There are many things that the internet suggests adding to our laundry or using on our clothes for various reasons. One thing that’s often mentioned as a laundry detergent alternative, stain remover, and all around good thing to have around is dish soap.

wash machine

But you might have certain questions about this, such as “does dish soap discolor clothes”, “is dish soap safe for my washer”, and many more along those lines. So let’s talk all about dish soap and how it can and can’t be used in terms of laundry.

Starting with one of the most popular questions…


Does Dish Soap Discolor Clothes?

No, it can’t. It might be easy to assume that dish soap would discolor clothes, because the color of dish soaps are normally so vibrant. And after all, dish soap wasn’t formulated to be used in laundry. But luckily, the color won’t transmit onto your clothes so in terms of stains, you have nothing to worry about. The only thing you should make sure of, is that the dish soap you’re using wasn’t formulated with bleach.

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Is Dish Soap Safe For Fabrics?

Now, just because the dish soap won’t stain your clothes doesn’t necessarily mean that it won’t damage them in some other way such as changing the texture. So this question is completely warranted.

The short answer is yes, most dish soap is safe for your fabrics whether they be towels, curtains, clothes, or any other type of laundry. But this answer can change depending on what type of dish soap you have.

Certain brands of dish soap may not be as safe for use in laundry as others, so you should always do your research if you’re concerned about it. But most popular dish washing liquids such as Dawn dish soap should be safe for fabrics.


Is Dish Soap Safe For Your Washer?

We’ve covered the question of if dish soap is safe for your laundry, but what about the question of if dish soap is safe for your washer? To a lot of people this might be the more important question because the cost of a new washer is far more expensive than replacing some damaged clothing items.


The truth is, dish soap is usually safe to put in your washer in small amounts every once in a while. But if you were to use larger amounts or use dish soap over a long period of time, you’d start to see some damage that could potentially cost you a lot of money.


Front loading washers are even more susceptible to damage from too many suds, so you should never use dish soap in a front loading washer.

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You should also never put dish soap in your detergent drawer, if you have to use it then pour it directly into the barrel of the washer.


Overall, dish soap isn’t safe for your washer and should only be used in certain laundry emergency type scenarios such as stain removal or possibly as a replacement if you’re out of laundry detergent. But we’ll get deeper into how much you can use in the following sections.


First though, let’s take a look at what makes dish soap so unsafe for our washers but safe for our clothes…


What’s The Difference Between Dish Soap And Laundry Detergent?

The main difference between dish soap and laundry detergent that could cause damage to your washer is the fact that dish soap creates far more suds and bubbles than laundry detergent does. And since washing machines are designed with dish soap in mind, they often can’t handle the excess amount of those things.

Meaning that over time the suds and bubbles could seriously damage the machine.

Another small difference between the two are in their additives. Whereas laundry detergent contains softening additives that keep clothes wrinkle and static free, dish soap contains a different additive that’s meant to keep your hands soft.

But laundry detergent and dish soap have a lot of similarities as well, which is why they both work so well on clothes. Cleaning agents, enzymes, and colorants are all part of both of these products.

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How Much Dish Soap Can You Put In Laundry?

So because of these differences, exactly how much dish soap should you use in laundry? It honestly depends on what you’re using it for.

  • If you’re using it as part of a stain removal mixture then use the amount that’s suggested for that mixture. For example, one-quarter of a teaspoon of dish soap and one-half a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide (not an actual stain removal recipe).
  • If you’re using it as a laundry detergent replacement in the washer then only use about one to three teaspoons of dish soap, any more and your washing machine can’t handle it. One for small, two for medium, and three for large loads.
  • And if you’re washing clothes in the sink then you can use more dish soap without worry if you wish.


Can You Mix Dish Soap And Laundry Detergent?

If you want to, then you can mix laundry detergent with dish soap. The amount of laundry detergent is up to you and how much you have but you probably won’t need very much considering how many suds the dish soap will make.

For those of you that do decide to mix, only put as much dish soap in the mixture as you would’ve without the detergent, maybe even a bit less. Never go over three teaspoons!



Does dish soap discolor clothes? No.

Will dish soap hurt your washer if used for a prolonged period of time or too much is used? Yes!

So in the end, stick to laundry detergent if you can. But if you do run out and need a substitute then make sure not to use too much dish soap and replace your detergent as soon as you can.

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