Can you use washing up liquid in the dishwasher? Products to use in the dishwasher

Ever considered using washing up liquid in your dishwasher? Scroll down to find out what you can and can't use in the dishwasher here.

28 June

collection of clean glasses from dishwasher on blue background
Kitchen Cleaning

Key Steps

Remember these rules to using a dishwasher:

  1. Only use appropriate dishwasher products for your machine. Not sure what one to buy? Read our dishwasher buying guide for tips!
  2. Check your items are dishwasher-safe before starting a cycle. Use our guide to what you can, and can't, put in the dishwasher if you're unsure.
  3. Don't overload or underload the dishwasher - read our article on the best way to load to a dishwasher for more help.
  4. Keep it clean! Your dishwasher won't clean anything if it is dirty itself - follow our 5 steps to cleaning a dishwasher for a simple process. 

So, you've got a dishwasher, but do you know how to use it and what products are ok to put in it? Don't worry if not - this guide will tell you all you need to know. And if you want to get even more from your new machine then why not read up on some of the unusual things you can wash in the dishwasher: it might just surprise you!

 Always read the label on any cleaning product before using it, and test it in a small area first. Only use cleaning products as directed.

Can I Use Dishwashing Liquid in the Dishwasher?

Short answer – no.

Dishwasher tablets and liquid dishwashing soap do the same job, right? So it seems like you should be able to use dishwashing liquid in the dishwasher. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Both products work differently, and using the wrong product in your appliance could have disastrous consequences. If you do use a liquid dishwashing soap in your machine, there are two problems you’ll need to face.

  1. Within minutes you’ll find your kitchen has been taken over with suds. Dishwashing tablets don’t produce suds, and even just a few drops of liquid soap can cause suds to start escaping from any available gap in your machine.
  2. A build-up of suds can damage the internal workings of the dishwasher, ruining pipes, clogging filters, and affecting drainage.

Can You Use Washing Powder in a Dishwasher?

No. Again – you’ll want to avoid using laundry detergent or washing powder in a dishwasher. It’s best to use products specifically designed for use in a dishwasher – this way, you can be sure that your dishes will be clean and that your dishwasher will continue to work properly.

Tried Washing Up Liquid in the Dishwasher? Here’s How to Fix It

If you’ve already used a liquid washing up liquid laundry detergent in the dishwasher because you were unsure of how to wash dishes in the dishwasher, you’re probably looking for a solution to fix the sudsy problem. Don’t panic – it’s really easy.

  • If the soap bubbles have escaped from the machine, then clean this up first. Lay towels down to help dry the area and protect your floor.
  • Try to remove as many of the bubbles as possible – use a bowl to help make it easier.
  • Then, clean out the dispenser – if you placed the washing up liquid there, it’s likely that there will still be some soap residue inside it.
  • You can pour one cup of white vinegar onto the foam – this will help to reduce the amount of the bubbles.
  • Once you have removed as much soap as possible, then run the dishwasher again, this time with no soap. Again, you can use white vinegar – vinegar will help to cut the bubbles.
  • If the foam is still present, try running the dishwasher once more, following the same steps.

Having other problems with your dishwasher not caused by using the wrong product? Read our dishwasher troubleshooting guide or find out the common reasons why your dishwasher smells or how you can tackle any dishwasher stains left behind on your glasses.

Dishwashing Tablets, Soaps, and Detergents

It’s important to remember that dishwashing tablets, dishwashing soaps, hand soaps, and laundry detergents are all separate, distinct products, and cannot be substituted for one another. Although buying one product for all needs may seem like a great shortcut, it can not only produce suboptimal results, but also it could also render our valuable kitchen appliances completely useless. Using the correct soap for the job at hand can keep your dishes clean, your appliances working well, and you happy!