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Can You Wash Clothes With Dish Soap?

Can You Wash Clothes With Dish Soap?

Maybe it’s late at night and you need to do one load of laundry before you go to sleep and get up for work. But what do you do when you don’t have any detergent? Can you use dish soap to wash your clothes?

You can wash your clothes with dish soap if you need to in a pinch, but you cannot add dish soap to a washing machine, as the dish soap’s suds will build up and leak into the mini moving components inside the washer. If you don’t have any detergent and you need to wash a load of laundry, pour one cup of baking soda into the water of the washing machine instead.

There are a few chemicals around your house that you can use if you don’t have detergent. Also, if your clothing is not deeply soiled, washing them in water can reduce dirt and remove light body odors.

Can Dish Soap Ruin Clothes?

Dish soap can ruin certain types of fabrics, so it is best to only hand wash fabrics like jeans, polyester, cotton, and polyester cotton blends with dish soap. Also, if you use too much dish soap in the water, it may not properly rinse out and it will leave behind soap stains.

There are many chemicals in dish soap that are not in detergent. While many of these chemicals can remove grease and grime, these chemicals are not designed to remove dirt and body odors or keep fabric soft.

Plus, the harsh chemicals in dish soap that make it so effective can wear away at fabric, especially delicate fabric, if you continue to wash your clothing in dish soap. If you wash your clothing with dish soap once in a blue moon, then you shouldn’t see any side effects.

However, if you can never remember to buy detergent and you continue to use dish soap every week, don’t expect your clothes to look as good as they do when they are washed with detergent in the washing machine.

If you use too much dish soap, the soap cannot filter out when you rinse the clothes. If the dish soap is still locked within the threads of the fabric, the clothing won’t feel soft when it is dry.

Can You Use Dawn Dish Soap for Laundry?

If you have Dawn dish soap, you can mix it with some warm water and scrub the stains off of your clothes by hand. Washing your clothing by hand with either dish soap, unscented hand soap, or even unscented shampoo is one way to get clean clothing if you absolutely cannot wait.

You cannot put dish soap in your washing machine, though. You also cannot mix the Dawn dish soap and soapy water and then add that to the laundry machine. Dish soap and washing machines are not made for each other.

Dish soap is extremely sudsy, and the gyrating actions of the washing machine will generate a lot of suds. Some people who have used dish soap in their laundry detergent say that there are so many suds that bubbles will fester from the top of the lid.

The reason dish soap generates a lot of suds and bubbles is to make it easier to clean dishes. The suds cling to oil and food particles when a person is washing dishes. These same suds can break your machine or rust smaller components if you continually use dish soap as a replacement for detergent.

What Can You Use If You Don’t Have Laundry Detergent?

There are a few products in the average home that can replace laundry detergent. You may have one of these products in your home right now. The next time you go to the grocery store or even a dollar store, check for these items.

What Can I Use If I Don't Have Laundry Detergent

Also, if you are trying to create low-cost cleaning solutions, these same products will keep you afloat during tough times when you are monitoring every penny that goes in and out of your bank account.

  • Zote soap
  • Borax
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda

If you really dig around and do some research, you’ll find there are many more products that can be combined to replace other cleaning products as well, including dish soap, detergent, shampoo, mopping liquid, window cleaner, rust remover, etc.

However, none of the chemical combinations will be scented, so invest in some essential oils. When you apply essential oils to treat your clothes and make them smell better, sprinkle a dropper full of your favorite essential oil during the rinse cycle.

How to Wash Clothes With Dish Soap

Now that you know it is safe to wash certain fabrics in dish soap once in a long while, you must learn how to wash them in dish soap. As you already know, do not add dishwashing liquid to your washing machine.

In order to safely and effectively wash your clothes with dish soap or dishwashing liquid, clear out your kitchen sink, place a stopper into the drain to keep the water inside the sink, and place your clothes into the sink.

Then, fill the sink halfway with lukewarm water. After the sink is filled, squeeze out less than a tablespoon of dish soap in your hands. Rub your hands together, and then rub the wet clothing with the soap.

When you’re done washing your clothes in the sink, drain the water and squeeze the excess liquid from the clothing.

Place the stopper back in the drain and fill the sink halfway with lukewarm water again. Squeeze the clothing so the soap comes out. Once all the soap is out of the fabric of your clothes, drain the water out of the sink, squeeze the water out of the fabric, and place them somewhere warm to dry.

Conclusion to Washing Clothes With Dish Soap

Washing your clothes with dish soap is not ideal, but it is a viable option if it’s the only cleaning agent you have left. It would be better to place your entire load of laundry in the washer and pour baking soda into the main laundry compartment.

Washing your clothes in the sink with dish soap is the best way to clean your clothes without dish soap.

Lindsay Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! I created this website to be a resource for everyone who wants to make the best home possible.