The Difference Between Dishwasher Detergent and Dish Soap

Disclaimer: There are affiliate links in this post. At no cost to you, I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Understanding the distinction between dish soap and dishwasher detergent is essential for your dishes and dishwasher. If you’ve ever used dish soap in the dishwasher, you’re likely already aware of a critical distinction between the two. If you’re fortunate enough not to have made this error, continue reading to learn the difference between regular dish detergent and dishwasher detergent and why the two are incompatible. 

Scrubbing Fact From Fiction 

Even a small amount of regular dish soap can produce a substantial amount of suds, which is advantageous when washing dishes by hand, and you can monitor the amount of suds filling the sink, but undesirable when using dish soap in an enclosed space such as a dishwasher. The high sudsing action can easily overflow from the dishwasher onto the kitchen floor. 

Before purchasing any dishwashing product, carefully examine its intended use. Dishwasher detergent does not produce suds while the dishwasher is operating, and you should always use the appropriate detergent for the method you’re employing to clean your dishes. 

Wasting Money and Water 

Even if you don’t have suds pouring out onto the floor, if you use regular dish soap in your dishwasher, there’s a chance you’ll have to run the dishes through the dishwasher twice to remove residue and suds, wasting water and money. 

Like how you should not use dish soap in the dishwasher, you should not use dishwasher detergent when hand-washing dishes. Even though the dishes will be cleaned, you may accidentally add too much detergent if there are no suds. It would help if you also considered that it might be difficult to thoroughly rinse your dishes, necessitating more water than is strictly necessary. 

Getting Rid of Dish Soap From the Dishwasher 

You may need to do more than rerun the machine to eliminate the suds produced by dish soap in the dishwasher. Unfortunately, you may need to clean the dishwasher before using it again. 

First, remove as much soap suds and water as possible using a container or a wet/dry vacuum. If you pour the dish soap into the dispenser, you must also thoroughly clean the dispenser. Using a towel, dry the dishwasher’s interior before adding a half cup of white vinegar and a thick layer of salt to the bottom of the dishwasher to eliminate all suds. Then, run the dishwasher until the suds have dissipated. 

Dishwasher Liquid vs. Dishwasher Detergent  

Not only should you understand the distinction between dish soap and dishwashing detergent, but you may also wish to learn the distinction between dishwasher liquid and dishwasher detergent. 

Dishwasher liquid typically mixes better with water, which can affect the liquid’s ability to spread throughout the dishwasher. Dishwashing detergent does not dissolve well in water, so it is generally best to use it with warm water. This means that the same amount of dishwasher liquid will be required to achieve the same cleaning power as dishwasher detergent. 

Another distinction between liquids and detergents is that liquids can adhere to the dishwasher’s interior. If there is residue from the dishwasher liquid inside your dishwasher, you may observe signs of corrosion. Although these corrosion deposits are simple to remove, they are not always easy to locate. 

Now that you have a better understanding of the distinction between dishwasher detergent and dish soap be cautious the next time you wash dishes in the sink or dishwasher and reach for a random bottle with a sparkling glass on it. 


Dishwasher detergent is designed to clean without suds.

While dishwasher detergent is a soap, it doesn’t work the same as other types of soap. Dishwashing detergent is designed to clean with a thick foam of suds. Instead of suds, dishwasher detergent relies on enzymes to eat away at the mess.

Open your dishwasher’s detergent compartment. Squeeze in two to three drops of regular dish soap, the kind you’d use to hand wash your dishes normally. Next, pour in baking soda until the compartment is full. Then run your dishwasher on the normal cycle.

Don’t use dishwasher detergent as dish soap.

Just put three drops of liquid dishwashing soap (Dawn, Palmolive, Fairy, that kind of thing) in the soap slot of your dishwasher. Then, fill the slot the rest of the way with baking soda and close it. Your dishes will come out just as clean as if you used a dishwasher tab.

Fill a dishwasher-safe bowl with 1 cup of white vinegar and place it on the bottom of the empty dishwasher. Set the dishwasher to run on a hot water cycle. The vinegar will break down any remaining bits of food, grease, soap scum, residue, and any other leftover grime.

Make a dish-scrubbing paste by mixing half a cup of baking soda with a few tablespoons of water. Then, put on a pair of gloves, use very hot water, and scrub dishes with the paste to clean and disinfect.

Dishwashing liquid (or washing-up liquid in British English), also known as dishwashing soap, dish detergent, and dish soap is a detergent used to assist in dishwashing.


Dish soap, unlike dishwasher detergent, is designed to produce a thick, frothy foam that assists in removing food and stains from pans, plates, cups, and bowls. It functions entirely differently than dishwashing liquid. Although both exist in liquid form, they are not comparable.
You have a full dishwasher without any dishwasher pods. Continue reading to discover the optimal solution for this common issue.

Related Posts

Why Trust Us

You will find what you are looking for at Largo Bar and Grill. From classic to luxury brands, you'll find both. We will help you to select appliances that fit your needs, budget and lifestyle. Whether you want to stop by to learn more — or plan to make a major purchase — we’ll treat you like family and assist you every step of the way. Shop with us today to receive friendly and experienced help along the way.