Can You Wash Clothes With Dish Soap?

Imagine, just at the moment of washing clothes, you have discovered that detergent has run out. There may be a bottle of dish soap available in the house, but can we wash clothes with dish soap?

Large families have frequent laundry days in a week. Frequent washing means extra detergent consumption, probably creating a deficit in the monthly budget. Fortunately, there are a few options that will help in emergencies.

Due to having almost the similar formula, dish soap can be an alternative to laundry detergent. Read this guideline to know how to do laundry with dish soap and other necessary details.

can you wash clothes with dish soap

Can You Wash Clothes With Dish Soap?

Yes, you can. However, keep in mind that though dish soap fades stains, it leaves wrinkles and static cling on clothes. Therefore, you have to use vinegar to soften the fabric while washing clothes with dish soap.

Step by step process

  • Step 1 – Put the dirty clothes in the washing machine. Make sure to wash bright, light, and white clothes in separate batches. The same rule applies for lighter and heavier garments.
  • Step 2 – Set the machine to the right temperatures for washing clothes. For white clothing, set the machine to hot wash and cold rinse. Bright clothes need warm wash and warm/cold rinse.
  • Step 3 – Select longer cycles for heavily dirty clothing and shorter cycles for lightly dirty garments. Make sure to select delicate settings for delicate clothing.
  • Step 4 – Add 1 to 3 teaspoons of dish soap keeping the laundry load in mind (1 tsp for small, 2 tsp for medium, and 3 tsp for large). Never add more than 3 teaspoons to avoid spill outs.
  • Step 5 – Dish soap wrinkles clothes. Therefore, add 1 cup of vinegar to soften the fabric.
  • Step 6 – Start the machine.
  • Step 7 – Air dry the clothes.

What If Accidentally Put Dish Soap In Washing Machine?

Can You Wash Clothes With Dish Soap

As long as you don’t pour excessive dish soap in the machine and use this chemical on a regular basis, nothing bad will happen. However, what to do if you accidentally put dish soap beyond the limit in the machine? Follow the steps mentioned below:

  • The moment you realize your mistake, quickly turn off the machine and drain out the water and suds.
  • Remove the half-washed garments and shift them somewhere else to rinse off.
  • Clean the inside of the machine thoroughly using dry washcloth or towels.
  • Once the inside has been almost cleaned, fill the machine with water and 2 cups of white distilled vinegar.
  • Vinegar will help to remove the remaining soap residue.
  • Run the machine twice or thrice (or many times) on full cycles to ensure a completely clean inside.

What’s The Difference Between Dish Soap and Laundry Detergent? 

The primary difference lies in the purpose of using these two chemicals. Dish soap is for cleaning dirty dishes and laundry detergent is for cleaning dirty or stained clothes.

Further differences will help you to understand why dish soap cannot be a replacement for laundry detergent.

  • The mildness additives present in dish soap keep the hands soft where the softeners in laundry detergent soften the fabric.
  • Most of the dish soaps add antibacterial agents which provide antibacterial protection for the hands. Laundry detergent lacks such a benefit.
  • Dish soap contains sodium laureth sulfate which produces more foam and results in better cleaning. Laundry detergent has alkyl sulfonates as its surfactant. It produces comparatively less foam.
  • Since laundry detergent creates less foam, it won’t overflow the washing machine. However, dish soap overflows.
  • Laundry detergent’s enzymes work on any kind of stain, no matter how stubborn it is. Dish soap’s enzymes may not be strong for cleaning clingy stains like soil stain, wine stain, and dye.
  • Laundry detergent whitens and/or brightens clothes with its included bleaches. Dish soap generally does not contain bleach.
  • Laundry detergent protects the metallic surfaces of a washing machine from corrosion, which dish soap does not.
  • Laundry detergent has no issue dissolving in hard water. However, dish soap reacts with hard water and produces lots of soap scum.

Other Some FAQ

Can you wash clothes with dish soap in the sink?

Yes, the sink is the best place for washing a few dirty garments. Clean the sink thoroughly before using it. Otherwise, the dirty sink will make the cleaning more difficult. Plug the sink with a sink stopper and fill it in with lukewarm water. Add a few drops of dish soap. Wash not more than 3 to 4 pieces at the same time. but can use dish soap in drywall mud.

Can you wash clothes with dish soap by hand?

Hand washing clothes with dish soap is better than washing clothes with dish soap in a washing machine. There is a risk that the washer will overflow with bubbles if you add dish soap beyond the limit. Besides, dish soap won’t harm the skin. Also dish soap to remove hair dye?

How much Dawn do I add to my laundry?

You will need to add 1 teaspoon Dawn for small loads, 2 teaspoons for medium loads, and 3 teaspoons for large loads of laundry. You can add 1 tablespoon Dawn instead of 3 teaspoons to clean a huge pile of dirty clothes. Reads more:

What happens if you wash clothes with dish soap?

Using dish soap in a front-loading machine is riskier than in a top-loading machine because a small amount creates lots of suds. If you wash clothes with dish soap in a front-loader, suds will overfill the machine and spill out. No need to mention what will happen if the spilled suds catch any active component near.

Will dish soap bleach clothes?

Dish soap for hand dishwashing does not contain bleach. You can use it on clothes without any worry. Beware of automatic dishwasher detergent since it contains chlorine bleach. If you use it for washing clothes, it will kill the fabric color in the first wash. source


The question has been answered here in detail. Now that you know the do’s and don’ts of using dish soap, you should be more concerned from now!

Make sure to buy the best dish soap regardless of the brand. Also, read the instructions so that you won’t miss anything important.

Just a friendly reminder at the end – laundry detergent is irreplaceable when it comes to washing clothes.

You can also see our eco friendly dish soap list & best smelling dish soap list.

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