Thread Number: 89105  /  Tag: Modern Automatic Washers
Putting regular soap in a dishwasher
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Post# 1136818   12/21/2021 at 22:01 by bradfordwhite (East Coast, U.S.)        

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When we first got a dw in '72 it was portable and we ran out of dw detergent so my mother put standard dish soap in. All I remember is it coming out from the bottom of the door and getting all over the floor. LOL

Post# 1136821 , Reply# 1   12/21/2021 at 22:12 by Repairguy (Danbury, Texas)        

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My grandma did the same with a Ď90 model Kenmore Ultra Clean in the mid nineties with the same results. We all laughed so hard that we embarrassed her and she never used the machine again for the rest of her life.

Post# 1136823 , Reply# 2   12/21/2021 at 22:17 by bradfordwhite (East Coast, U.S.)        

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awww, poor deery. She probably would never have used it anyway as she was used to hand washing.

In the late 80s I gave a gift of a portable dishwasher to a distant older 60ish relative and she just couldn't figure out how to put the cups in correctly. She kept putting them in upside right. lol. It's was roto-rack too. I don't know if that made it more difficult. And she was from Ireland. Idk....

Post# 1136873 , Reply# 3   12/22/2021 at 11:55 by Dustin92 (Jackson, MI)        

My dad did similar to an early 2000's builder grade GE Potscrubber. It was an awful excuse of a machine anyway, but he decided that adding a few drops of liquid detergent took the grease off better.. That worked fine for a few washes until it didn't anymore, and we walked into the kitchen to see a cascade of foam coming out at the bottom of the door with each revolution of the spray arm. We had owned a dishwasher for several years by then, so he should have known better LOL. My mom and I never did let him forget about that one!
Also had an incident where one of the kids I worked with at a summer camp (16-17 at the time) had changed the detergent bottle on the commercial dishwasher (automatic dispenser system) and used "pots and pans" detergent rather than the dishwasher detergent.. That was a foamy mess for sure! Each time the wash cycle started, suds would shoot out around the doors. I was laughing too hard to be mad, but I made sure to explain the difference before it could happen again. In their defense they did come in very similar bottles by the same brand. Cleaned the dishes decently until we figured out what had happened though!

Post# 1136875 , Reply# 4   12/22/2021 at 12:05 by petek (Ontari ari ari O )        

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Never done it purposely but one time decades ago I put a small soap dish in there and had a foam overflow. Never did that again.

Post# 1136879 , Reply# 5   12/22/2021 at 14:26 by mark_wpduet (Lexington KY)        
I think we all at least know someone

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who's done this. In the 80s, my uncle did it. Ran out of dish detergent and put in regular dish soap and soap bubbles came out everywhere. I think it was a 1975 Kenmore dishwasher from the fact their house was built in 1975 and they got everything Kenmore throughout their house....Even a central vac.

One thing: I read a while back how if you have an oil spot on your clothes, you can put a couple of drops of dish soap and it works wonders. I worried doing that that it would cause massive foam in the front load washer.....but it never does. you can't even tell

Post# 1136909 , Reply# 6   12/22/2021 at 17:22 by maytaga806 (Putnam, Michigan)        

Sometimes I add a tiny bit of regular Dawn to my cascade complete bottles, it adds an extra oomph making it so you donít have to use quite as much, I like slightly moderately sudsy washes in my dishwasher so I love adding a slight bit here and there. I like how the cascade action pacs get slightly sudsy!

Post# 1136910 , Reply# 7   12/22/2021 at 17:24 by maytaga806 (Putnam, Michigan)        

Incase this ever happens to anyone, cascade gel works as an amazing desudser. There was a few times where my cascade action pac made my Whirlpool oversuds to where it was close to dripping out of the door, and I squirted a little gel in and bam it reduced them majorly. Iím sure any dish gel or powder will help.

Post# 1136912 , Reply# 8   12/22/2021 at 17:30 by bradfordwhite (East Coast, U.S.)        

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I wonder if fabric softener or vinegar would kill the suds.

