Can You Use Soda Crystals in the Dishwasher

Can You Use Soda Crystals in the Dishwasher?

If you’ve got a bag of soda crystals in the house, you may be tempted to throw a cupful into your dishwasher’s salt reservoir to give the machine a thorough clean.

After all, dishwasher salts look similar to soda crystals, and soda crystals are amazing at cleaning various things around the home.

But, sadly, you’re wrong. Soda crystals should not be used in the dishwasher.

Let me tell you some more about soda crystals and dishwashers…


Why Shouldn’t You Use Soda Crystals in the Dishwasher…

Although soda crystals have been around for years, and they’re great for cleaning appliances around the home, they aren’t good for dishwashers.

The main reason you shouldn’t use soda crystals in a dishwasher is because some people make the mistake of putting soda crystals into their dishwasher salt reservoir, and don’t use dishwasher salt at all.

These individuals assume that soda crystals will help to clean their dishes and their machine.

But this isn’t really the case because dishwasher salt works differently to soda crystals. And it’s because of this reason that you won’t end up with a squeaky-clean dishwasher, or dishes, at the end of a cycle if you use soda crystals.

Soda Crystals vs Dishwasher Salt

Let me explain what I mean…

A dishwasher comes with a salt reservoir, and you’re supposed to fill this reservoir up with special salts.

These salts are known as ‘dishwasher salts’, and their purpose is to soften the water in a dishwasher, and to prevent limescale from building up in the dishwasher’s filter.

If you put soda crystals into the salt reservoir, you won’t really get soft water in your dishwasher (soft water helps water to move around freely, and can help with a dishwasher’s performance and lifespan).

And while your soda crystals might remove the grease inside the machine, they won’t do much else. So, this would be a pretty pointless exercise.

Not to mention the fact that soda crystals shouldn’t be eaten. So, you’d have to make sure that the dishwasher was thoroughly cleaned out before setting up another dishwashing cycle.

In addition to this reason, soda crystals can occasionally mark or scratch surfaces. So, if you did end up using them in a dishwasher, the machine could end with several scratches inside by the end of a cycle.

Cleaning the dishwasher

Finally, there are times when soda crystals leave behind residue stains on a surface. You do need to go back and remove these residue marks if they appear.

This is basically extra cleaning, and as mentioned above, it’s a dangerous product to have around things like plates and cutlery, because soda crystals aren’t edible, and this applies to the residue left behind too.

So, as you can see there’s really not much point in using soda crystals in the dishwasher. You’d be better off using a specialized product or creating your own white vinegar or citric acid mix to pop into your dishwasher if you wanted to clean it or to make it smell fresh.


Removing Soda Crystals From Your Dishwasher…

If you’ve gone and put soda crystals into your dishwasher’s salt reservoir, but you’ve decided to take them out, here’s what you need to do.

  1. Pop some gloves on.
  2. Empty your dishwasher of dishes.
  3. Pop the kettle on – no it’s not quite tea time, there’s still work to do!
  4. Go to the salt reservoir and scoop out the soda crystals.
  5. You can pop the soda crystals down the sink as this is safe.
  6. Try and remove as much of the soda crystals as you can.
  7. Grab the kettle that has now finished boiling.
  8. Pour the boiling water into the salt reservoir.
  9. The water will help to dissolve the soda crystals.
  10. Repeat step 8, if need be.
  11. Fill the salt reservoir with actual dishwasher salt.
  12. Run a cycle.
  13. If there is residue left behind from the soda crystals, run another hot cycle.
  14. The dishwasher should be free from soda crystals now.

If you can remove the soda crystals before the cycle starts that’s great, but if the cycle has started you should leave the dishwasher to finish what it’s doing.

Then, follow the steps above from step 7, and re-wash everything that is inside the dishwasher (for example, plates, pans and cups) to make sure that there is no soda crystal residue on them.


What Can You Clean Your Dishwasher With?

There are a number of products that you can buy to clean your dishwasher, and there are also some home remedies you can try.

White vinegar

Simply put 2 bowls of white vinegar on the top and bottom racks of your dishwasher. Then run a hot and long cycle. This will clear out grease, bad smells and limescale.

White Vinegar and Citric Acid


Citric acid

As above, position 2 bowls on both the top and bottoms racks. Fill these bowls with citric acid and set the dishwasher up to carry out a long and hot cycle.


Specialised products

You can check out more products in our article here.


Don’t use…

  • Bleach
  • Harsh cleaners


Bonus tip

If you can, try and clean out any large pieces of food before you do a thorough clean of your dishwasher. This should help with the overall cleaning process, and it can prevent any blockages further down the line.



Soda crystals should not be put in the dishwasher. However, if you do pop them into the machine by accident you can clean them out by using the method above.

It’s better to use the products or home remedies I talked about above to clean your dishwasher.

After all, dishwashers aren’t cheap, so take good care of them by cleaning and maintaining them, and by using the correct cleaning products.



What parts of a dishwasher need cleaning?

There are a number of parts that you should pay particular attention to when cleaning, these include:

  1. Filter
  2. Hinges
  3. Seals
  4. Salt reservoir
  5. Drain
  6. Hose
  7. Arms
  8. Door
  9. Racks

Here’s a quick guide from Which, that tells you how often you should clean some of these parts.


What can soda crystals be used for?

If you picked up soda crystals by mistake when you went to the shop, don’t throw them out, they have so many uses. Read about their uses in our article here.


Baking soda is another name for soda crystals, right?

Absolutely not. Baking soda is not the same thing as soda crystals. You can read more about soda crystals here.