Can you use dish soap to wash clothes?

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There are 5 things I’ll look for in a clothe washing substance:

  1. Good dirt and stain removal
  2. Color protection
  3. Fresh clean scent
  4. Gentle on the hands
  5. Good for the budget.

Whether the substance is a detergent, soap, vinegar or whatever it is called, once it have these 5 criteria, I’ll readily use it to wash my clothes.

Does dishwasher meet any of these criterias? Yes it does. Actually it meets all of them.

Have I convinced you to start using dish washers to wash your clothes? Don’t be too quick to conclude.

Read on as I clarify this subject!

Can you use dish soap to wash clothes?

I’ve read a lot about dish washing liquids and seen some discrepancies in people’s opinions to it. Personally, I used dishwashers for years to wash my white singlets, and I stuck to it because I loved the results.

But can it be used for washing clothes? From a biased point of view I will quickly say yes, because I used it to wash my underwear for years and I couldn’t tell the difference between  using dishwashers, detergents or soaps.

So now I’ve decided to approach this topic from a different point of view. The purpose of any clothes cleaning substance is to clean our clothes of dirts, stains and if possible microbes.

If any substance can achieve these without damaging our clothes, we can give it a chance.

As the name implies, dishwasher have a main function: to wash dishes.

But is that the only uses?

Well the answer is No. 

Before we discuss the  many uses of dish soap, also known as dishwashers, let’s first see the properties it has that makes it an ideal substitute for washing clothes.

Dish soap – Laundry’s silent friend

In a number of my articles, I’ve talked a lot about about detergents. Here are some of the them:





One word you find repeated in these articles is, “surfactant”. This is because it is arguably a detergent’s outstanding property. 

It is a major factor in it’s ability to clean clothes.

Dish soaps or dishwashers have this very same ingredient.

In fact they have even more.

Here are some properties of dish soap that makes it a worth cloth washing substitute:

  1. Oil and grime removal
  1. Good foaming properties
  1. Leaves no residue on items
  1. Gentle on the skin

Oil or grime removal

Due to it’s surfactant properties, dish soaps are able to remove tough dirt embed on fabrics. When we talk grime, we mean dirt composed of dust, oil and other dirt combines. 

Even for a good soap, this type of dirts takes a little more effort to remove. From first person experience, I use dishwashers to remove those brown sweat stains in armpit region of my inner shirts. While not perfect in removing it all, so does the detergentst I use, but it still does a good job.

Good foaming properties

Can you use dish soap to wash clothes

Do you know how an average householder ‘knows’ a good detergent? He does not truly know which detergent is better than the other, he simply check with has good foam when washing.

People equate foaming to cleaning efficiency in cloth washing. Dish soaps have good foaming or sudsing properties. Of course, too much suds is not good for washing wash, but this depends on how much of this dish soap you use for your mix.

When put in the right amount, dish soaps can produce the right amount of foam that makes washing easy. And just the mere beleive that this substance wash is a moral booster when doing hand wash.

Leaves no residue on items

Should you use too much detergent when washing clothes? This was discussed in this article. You see, one major problem with this is that it can leave residue on your clothes, especially when you wash with cold water.

This problem is eliminated when you wash with dish soaps. Because it was produced mainly with dish washing as its goal. And unlike using a cloth with soap residue, you may or may not feel the reation on your skin. 

Having dish soap residue can affect our health, they are produced to be easily rinsed out of plates. This very properties is a plus when washing clothes.

In fact when I apply dish washer a bucket to soak my white singlets and under-shirt before washing, the dishwasher colors the shirt because it of it’s color, but the moment I start washing, I find no trace of the liquid’s color on the shirt.

When you wash your clothes with dishwashers, only it leaves no trace after rinsing. In fact, only you the washer, can tell which clothes are washed with dish soaps and which were washed with detergent or soaps.

Gentle on the skin

Do you know that there are more washing machines in circulation that dishwashers. Actually more persons knows and have seen washing machines than dishwashers.

And people wash dishes far more opten than they do clothes.

This means the vast majority of dish soaps are used to wash clothes dishes with hand, and this is done a couple of times a day. Becuase of this are they manufactured to be gentle on the skin. 

Even people with sensitive skins are comfortable washing dished with dish soaps by hand.

Is dish soap a better alternative to wash clothes?

Can you use dish soap to wash clothes

As the name implies, dish soap or dishwashers are made to wash dishes as it’s primary purpose. Hence, it is not a better alternative to washing clothes. 

Soaps and detergents are still the kings of laundering… at least for now. However dish soaps are a good alternative. In the event that you run out of detergent at an odd hour and you can’t get one at the nearest store, dishwashers are your ideal alternative.

You do not have to worry whether it will wash your clothes properly… it will.

Neither should you worry if it will damage your clothes… it wont.

Instead it will serve the very purpose of washing: to clean your clothes, remove stains and wash away microbes.

Can you use dish soap on a washing machine?

This is one disadvantage of using dish soaps. When used in an enclosed environment, it can produce much suds.

Therefore it is better to use dish soaps when doing handwash. This does not mean that you can never use dish soap in your washing machine. You can.

Applying less amount of this soap will do the job. Except it won’t be as effective as a regular detergent.

Remember the point of it all. Dish soaps are not designed for washing clothes. They can however be used as a substitute in the absence or a soap. 

Also it is important to point out that they should be used only as a short term measure and for emergencies.

After all said and done, detergents and soaps are for clothes and should be used for washing clothes.

Dish soaps are for dishes and should equally be used for washing dishes only.

But if you love experiments like I do, you can try washing your next batch of clothes with dish soaps and if you love the result, please return to this article to post your comments.

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