Is Dawn dish soap biodegradable? (13 ingredients of Dawn dish soap) 

In this article, the biodegradability of Dawn dish soap will be discussed. Other topics covered would be: 

  • What is Dawn dish soap?
  • What is it made of?
  • What are some common ingredients found in dish soaps?
  • What is biodegradability and why does it matter?
  • Is Dawn dish soap good for the environment?
  • FAQs

Is Dawn dish soap biodegradable? 

Dawn dish soap is 90% biodegradable because it is made from both natural and non-natural ingredients. However, most of these ingredients are natural and that is why Dawn dish soap is biodegradable. 

Dawn dish soap is also phosphate-free, phthalate-free and triclosan-free. Its bottles are made from recycled material (30%) and can also be refilled and reused. 

However, Dawn dish soaps also included harmful chemicals that may pollute water, damage aquatic ecosystems and cause human health complications. Therefore, Dawn dish soap is not completely eco-friendly. 

What is Dawn dish soap?

Dawn dish soap, as the name suggests, is a dishwashing liquid that is intended for washing dishes and tackling all types of stains and greases that might remain on dishes. Dawn dish soap has been available in the market since 1973.

Dawn dish soap is famous for its use and versatility of its function. It is claimed to be one of the most popular brands in the United States. Dawn dish soap comes in a variety of formations for different functions. 

The producers of Dawn dish soap claim that it is manufactured to cause the least possible harm to the environment and life. That is why, the manufacturers of Dawn claim that there are no phosphates, phthalates, and triclosan used in Dawn dish soap. 

The company also claims that Dawn dish soap is made in compliance with the 3R approach used and preached extensively by scientists and environmentalists. That is why, more than one-third of Dawn products are made from recycled material. 

While the primary function of dawn dish soap is to clean dishes because of its stain and grease removal properties, there are many other functions of dawn dish soap that can be tailored to our needs. That is why Dawn dish soap holds its place in the market because of the versatility of its usage. 

Some of the other uses of dawn dish soap that can be done are:

  • Cleaning dishes 
  • Dirt removal
  • Grease removal
  • Cleaning of pool
  • Cleaning of automobile parts
  • Cleaning of furniture 
  • Cleaning of washrooms 
  • Unclogging toilets

What is Dawn dish soap made of? (13 ingredients of Dawn dish soap) 

Dawn dish soap is made from a mixture of both natural and synthetic ingredients to give both utilitarian, economical and environmental values. However, since Dawn dish soap has to deal with tough greases and stains, it can not be all-natural because, in this way, the utilitarian aspect of Dawn dish soap will be compromised. 

As per the company, the following ingredients are used to make Dawn dish soap. 

  • Water
  • Sodium lauryl sulphate 
  • Sodium Laureth sulphate 
  • Alcohol Denat 
  • Sodium chloride 
  • Sodium hydroxide 
  • Glycerine 
  • Terpineol 
  • Sodium cumene sulphonate 
  • Phenoxy isopropanol 
  • Chloroxylenol 
  • Phenoxyethanol
  • Fragrances

All these ingredients are linked and associated to partake in different functions of dawn dish soap. 

The most important part of any dish soap is surfactants because surfactants are responsible for the cleaning capacity given off by any dish soap or soap in general. 

The surfactants used in Dawn dish soap are 

  • Sodium lauryl sulphate 
  • Sodium laureth sulphate 
  • C10-16 Alkyl Dimethyl Amine oxide 
  • C9-11 Pareth-8

These are the cleaning agents used to make Dawn dish soap and without these, Dawn dish soap will lose its cleaning powers. 

The next important set of ingredients is the solvents used to make Dawn dish soap. These solvents are involved in improving the overall function of Dawn dish soap while also keeping all the ingredients together. The solvents used to make Dawn dish soap include: 

  • Water
  • Alcohol denat
  • Phenoxyethanol 
  • Phenoxy isopropanol
  • Propylene Glycol 

Dawn dish soap is also made from other ingredients as well that hold important functions. For example, since there is water in Dawn dish soap, microbial growth is possible. To avert this and increase the shelf life, preservatives are added such as Methylisothiazo-Linone. 

Various viscosity builders are also used such as Sodium chloride and glycerine. The use of fragrances is also important to give off a nice scent to Dawn dish soap. This improves the buying power of Dawn dish soap. 

Colourants are used to give distinct colours to Dawn dish soap. The use of colours improves the classification of Dawn dish soaps as these dish soaps come in various formations. 

Dawn dish soap also contains anti-bacterial agents such as Chloroxylenol which makes these soaps not only good against stains and greases but also against microbes such as bacteria. 

What are general dish soaps made of?

For a comparative perspective, let us explore the common ingredients found in most of the commercially available dish soaps. We will also rummage a bit around their pros and cons. 

The ingredients that are generally used to make dish soap include: 

  • Cocamide DEA
  • DMDM Hydantoin 
  • Ethanolamine 
  • Formaldehyde 
  • Propylene Glycol 
  • Sodium Borate 
  • Sulphuric Acid
  • Triclosan
  • Sodium Xylene Sulfonate 

These chemicals that are generally used to manufacture dish soaps are associated and linked with a number of health and environmental issues. 

