Is Dishwashing Liquid Safe for Dishwashers?


Dishwashing liquid has many uses in the kitchen and even outdoors as a nonchemical pest control. You can use almost any brand of dishwashing liquid in the kitchen sink or for handwashing dishes. No brands serve a dual purpose of washing dishes in the sink and washing dishes in the dishwasher. The sudsing action you need in the sink is just what you need to avoid in the dishwasher.

Dishwasher Operation

  • The dishwasher functions best using a powerful cleaner with high pH and low suds. The pH scale registers acids or bases by number, and pure water is neutral. The manufacturers develop dishwasher mechanical operation and seals to accommodate dishwashing detergents and rinses recommended or available. You may choose powder, gel or liquid and continue to receive maximum performance from the dishwasher. You cannot choose dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent, hand soap or any of the other cleaners and keep your dishwasher operating at top condition.

Visible Effect

  • Dishwashing liquid in the dishwasher provides too many suds when the dishwasher mechanical action mixes the water and swishing action. The seals on your dishwasher cannot handle the high-suds dishwashing liquid. You may see water on the floor and suds seeping from the dishwasher. You may also see suds in your sink.

Invisible Effect

  • You may not notice that the dishwashing liquid is not the correct pH strength to get your dishes clean. Dishwashing liquids protect your hands from the harshest chemicals. Manufacturers make dishwasher detergents for low or no contact with your hands. You will not find a dishwashing liquid as powerful as the dishwasher detergent because dishwashing liquids work with surfactants, not bleach or high acid content. Surfactants bridge the gap between water and oil or grease to help clean your dishes. The suds from a dishwashing liquid provide a cushioning or smothering effect in the cleaning process, protecting your dishes from the action that gets them clean.


  • If you accidentally use dishwashing liquid in a dishwasher, you can stop the action immediately and clean the mess, but the sudsing continues once you start the dishwasher again. The Dishwasher Care website suggests you use table salt directly in the dishwasher to combat the effects of the suds. Clean the area or tray you used to place the dishwashing liquid in the dishwasher. The more you clean, the fewer suds that will form when you start the dishwasher again.

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