Will dish soap ruin a washing machine?

As an Amazon affiliate, we earn a commision from qualifying purchases.

Will dish soap ruin a washing machine? Find out in this article

You have probably heard of people using dish soap for their laundry and you are wondering how safe and effective it is to use in a washing machine, especially considering that it is cheaper than laundry soap.

In this article, we will see if you can put dish soap in a washing machine and what happens next.

Let us get started.

Will dish soap ruin a washing machine?

Overall, you should steer clear of dish soap(for manually doing dishes) when it comes to your laundry..


As you might well know, dish soap like dawn dish soap is typically way too sudsy.

That being so, if you were to use it in place of regular laundry detergent, your washer will likely overflow with foam(your washer could be in soap suds 3 feet deep) and that can ruin your washer.

Also, because of the too much suds, your clothes probably won’t rinse out well.

The truth is using dish soap tends to break washers and is a common cause of expensive repairs.

In fact, washer manufacturers do not recommend using dish soap in washers because:

  • Dish soap tend to react with hard water, forming soap scum. This scum will eventually come in contact with your clothes and could, as a result, end up soiling them.
  • Repeated use of dish soap also leads to layers upon layers of scum forming on your washing machine. This eventually starts to lower the effectiveness of your machine.
  • Moreover, washing machines are not designed to handle large amounts of suds. For that reason, the best case scenario is lowered effectiveness of the machine. Meanwhile, the worst case scenario is your machine requiring servicing.
  • Dish soap may cause nasty irritation and rashes, particularly on kids or folks with sensitive skin as it is harsher than standard laundry soap.


Now, assuming you accidentally put dish soap in washing machine, how do you remove it from the washer?


How to get dish soap out of washing machine

Depending on the amount of dish soap you put, you may have anything from a little overflow to a sudsy room.

can you put dish soap in a washing machine

Now, getting rid of these suds can be a headache since turning your washer off and on doesn’t help- your clothes washer will still continue churning out suds.

So you will first need to get rid of the suds before removing the dish soap from the washing machine.

To do that, first turn of your washer and follow the steps below- they can help you easily get rid of the suds on your floor plus the ones in your washer:

  • Throw in some salt in the suds plus the washer. This brings down the foam.
  • Put in a capful of fabric softener in the washing machine. It will kill all the bubbles.
  • If you have a de-foaming agent, throw in a cup of it into the washing machine-this could fix your problem in less than a minute.

Now that we have cleaned the foam, the next step is removing the dish soap from the washing machine.


What to do if you accidentally put dish soap in washing machine

Here now is how to get dish soap out of washing machine:

If you had put it in the detergent dispenser, simply take out and clean the detergent dispenser.

However, if some was already in the washing machine and your appliance is overfilled with foam, simply add 1 tablespoon of baking soda or any of the products I mentioned above- this reduces the sudsiness of your dish soap.

And if you own a “spray bottle”, a few table spoons of salt(in pint of water) can be a great bubble killer.

The next step is running an empty load..

Do not forget that your washing machine may feature a Clean Washer cycle/option you can run- try running a power wash/or heavy cycle(using HOT water).

To add, Affresh makes washing machines cleaning tablets that work well and you may consider trying one(Note that Affresh goes in your washer’s tub itself, not in the soap dispenser).

With that being said, there are great alternatives to use as detergents in your washing machine.

We look at them next..


Will dish soap ruin a washing machine? Laundry detergent alternative you can use and other recommended tricks

Instead of risking damage to your washer when you use dish soap, you can try the following substitutes:

White vinegar

You could toss white vinegar(some) in there, if you already have it.

Use remaining soap residue

One nice trick (if you still retain the old laundry/detergent soap bottle) is pouring about a cup(or two) of water (in the bottle) then shaking it up and finally pouring that into your machine.

Any remaining soap residue(that hadn’t poured out) will come out and it can be enough for a normal load.

If not:

  • Just hand soak/wash your dirty clothes out in the tub/sink and then hang them (to dry).
  • By cheap brand laundry detergents (there are more choices to choose from these days on marketplaces like dollar store).
  • Borrow laundry soap, you also can politely to borrow some soap from a neighbor(or someone at your local laundromat).

Indeed, if you are not able to use any of these, it’s better to run your washer without soap/ detergent, If they’re not super dirty.

Will dish soap ruin a washing machine – recap

Dish soap is extremely sudsy and we don’t recommend it as a substitute for laundry detergent because:

It will likely leave your laundry room overflowing with foam -your whole house could ultimately become quite frothy.

It might also damage your machine at some point- the washer is usually unable to handle excessive sudsing and foaming.


How long does a washing machine take to wash clothes?

Can shoes be washed in a washing machine?


Leave a Comment