Dishwasher detergent dispenser

Can you use dish soap in the dishwasher?

No, you should only use dishwasher detergent in your dishwasher as it is designed specifically for your dishwasher to clean dishes without the use of suds or bubbles. Read on to learn what to do if you accidentally use dish soap in your dishwasher.

Dirty dishes inside a running dishwasher Dirty dishes inside a running dishwasher

What happens if you use soap in a dishwasher?

Using dish soap in a dishwasher creates a thick, sudsy foam in the appliance that can overflow through the dishwasher door. This is due to the formula of dish soap that relies on suds and bubbles to clean dishes.

On the other hand, dishwasher detergent relies mostly on enzymes to get your dishes clean. Liquid dishwasher soap or detergent pods dissolve in water, and as the water moves throughout your dishwasher the enzymes work to break down proteins and starches until they can be completely dislodged with water.

What do I do if I accidentally put dish soap in my dishwasher?

If you used dish soap in a dishwasher, immediately stop the wash cycle. Remove the dishes and utensils from the appliance, drain and clean the dishwasher interior until the dish soap residue and suds are washed away.

Read on below for a detailed guide to cleaning out dish soap from your dishwasher so you can get your dishes loaded and washed sooner.

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1. Stop the wash cycle

Once you have realized that you used dish soap in your dishwasher, cancel the wash cycle to prevent suds and bubbles from spilling out of the dishwasher door. If a spill has already occurred, clean up the sudsy water with dry towels.

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2. Drain the washer and remove dishes from the racks

Once you’ve stopped the wash cycle, press the drain button to remove any residual water from the machine. After the wash cycle has completely stopped and the dishwasher has drained, remove all dishes from the appliance and place them in your kitchen sink to rinse off the remaining soap.

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3. Add cooking oil to dishwasher and select the Quick Wash cycle

To clear out any remaining dish soap, add ¼ cup of vegetable oil or another cooking oil to the bottom of your dishwasher, then run a Quick Wash cycle on your empty dishwasher. Do not add detergent.

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4. Repeat the wash cycle

Once all visible signs of the soap bubbles are gone, it is recommended that you run another wash cycle to remove any remaining dish soap residue as this can lead to soap scum build up.

Discover Whirlpool® dishwashers

You can stay on top of dish duty with the help of a Whirlpool® dishwasher. Explore the features you need to get your dishes clean, like select models featuring Sensor Cycle, 1-Hour Wash and 3rd Rack options that allow you to load bowls and mugs in the 3rd Rack to free up space below.

Stainless steel Whirlpool® dishwasher in a modern kitchen Stainless steel Whirlpool® dishwasher in a modern kitchen

What can I use if I run out of dishwasher soap?

It is not recommended to use detergent alternatives inside your dishwasher, so be sure to stick to dishwasher detergent that is formulated for use inside the appliance. If you run out of dishwasher soap, you may want to consider hand-washing your dishes until you have purchased more.

Can you make your own dishwasher detergent?

Making homemade dishwasher detergent is not recommended as it may lead to damage inside your dishwasher. Only use dishwasher-approved detergent in the recommended doses per your owner’s manual.

Learn more about dishwashers

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