Does Dish Soap Kill Germs?

Medically Reviewed on 5/26/2021

Dish soap can get rid of bacteria and even the viruses such as coronavirus.
Dish soap can get rid of bacteria and even the viruses such as coronavirus.

Dish soap can get rid of bacteria and even the viruses such as coronavirus. Dish soap is mainly used to remove grease and food residue off from your dishes. Like hand soap, dish soap does not kill bacteria, but it lifts them off surfaces to be washed away by water. Dishes should be washed and scrubbed in soapy water, rinsed with water and finally soaked in water containing germ-killing sanitizers before drying them off. Remember to run the dishes under water before using them the next time, to remove any chemical residue from the last wash.

How does dish soap remove germs?

When you work soap and water into a lather, it helps trap and remove germs and chemicals from the dish. Wetting the dish with clean water before applying soap helps generate better lather. Lather forms pockets (micelles) that trap and remove germs, food residue and grease from the dish. Scrubbing the dish is necessary as it destroys germs and removes them. Soap disrupts the fat, breaks the liquid membrane and destroys the virus.

How to sanitize your dishes effectively

Here are some effective ways to sanitize the dishes.

  • Scrap out the leftover food using a rubber spatula or paper towel.
  • Make sure to sanitize your sponges and replace them often to ensure that you are not cleaning dishes with a dirty sponge.
  • Fill sink or dishpan with clean, hot water. Add dish soap to the water and add dishes in the sink. Allow few minutes of soaking time before you work on washing.
  • Wear rubber gloves to protect your skin from burning if you are washing with your hands.
  • Wash the dishes thoroughly. Scrub well to get in all the nooks and corners of utensils.
  • Start washing lightly soiled dishes, such as glasses, cups and flatware, followed by plates/bowls and serving dishes. End with cookware/pots and pans. For tough grease and stains, add detergent or baking soda to the dish.
  • Rinse the dish with clean hot water either by dipping in a rinsing sink or passing under a stream or spray of hot water.
  • Lastly, dry the dish by air drying or towel drying. Wiping with a clean towel is desirable when glassware or flatware is spotted or filmed.
  • Always remember to wash your hands thoroughly after cleaning the dishes.


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Medically Reviewed on 5/26/2021