I used to think that I was allergic to doing dishes. But then it turned out that I was merely allergic to just about every type of dish soap on the market - contact with them makes my hands itch like crazy and then develop a red, scaly texture that would be so interesting on a reptile, but not nearly as fascinating on me.
There was a brand that made my hands itch less than some of the other brands I'd tried, so I pretty much stuck to that, wondering if it was the harsh detergent that my skin was reacting to, or the chemical fragrances. But even that wasn't entirely satisfactory. I mean, there are a lot of dirty dishes in my life, and although we do have a dishwasher, you have to use something to wash out the sink and the microwave and clean off the stove, the counters and other surfaces.
Then the day came when I was browsing on the cleaning products aisle at the grocery store and my eye fell upon an attractive display of "green" products. I noticed that there was one bottle of amber-colored liquid labeled Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Dish Soap. I picked it up to read the label and found that the majority of the ingredients were derived from plant sources, including the use of actual essential oils to scent the product. It does contain a preservative, which all good cleaning and cosmetic products should, but other than that, everything on the label seemed much less likely to make me itch than the stuff I had been using. The label "soap" is a give-away: having owned and operated my own cosmetic soap-making business several years back, I know that there are vast differences between soap and detergent. Since this product is listed as actual soap, it does contain lye and if I had a dollar for every person who has said to me, "Lye! Lye in soap? Isn't that dangerous?" I would have sold out long ago and you'd be seeing little franchises of my company in shopping malls and airports, like, all over the place. While I kicked back on a deck chair on a beach in St. Barth's, cackling and counting all my lovely money.
Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Dish Soap
in Lavender and Lemon Verbena
scents posing for the camera to
show off their cool retro-print
I bought the Lemon Verbena scented dish soap (there were also lavender and geranium scents available.) It cost $4.99 for a very attractive 16-fluid ounce bottle, so nice looking that it won't be a big deal if you leave it sitting on the edge of the sink. This is pretty pricey for dish soap, but if your dish detergent is eating the skin on your hands and making you scratch like you have a bad case of poison ivy, it may well be worth the money. It is to me.
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