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Dish washing and hand soap fragrances

For a few weeks I have been noticing an off fragrance to my
food, and at first I blamed it on a sinus infection (based on recommendation
from my doctor), and after curing that with antibiotics, most of that went
away, but I continued to notice a fragrance that shouldn’t be there. Finally I traced it to the soap that I have
in my kitchen sink soap dispenser. I
had been using normal dish soap in this dispenser until about two months ago,
at which time I decided to refill the container with cheap liquid hand soap
because I had way more of that than I could ever use in my bathroom for hand
washing. I have a liquid soap dispenser
there that mixes soap and water together to dispense foam, and so it uses very
little soap. I had at least half a
gallon of the liquid hand soap because it was so cheap. Anyway, I figured out that the fragrance of
this hand soap is what I’ve been smelling in my food, and I’m not sure if I
smell it from my hands or from utensils and cookware that I have washed by hand
using the hand soap.

I have replaced the hand soap in the kitchen sink with new
dish soap (supposedly fragrance free), and I gave my hand soap to Kevin.

Do you notice fragrances from dish soap or dishwasher
detergent in your food?

Comments (61)

  • 8 years ago

    I am very sensitive to this and the ONLY soap I have found effective is Dawn New Zealand Rain forest. Every so often I try something else, and it leaves an odor. In restaurants, I will not use the handsoap, as it usually leaves a scent and ruins my dinner. So I always carry hand sanitizer with me.

    The Dawn rain forest cleans very well, btw.


    I might be anosmic to the Dawn, but I smell nothing that lingers.

    Lars/J. Robert Scott thanked Bumblebeez SC Zone 7
  • PRO
    8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    As you probably know, I also live in drought-stricken Los Angeles, and I try to conserve water when washing dishes - I never leave the tap running to rinse anything - I turn it off after each item is rinsed, but Kevin will let it run while he is washing. Some hand soaps have lotion in them - mine did not, and it did not leave a visibly noticeable film, although it may have left fragrance.

    We've been using Cascade Platinum with Lemonburst, but I think I can also detect a slight fragrance on glassware right after they have been cleaned. My DW will not run unless it has rinse aid. I have a Bosch, and I generally set it to heavy duty, if I put pans in it. I think that if you run the DW on the highest setting, you are less likely to have a residue than if you run it on a low setting because the soap is the same (if you use the little actionpacs like I do. Our glassware gets the cleanest with Cascade Platinum, but I would prefer a completely non-scented detergent.

    I found this on the Cleaning Tips forum - maybe I should have posted this over there!

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  • 8 years ago

    I too hate it when the dishes have a fragrance that interferes with the flavor of the foods and drinks I'm serving. I stopped using Cascade Platinum because I know it left a smell on my dinnerware and eventually got on the food/drink. So far the Cascade Compete hasn't. For sink-side dish soap I use Cucina brand. It is pricy but doesn't leave any residue on the dishes. (I get it at Sur la Table, altho' the brand isn't exclusive to that store.)

  • 8 years ago

    See, that's what I don't understand! Why is there fragrance in some dish detergents??? Who wants smelly dishes? With soap in the sink, I figure there it's supposed to be for you to smell while using it, but the dishwasher detergent is supposed to activate, do its thing and be rinsed away without your nose getting anywhere near it.


    I have anti-baterial liquid handsoap in the powder room because people like it, and it gets a lot of traffic, but it's nigh on impossible to get it without scent. I try for the least objectionable but hate when I have to use it because it makes my hands stink. Everything else, from laundry to dishwasher to sink is "Free and Clear".

  • 8 years ago

    I feel like I'm constantly avoiding those perfume sprayers in the department stores. Except I'm at home.

    I hate enforced scent.

  • 8 years ago

    And I avoid any "antibacterial" soaps.....not a good thing. Wash the germs off with soap, don't contribute to developing super bugs.

    http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm378393.htm

  • 8 years ago

    The new dish soap that I bought is called Ecos Dishmate Free & Clear, and it has no scent that I can detect. I'll have to see how it is with cleaning dishes, but I'm not that particular, and so I think it should be fine. I looks like it would make good hand soap as well, but I do not need any more of that.

