Dish soap (also called dish detergent or dishwashing liquid) is a specialized form of soap that contains a mixture of surfactants (substances designed to break the tension between solids) that are especially high-foaming and chosen because they do not irritate the skin. There’s a simple reason why dish soap is a true workhorse in the cleaning world: because a good rule of thumb is to always start every cleaning job with the gentlest, safest, most basic product available to do the job—and that product is almost always dish soap.

Dish soap has a million cleaning uses. Here are a few of them.

  • Floor Cleaner – just add a few drops of dish soap to a bucket of warm water. Your hardwood, laminate, tile, and even cement floors will sparkle.

  • Appliances — The rest of your appliances, both large and small, can also benefit from a simple wipe down with dish soap and water.

  • Clarifying Shampoo – If you get something really gross in your hair, here’s a quick and easy way to wash it out. When showering, just add a dabble of dish soap to your hands and work it into your hair, just as you do with shampoo. Be sure to rinse well. Hair product junkies, you can do this about once a month to tackle any greasy build-up that hair products leave behind!

  • Windows — You don’t need window cleaner to get streak-free windows. Just mix up some water and dish soap and wipe away the dirt and fingerprints.

  • Stainless steel — Stainless steel cleaner is so expensive (and unnecessary). Use water and dish soap to clean your appliances, being careful to wipe with the grain. Green Works is a great soap to keep things natural and gentle. If you think it needs a little something extra, polish with baby oil and a paper towel.

  • Manicures — Natural oils stick to your fingernails, making it hard for your nail polish to stick. That shortens the life of your manicure, no matter how expensive that polish is. Mix a drop of dish soap in a bowl of warm water (as warm as you can stand it), and let your hands soak for about five minutes before you apply your polish.