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Ken's Plumbing | Blog

Can I Use Regular Dish Soap in My Dishwasher?

Posted by Ken Flournoy on May 11, 2016 8:00:00 AM

dishwasherIsn't it the worst when you've forgotten to run the dishwasher all week, and then when you finally remember to do it, you discover you're completely out of dishwasher tablets?

If you're down to your very last dish, you may look over to your regular liquid dish soap and think, "Eh, soap is just soap, right? What's the worst thing that could happen?"

While you may think it's all "just soap," the fact is, all of the soaps in your household (regular liquid dish soap, dishwasher tablets, hand soap, laundry detergent, and even shampoo) are designed to perform very specific jobs under very specific conditions, and, therefore, should not be used interchangeably. 

What happens if you put liquid dish soap in your dishwasher?

Unless you want to break out your galoshes, don't substitute liquid dish soap for soap that's meant for the dishwasher. While both regular liquid dish soap and dishwasher tablets or detergent will get you clean dishes these products work very differently in getting the job done.

For example, did you know that the detergent and tablets designed to go in your dishwasher don't produce any suds? That's the polar opposite of your regular liquid dish soap, isn't it?

So, if a cap full of regular dish soap can give you a sink full of bubbles, imagine what will happen when you fill the soap dispenser tray of your dishwasher that isn't designed to handle suds at all. That's right, next thing you know suds and bubbles will come pouring out of your dishwasher from anywhere they can! And not only will your kitchen be a mess, but the suds can damage the dishwasher's actual plumbing — ruining pipes, clogging filters, and affecting drainage.

Have you already used dish soap in your dishwasher?

How to fix your "bubble bonanza"

If you've already made the mistake of using dish soap in your dishwasher, then you're probably looking for looking for a solution at this point. Here's how to handle the situation:

  • Start with the suds. If there are bubbles everywhere, turn your dishwasher off immediately and start getting rid of the bubbles. Lay a towel on the floor under your dishwasher to soak up anything coming out of the bottom, and try scooping the rest of the suds away with a pot or bowl.
  • Clean out the dispenser. Assuming you put the dish soap in the dish washer's soap dispenser tray, be sure to clean out any soap that remains so that you won't have to experience another round of bubbles.
  • Break out the vinegar. To start getting rid of the suds in the machine itself, pour one cup of white vinegar over the foam to break down the bubbles.
  • Run your dishwasher. Once you've thinned the foam to the best of your abilities, run the dishwasher again with absolutely no soap. You should be good to go after this, but if bubbles still remain just repeat the vinegar and cleaning cycles until all the suds are gone.

Using the correct soap for the cleaning method can keep your dishes clean and your dishwasher running smoothly! If you experienced "suds gone wild" and need help getting your dishwasher back to normal, or if you have other serious plumbing problems, just give us a call at (864) 242-5511, or click the banner below to schedule service online!
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Topics: Kitchen