    I'll switch back to Cascade Complete - I think it should clean the dishes well enough, and it is more important to me to avoid the fragrance from Cascade Platinum.

  • 8 years ago

    I had this problem about two years ago with the DW Finish gel pacs and Finish power balls. I would notice a perfume like smell when I raised a glass to drink. Finally realized what it was and switched back to Cascade Complete and problem resolved. I don't understand the need to put fragrance in everything. I don't want scented dishes or food!! And along with the pump soap in the bathrooms for the grands, I have a bar of Castile-love the simplicity. My detergents are "Free and Clear". Are we just odd and most people want fragrance or are the manufacturers just not aware?

    Lars/J. Robert Scott thanked lizbeth-gardener
  • 8 years ago

    Linda, I agree about the antibacterial soaps for most uses. I also have bar soup in the powder room. There are certain times, however, when people want a bit of extra oomph. Yes, surgeon style scrub ups would work, but the liquid soap makes up for less rigorous scrubbing, and the guys like it. They don't use it habitually, just when up to the elbows in biohazards. :)

  • PRO
    8 years ago

    I will look for the Method Tabs - I do like the Method brand, but it appears that their hand soaps all have scents. For now, I have fragrance-free dish soap (Ecos brand) in my soap dispenser, and it was very difficult to get all of the fragrance from the previous hand soap out of the dispenser, because it is a foaming dispenser.

    I am fairly sensitive to smells - much more so than my brother, and it helps me identify ingredients in foods that I get at restaurants. But because I am so sensitive, I avoid certain ingredients or else cut them way back in recipes. Rosemary is a fragrance that is very strong for me, and I can take it only in very small doses.

    I do not get headaches from scents, but I will get severe headaches from aerosol adhesives and other glues, such as rubber cement, and so I avoid them if at all possible. At work, I use mostly tape and Elmer's glue, but also hot glue when necessary. I am in the middle of making a new dining chair model out of cardboard at the moment, and I am trying to minimize the amount of hot glue I have to use, not because of scent, but because it is hard to change, if I need to revise the model. I have removed all aerosol adhesives from my office.

  • 8 years ago

    Homepro...I trust you know of the magic of coconut oil...for lotion, make up removal, moisturizer etc.

  • 8 years ago

    Lindac92,

    Unfortunately Coconut oil is one of the smells that drives me bananas. I found a coconut oil that was descented for cooking and use that from time to time.

    Lars,

    Method does have a Fragrance Free handsoap. It is part of their gel collection. I see it only comes in a refill now.

    Good luck!

    Lars/J. Robert Scott thanked homepro01
  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I typically buy Lou Ana coconut oil (no coconut scent/flavor), but grabbed a jar of Trader Joe's recently. Big mistake! Popped corn with it and it almost made me gag. Not a good flavor on popcorn. I'm sticking with Lou Ana from here on.

    Lars/J. Robert Scott thanked User
  • 8 years ago

    I buy Lou-Ana....no scent at all.


  • PRO
    8 years ago

    Just to let you know that there was a happy ending to this
    story, here is my lunch in my pergola today.

    Everything tasted the way it should – even the bread that I made for my
    sandwich. At least now I know that it
    was the hand soap that caused the problem, and I have gotten rid of most of
    that. I now no longer have to worry
    about whether I still have a sinus infection!
    The only thing I made for this lunch was the
    bread. The cheese is Saint-Andre –
    similar to Brie, but from a different region.

    Thanks for the link for the Method hand soap - I will order some of that, as that will be easier than trying to find it in a store!

  • 8 years ago

    Homepro, I echo your sentiments. Have you tried vaseline for your lip balm? I carry it in tube form and have small jar for home use.

    Cindymac, what was wrong with the TJ coconut oil? I have an unopened jar staring at me in the cupboard.

    Lars, that's the advantage of living in drought stricken LA. Outdoor picnics in mid-November!

  • 8 years ago

    Nanny, it had a very strong coconut flavor.

