Can you use dishwashing liquid in the washing machine? Products to use in the washing machine

Ever wondered if you can use dishwashing liquid in the washing machine? Here we give you a guide on what products are safe to use in your washing machine.

Updated 23 March 2023


AuthorBy Cleanipedia Team

Reading Time2 minutes

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Have you ever tried to use dishwasher soap in the washing machine? Wondered what all the different detergents and other laundry products were for, and if you could skip them entirely? This guide is for you.

Sadly, you’re never going to get the best laundry results if you’re not using a specially designed detergent. Using products like Persil small & mighty will help you get your clothes clean and fresh – just follow the directions on the label, and read the care labels on your garments first.

So, can you use washing-up liquid in the washing machine?

Using dishwashing liquid in the washing machine is not a good idea. Washing machines work better with products specifically designed for them, and using dishwasher soap in the washing machine creates much more foam than using a laundry detergent – so you risk damaging the machine (and creating a mountain of suds!).

Of course, it’s always safer to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use laundry products in the washing machine, so here is a guide to the various laundry products you can use in the washing machine:

  • Stain remover

Many different kinds of stain remover are available, either for direct application to the stain or for adding to your wash. There are multiple different types for different kinds of common stains. They work by dissolving, emulsifying, digesting or disguising stains, and are stain-specific in their function. You can often skip a stain remover and use a laundry detergent like Persil small & mighty as a pre-treatment.

  • Non-biological or biological detergent:

These are your typical laundry detergents – the difference between bio and non bio detergents has to do with enzymes (present in the bio variants) that are effective at treating some kind of stains and which work at lower temperatures.

  • Fabric softener or fabric conditioner

These are added in a special ‘fabric softener’ stage of the wash cycle – which is why it’s important to place your product in the right part of the detergent drawer. They work by coating the cloth fibres with a thin layer of lubricant and electrically conductive chemicals, which makes the fibres feel smoother and prevents static electricity build up. They may also improve iron glide during ironing, increase resistance to stains, and reduce wrinkling and pilling of fabrics.

So, although it is not recommended to use dishwasher soap in the washing machine, there are plenty of products you can use more safely. Your clothes and your machine will thank you.

For more information on the ingredients in products mentioned in this tip, visit What’s in Unilever Products here.

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