Post# 1136914 , Reply# 9   12/22/2021 at 17:42 by DADoES (TX,†U.S. of A.)        

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I have not ever done that, and have not heard mention of it from any immediate family ... parents, siblings, aunts/uncles ... or friends/acquaintances.

Post# 1136915 , Reply# 10   12/22/2021 at 17:46 by qsd-dan (West)        

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Back in the 90's, I would add one drop of liquid dish soap on the door of the reverse rack Maytag in addition to regular detergent when loaded with greasy items. Never had a problem with that.

Post# 1136921 , Reply# 11   12/22/2021 at 19:26 by henene4 (Emden (Germany))        

Thing is that regular dish soap is way to easy to suds up and is way more concentrated in terms of tensides (which cause the sudsing, mainly).
Keep in mind that you only add like a teaspoon (about 1/5 of the amount of DW detergent you usually are supposed to use) to 4 times or more the amount of water for hand washing dishes.

As long as the detergent has something to latch on the tensides are bound up.
Thus a minute amount in the prewash won't hurt - neither will some on your laundry in the washer.

Regular DW detergent is loaded with a lot more of different stuff compared to dish soap.
Further it is aimed more towards alkalinity which wouldn't be useable in hand washing dishes.
Thus dish soap compensates by having way more tensides.

But my mum managed something similar once.

My grandma used to buy dish soap in 5 Liter cannisters.
One time she stored some in an old detergent bottle under our laundry room sink where we usually only keep cleaning supplies.

My mum thought someone accidentally put that down there and used it on a load of laundry.
Terrible mess, took several runs to get the clothing rinsed.

Post# 1136942 , Reply# 12   12/22/2021 at 22:46 by gansky1 (Omaha, The Home of the TV Dinner!)        

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Had a friend do this in her mom's KDS-17 once.  "Oh, it'll be fine."  It wasn't fine.  We ran about a dozen rinse and hold cycles to get the foam out of that tank.  Her mother was impressed with the cleaned up kitchen, "even the floor!" so all was well. 


Up to a 1/4 cup of vegetable/cooking oil will take care of any foam almost immediately.   Wish I'd known that back in high school, but resetting that KitchenAid over and over was worth the mess.  

Post# 1137007 , Reply# 13   12/23/2021 at 15:09 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Adding cold water from the sink also helps knock down the suds especially if you can manually fill the sump and immediately make the machine to drain, but not as fast as oil. Great tip, Greg. Thanks.

Post# 1137048 , Reply# 14   12/23/2021 at 18:46 by maytaga806 (Putnam, Michigan)        

DO NOT EVER put fabric softener in a dishwasher, not even to test it out. The clinging wax agents found in softeners are not designed to be running thru a dishwashers pump system and will take several and several cycles to fully rinse it out. Accidentally forgot to pre wash my direct drives softener cup before throwing it in my dishwasher for a sanitize and that was disgusting to open the door at the end of the cycle and I was slapped across the face with fabric softener scent.

Post# 1137050 , Reply# 15   12/23/2021 at 18:49 by maytaga806 (Putnam, Michigan)        

Vinegar is probably a good use for desusding a dishwasher. But overtime it can warp seals from the acidity, I donít use it anymore in my machine unless Iím doing a rinse cycle with vinegar to treat hard water stains on dishes.

Post# 1137060 , Reply# 16   12/23/2021 at 20:03 by GELaundry4ever (Killeen tx USA)        
dish soap in dishwasher

I've done it before. Never again!

Post# 1137091 , Reply# 17   12/24/2021 at 01:15 by Maytag85 (Sean A806)        

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I used regular dish soap back in 2012 (silly 13 year old me couldnít find the dishwasher detergent) and Iíll never forget that since there were suds pouring as soon as I opened the door so Iíll never let that happen again lol. I will say putting a small amount of dish soap in the pre wash compartment definitely helps wash/rinse away any backed or caked on food and thatís one thing Iíve been doing since last year and have noticed everything is crystal clear as soon as everything is done in the dishwasher.

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