Household Items You Should Not Clean With Soap

Very few items in the house are too dirty to provide a quick wash with regular soap and water. But if they come into contact with the cleaning solution, a few things will suffer. To maintain the best possible condition, it’s critical to understand which household goods should not be washed with soap.

For the record, dish soap, which is frequently used to clean much more than dishes, should not be used to clean these goods. For example, grime and dirt can be removed from vinyl siding and toilet bowls using a bottle of Dawn dish soap. However, it is best to avoid using soap on the things listed below in order to avoid damaging them or leaving behind lingering residue.

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Household Items You Should Not Clean With Soap

Anything Made of Wood

Hardwood flooring and wood furniture are examples of items that should never be cleaned with soap. This is mainly due to the fact that they frequently have protective finishes applied to them or contain natural oils that soap would eventually remove. While occasionally spot-treating mold or difficult stains with soap and water is OK, it’s recommended to use a specialized product when cleaning wood surfaces. Prefer to clean the wood yourself? Try combining equal amounts of lemon juice, gum turpentine, denatured alcohol, and olive oil.

Similarly, if kitchenware is frequently cleaned with soap, it will prematurely wear and destroy wooden cutting boards and spoons. It is true that kitchen instruments require regular disinfection and thorough washing, but there are other ways to do this.


Similar to wood, leather has natural oils that soap can remove, leaving the material brittle or broken. When cleaning leather furniture, dab small spots with a moist cloth, use cornstarch or baking soda to absorb oil spills and seek expert assistance if the stain is particularly difficult to remove. Even though it’s not ideal, leather clothing—including boots and shoes—can tolerate a little soapy water if necessary. When in doubt, use saddle soap or other approved leather cleaners to preserve your valuables.


When washing clothing, always use laundry detergent instead of soap unless there is an emergency. While soap is harsher and can damage the fibers in clothing, detergent is made to be kinder to it. The same goes for bedding—sleeping bags included—as soap will remove the water-resistant layer from them.


Walls and other surfaces painted with matte paint will not withstand soap cleaning properly. Soap cleaning could leave behind stains or residue on your walls, which would harm their appearance. Instead, just use a wet sponge to clean painted surfaces that are flat.

Small Appliances

Dish soap is a great option for cleaning the majority of the removable parts on small kitchen appliances, and it is highly recommended. Use a slightly moist towel to gently wipe down the attachments’ exteriors and electrical components after giving them a good rinse. When cleaning your Keurig or coffee maker, follow the same process; however, never use soap to descale them.

No matter how many times you rinse it out, it will likely taste like a soapy mess in your next cup as well. Use white vinegar or a descaling solution made specifically for your machine to keep your morning brew fresh.

The Oven

Avoid applying soap on these two sizable kitchen gadgets. The oven comes first because, to be honest, soap is typically insufficiently strong to complete the job. There are more efficient ways to shine up your oven, from tried-and-true natural remedies (such as vinegar and baking soda) to store-bought oven cleansers or viral aluminum foil or lemon techniques.

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