Someone using dish gloves, squeezing dish soap onto a sponge besides a sink with running water.

Dishwashing Detergent

Julie Weber Is This A Poison

Toxicity:  Risk for toxicity will vary based on the amount ingested. Minimal exposure in young children has a low risk for toxicity. 

Expected symptoms: Minimal exposure typically results in an unpleasant taste and possible irritation to the mouth and throat. Larger or prolonged exposure can have greater effects, such as nausea and vomiting or a burn. If detergent gets in a child’s eyes, it can cause discomfort and redness with a risk for a scratch on the cornea.

What to do:  Wipe out the child’s mouth with a wet cloth or rinse the mouth. Give your child a drink of water to help get the taste out of the mouth. Contact the Missouri Poison Center immediately. 

Note:  If your child has gotten dishwashing detergent into their eyes, call the Missouri Poison Center now for help on how to rinse the eyes.


Quick Facts about dishwashing detergent:

Dishwashing detergent can come in vibrant colors or candy-like pods or tablets. This makes it particularly tempting for young children, who may be attracted to detergent and get it in their mouths. 

Automatic dishwashing detergents have ingredients like corrosion inhibitors and strong alkalis that are meant for dishwashers and make them different from hand dishwashing soaps. These ingredients also make them more toxic.  Available in powder or granules, gel, tablets, or pods, ADDs can irritate the mouth and throat, or cause nausea and vomiting if swallowed. If dishwashing detergent gets in a child’s eyes, it can also cause irritation and pain. That’s why if you notice that your child has handled dishwashing detergent, it’s important to call right away. 

If your child has ingested dishwashing detergent, it is important not to panic. Most children will react to the taste and may cough or gag. Take the detergent away from the child and wipe their mouth out with a soft wet cloth. You may give them some water to drink to get the taste out of their mouth. Do not try to induce vomiting. Be sure to wash any exposed skin with soap and water.

After you have removed your child from the situation, immediately call the Missouri Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.  Treatment recommendations are often determined by the amount ingested. The poison center is open all day, every day for poisoning emergencies and questions and our team of medical professionals will help to walk you through the next steps.

**Note: Don’t forget, every case is different. To make sure you are getting the best information for your individual situation, click below to call or chat. It is fast, free, and confidential.