Can You Use Regular Dish Soap in a Dishwasher?

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August 10, 2022

If you’re wondering whether you can use regular dish soap in a dishwasher, this article will give you the answer you’re looking for.

Simply put: the answer is no. 

The reason for this is regular dish soap creates lots of suds that will build up and maybe even overflow from your dishwasher when it encounters hot water. When this happens, you risk flooding your kitchen floor and will have to wash all of your dirty dishes again to remove the soap suds.

If you’ve made the mistake of using regular dish soap, this article will tell you what you need to do and then give you some tips for making homemade dishwasher detergents.

What do I do if I have put regular dish soap in my dishwasher?

The best action you can take is to turn your dishwasher off immediately by pressing the cancel button. Once the cycle has stopped and the dishwasher has drained, start by mopping up any water and soap subs on your floor.

You can then remove the dishes from your dishwasher and give them a thorough rinse by placing them in your kitchen sink. While the dishes are rinsing, you will need to remove all water and soap that is remaining in your dishwasher. This can be done with dry towels and sponges. 

Once the dishwasher is empty, put your dishwasher on another rinse cycle to ensure any excess water and suds are removed. When the cycle ends, place all of your dishes back into the dishwasher, fill the detergent drawer with proper dish powder, and then place your dishwasher on a normal wash cycle. As long as the first wash cycle finishes without any trouble, you can use your dishwasher normally again. Just remember not to use regular dish soap!

How to make homemade dishwasher detergent 

While it’s recommended by dishwasher manufacturers to use commercially sold dishwasher detergent, there are a few easy recipes you can use to make homemade solutions that can be whipped up simply. Most of these recipes use ingredients that you probably have in your kitchen and laundry cupboards.

Borax and baking soda dishwasher powder recipe

Both active ingredients in this recipe are known for their cleaning and disinfecting properties. When combined, they can be used to make a powerful dishwasher powder that will clean your dishes just as well as a commercial dishwasher powder or detergent. 

To make and use this homemade recipe:

  • Mix one tablespoon of Borax with one tablespoon of baking soda.
  • Once you have mixed these two ingredients together, fill the detergent drawer and turn it on a wash cycle as you normally would.
  • If you’re happy with the results, you can make a big batch of this homemade detergent by mixing 2 cups of Borax with 2 cups of baking soda.

Borax and washing soda dishwasher powder recipe

If you find that the Borax and baking soda recipe doesn’t work well, an alternative homemade dishwasher powder recipe can be made using washing soda and Borax. By replacing baking soda with washing soda, you will be adding some citric acid and salt to your powder which can enhance the cleaning process. 

Here’s how to make this homemade recipe:

  • Mix one tablespoon Borax, one tablespoon washing soda, and 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt with 1/2 tablespoon food-grade citric acid, and then place it in a glass container. 
  • If you’d like your dishes to come out after a wash with a lemon scent, you can swap the citric acid with the same amount of unsweetened lemonade mix.
  • When you put your dishwasher on a wash cycle, simply fill the detergent drawer with this mixture.
  • If you like the results, you can make a larger batch of this homemade dish powder by increasing each ingredient measurement by ten.

Non-Borax dishwasher powder recipe

If you don’t have Borax or don’t want to use it to make your homemade dishwasher powder, here is an alternative recipe. Instead of Borax, this recipe combines baking soda with washing soda. Together, they create a powerful cleaning product that should result in your dishes coming out clean and smelling great.

To make this non-Borax powder:

  • Mix three tablespoons washing soda, three tablespoons citric acid, and one tablespoon baking soda with one tablespoon kosher salt and place it in a glass container.
  • If you’d like your dishes to come out after a wash with a lemon scent, you can swap the citric acid with the same amount of unsweetened lemonade mix.
  • When you’re ready to put your dishwasher on a wash cycle, simply fill the detergent drawer with this mixture.
  • If you like the results, you can make a larger batch of this homemade dish powder by increasing each ingredient measurement by ten.
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