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Can You Put Dish Soap in the Dishwasher? (And 4 Steps to Remedy It If You Did)

Can You Put Dish Soap in the Dishwasher? (And 4 Steps to Remedy It If You Did)
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Picture this. It’s 10pm on a Thursday night.

You’ve loaded the dishwasher, and you’re getting ready to run it. You’ve put in the time for the crime of eating off of reusable dishware.

You reach in the cabinet under the sink for a dishwasher detergent pod, and you come up empty-handed! No dishwasher liquid either!

What to do?! Should you take out your masterfully orchestrated Tetris puzzle of perfection from the dishwasher and wash them by hand? Or run to the store, late at night, in your ratty t-shirt and worn sweatpants?

Your hamster wheel is furiously turning as you try to puzzle this out without having to resort to either of those lesser options.

Wait! Can you put dish soap in the dishwasher??

You sure can, but you need to do a few essential tweaks to make sure you don’t turn your dishwasher into a bubble machine.

Can I Put Dish Soap in the Dishwasher?

Dish soap is in no way the same as dishwasher liquid soap. Dishwasher liquid soap is purposely devoid of the same bubbles that makes dish soap so attractive to those of us that love bubbles (<3 bubbles).

Because of this, if you put regular dish soap into the dishwasher soap tray and fill it to the top, you are likely to have a huge mess on your hands. Your dishwasher could spill bubbles out of its vents, all over your floors.

Even if the dishwasher doesn’t spill its bubbly guts, you’ll have to at least rewash the dishes, since there will be soap left on them, and they won’t be quite washed. The dishwasher wouldn’t have been able to wash them well enough with all of the bubbles inside.

But not only would you have to rewash the dishes, you’ll have to do some damage control on the dishwasher as well.

How Can I Put Dish Soap in the Dishwasher?

If you really are looking to use dish soap in place of dishwasher soap in a pinch, there is definitely a recipe or two that will allow you to do so. The biggest thing to pay attention to in any emergency dishwasher soap recipe is the amount of dish soap used.

For a simple recipe, the ingredients needed for your emergency dishwashing soap are dish soap, baking soda, and salt. 

First, put 2-3 drops of dish soap into the tray. You’ll then fill it two-thirds full with baking soda. Lastly, you’ll add salt until the tray is almost full.

Close it up, and you’ll run a regular load. Your dishes should come out clean and shiny just like the would have with normal dishwasher detergent.

How Can I Remove the Dish Soap from the Dishwasher?

So, what if you accidentally ran a load with a full cup of dish soap? If your dishwasher is spewing bubbles, you will have to do a little cleaning to get the dish soap out.

Try the following steps:

1 – Stop the Dishwasher and Remove the Dishes

Let the dishwasher drain as much as possible, and put the dishes in the sink for future washing.

2 – Wipe Out the Dishwasher

Take a rag or sponge and wipe as much of the soap and bubbles out of the dishwasher as you can. 

3 – Put in Vinegar and Salt

Put a half cup of vinegar in the bottom of the dishwasher, and sprinkle some salt over the bottom on top of the vinegar. Alternatively, you can put them into a spray bottle and spray down the dishwasher and all of its parts.

4 – Run the Dishwasher

Run the dishwasher on a normal cycle for a few minutes. You’ll want to keep an eye out for suds, stopping the dishwasher immediately and repeating the process if they get out of control again.

If the suds are under control, run a full cycle to get rid of the suds. Rewash the dishes in your sink, either by the dishwasher or by hand.

Can I Use Dishwasher Soap as Dish Soap?

On the flip side, if you’ve run out of dish soap, you will definitely want to avoid using dishwasher soap to hand wash your dishes. As I said before, they are definitely not the same.

Dish soap is specially formulated to be easy on hands and a more neutral pH. It is also sudsy, which is okay in a sink since you can keep an eye on the amount of bubbles you have going on.

Dishwasher soap, on the other hand, is rough and tough on the stains and grime. They sometimes contain bleach to blast those stains. The pH is also a lot higher, which can wreak havoc on your hands.

You also run the risk of putting too much dishwasher soap in the sink, since you don’t have the bubbles from the soap to gauge how much is in there. Not only does this make it even worse for your hands, you also can get chemicals in your food if you don’t rinse it off well enough.

Final Thoughts

In all reality, it’s probably not smart to use dish soap in the dishwasher unless you are in a real pinch. If you do, be careful as to the amount you use to make sure you keep the bubbles under control.

There are definitely ways to fix this if you do end up making this mistake, but the best way to fix it is to not do it in the first place.