Is Dawn dish soap biodegradable? (3 harmful ingredients used in Dawn dish soap) 

The article will discuss the biodegradability of ​​Dawn dish soap. Other covered aspects would include:

  • Is it advisable to use Dawn dish soap?
  • Is Dawn dish soap safe for water bodies?
  • Is Dawn dish soap good for septic systems?
  • Is Dawn dish soap bad for the soi?
  • Is Dawn dish soap safe to be used as an insecticide?

Is Dawn Dish soap biodegradable?

Dawn dish soap is biodegradable because the majority of the ingredients used to make Dawn dish soap will degrade by the action of microbes within 180 days or less. 

This also brings us to the definition of biodegradation which can be said to be the breakdown that is caused by the action of microbes within a short period of time. 

The term period, as mentioned, is usually 180 days. However, the exact duration will vary based on the subjective cases. 

As per the details mentioned on the official websites and the data extracted from the Safety Data Sheet, it can be said with a convicted finality that Dawn dish soap is at least 90% biodegradable. 

It also can be stanced that while about 90% of its ingredients can be given the tag of biodegradability, there is equivocality when it comes to the remaining 10%. An equivocality is expected to be worked on in the years to come. 

Also, another factor that needs to be appreciated is that Dawn dish soap also avoids the use of some known harmful chemicals such as parabens, triclosan, and phthalates. 

However, the fundamental question that still remains is, is it sustainable? Let us find out in the next section. 

Is Dawn Dish soap sustainable?

There are a number of reservations that will hold us back from calling Dawn dish soap sustainable. 

A mistake that many make is that they confuse biodegradability with sustainability. While the two terms travel parallel, a finality of stance can not be published if proper deliberation is not done. 

This is claimed because there are chances of something being biodegradable but it may still cause harm to the environment and because of that, it can not be given the tag of being sustainable. 

The same may be observed for Dawn dish soap. It has been seen that while the majority of the ingredients used to make Dawn dish soap are biodegradable, they are not necessarily good for the environment.

The problem that exists is that when the term environment is mentioned, all we think of is the atmosphere and the higher skies. The fact that we get oblivious to the environment is right here with us. In fact, we are the constituents of the environment.  

If we rummage on the Sustainable Development Goals of 2030, we can see that while the atmosphere is a focus, so is the life that is associated. 

Based on these stances, it can be said that Dawn dish soap is not sustainable because some of its ingredients do not gel well with the essential constituents of the environment which are life and humans. 

If we assess the case of Dawn dish soap, there is the use of fragrances, dyes, and some harmful chemicals such as methylisothiazolinone. 


The use of synthetic dyes such as Blue#1 and Yellow#5  are linked with medical damages such as:

  • Cancer
  • Skin irritation 
  • Damages to the nervous system 
  • Organ damage 
  • Skin allergies 


Dawn ultra dish soap also makes use of synthetic fragrances that also have certain defects and health effects (negative) including: 

  • Skin allergies
  • Skin irritation
  • Aquatic toxicity 

Use of methylisothiazolinone

The use of methylisothiazolinone is also of concern since it is linked with negative and degradative environmental phenomena such as aquatic toxicity and damage to aquatic ecosystems. 

More than that, there are also negative effects such as organ damage, skin damage, vision damage,  and also cancer. 

How well is the use of Dawn dish soap?

As flaunted in the previous section, the environment is not just about the atmosphere. There are other important aspects of the environment as well that need to be well-scrutinised. 

This section will work on that. Let us try to develop a relationship between Dawn dish soap and 

  • Water bodies 
  • Soil 
  • Drainage systems 

Water bodies (& drainage systems)

Let us start off with perhaps the most important aspect, the water bodies. We all know that the drainage system ends up in water bodies. So, when we use Dawn dish soap in our kitchen, the leftover travels through the drainage channels and eventually enters water bodies. 

We need to figure out the association because we need to confirm what is the effect of Dawn dish soap on the aquatic and marine ecosystems. When it comes to that, there is not much good to offer. 

The reason being the use of chemicals that can render medical complications in the living systems. These complications may include realities such as the death of eggs and reproductive complications. 


You may think that the relation is illogical but there is a lot of good logic in it. Because of the properties of Dawn dish soap, many consumers incline to use Dawn dish soap as an insecticide. 

However,  if there is a negative relationship, then the use of Dawn dish soap as an insecticide needs to be intimidated. 

It is not recommended to use Dawn dish soap as an insecticide because of the artificial chemicals used such as fragrances and dyes. These chemicals will render negative effects on natural aspects such as associated flora. 


It is concluded that Dawn dish detergent is biodegradable (90%) but some of the ingredients used are linked with degradative effects on health (such as organ damage, skin damage, and cancer). Therefore, it has unsustainable downsides too that must be worked upon. 

Also, there are negative effects on the environment such as effects on the septic systems and aquatic toxicity. Therefore, owing to these effects, it is not advisable to use Dawn dish detergent and prefer the greener alternatives mentioned in the article. 

The use of dawn dish detergent as a biocide or insecticide was also discouraged as it could lead to unwanted effects. 


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