It’s happened to all of us. You’ve got a full dishwasher that you need to run, but you’re out of dishwashing detergent. You’re also out of dishes.

Couldn’t you just put regular dish soap in the dishwasher?

Can you use regular dish soap in the dishwasher?

No, you cannot use regular dish soap directly in the dishwasher. Doing so would result in a huge soapy mess. Dishwashers are designed for specific types of soap and detergent so using your dish soap could cause problems with the dishwasher itself and potentially ruin it. 

Regular liquid dish soap is designed to create a lot of suds, which would overflow from your dishwasher all over your floor and could damage your dishwasher. Dishwashing detergent, on the other hand, is designed specifically for use in dishwashers and does not create suds, which is why it doesn’t create a sudsy, bubbly mess all over your kitchen every time you wash your dishes.

What to do instead 

If you do run out of your usual dishwasher detergent, then there is a way you can use dish soap in your dishwasher by adding something you probably already have on hand: baking soda.

  1. Fill your dishwasher’s soap tray 3/4 full with baking soda.
  2. (Optional) If you have hard water, add some salt to the tray.
  3. Add a few drops of dish soap (we love this Seventh Generation Liquid Dish Soap)
  4. Run your dishwasher as you normally would.

The baking soda will help reduce the amount of suds the soap produces making it safer for the dishwasher. This should result in nice, clean dishes without having to run to the store to pick up more dishwashing detergent!


It’s not a good feeling when you realize your dishwasher detergent is all out and you still have a whole load of dishes to do. But it’s not the end of the world, there is hope. You simply need to add some baking soda!

Similar Posts