Warning: Using Dish Soap in Your Laundry Machine Is a Bad Idea (Regardless of What TikTok Says)

It’s bad for the clothes and the washing machine.
You don't want this.
You don't want this. / Martin Poole/The Image Bank/Getty Images

TikTok has given us clever life hacks for everything from shutting cereal boxes to slicing hard-boiled eggs. But don’t believe everything you see on social media: Some tips are actually just recipes for disaster. 

That’s exactly how Sara San Angelo, who runs the Confessions of a Cleaning Lady blog, described the so-called “hack” of using dish soap instead of laundry detergent. “Dish soap directly in a washing machine is a recipe for disaster,” she told Homes & Gardens. “Not only will the dish soap create uncontrollable suds that may spill out of your washer, but it can also damage the internal hoses and pumps and break your washing machine.”

Washing machines are generally made to withstand low-sudsing detergents, and dish soap is simply too high-sudsing to be a suitable alternative. Even if it doesn’t create a mess of bubbles all over your laundry room, it could be keeping your laundry from getting very clean: An overabundance of suds can create barriers between clothing items, preventing the clothes-on-clothes scrubbing action necessary to clean them as thoroughly as possible. It’s one of the reasons using too much laundry detergent is a bad idea, too. And, as San Angelo mentioned, dish soap might accumulate inside the drum and other parts of your washing machine, which could then end up requiring repairs.

Plus, as Consumer Reports’ Jodhaira Rodriguez explains, “Laundry detergents are specifically made with the ingredients necessary to get clothes clean and protect fabrics to keep them looking their best.” Dish soaps may clean well, but they don’t protect—they’re “formulated to cut grease and other food messes from hard, resistant surfaces, not clothes,” Rodriguez writes. Not to mention that using dish soap for your laundry might aggravate sensitive skin.

A couple drops of dish soap to pre-treat a grease stain is probably OK. But on the whole, washing all your laundry in dish soap is bad for the washer, the laundry, and you.

[h/t Homes & Gardens]