Yes, you can use dish soap with your dishwasher. However, not just any soap will do. Dishwashers are designed for certain types of detergents. Using the wrong type — or none at all — can lead to a smelly and less-than-sanitary machine. To ensure your dishwasher operates efficiently and optimally, it’s important to use the right kind of cleaning product. Read on to learn more about using dish soap in your dishwasher.
can I use dish soap in the dishwasher?
Yes, you may use dish soap in a dishwasher. Many people use dish soaps in their dishwashers without issue. You may need to adjust the settings on your dishwasher to properly use dish soap in your machine.
What Does Dish Soap Do?
1. Dish Soap Cleaning Power
Dish soap works best for cleaning your dishes. It’s a type of detergent. Detergents are made up of surfactants, which are compounds that help lift dirt and grime from the surface of your dishes. Dish soap is an example of a surfactant or suds-producing agent.
2. Friction Reduction in Dishwasher
The next benefit that dish soap has to offer is its ability to reduce friction in the dishwasher. Friction is created whenever water hits the inside of the dishwasher’s upper rack and causes it to move back and forth. This movement can cause your dishes to be scratched and damaged if you don’t use enough soap or if you use too much soap.
3. Disinfection Action Against Bacteria
Dish soap also has some disinfecting power against bacteria, especially when used in conjunction with bleach or other antibacterial products such as hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). While bleach itself kills bacteria, it does so by breaking down organic matter (the food on your dishes) into smaller molecules, which then become less able to support bacterial growth — but not completely destroyed at this point (see our article on how bleaches work). If you have hard water, which contains high amounts of calcium and magnesium ions that can “scratch” mineral deposits off your dishes — not only can bleach not do its job properly due to these hard-water ions, but it can also damage your dishwasher’s seals, leading to leaks.
4. Removes Dyes from Dishes
Dish soap also has the ability to remove stains from your dishes, as well as other stains such as grease and oil. This is because dish soap contains a chemical that breaks down these types of stains. It’s worth noting that detergent-containing dish soap may not be enough to remove stains caused by organic matter, like the food on your dishes or on the utensils themselves. If you have food or other organic material on your dishes and utensils, it may be best to use a different type of cleaner than just dish soap — or even hand wash your dishes in hot water and scrub them well with a sponge or cloth before putting them in the dishwasher (see our article on how to clean dishes).
When To Use Dishwashing Liquid In The Dishwasher?
To Remove Grease and Food Stains
Dishwasher detergents are designed to clean, not to remove grease and food stains. You can use a little dishwashing liquid in your dishwasher for this purpose. Just make sure it’s not too much — you don’t want it to overflow into your machine.
To Clean Small Parts
Dishwashers are designed to clean large pots, pans, and other kitchenware. As such, they aren’t really built for cleaning small parts such as spoons or forks. To get these parts clean, you may have to wash them with your hands instead of using the dishwasher. However, using a little dish soap in the detergent compartment of your dishwasher will help remove any grease or grime on the small parts with ease — you won’t even need to wash them by hand afterward!
To Clean Silverware and Flatware Set
Dishwashers are not built for cleaning silverware and flatware sets other than what comes with the unit itself (e.g., silverware racks). So if you want to clean these items after every meal, you’ll need to wash them by hand instead of using the dishwasher — unless you use a product like Chef Remover that is specifically made for cleaning silverware sets. You can also use a little bit of dish soap in your dishwasher for this purpose; just make sure it doesn’t get too much.
Types Of Dish Soap For Dishwashers
1. Detergent-Based Dish Soap
Detergent-based dish soap is the most common type of dish soap used in dishwashers. It’s a powdered detergent, and it’s typically sold by the pound. The powder is suspended in water, which is then heated and pumped through your dishwasher to clean. Detergent-based dish soap is easy to find, as nearly every supermarket carries it.
2. Liquid Dish Soap
Liquid dish soap comes in a variety of formulas, but the most common kind of liquid dish soap for use in a dishwasher consists of an acid with a base (such as citric or phosphoric acid) with an alkali (like sodium or potassium hydroxide). The combination creates a cleaning chemical solution that dissolves grease and other food particles from dishes — hence the name “dishwashing detergent” — without damaging them. This type of liquid isn’t generally sold by the pound because it doesn’t require special packaging and can be stored safely at room temperature for long periods of time. It also doesn’t need to be refrigerated like some other types of liquid products do; however, you should never leave it out on the countertop because this may lead to spoilage or contamination.
3. Detergents Without Dish Soap Base
There are two types of detergents that don’t contain any type of detergent base: powders and liquids. Powders consist of an acid and a base, but they’re not mixed together. Instead, they’re blended separately and then mixed. The acid dissolves grease while the alkali neutralizes it, leaving behind a clean surface. Powders are usually sold in small boxes or canisters with a lid that needs to be shaken or stirred before use.
4. Liquid Detergents Without Soap Base
Liquid dishwashing detergents contain an alkali (like sodium or potassium hydroxide) and an acid (like citric or phosphoric acid). They’re often sold as canisters with tabs that need to be pulled out to expose the detergent within the canister. However, you can also purchase liquid dishwashing detergents in bottles without tabs, which allow you to simply twist off the cap and pour out what you need for your dishwasher at any given time.
5. Glass Cleaner
Use glass cleaner on your dishes to remove dirt and grime from glassware — especially if you’re using plain old water in your dishwasher as your only water source — as it doesn’t have any abrasive properties like soap does when used on dishes by hand. Glass cleaner is also great for cleaning window panes, mirrors and other shiny surfaces because it doesn’t leave behind streaks of dirt like soapy water
There are plenty of options for cleaning dishes, but you can’t just add any old liquid to your dishwasher. If it’s not designed for dishwashers, it could cause damage to your machine and its parts.