Can You Use Laundry Detergent To Wash Dishes?(Know That Right Here)

Run out of stock on the dishwasher detergent now, and I bet you’ll start considering the laundry detergent as a substitute. But is this safe?

Can You Use Laundry Detergent To Wash Dishes

You may argue that both are detergents with the ability to clean stuff, but can we use the laundry detergent for dishes?

Okay, technically, we can.

However, what matters isn’t whether or not we can, but if it can work PERFECTLY — without health or other destructive risks. That said, let’s take a look at a few things below.

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The Differences Between Clothing and Dishes’ Cleaning Requirements

The same way there’s a difference in the requirements for cleaning the floor and the tabletop, washing clothes and dishes have differences. Here are the main ones.

I). Clothes allow stains to find their way into their fibers while dishes do not. Thus, clothes need detergents with enzymes that facilitate the cleaning of deep-seated stains, while dishes only need detergents that help with washing off dirt on their surfaces.

II). The laundry detergent will be better if it has specific perfumes that make clothes smell good for long. On the other hand, dishes may not need such scents, as they may not be pleasant if taken in the form of food.

III). Dishwasher detergent may not need a bleaching component as much as a laundry detergent needs it. The laundry detergent may need a bleaching component to enhance clothes’ white color.

IV). The dishwasher detergent generally needs less reactive chemicals than the laundry detergent. For example, it requires less antibacterial properties.

Harmful Laundry Detergent Components To Your Health:

While there are essential components in the laundry detergent that may help us wash off dirt and oils in dishes, harmful ones are also on board. The harmful ones are, of course, useful when we apply the detergent on clothes, but not dishes. This further explains the fact that relevance comes along with safety.


Colors in detergents are made from a mixture of chemicals. The names and quantity of these chemicals aren’t often disclosed to users by the manufacturer. There’s a very high chance that these “unknown” chemicals have hidden toxic components that can cause an array of diseases and complications when used on dishes for a long time.

1,4 Dioxane

This is one of the most harmful chemicals when taken for an extended period. It has been established by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention that the chemical is toxic to your liver, CNS, respiratory system, and brain, among other body organs. 1,4 Dioxane can also cause cancer, according to the state of California. Using laundry detergents on dishes — and not clothes — exposes you to the above dangers more.

To avoid them, even on laundry detergents, keep an eye on any ingredients that feature the name “Eth” in them. Examples include polyoxyethylene and polyethylene.


Stabilizers are added to laundry detergent so that it prevents the detergent from degrading faster. Most of them aren’t going to be listed as ingredients by the manufacturer.

However, it’s essential to know that they’re harmful to the body, especially when taken in. This is why you should avoid them at all costs, especially when they’re in detergents used for washing dishes.


Fragrance is created by manufacturers to give you the impression that clean clothes have a specific “good” smell. A number of chemicals have to be combined to produce the desired fragrance.

Dangerous for the users, these chemicals don’t have to be listed among the underlying detergent’s ingredients. The users, therefore, end up using them without knowing.

What Happens When You Use Laundry Detergent For Dishes?

You be on the wrong side by using the right tool for the wrong purpose; thus, expect such consequences as the following:

I). The laundry detergent contains UV brighteners and fragrances loaded with synthetic masks. UV brighteners and the “sweet” smells (fragrances) aren’t needed by dishes. The fragrances are also hard to wash off; thus, its unnecessary smell will remain on your dishes for long. But who wants this?

II). If you’re using the laundry detergent to clean your dishes in a dishwasher, there are high chances of toxicity due to the heating involved. The fragrances and brighteners, when heated, releases gasses that are harmful when inhaled.

III). If you try evading the effect above by washing the dishes by hand; instead, there’s yet another effect; the laundry detergent may not rinse off your dishes thoroughly. Consequently, the residue is left, and this can change the look of your dishes. This residue is also harmful when taken in with food.

IV). Some detergent contains urea, which does not have anything good to do with your health. Urea has been known to cause such conditions as joint pains, weaken people’s immunity, lead to contact dermatitis, and do more harm to the body.

V). You also get exposed to all the other harmful chemicals listed herein.

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There’s Even More…

The above are just a few of the most common effects of using the laundry detergent for your dishes. There are more. What to grasp here is that most of the chemicals that make up the laundry detergent are likely to remain as invisible stains on your dishes during cleaning. They then end up mixing with your food, you eat them, and meet their harmful effects.

What To Do

Being safe than sorry is more often said than done. But with the effects highlighted above, and more, there are myriads of reasons to prioritize safety. Don’t fall victim to the effects by avoiding the laundry detergent as much as possible. If you run out of the dishwasher detergent, there’s no harm in looking for another one.

The Bottom Line

Although all detergents work in the same way (breaking down dirt and oils to be washed away by the polar water molecules), they work under different cleaning needs.

Laundry detergent may contain chemicals and perfumes that aren’t safe eating and or inhaling. On the other hand, dishwasher detergent may be less effective for the cleaning needs of clothes.

Thus, the right detergent should meet all the cleaning requirements of the underlying product to be cleaned. So, laundry detergent isn’t safe for dishes, and vice versa.

2 thoughts on “Can You Use Laundry Detergent To Wash Dishes?(Know That Right Here)”

  1. There is a small chance of anything making you sick or giving you cancer. Washing dishes in laundry detergent if only used on occasion will not make you sick. What are the chances the chemicals in laundry detergent would leech off when you sweat or when a child rubs their face on their tee shirts? What about towels? Will the moisture from drying your body leech off onto or into your body??? Are there not chemicals in fish washing liquid??? Stupid people cannot think out of the box!!!

    • Laundry detergents are lot more caustic than dish detergents. Their ingredients are more difficult to wash off from the dishes. All these laundry detergents has brighteners and artificial fragrances which are not suitable for dish wash liquid. Dish wash liquid has completely different requirements. It should be hard on stains while gentle on skin. Laundry detergents are not gentle on skin. An individual comes in contact with dish wash liquid multiple times a day. But if he uses laundry detergent that number of times, it is really bad for skin. Such detergents makes hands sour. Try to wear rubber gloves if you really need to use laundry detergent once in a while.You can use completely Seventh Generation Dish Liquid which is perfectly suitable for dishes, your hands as well as for environment.


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