can you use dish soap in a dishwasher

Can you Use Dish Soap in a Dishwasher? Useful Tips

It is normal to wake up to sink full of dirty dishes, only to realize that the dishwasher soap is finished. Immediately, the temptation to use regular dish soap runs high. After all, it is a better option than running to the store early in the morning or waiting for your favorite online store to make a delivery.

Also read: Where to put detergent in a dishwasher

But let us get real!

Can you use dish soap in a dishwasher in the first place?

The straight up answer is no!

Even though both regular dish soap and dishwasher soap are formulated for cleaning utensils, they are not the same.

Dishwasher soap does not foam the same as regular dish soap. Ideally, the latter forms a lot of suds and bubbles after lathering. Accordingly, it creates a sudsy mess inside the dishwasher.

The floor also becomes messy as excess soapy liquid finds its way out of the appliance. As if this is not bad enough, the overflowing soapy water might keep coming out of the dishwasher for the next few uses until the inside gets completely clean.  Furthermore, the dishes might not rinse out properly.

 So then, what do you do if you cannot get hold of dishwasher soap? Do you just forgo the task and wash your dishes the next time you have the soap?

In such a case, it is best to turn to your pantry basket and prepare homemade dishwasher detergent.

With simple ingredients such as salt and baking soda, you can prepare a formula that makes dishes look as good as new.

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Recipe

Ideally, this recipe allows you to use dish soap but make sure you avoid the temptation to add more than a few drops. A little amount combines with baking soda and citric acid to cut grease and remove other forms of dirt from your dishes.

What you will need

  • Your favorite dish soap
  • Baking Soda
  • Citric acid
  • Salt (optional)


  • Add 2 drops dish soap into the dishwasher’s detergent cup
  • Follow up by adding 2 tablespoons of baking soda and equal amount of citric acid.
  • Add 1 tablespoon salt if using hard water.
  • Set you dishwasher to work as normal.  

Alternative Recipe

You can also use some of the above ingredients to make a powder dishwasher detergent for use on a daily basis. The main advantage of this recipe is the use of non-toxic ingredients that work as good as commercial dishwasher soap.  

What you will need

  • Baking soda
  • Washing soda
  • Citric acid
  • Kosher Salt


  • Combine two parts of washing soda and baking soda with one part of citric acid and kosher salt in a bowl.
  • Mix the ingredients and store the final product in an air-tight container.
  • Use two spoons or more per wash depending on your load.

Borax and Baking Soda Recipe

Both borax and baking soda are readily available DIY home cleaning agents. Mix them in the ratio of 1:1 and store the mixture in an air-tight container. Add about 2-3 tablespoons to the dishwasher’s soap dispenser every time you need to run the appliance.

The mixture is not only highly effective, but it is also chemical free and very affordable.

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