can you use dishwasher detergent to wash clothes

can you use dishwasher detergent to wash clothes

Using Dishwasher Detergent to Wash Clothes

Can We?

It’s fairly common knowledge that dishwasher detergents should not be used for laundry, but why is that exactly? Is it dangerous to use the detergent in this way, or is there another reason? Let’s explore this further by taking a look at the main differences between the two types of detergents and the pros and cons of using one over the other.


Dishwashing and laundry detergents have some similarities, particularly in terms of the ingredients used, but they are also vastly different in a few key ways.

  • Formula: Dishwasher detergents are designed to have a higher cleaning power, which means they include higher concentrations of surfactants, enzymes, and alkalinity boosters. These agents can be too strong for the fabrics and dyes in clothing.
  • Sudsing: Laundry detergents are designed to foam up when agitated in water, whereas dishwashing detergents produce very little foam in comparison.
  • Rinsing: Laundry detergents contain special rinsing agents that help remove residue from fabrics. Dish detergents do not contain this, which can lead to clothing coming out of the wash with more soap residue than desired.

Pros and Cons of Dishwasher Detergent

Due to the differences between the two detergents, using dish detergent for laundry can have both pros and cons.

  • Pros: Dishwashing detergents can provide a deeper, more thorough clean and may be an effective solution for tough stains or heavily soiled items.
  • Cons: The higher concentrations of agents can be damaging to fabric, leading to bleaching and fading. The lack of rinsing agents can also leave soap residue on the clothing that is impossible to remove.


In conclusion, while dishwashing detergent can provide a deeper and more thorough clean than laundry detergent, it should not be used in place of it. The risk of damage to delicate fabrics and staining from residue is simply too great, which is why it’s important to use the appropriate detergent for the items being washed.

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