  • 8 years ago

    Eww. That will be going back.

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Lars usualky has a 20% of coupon so do a search for that before you order.

    Nancy,

    i try to use as many natural and organic products as possible. I found Jojoba oil in solid form that works very well as a lip balm, foot cream and hand cream. It is not greasy and no smell at all.

    Also for hand soap, I use Dr. bronners shikakai soup. It is a Shea butter based black soap which concerns guests but it is very moisturizing and comes unscented.

  • 8 years ago

    Thanks for those tips, homepro.

    I'm especially intrigued by the black soap. I use a similar shampoo product that always provokes gasps from horrified guests.

  • 8 years ago

    Late to this, but I'd like to add that I also am bothered by clingy scents from hand soaps - or almost anything else.

    & while I like many Method products, for some reason all their dish detergents smell awful to me - too 'perfume-y' w/ musklike undertones. I've been using Target's Up&Up brand unscented dish detergent - which is very inexpensive - & it works great.

    I also find the Method hand soaps too drying, even many do smell very nice. I also have a hand soap dispenser that creates a foam & I keep it filled a mixture of Dr. Bronners & distilled water. Never leaves a clingy scent & the lavender is so nice.

    My fave hand soap has got to Trader Joe's orange blossom French Liquid soap - it's hubby's fave also.

  • 8 years ago

    Anyone want to talk about stores with candles and potpourri? How about getting stuck at the opera in back of someone who worships cheap scents ( or those that smell cheap)...how about entering an elevator after someone who was bathed in Avon? etc etc!

    Lars/J. Robert Scott thanked lindac92
  • 8 years ago

    Ugh! I'll add it's not just the cheap scent. A lot of women seem to wear Joy (Patou) just because they can. And it isn't even the world's most expensive perfume anymore. That stuff positively reeks, and when you're near it, it sticks to you. And it doesn't wash off. Solvents don't remove it either.

  • 8 years ago

    I don't understand why there aren't more fragrance free choices for soaps and lotions out there. I love hand made soaps but hardly anyone makes theirs fragrance free, I just don't get that. So many people are sensitive to fragrances!

  • 8 years ago

    My pet peeve is medical staff wearing scented products. If you are not deathly ill, the smell is enough to make you sick long after you've left the office (or hospital, for that matter). Why isn't that included in the medical standard of care guidelines??

    Lars/J. Robert Scott thanked nannygoat18
  • 8 years ago

    Nannygoat: it use to be that one never wore scents around patients... or had long, painted fingernails. When DH was in the hospital a couple of years ago the nurses where allowed both. Just what you want to smell when ill... cheap perfume and chipped nail polish.

  • 8 years ago

    Lindac - that is the biggest reason I avoid Bed Bath & Beyond & Body Works - ugh!


  • 8 years ago

    CA Kate, I'm completely baffled why this is allowed. Hospital patients are already suffering enough! And you can't even complain because you need them to come when you hit that "call" button. Doctors are guilty as well--I almost passed out when my mom's doc's cologne entered the room before he did!

  • 8 years ago

    No fragrances or long fingernails at my workplace in 2015.

  • 8 years ago

    A lot of times, fragrance is added to mask an unpleasant smell from the chemical components. They used to make "unscented" where they used fragrances to mask the smell and basically make it smell like nothing, but then the people who are allergic to fragrance made a stink because they had to list "fragrance". I'm not allergic to all fragrances, certainly not to the smell free ones. Certain floral scents can make me sneezey and eye-itchy, just like pollen, and I don't even know if that's a conditioned response or if the allergen that's in the pollen is in the scent. So I don't know if the scent neutralizing fragrances really cause people who are allergic to fragrance a problem or not. Still, I don't mind the chemical smell of some Free & Clear items. It isn't an encapsulated scent, so it doesn't linger.

