Seventh Generation Natural Dish soap is just one of 36 products made by Seventh Generation.
Based in Vermont, this company has been around for 28 years and continues to be on the cutting edge of both effective and environmentally friendly cleaning products. The company takes pride in their care for both the consumer and the environment. Their motto: “To inspire a consumer revolution that nurtures the health of the next seven generations” is even in their name! In fact, Seventh Generation just championed a bill, Cleaning Product Right to Know Act (H.R.2728), that would require all cleaning products to disclose all ingredients on the label. This is a particular bugbear of mine – it’s an absolute disgrace that companies aren’t obliged to disclose their ingredients – and it’s even more of a disgrace that so many don’t! We certainly won’t be reviewing anyone that doesn’t. So if you want to get behind a company that works for something besides profit as their bottom line, Seventh Generation is for you!
While we love the company principles – we reviewed their laundry detergent and, in all honesty, our opinion was mixed. I was genuinely crossing my fingers that this review would be a little better. This is a great company and I so want to love their products.
Okay, so what about the product?
Seventh Generation Free & Clear Dish Soap takes pride in the fact that it is 95% USDA Certified Biobased. A biobased product is a product “that is composed, in whole or in significant part, of biological products or renewable domestic agricultural materials (including plant, animal, and marine materials) or forestry materials OR an intermediate feedstock.”
The dish soap also only uses essential oils for fragrance; unlike other liquid soaps that use synthetic fragrances which may cause skin irritation or simply be too overpowering (to learn more about biobased products you can visit the USDA website).
So how does it wash?
At first glance, I was excited to see that this soap was clear! As silly as that may sound, my white farm sink appreciated that the soap dispenser wouldn’t be dripping bright orange or red liquid into its basin.
Of course, you can’t judge a product by aesthetics alone. I went straight to work using this product on my toughest dishes. The water from our kitchen faucet is high in calcium and extremely soft. I was anxious to see if water spots would be visible on my clear glasses and baby bottles. As you can see below, they came out perfectly clean! No calcium residue at all!
It also gave me peace of mind to know that this product would not be as harmful to my baby. There’s nothing like taking a clean bottle from the cabinet and smelling an intense aroma of flowers or lemon before you pour the milk into it. (Cringe)
Another kitchen battle of mine is my cast iron skillet. It gives me the best rosemary and honey glazed pork chops, but the aftermath is a nightmare. Cast iron will rust, so unlike other dishes that could be left overnight to soak, it is important to clean and dry it immediately.
Free & Clear Soap worked like magic.
It removed the crusted-on residue almost immediately. I was able to dry it with a white towel and saw no brown or black residue come off! That is remarkable considering how soft our water is. It’s always an icky feeling when you wash something like your skin and see dirt or makeup transfer to the towel when you’re drying.
How is it formulated?
The company claim that 95% of the ingredients are biobased. Maybe my glass is half empty but my immediate thought with a claim like that is, so what’s the 5%.
The main cleaning agents in this liquid are plant-derived and fully biodegradable. You’ll likely have heard of one, a sulfate called Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). This ingredient is present in a huge number of personal care soaps and shampoos. It’s also present in a number of toothpastes as it’s a great foaming agent. It’s also a harsh mass produced cleanser with a number of toxicity concerns. It also has a number of contamination concerns with some manufacturers. If this were a personal care product I’d recommend you shop elsewhere. However, this is a dish soap, so unless you have a particular sensitivity to SLS, I’d recommend wearing gloves instead.
The other cleaning agents are Lauramine Oxide and Caprylyl/Myristyl Glucoside and are exceptionally gentle. And effective judging by the cleaning power of this product.
Which brings us to the 5% non-biobased ingredients. Seventh Generation dish soap, like the laundry detergent, contains two preservatives called Benzisothiazolinone and Methylisothiazolinone. These synthetic preservatives can cause horrendous contact dermatitis in folk who are irritated or allergic to them. They were responsible for an epidemic of contact dermatitis incidents in the UK a few years ago. They are also volatile compounds and can become airborne leading to asthma and other complications. Many similar companies have done away with using them completely, and I am genuinely surprised a company like Seventh Generation persists.
Imagine how much more effective the marketing would look if they said it was 100% biobased.
I can’t question the ability of this product to wash your dishes. I also can’t question the credentials of the company that make it. 95% of this product is outstanding, but the other 5%, the preservatives, can cause such extreme reactions in sufferers, I can’t wholeheartedly recommend this product.
Which is such a shame. A couple of minor tweaks ie replace the preservatives, and this would be world class.
I remember saying exactly this about the laundry detergent too!