As much as we love cooking at home, there’s no getting around the mess it leaves behind. Personally, I don’t mind wiping down the counters or taking out the recycling—those are the easy chores. The one task I dread the most after cooking up a cheesy, saucy dinner is the dishes. For folks that don’t have the convenience of a dishwasher (or just prefer to do it the old-fashioned way), that means busting out the rubber gloves—yes, you should be using them—and attacking the grease.
To find the best grease-busters editors and staff at Reader’s Digest’s sister site, Taste of Home, put 14 of the most popular dish soaps to the test to see how they stacked up. Over several weeks editors washed their dirtiest dishes—even pans coated in bacon grease—and recorded diligent notes about each soap’s performance.
The best dish soap: Dawn Platinum
When it comes to the best dish soap for cleaning away all the bits left in the pan and all the grease in your skillet, you can’t go wrong with Dawn Platinum. A small amount of this soap easily cleaned a whole sink of dishes with ease. Without a lot of scrubbing, testers were able to get rid of even stubborn, stuck-on bits from casserole dishes and cookie sheets.
The ultimate test, though: bacon grease. When it came to getting rid of every dishwasher’s nightmare, one of the testers had this to say: “It pulled bacon grease right off the pan—even cold grease came right off.”
When it comes to doing dishes, can you ask for anything more? Sure you can! Testers also liked the mild scent of this dish soap. It was fresh smelling but not overpowering—the perfect complement to a well-dressed sink.
$4.94 for a 16.2-ounce bottle; available at retailers nationwide.
Other favorites for tackling a sink full of dishes
If you’re looking for a good grease-fighting soap that’s easy on your hands, opt for a bottle of Palmolive Oxy. This soap cut through sheet pans of bacon grease without much scrubbing. This formula left testers’ hands feeling soft. However, Palmolive had a pretty strong scent that some folks didn’t care for. For some less smelly alternatives, check out the safest types of dish soap you can buy.
$1.94 for a 20-ounce bottle; available at retailers nationwide.
We all know Clorox for its bleach, but did you know it made a good liquid dish soap, too? This brand offered thick, foamy suds that helped clean every dish. Testers had to scrub a bit harder with this one but were ultimately happy with its cleaning power.
$3.77 for a 26-ounce bottle; available at retailers nationwide.
The bottom line
In the test, Taste of Home found that these classic cleaning brands performed the best when it came to cutting grease. Others just didn’t measure up, at least not without a lot of effort or using a lot of product.
There are more ways to use dish soap at home
When you’re not scrubbing away at your dishes—learn how to do it the right way here—you can still make use of dish soap to clean elsewhere. Keep a small bottle in your laundry room, especially. A small dab of dish soap and some warm water does wonders removing grease from clothing. Using just a small amount of each, scrub the stains lightly with a clean cloth or clean toothbrush. Pop it in the washing machine and you’ll find that your grease is gone.
Be sure to check out Taste of Home’s other Best Loved Brands to keep your house feeling clean and fresh (and to keep your pantry stocked with the very best, too!). You should also stock up on these other kitchen products people can’t stop buying.