Archipelago Elder and Olive Dish Soap review

Washing dishes has never looked so good

Arch Dish Soap A Archipelago Elder and Olive Dish Soap reviewphotos: we heart this

As some of you read before, I kind of love Archipelago Botanicals. They make some of my favorite candles, some lovely bath products, and unbeknownst to me, dish soap. When I received a very large bottle of their Elder and Olive Cleansing Dish Soap, I admit to being intrigued…and kind of skeptical.

I’m one of those people that suffer from extreme brand loyalty, especially if the brand is tried and true. I’ve used the same dish soap for 16 years now and love the stuff. I mean, I LOVE the stuff. That being said, since I also already adored all things Archipelago (especially their soy candles), I forced myself to be open to change. (Have I mentioned that I hate change?)

Arch Dish Soap C Archipelago Elder and Olive Dish Soap review

My first impression of the Elder and Olive Dish ($19) is that the bottle, once placed next to my kitchen sink, managed to look more chic than anything else that’s ever graced my kitchen counter. It even has a little metal medallion wrapped around the neck of the bottle. Too cute!

The soap slightly resembled extra virgin olive oil in color. It contains all-natural ingredients such as olive oil, Vitamin E, Elder Blossom and Sage. Like the all-natural quality of this product, but still want something anti-bacterial? Don’t fret; this dish soap contains Tea Tree oil! The end result is a dish soap that does the work of tougher soaps, but without the drying and damaging effect on hands.

So, as I’ve stated, the packaging is lovely – the bottle is tall and square, with a nice, understated label. Chic. The smell is not bad, but truthfully it’s not my favorite. It’s a little too herbal for my liking. Like, strongly herbal. My current dish soap smells like oranges and that’s why I love it. I’m a sucker for citrus. But I can work past the smell of something if it works well.

I put this to the test the week of Thanksgiving, a time when I needed to hand wash prep bowls, measuring implements, and the like, repeatedly. I was happy to find that something made with natural ingredients could be such a powerhouse.

Arch Dish Soap B Archipelago Elder and Olive Dish Soap review

It took a big squirt to fill my sink with suds, about 3 times as much as my standard dish soap for similar results. While it took more, it still did a really thorough job of cleaning everything – even the more disgusting messes. I will note the flip-top cap style doesn’t really a lot of control when dispensing; I prefer the standard pull-top cap.

Other than that, worth noting is that usually my hands resemble something close to the Crypt Keeper’s by the time I’m done with that much hand washing, but not this time. Sure, I was a little pruney, but my hands dried soft. No dry, cracked digits! I’m impressed.

Overall, I’d have to say that this dish soap is pretty terrific, but probably not for everyday use, unless you can afford $19 dish soap. I personally think this is best for when you are having company and want to impress or if you plan on doing a lot of hand washing. I own a dishwasher, so times when I need to hand wash extensively are rare, but how gentle this was on my hands would make this worth having for those occasions.

Natural ingredients.
Gentle formulation that leaves hands soft.
Gorgeous packaging dresses up a counter.
Cuts through grease and grime.

Smell is strongly herbal.

Testers – Do you (and your hands) love the Elder and Olive Dish Soap from Archipelago? Readers – are you a hand washer or a machine washer?


Krista currently lives in a semi-haunted house in New England with her hubby/best friend and obscenely big-eared dog. She thinks the world would be a better place if people smiled more and ate more dark chocolate. She is a firm believer that humor can be found in everything and that Tom Selleck’s moustache has healing properties…

Disclosure: This review includes products that were provided by the manufacturer/PR firm for our consideration. For more info, or any questions, please see our disclosure policy.

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Written by krista


  1. Profile photo of Amanda

    Woah, $19 for dish soap?! I can’t imagine paying that much for *myself*, but it could make for a thoughtful housewarming gift or an “I don’t know what to get you but everyone has dishes so here!” gift. The bottle is very pretty, at least I wouldn’t have to hide this one under my sink…

    1. Profile photo of krista

      I know, right? My current dish soap is under $2 and lasts almost a year. It’s also good for spot treating grease stains on clothing, so it’s a multi-tasker. Still, this Archipelago dish soap WOULD be too adorable in a house warming gift basket with some nice dish towels and some other kitchen stuff, wouldn’t it? I’d totally gift this.

