The week I washed my dishes without soap

Most of us are really thinking about the impact of our cleaning: single use plastics, potentially harmful chemicals, cost. But I’d be willing to bet that ditching washing up liquid has never crossed most people’s minds.

As part of a week-long experiment, I cleaned everything (apart from clothes and people) with ONLY WATER and microfibre cloths, including my dishes.

What did I discover? Well, I learned that I had to make a few changes to the way I normally do things. Sometimes it took a little longer and required a little more elbow grease, but everything still got clean (for the most part).

If you want to try cleaning dishes with water for yourself, here are my tips. You can also watch my highlights to see how I did it.


  • Remove as much food and grease as possible into the bin
  • Rinse or soak dishes immediately after use, especially if food is likely to become stuck on
  • Invest in a high quality dish sponge (I used the eCloth Dish Scrubber)
  • Buy gloves


  • Use the hottest water you can get
  • Don’t fill the sink too high because you might want to drain and refill a couple of times
  • Wash 1 or 2 items at a time, starting with the least dirty (glasses usually)
  • Use the scrubbing side of your sponge to remove stubborn food particles
  • Keep really greasy pots and pans until last, rinsing these well first with very hot water


  • Stack your dishes in your drainer to air dry, this is more hygienic than towel drying
  • Use a clean microfibre cloth to remove any remaining grease from pots or pans, washing it after each use

It’s not for everyone, and yes, it is going to take more effort than washing with soap, but if you really want or need to reduce your product use, it is doable!

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