    I'm guessing a big reason why they put scent in, as well, is that people buy it. When I was doing a lot of hospital/rehab visits this Summer, I also had a neverending cold so wanted a pocket bottle of hand sanitizer. I was at a big chain drugstore and there were shelves of varieties. All scented. So I was sniffing away at them, one at a time--because you know the seals on the bottles aren't sufficient to keep the smell in--when this nice lady (employee) came to help me. It took her a minute to realize I wanted no scent if there were such a thing, but she knew where it was hiding. I had the same kind of big search when I was buying a deodorant. Seventyleven different smells, and unscented hanging out in a little corner, hidden away from the popular kids.

    So then you meet the people who say, "Oh, I never wear perfume or cologne," but have one flavor hand cream, a different flavor sanitizer, French makeup with that heavy scent to it, coconut shampoo and apricot conditioner, and "Spring Fresh" laundry. UGH.

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Can I just say that pillog's post reminded of this:

    Which, for some mysterious reason, is highly perfumed - which annoys me to no end!

  • 8 years ago

    That's awful! That it's hightly perfumed, that is. "Pure + Clear" + Stinky!

    Unless...is it the palm oil and olive oil? Olive oil can smell floral...

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    But it doesn't have any dyes in it? or does it.... Huh, it has fragrance AND dyes.

    Water Consistency, Ammonium lauryl sulfate Cleaning and Foaming Agent, Ammonium laureth sulfate Cleaning and Foaming Agent, Lauramidopropylamine Oxide Cleaning and Foaming Agent, Poloxamer 124 Controls Thickness, Sodium Chloride Controls Thickness, SD Alcohol 3-A Controls Thickness and Clarity, Magnesium sulfate Controls Thickness, Fragrance Pleasant Scent, Pentasodium pentatate Maintains Product Stability, Preservative Preservation Dyes Color, sodium bisulfite Maintains Product Stability

  • 8 years ago

    NOT pleasant to me! & thanks for that ingredient list - that's gotta be a perfect example of product 'greenwashing'...

  • 8 years ago

    I'm guessing that there's no legal definition of "clear" and it certainly is clear in color! The 7th G is light amber (because it has no dyes and that's just the color it is). And what does "pure" mean? Probably pure dishwashing liquid and no bacon.

  • 8 years ago

    Kinda of reminds me of all the commercials for products we all have known our entire lives that now say "with all natural ingredients". What the hell was in this stuff before? Non-natural ingredients? I think the one for Kraft salad dressing really got me.

    I guess you just have to be an informed consumer. I hate going to doctors offices and hospitals where the staff wear perfume. I complain to every office that it is not appropriate and makes it difficult for children and adults that have allergies.

  • 8 years ago

    "Natural" is a purely a marketing term and has no discernible meaning. Sweat and salvia are natural but I certainly don't want either in my products.

    I recently accompanied a friend to her allergist and could not believe that the staff wore perfume and fresh flowers were on the receptionist's desk. Are they ensuring they always have a steady stream of patients??

  • 8 years ago

    Yes, and cyanide and arsenic are natural too. And occur naturally in food.

    The one that gets me more is "real ingredients". That's only valid if you're having a dolly tea party, where the hostess may be mixing real ingredients...or pretend ones.

  • 8 years ago

    Ha that Palmolive is the one I like. Light, non-lingering scent to my nose. But I know not all noses are the same!

    Lars/J. Robert Scott thanked foodonastump
  • PRO
    8 years ago

    I got my dish soap dispenser changed yesterday, and I was surprised to find that it leaks small amounts of soap back down to the outside top of the bottle under the sink. I guess I should be filling the bottle by removing it from under the sink, but I usually just pour liquid soap down the hole at the top of the sink. I used the Ecos dish soap, and I do like it because it has not discernible (to me) fragrance. I diluted it with half water because it is very thick, and I put some in my hand soap dispenser in my bathroom. I think I will not be buying any more liquid hand soap, as the dish soap seems to work well in the foaming dispenser I have, and I dilute it with four parts of water. I have bar soap (olive oil) on the bathroom sink as well. I will be switching DW detergents, based on recommendations here. I think I will try Cascade Complete, but I will still look for the Method Tabs. I recently switched to Method laundry detergent but haven't noticed whether I like it or not yet - I've only used it once.