  2. Profile photo of turboterp

    I love Archipelago Botanicals, too, @krista , but I had no idea they made dish soap! The bottle is beautiful, and I’m happy to hear the soap is pampering to the skin. You’re right, this is probably too pricey for everyday use, but would be very impressive to guests. Would be a great hostess gift, too!

  3. Profile photo of krista

    I was definitely surprised they had a dish soap in their stable of offerings. While the hubby would probably cease breathing at the sticker shock for dish soap if I purchased this for us, I could probably get away with gifting this. I can see it now: Cute basket, Archipelago dish soap, colorful dish towels, those rubber gloves with the ruffle at the cuff, and a little jar candle, also from Archipelago, of course. Now I feel like shopping :/

  4. Profile photo of Stef Andrews
    Stef Andrews

    I was super excited to try this dish soap. There’s no denying it’s beautiful. And I’m pretty sure I’ve NEVER said that about a dish soap before! But sadly, I didn’t really like it. I found that I lost bubbles very quickly. Maybe I have a ton of dishes (which, I do – we don’t have a dishwasher) but I found I had to refill the water and soap before I reached the end of my dirty dishes. I also had trouble opening the flip cap. It closes a bit too tightly! And with wet hands, you really have to get the angle just right and use a bit of muscle. I could get used to that, but the lack of bubbles is a big downfall for me.

    On the positive, it smells amazing. And again, the bottle is just beautiful. The kind of bottle you display rather than hide. But I’m only going 2 stars on this. For the price I’d have to really love it. I will stick to their candles, which I do love.
    Stef recently posted..Stef’s Favorite Beauty Products of 2011

  5. Profile photo of Tyna Werner
    Tyna Werner

    I’m a bit mixed on this dish soap as well. Of course, it’s just beautiful to look at and I squealed a bit when I opened the box of dish soaps for review. The shape and wieht of the bottle and the hue of the soap – it’s one pretty package. But, there’s no denying $19 for dish soap is quite an indulgence.

    I am a regular user of green or organic dish soaps (in my household we run a dishwasher once every 2 days and hand wash pots, pans, wooden utensils, knives, etc) so I am used to the lower suds formulas. I always miss them, but I’ve grown to accept it (I’m saving the world!).

    And as for the scent, I love it! Fresh, green, clean – very nice in the kitchen. I’m not sure I would buy this for myself, but am totally snagging the idea of getting this (and maybe a candle too) and making a gift basket for a hostess or housewarming gift! Three stars – minus one for the low foam and one for the price.
    Tyna recently posted..The Review Team’s Favorite Beauty Products of 2011

  6. Profile photo of Marilyn

    I absolutely LOVE Archipelago Botanicals’ soy candles–the Vanilla Essence candle is probably the most delicious smelling candle ever. This made me really excited to try out their dish soap but I was a little disappointed. The scent is clean and smells of evergreen trees (?) but I didn’t love it. The bottle is huge and lasts forever! The top dispenses a little too much product. The packaging is very cute, but the large size makes it a little difficult to manage. However, it isn’t drying to my hands at all, and it does a good job of getting my dishes clean. If only it came in other scents, was a little more affordable, and was housed in a more practical bottle! I’m going to give it three stars.

  7. Profile photo of mandabear

    I got to try this stuff and the price throws me off quite a bit!!! The packaging is so gorgeous, like I’d find it in the home section of Anthropologie (unless it’s already there). I adore their candles too. But I think this product is nice for being made of all natural ingredients. The smell is pretty good too. Overall I think the price is a bit absurd and like @Stef, I will stick to the candles! mmm. 3 stars from me!

  8. Profile photo of katezena

    OMG, is that the price?! *gasping for breath* Is that THE PRICE????? I think I need to sit down and grab a paper bag.

    Okay, I think I’m over sticker shock. I’ve NEVER seen kitchen soap for that much. That’s kitchen soap for those millionaire loft people. My original scent Dawn is, like, $3. If I want it in a pretty bottle, I’ll just use an empty EVOO and decant it into that. I’m a little frugal on the soap thingy (that and Dawn gets rid of EVERYTHING, even oil-based paints, which are notoriously evil to get off.)

    Has anyone tried the Oat Milk stuff (especially the body butter) from Archipelago? I’m kind of curious, but I’m worried about the scent thing. (A little off topic, but I’ve never tried the brand and now I’m looking at the site and I like Oat milk stuff. Great for hypersensitive and sensitive skin.)

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