can you use dish soap to wash clothes

can you use dish soap to wash clothes

Using Dish Soap to Wash Your Clothes

Do you feel like you’re running out of laundry detergent? Do you want to use something on hand to wash your clothes? If this is the case, you may be wondering if dish soap can be used in place of laundry detergent. While it is not ideal and can be harmful to your clothes, yes, you can use dish soap to wash clothes.

Potential Issues of Dishwashing Soap

While dish soap may be an option to wash your clothes in a pinch, it may not be the best choice:

  • Dish Soap is Not Formulated for Clothing. Laundry detergent has ingredients to help it remove soil and stains from clothes. Dish soap does not have these same ingredients and can leave a residue on clothing.
  • Dish Soap Build-up on Clothing. Not only can dish soap leave a residue on clothing, but it can build up gradually if you use it over time.
  • Clothing Damage. Too much soap can cause damage to clothing fibers, leading to fading and premature wear.

Alternatives to Laundry Detergent

Fortunately, there are some alternatives to using dish soap to wash clothes. These include items you likely have on hands, such as:

  • Baking Soda. Mix one-half cup of baking soda with two quarts of warm water to create a DIY laundry detergent. Baking soda is great at removing odors and brighten whites.
  • White Vinegar. Add one cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle to remove excess soap, prevent mold and mildew, and soften fabric.
  • Borax. Mix one-half cup Borax to your wash cycle to get rid of dirt and odors.


While it is possible to use dish soap in a pinch to wash clothes, it is not recommended for the long-term. Dishwashing detergent can be too harsh and potentially damage your clothing, leading to fading and wear. Rather than risking damage to your clothing, use alternatives such as baking soda, white vinegar, and Borax.

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