  • 8 years ago

    For many people, including me, scent is important and even crucial for all areas of life.

    Often, these type of threads would lead people to believe that no fragrance ever is best, but that's like saying no vision ever. Blind.

    For all those who do not like scents, try to remember, just as many++ love them.

    However, not all fragrances are equal and it is important to take the time to seek out what you like best.



  • 8 years ago

    Totally agree. We all know how miserable we feel when we have a cold and are unable to smell and/or taste anything. And our sense of smell and taste alert us to potential dangers. Living in a scent free bubble would be exceedingly boring and unpleasant.

    I dislike certain scents and embrace others. If my doctor smelled like Ivory soap I wouldn't be able to stop inhaling!

    To each his/her own!

  • 8 years ago

    I like scents too... natural ones. While I can't walk into a candle shop, beauty shop, or perfumery without an instant headache, I LOVE the smell of an Aveda Esthetique or salon. I truly wish they could bottle that smell. All their fragrances, etc. are herb and flower based with no fake/chemical stuff in them. Unfortunately, I don't think they make dish soap. However, Lars, they do make a great hand and body wash that is really nice. I like Rosemary Mint best.

  • 8 years ago

    We use Planet liquid soap for hands, dishes and general cleaning. It's totally unscented. I can't stand artificial fragrances either.

  • PRO
    8 years ago

    No one said that scent is not important - it is very important, and it is especially important that the scents we want to enjoy are not obliterated by scents that we do not want. I was unable to detect the scents in food that I liked because they were being masked by the scent of the hand soap. Scents can also warn us of danger as much as they can delight us. I remember being constantly nauseated by the barnyard smells when I was growing up, and I would not wear shoes in the house that I had worn in the barn - I had to have galoshes to protect my shoes whenever I would go there.

    I saw one show on TV about human development, and it said that brothers find the scent of their sisters repulsive (and vice versa) thus helping to prevent interbreeding. Therefore scents are very personal, and what one person finds attractive, another person will find repulsive. For this reason, it is important to respect boundaries with regard to scents and not invade someone's space with unwanted fragrances. For me, the hand soap was a very unwanted fragrance. There are as many repulsive smells as there are pleasant ones.

    Smells also trigger the most intense memories, and olfactory memories have been shown to be some of the strongest. I've noticed this when I smell freshly cut grass.

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    My eyes burn and I can't breathe when I walk down the aisles of laundry detergents/softeners. I had to walk thru the baby lotions to get to the toothpaste in one store and I thought I would die. My God I wouldn't bath a kid in any of those smells. Stores with candles? I can't walk past them fast enough and I hold my breath.

  • 8 years ago

    Perfume is a hobby of mine and something I find wildly interesting. One thing I have learned is the oblique view of natural, regarding scent. Very many specific scents that occur in nature are not duplicable in a smell unless reproduced synthetically.

    Gardenia and lily of the valley are two well known smells that can only be recreated in fragrances through chemical means, in other words , many synthetic components must come together to produce the "natural" smell of lily of the valley.

    The fragrance will never be "natural" however, as lily of he valley and many, many, others require multiple synthetic components to make it up. And unless one is deeply into essential oils and aromatherapy, EVERYTHING is synthetic.

    Don't believe a word of marketing lingo.

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I saw one show on TV about human development, and it said that brothers
    find the scent of their sisters repulsive (and vice versa) thus helping
    to prevent interbreeding.

    What??? If someone is so inclined I doubt "scent" has anything to do with it.

  • 8 years ago

    Oh dear....this is reminding me I have 2 watercolors I need to take to be framed before Christmas....but unfortunately the frame shop ( which is very good) is also a gift shop, with potpourri and candles and sachets, hand lotion herbal soaps, out door scented cleaning products....and I have to hold my breath all the way to the back of the store to the framing department.....and am panting when I get there. Then when I leave I again hold my breath, but when I get into my car I find my clothes, my hair, my skin smells like assorted cheap candles.
    I guess Michaels will get my business, even though they don't do a good a job.


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