Can You Use Laundry Detergent to Wash Dishes

Can You Use Laundry Detergent to Wash Dishes?

Using laundry detergent to replace washing up liquid while doing your dishes is not a good idea. It can be done if you are desperate and have no other options, but it could have hazardous repercussions on your health. 

Ideally you will never need to try this method, as there are various other household cleaning products that would be safe to use on your dishes instead.

Why Shouldn’t You Use Laundry Detergent on Your Dishes?

do not use laundry detergent on dishwasher

While laundry detergent has excellent cleaning abilities, it also contains various chemicals, such as stain removers, fragrances, and brighteners that may linger on your dishes and be detrimental to your health. 

Depending on the type of product you use, there is also the possibility that your laundry detergent contains even more dangerous chemicals than already mentioned, including softeners and whitening agents like bleach.

If you are considering adding laundry detergent to your dishwasher, try to avoid it as some of the chemicals could become gaseous when exposed to the levels of heat that a dishwasher uses to wash your dishes. 

These fumes could be harmful if you inhale them when you open the dishwasher at the end of the cycle. 

Hand washing your dishes would reduce the risk of inhaling chemicals but would increase your chances of having a residue left behind on the dishes without you even noticing. The chemicals in the residue could be mixed with your food during your next meal and then ingested. 


What Other Products Can Be Used as an Alternative for Dish Soap?

There are a number of readily available household products that would be safe for use on your dishes instead of laundry detergent. This list is as follows:

1. Bicarbonate of Soda

bicarbonate of soda as dish soap alternative

Bicarbonate of soda is highly effective in washing dishes as it easily absorbs any lingering grease, and it mixes well into water to create a useful paste that can be scrubbed into your dirty dishes. It should swiftly remove any traces of food residue or oiliness on your plates, glasses, and utensils.  

2. Vinegar 

Vinegar is a highly effective cleaning agent that can be used in most cleaning situations. In the case of dirty dishes, it can be mixed with bicarbonate of soda for the most successful results, as the two will work together to cut through even the toughest food debris. 

3. Shampoo or hand soap

shampoo or hand soap as dish soap alternative

Shampoo and hand soaps are both other types of liquid soap, alike to laundry detergent in many ways. It is easy enough to wash your dishes by hand with shampoo or hand soap and you do not need to be concerned about any adverse health effects. 

However, it’s not a good idea to put shampoo or hand soap into your dishwasher unless you want a very sudsy, soapy, and bubbly mess on your hands! These liquids are designed to foam up quickly and become a lather, something that is not ideal when run through a powerful wash cycle. 

4. Soda crystals

soda crystals as dish soap alternative

Soda crystals, also known as sodium carbonate, are usually used as a household cleaner and are something that can make laundry detergent even more effective. They do not contain any harsh chemicals and are safe for use in other areas of the household, including on your dishes. 

5. A bar of soap 

If worse comes to worst, most people have a bar of soap somewhere in their house! This is another option that cannot be used in the dishwasher but would be pretty effective if you’re wanting to hand wash your dishes. 

It’s not a long-term solution but can come in very handy if you’re all out of other options. 



do not use laundry detergent in washing dishes

The advice to not use laundry detergent on your dishes applies whether you are washing your dishes in a dishwasher or by hand. It is also not advised to put anything into your dishwasher that is not an approved product, as it may void your warranty.