You might want to use dishwasher detergent as an alternative for laundry detergent. But, people want to know, “can I wash clothes with dishwasher detergent?” 

It is not recommended to use dishwasher detergent for washing clothes if there is no emergency.

Although both are meant to be cleaned, their functions and compositions are different. One removes oil and food residue from dishes, the other works on stains and dirt that are deeply embedded in clothing.

Can I Wash Clothes with Dishwasher Detergent

What Makes Laundry Detergent and Dishwashing Detergent Different from One Another?

Despite their similar cleaning capabilities, laundry and dishwashing detergents have different functions. The differences are:


  • Dishwasher Detergent: Dishwasher detergents are designed to get rid of food particles from dishes. Surfactants, enzymes, and bleaching agents are usually present in combinations. 

These components help one another to emulsify oils and break down food particles for cleaning.

  • Laundry Detergent: Contrarily, laundry detergents are intended to clean clothing by eliminating stains and dirt from garments. Like dishwashing detergents.

They include surfactants and enzymes as well. In addition, they include fabric softeners and optical brighteners. These elements are designed to dissolve the stains and penetrate the fibers of the cloth.


  • Dishwasher Detergent: Dishwasher detergents are made with potent formulas. These are specifically designed to work with hot water and the mechanical action of dishwashers. 

They are designed with the specific purpose of preventing dirt from being re-deposited on plates.

  • Laundry Detergent: Dirt from clothing fibers gets detached by laundry detergents. It then suspends the particles in the wash water. This stops them from sticking back on clothing.

To improve the appearance and texture of washed products, laundry detergents frequently include fabric softeners.

Surfactant Concentration and Formulation:

  • Dishwasher Detergent: In comparison to laundry detergents, dishwasher detergents frequently have greater surfactant and enzyme percentages. 

These substances are necessary to break through stubborn food residues that are frequently present on plates. 

Dishwasher detergents can also include alkaline and abrasive ingredients. These assist get rid of baked-on food particles and tough stains.

  • Laundry Detergent: Enzymes and surfactants are balanced in the formulation of laundry detergents. 

These are mild enough not to harm clothes fibers and are useful for cleaning fabrics.

Can I Wash Clothes with Dishwasher Detergent? Advantages and Disadvantages 

If you run out of laundry detergent, you might think, “can I wash clothes with dishwasher detergent?” Using it has advantages and disadvantages of its own:


  1. Availability: Laundry with dishwashing detergent might work as an alternative, if it is easily accessible. 

Also if you don’t have any washing detergent on hand this can be a life savior. In an emergency, it could save you from having to go to the store.

  1. Cleaning Power: Dishwasher detergents are made to be resistant to food residue and oils.

This makes them efficient in getting rid of stains on clothes, especially those that come from oil-based materials.

  1. Cost savings: You may use dishwashing detergent for laundry if you have extra or if it’s on sale. 

As utilizing it instead of buying specialty laundry detergent might result in cost savings.


  1. Fabric Damage: The abrasives and strong chemicals included in dishwasher detergents can harm delicate fabric fibers. 

Fabrics may become weaker and fade with repeated use. This will reduce the lifespan of your clothes.

  1. Skin Irritation: Dishwasher detergent residues on clothing might cause skin irritation. This causes discomfort and itchiness. Allergy responses can occur sometimes.

Dishwasher detergents are formulated to be harsher on skin than laundry detergents.

  1. Inadequate Cleaning: Dishwasher detergent isn’t made to deal with the variety of dirt found in clothes.

It could not be equally effective at getting rid of some stains by using dishwasher detergent. 

  1. Lack of Fabric Softeners: Dishwasher detergents usually don’t include fabric softeners, in contrast to laundry detergents. 

So after washing clothes with dishwasher detergent, the clothes may feel stiff and scratchy.

  1. Potential Equipment Damage: Over time, using dishwashing detergent in a washing machine might harm the appliance. 

In a washing machine, dishwasher detergents may produce an excessive amount of foam. This will cause leaks as well as other issues to the machine.

What Safety Measures Do You Need to Follow While Using a Dishwasher to Wash Clothes?

If you want to follow best laundry practices, you should not use dishwasher detergents for laundry. Yet, following are some suggestions to reduce dishwasher detergent’s impact:

  1. Check Fabric Compatibility: Make sure your clothes can resist the abrasive chemicals in dishwashing detergent by reading the care labels.   

Dishwasher detergent should not be used on weak materials.

  1. Use Sparingly: Dishwasher detergents are typically more concentrated than laundry detergents. In order to prevent overdosing, use them cautiously. Start with a smaller amount than you would with regular laundry detergent.
  1. Pre-Dissolving: Before adding dishwashing detergent to the washing machine, dissolve it in warm water first. This makes it more likely that the detergent will disperse evenly and dissolve completely.
  1. Avoid Overloading: When using dishwashing detergent, overloading the washing machine may lead to inadequate rinsing.
  1. Pre-wash: To give the detergent more time to dissolve stains, you should do a pre-wash. 
  1. Extra Rinse Cycle: To make sure the detergent is completely rinsed from the clothing, do an additional rinse cycle.

Can I Wash Clothes With Dishwasher Detergent – FAQs

How much detergent should I put in the dishwasher when doing laundry?

Use a smaller amount and then gradually increase if needed.

Can I wash baby clothing with dishwashing detergent?

No, you should not.

Is it possible to use dishwashing detergent in cold water?

In colder water, it will not dissolve effectively.

Is it okay to combine laundry and dishwashing detergent?

No, mixing detergents can cause chemical reaction.

Can I use bleach with dishwashing detergent to do laundry?


Similar Posts