What Happens To Your Body When You Drink Dish Soap

Per the Washington Post, in July 1982, the Maryland Poison Control Center made the unsettling revelation that 46 children fell ill from swallowing Sunlight lemon-scented dish soap since late May of that year. Perhaps more surprisingly, 33 adults drank the very same dish soap. In Washington D.C., 35 people swallowed Sunlight over the course of six weeks. These people weren't overzealously washing their mouths out with soap after swearing like angry sailors. The Sunlight bottles were plastered with "a picture of a juicy, sliced lemon sandwiched between green letters advertising 'real lemon juice'" along with the words "dishwashing liquid." 

The label also warned against drinking this tasty-looking cleaning product. But evidently even adults didn't always read that far. On the bright side, Sunlight didn't cause severe symptoms. The soap swallowers suffered nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea which was probably lemon-fresh. Unfortunately, not everyone who consumes dish soap walks away with a clean bill of health after a fruity poop or two. So just how bad can it get?

Soap is a dish best served never

The International Business Times writes that in 2015, a 50-year-old man at a bar in Benicarló, Spain ordered a glass of white wine. Instead he received a glass of chilled dish detergent. That liquid burned his throat, stomach, and windpipe, and he died at the hospital. That poor soul suffered a severe case of soap poisoning, which, according to Healthline, not only affects people who unwittingly ingest soap but also those who experience prolonged exposure to strong cleaners without realizing how potent the soap is.

Even inhaling powerful fumes from soap products can impede breathing and cause life-threatening symptoms, so drinking it is obviously downright disastrous. In addition to burning your innards, it can cause you to vomit blood or pass blood through the other end of your before you potentially end altogether. Even in nonfatal cases, injuries can linger for weeks.

If you suspect that you or someone else may be experiencing soap poisoning, dial 911 or contact the National Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222.