Can You Use Dish Soap to Wash Clothes?

If you have ever experienced an occasion when you were unexpectedly out of laundry detergents during laundry, you’d understand the importance of always having an alternative. And one alternative to laundry detergent, many people have turned to, is dish soap. 

Dish soap has found its way into the laundry process in some houses, especially when their laundry detergents have run out. This is because dish soap performs the same function of cleaning.  However, the question here is: “can you use dish soap to wash clothes?”

Can You Use Dish Soap To Wash Clothes? 

Yes, you can use dish soap to wash clothes instead of laundry detergents, and when used in the laundry you will get the same results as a regular laundry detergent. This is because the creation formula for dish soap and laundry detergent is similar; they have a similar chemical composition made up of cleaning agents, enzymes and colorants. 

The difference is their additives; dish soap contains additives that keep your hands soft while you wash dishes, while laundry detergent contains softeners to keep clothing wrinkle- and static-free.

Effects Of Using Dish Soap On Clothes

While you can use dish soaps to wash your clothes, they aren’t created for laundry, hence some side effects are bound to occur when they are used. Below are some effects of using dish soap on clothes;

1. Causes Damage To Washing Machines

Sudsing is one characteristic associated with dish soap, which makes them not suitable for dishwashers. So, if dish soap isn’t recommended on a dishwasher, how much more a washing machine? 

Over sudsing will occur when dish soap is used in a washing machine, which will lead to overflowing in the machine, which can become problematic if the suds get into places in the machine they shouldn’t. When left behind, this sud can cause issues in the pumps and drains of the washing machine.

2. Damage to clothes

There are some dish soaps that contain harsh additives that can damage clothes, such as bleach. Harsh ingredients can cause damage, such as bleaching and fading, which cannot be reversed.

3. Clothes will Not Be Properly Cleaned

Because dish soaps are not planned for laundry, they may not wash clothes and laundry detergents; their ability to wash clothes with tough stains might be limited, so there’s a high chance of the clothes not being cleaned. 

4. Static Cling

As mentioned above, one of the major differences between laundry detergent and dish soap is their additives. While laundry additives focus on softeners to keep clothing wrinkle- and static-free. Dish soap additives focus on keeping your hands soft when washing dishes. The absence of fabric softeners in dish soap can cause clothes to wrinkle and gather static energy during the washing and rinsing cycle. While they might not be harmful, having wrinkles or static cling can be annoying.

Tips For Using Dish Soap

Some effects of dish soap on your clothes can be avoided if you abide by some precautions. Below are some tips to solve problems associated with using dish soap on clothes:

1. Use A Small Amount Of Dish Soap

It might tempt to use a large amount of dish soap during laundry to make it effective; however, doing so will only lead to over sudsing and overflowing of the washing machine. To prevent over sudsing, keep your dish soap amount below three teaspoons. 

Use one teaspoon for a small load, two teaspoons for a medium load and three teaspoons for a large load. Using more than this might lead to your machine overflowing.

Note: This measurement should be used when using a washing machine. If you are hand washing, you can use any desired amount as you can easily control the suds.

2. Review The Ingredient List

Before using dish soap for launder, your clothes go through its ingredient list to make know the substances it was formulated from. When washing colored clothes, avoid any dish soap that contains bleach, as it might cause your clothes to fade.

Meanwhile, check the ingredient list to know if the dish soap contains any harsh substance that might cause skin irritation, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Also, if you are concerned about the scent, go for scentless dish soap. You can get a laundry scent booster to gain your preferred scent.

3. Use Non-chlorine Bleach Or Hydrogen Peroxide

When dealing with tough stains, especially on colored clothes, using non-chlorine bleach or hydrogen peroxide is recommended.

If you are dealing with a spot stain, apply the non-chlorine with a clean cloth on the spot and allow it to sit for a few minutes before washing in the washing machine. You might need to test the bleach on a safe spot on the cloth before usage.

When using hydrogen peroxide, create a mixture of one part dish soap and two parts hydrogen peroxide to create a stain removal. Test the mixture on a hidden part of the cloth to make sure the mixture is safe. Apply it on the spot and allow it to sit for a few minutes, then wash in the machine.

4. Use Vinegar, Baking Soda Aluminium Foil 

To eliminate the static issue that dish soap causes, vinegar, baking soda or aluminium foil will do the trick.

White vinegar is great at preventing static energy from building up in clothes. You can add it during the rinsing cycle. Baking soda can be added during the washing cycle alongside the dish soap. Aluminium foils rolled into balls can be added during the rinsing cycle. These three methods can be used independently of each other.

How To Use Dish Soap To Wash Clothes

Below are steps to follow for effective laundry while using dish soap;

Step 1: Put the dirty clothes in the washing machine. Check the dish soap to ensure it doesn’t contain a bleaching agent if you are washing colored clothes.

Step 2: Put the dish soap into the washing machine dispenser. Add baking soda if available for anti-static effect.

Step 3: Set the machine to a warm wash. Use a cold or warm setting for the rinsing cycle. You can add vinegar or aluminium foil if available.

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