Can You Use Dawn Dish Soap in a Dishwasher?

Can You Use Dawn Dish Soap in a Dishwasher

So, you just loaded the dishwasher and realize you’re out of detergent; you reach for the Dawn dish soap. You figure it’s for cleaning dishes, but you’re not sure if you should put regular Dawn dish soap in a dishwasher. What’s the worst that could happen?

If you decide to put Dawn dish soap in your dishwasher you’ll end up with an ocean of suds. Regular soaps are designed to get foamy and create lots of suds, something you don’t want happening in your dishwasher. When your dishwasher starts running and spraying water, it generates so many suds they’ll quickly spew from your dishwasher, covering your kitchen floor.

Sudsing up your kitchen floor can cause damage, not to mention a huge mess. It’s best to avoid putting regular dish soap in your dishwasher. But, are there ever situations where it might be okay?

Why You Shouldn’t Put Dawn Dish Soap In The Dishwasher

Using dish soap in your dishwasher results in tons of suds, building up with nowhere to go but out. They end up all over your floor, causing damage, a mess, and slipping hazards. You’ll not only have a mess to clean up outside of your dishwasher but inside of it, too.

The inside of your dishwasher will fill with suds that you’ll need to try and remove. You’ll also need to get rid of any traces of dish soap inside your dishwasher, so you don’t end up with another sudsy mess.


What’s The Difference Between Dish Soap And Dishwashing Liquid?

The primary difference is how the two different products are formulated. The ingredients in the two cleaners react to various factors.

Dishwasher detergent reacts differently than dish soap to things like water, friction, and cleaning. It doesn’t create a suds overload.

Dawn dish soap, however, like many other soaps creates lots of suds and does so quickly. This is great when you’re washing dishes in the sink, showing you just how clean you’re getting your dishes. But, when the suds are building up behind the closed door of your dishwasher, it can become frightening.

What Can You Do If You Use Dawn Dish Soap In A Dishwasher?

Okay, so maybe you know you’re not supposed to put Dawn dish soap in a dishwasher, but perhaps you did it by accident. Or perhaps a well-intentioned spouse or teenager decided to do the dishes and didn’t know the difference.

They saw dishwashing liquid on the bottle and assumed it was dishwasher liquid. It’s a relatively common mistake and an easy one to make.

So, somehow, dish soap ends up filling the detergent dispenser of your dishwasher. Now, even a little bit of dish soap can get you a one-way ticket to suds city. So, if the whole dispenser is full of it, watch out.

Now you’ve got suds everywhere and feel like you’re reenacting a scene out of some zany sitcom or comedy. But don’t worry, all is not lost. You didn’t destroy your dishwasher.

But, you do need to stop the suds, get rid of them, and clean up. First, stop your dishwasher; you don’t need any more suds forming.

Here’s what you can do when you end up putting Dawn dish soap in the dishwasher.

1. Run An Extra Cycle And Grab A Mop And Towels

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No matter how you intend to move forward with your battle of the suds, you need to get some towels and a mop. Sorry, but cleaning is in your very near future. Start laying towels out around your dishwasher on the floor.

Mop up as many suds as you can from outside the dishwasher. Then, open it and do the same with the inside. Scoop out as much of the suds as you can.

Note that since you stopped the dishwasher mid-cycle, it could be steamy, and the water could be hot. You can toss a few ice cubes in to cool down the water and wear gloves to protect your hands.

You can attempt to run another cycle without any detergent to rinse your dishes and dishwasher. But–it’s imperative that you’re sure you’ve gotten all the suds out first. Otherwise, you’ll likely just create more.

Make sure you remove all of the dishes and also wipe out the dispenser really well too. Again, even small amounts of dish soap can lead to big-time suds.

If you’re unsure about nixing all the suds, don’t run another cycle yet. Instead, try one of the next few steps to help combat the foam.

2. Use Some Hair Conditioner

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If you’ve ever washed your hair while relaxing in a bubble bath, you might notice the bubbles disappear after rinsing out your conditioner.

This is because the conditioner contains positively charged surfactants that latch onto additional negatively charged surfactants in the dish soap, reducing the suds.

So, you can place a small amount of conditioner in the dishwasher and run it for a few moments. After a few minutes, stop the dishwasher and peek inside. You should see a significant reduction in the suds.

3. Try Vinegar And Salt

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Another option is a combo of popular standbys for household item DIY fixes (and chips)–salt and vinegar. Pour about one cup of vinegar into the bottom of the dishwasher and spread a few tablespoons worth of salt.

Run the dishwasher for several minutes to help banish the suds. Then, completely dry the dishwasher’s interior using towels to ensure all traces of dish soap are gone.

Once the suds are gone, you can run a rinse cycle. But, if the suds are still there, add a bit more vinegar and salt and try again.

4. Use Some Fabric Softener

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You can also try fabric softener if you don’t have hair conditioner or vinegar and salt on hand. It works in a similar way as the conditioner, reducing the suds.

Place a small amount of fabric softener in the dispenser and run the dishwasher for a few moments. Then wipe down the inside of the dishwasher and run a rinse cycle.

5. Call A Plumber

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Of course, if you’ve tried all of the above and you can’t seem to shake the suds, you can call a plumber. It’s a possibility dish soap worked its way into places you can’t see, and a plumber will need to do a more thorough inspection. But, more than likely, you’ll resolve the issue without needing to bring in a pro, as long as you can handle the mess.

Is It Ever Okay To Use Dawn Dish Soap In A Dishwasher?

Completely subbing out your dishwasher detergent for Dawn dish soap is a guaranteed disaster. But, if you’re in a pinch with no dishwasher liquid and don’t feel like going to the store, you could make your own with dish soap and baking soda.

The baking soda will help reduce suds and even give your dishes an extra sparkle. Fill the dishwasher’s detergent dispenser roughly ¾ with baking soda and add just one or two drops of Dawn.

But your best bet is only to use dishwasher detergent in your dishwasher.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use dishwasher liquid to hand wash dishes?

Just like you shouldn’t put dish soap in a dishwasher, you should steer clear of handwashing dishes with dishwasher detergent. You need to use too much since there are no suds, making it extremely difficult to get all the residue off the dishes.

So, you’ll waste lots of water and might still end up with detergent residue on your dishes. This can pose potential health issues if it leaches into your food.

Is dishwasher liquid, powder, or pods better for cleaning dishes?

Typically, pods and liquid seem to deliver a better clean, and pods also provide convenience. But they’re also more expensive than powder. However, powder appears to be a better choice if you have hard water.

Basically, your dishes will get clean with any type; you can try a few different brands to find your preference.