These issues may include: 

  • Aquatic toxicity 
  • Chemical releases
  • Lungs issues
  • Skin irritation 
  • Skin allergies
  • Neurological issues 
  • Cancers
  • Damage to foetus 
  • Effects on hormones
  • Neurotoxicity 

What is biodegradability & why does it matter?

In order to build any stance on the biodegradability of Dawn dish soaps, it is important to know what biodegradability is in the first place. More than that, the importance of biodegradability is also of increased interest and shall be covered. 

Biodegradation can be defined as the process through which complex materials are broken down into simpler materials through various mediators (time, microbes) so that those simple materials may be consumed leaving no wastes. 

With the increased impacts and strain on the environment, the check of whether a material is biodegradable or not has become more important than ever. If material is biodegradable then it implies lesser waste and hence lower strain on the environment. 

However, if a material is not biodegradable readily, it will take hundreds of years for that particular material to degrade. In that case, the strain on the environment and solid waste management will increase tenfolds. 

When it comes to biodegradability, the rule of thumb is that man-made materials such as plastics et cetera are not biodegradable since they are synthetic. They accumulate in the environment such as water bodies, and disposal sites and toxicate the environment.

However, naturally occurring material which does not contain any synthetic elements can readily biodegrade within months and hence would not cause any strain to the environment or the waste management authorities. 

The current waste generation stands at roughly 2 billion tons. This implies that an average person is responsible for about 5 kgs of waste on a daily basis. 

Much of this waste is not disposed of properly which causes direct impacts on human health and the environment. It is studied that more than 40% of total waste produced ends up in open dumps and is not processed at all. 

As per the statistical findings, the soap consumer market stood at a whopping 132 billion US dollars in 2020 and is expected to rise up to 150 billion dollars. Global soap production is flabbergasting. 

As per the research, the global soap production in 2020 stood at 100 million tons. China was the biggest consumer of soap standing at 22 million tons. 

In 2019, the global market for dishwashing soaps was at 18 billion dollars. This asserts how many of these soaps are made globally because everyone needs to do the kitchen. 

These figures speak out for themselves why the need for biodegradable soaps is so important. If non-biodegradable soaps are consumed and preferred, it implies that an infinite amount of waste is generated which is toxic and hazardous for the environment and eventually humans.

Is dawn dish soap biodegradable?

It has been established that for a product to be biodegradable, it must be made from natural ingredients so that microbes can break down its structure for it to become a part of nature again. 

Dawn dish soap is made from both natural and synthetic materials; however, as the company claims, there is an increased environmental responsibility in the production process as well as the materials used to make Dawn dish soaps. 

It is studied that Dawn dish soap is as much as 90% biodegradable because although it contains non-natural materials, there are a variety of natural materials too such as water, a variety of soils and oil. 

The company‚Äôs vision to be an environmentally conscious producer is also reflected in the fact that Dawn dish soap makes use of no phosphates, triclosan or phthalates. These chemicals are linked to numerous health and environmental impacts. 

Another fact that advocates the green consideration of Dawn dish soap is that one-third of its production is done from recycled products. 

However, the journey of Dawn dish soap to be biodegradable and safe for the environment has a long way to go and is expected to be covered in the years to come. 

Is Dawn dish soap good for the environment?

It has been seen that the manufacturers of Dawn dish soap have taken into account a lot of green considerations. These include: 

  • No phosphates 
  • No triclosan
  • No phthalates 
  • Use of recycled products 
  • Use of many natural ingredients that make Dawn dish soap 90% biodegradable 

However, unfortunately, Dawn dish soap can not be called eco-friendly because many factors and obstructions still lie in the way of complete eco-friendliness. These factors are researched to be: 

  • The use of chemicals such as methylisothiazolinone and dioxane can cause health issues such as skin irritation, allergies, eye infections
  • Use of chemicals that can pollute groundwater
  • Loss of aquatic life as the chemicals used in Dawn dish soap can harm the fishes ecosystem 
  • Use of ingredients that may be toxic to the environment 
  • Use of materials that may be non-biodegradable and hence remain for a very long time in the environment 
  • Use of chemicals that may damage the liver or cause neuro-related anomalies
  • Use of non-biodegradable packaging material 
  • Use of chemicals that may cause cancer and organ defects 

In light of these effects, Dawn dish soap, despite being biodegradable, can not be called eco-friendly. There is a long journey to be covered. Fortunately, Dawn dish soap is on the way. 

Conclusion 

It is concluded that Dawn dish soap is made from both natural and non-natural ingredients. However, most of these ingredients are natural and that is why, Dawn dish soap is 90% biodegradable. 

Dawn dish soap is also phosphate-free, phthalate-free and triclosan-free. Its bottles are made from recycled material (30%) and can also be refilled and reused. 

However, Dawn dish soaps also included harmful chemicals that may pollute water, damage aquatic ecosystems and cause human health complications. Therefore, Dawn dish soap is not completely eco-friendly.  

Frequently Asked Questions: Is Dawn dish soap biodegradable? 

Is Dawn dish soap toxic?

Yes, Dawn dish soap is toxic because of the use of certain chemicals which may damage life and the environment. 

What medical complications can be caused by Dawn dish soap?

These may include skin allergies, irritations, loss of vision, organ defects, and even cancers. 

References

  • Dawn. Dawn dish soap ingredients. Retrieved from: https://dawn-dish.com/en-us/how-to/what-dawn-is-made-of-ingredients

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