinse off. 

Pro Tip: If you are going to wash your hair with Dawn or any other dishwashing products, just do it in an emergency. Should not use it again because it may strip your hair of too many oils. 


How Long Do I Leave Dish Soap On My Scalp?

It is best to let dishwashing liquid sit in your hair for 20 minutes before rinsing it out. 

Can I Use Palmolive Dish Soap For My Scalp?

You may shampoo your scalp with Palmolive dishwashing detergent if you do not dye your hair since it may eliminate 80 percent of hair color. Make sure to rinse with vinegar and warm water or hot water.

Final Words

We strongly advise you to avoid using dishwashing products on your hair not only because we prefer the milder impact of shampoo, but also about protecting your scalp’s health.

So, you can use dish soap in an emergency but should not very frequently replace shampoos since it will quickly dry all the essential oils on your scalp.

If that’s a case, Dawn Blue dish detergent is a reliable choice. Hopefully, this article is beneficial for you when deciding on washing hairs with dish soap. 

Thanks for reading!

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Edna Feber

I’m Edna. I'm here to guide you about hair products and maintenance tips. You'll fine here product reviews regarding hair tools, hair color, hair care and more along with tips to keep your hair healthy!

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