Can You Use Dawn Dish Soap In A Dishwasher? (Explained)

By - Ron Singh

Updated -

Dishwasher detergents are only for cleaning in dishwashers due to their cleaning ability and low foaming.

However, you may run out of dish soap at some point and must resort to dish soap around you.

It is also a detergent intended for washing dishes, but there is a slight difference from a regular dish detergent that many people do not know.

Dawn dish detergent is a practical dish cleaner that can work on stubborn stains. However, it is only for washing in the sink and other cleaning purposes except for the dishwasher.

In addition, the usage directions of dish soap may make you question whether you can use your Dawn dish soap in the dishwasher without causing any damage.

Yes, you can use Dawn dish soap in the dishwasher, but you have to use baking soda to reduce its effect on dishwashers. It is not best to use dish soap in the dishwasher, but the do-it-yourself formula of baking soda and dish soap can make this possible.

Can You Put the Dawn Dish Soap in a Dishwasher?

Can You Use Dawn Dish Soap in a Dishwasher

You can put Dawn dish soap in the dishwasher, but it needs to be in small amounts and with a baking soda mixture.

Dawn dish soap is very foamy because it requires sufficient cleaning power in the sink, unlike dish detergent, which has less foam and uses the dishwasher temperature to clean the dishes.

Also, your regular dish soap is not suitable for the dishwasher. The results can be messy and stressful to control.

Dawn liquid dish soap is supposed to produce a lot of thick, foamy suds. If you replace regular dish detergent with liquid dish detergent, the foam can overflow from the dishwasher onto the floor.

You may use only dishwashing detergents designed for dishwashers in the appliance. They are not foamy like dish soap.

Likewise, it is not suitable to use dishwasher detergent for washing the sink. You may add too much detergent to the water to get enough suds to wash the dishes.

Eventually, you would use a lot of water to rinse the soap off the dishes and may not rinse it thoroughly.

However, if you need to use dish soap instead of detergent, you can mix it with baking soda to minimize suds.

Baking soda is a natural cleanser that also can reduce soap scum. It also helps to increase the cleaning capacity of the dish soap.

Here’s how to make a blend of Dawn dish soap and baking soda.

  • Pour the baking soda to measure approximately 3/4 of the dishwasher’s soap compartment.
  • Add a few drops of Dawn dish soap to the baking soda.
  • Turn on the dishwasher and run the wash cycle.

If you have hard water that doesn’t allow the soaps to foam, add 1/4 cup salt to the dish soap and baking soda mixture.

Will Dawn Dish Soap Ruin a Dishwasher?

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Yes, dawn dish soap would ruin your dishwasher. Dishwasher detergent doesn’t get frothy and foamy like liquid dish soap such as Dawn.

So if you use dish soap in the dishwasher, it could overflow and damage the drains and pumps.

In addition, it can damage the plumbing by clogging it because the drains and plumbing are not for handling so much foam.

In addition to damaging the pumps and drains, foam can leak out of the dishwasher and mess up the floor.

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The water from the soap scum can damage kitchen cabinets. Water can also cause rust and corrosion to the steel body of the dishwasher.

Stainless steel combines iron, aluminum, and steel, making it easy to rust and rot.

Another thing many people don’t know about using Dawn dish soap in the dishwasher is that it becomes less efficient.

It happens because the water temperature in the dishwasher breaks down soap bubbles due to excessive heat.

As a result, the soap becomes less efficient and does not give the desired result.

In addition, soap impurities that accumulate due to the constant use of dish soap can damage the dishwasher.

You should also know that water leaking from the dishwasher can damage other appliances or seep into electrical outlets, thus causing an electric shock.

It would be best to be careful when walking on the flooded floor. You can contact an experienced cleaning company to help you clean up the mess if you are unsure of the level of damage.

What Happens When You Use Dawn Dish Soap in the Dishwasher?

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When you use Dawn dish soap in the dishwasher, the foam escapes from the appliance and floods the floor.

Regular dish soaps like Dawn are famous for their ability to create bubbly foam for easy cleaning. 

On the other hand, dishwasher detergent is made for more robust and complicated cleaning while creating little foam.

Most dishwashers can resist the foamy effect of dish soap, but it would create a mess that would take a long time to clean.

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Also, when using a large or equal amount of dawn dish soap compared to regular dish detergent.

A dense foam of soap scum and bubbles would result from the dish soap effect inside the dishwasher.

The foam eventually comes out of the dishwasher door and drain pipes. It could clog the drain and damage the wall, cabinets, and other appliances around the messy area.

You should rinse the dishwasher several times to completely clean the soap scum.

If you don’t clean it thoroughly, soap scum may build up in the appliance, and you will continue to have flooded floors whenever you run a wash cycle.

Instead, fill a small bowl or bucket with clean water and rinse the foam repeatedly until you see no more of it. Use a faucet sprayer if you have a water tap near the dishwasher.

Additionally, you can sprinkle white vinegar on the foam to reduce bubbles; after thoroughly rinsing the foams, clean and dry the water with thick towels.

Remove the dishwasher drawers for better access to each corner. Pour a cup of white vinegar into the dishwasher soap container and run a wash and rinse cycle for about five minutes.

The dishwasher should be free of soap scum now, and it should also work correctly. Next, clean the floor and check every nook and cranny for water.

You can also sprinkle white vinegar on the floor to reduce scum so it can be easier to clean. Fortunately, this would help clean the floor at the same time.

Things to Consider to Use Dawn Dish Soap in the Dishwasher

Consider a few factors when using dawn dish soap in your dishwasher.

Here are some of the factors.

QuantityUsing the same amount of dish detergent as a dishwasher can worsen the chances of soap suds. A drop or two of liquid dish detergent is enough.
Foam minimizing agentMixing the dawn dish detergent with baking soda is essential to minimize foaming in the dishwasher. It also increases the dish soap’s cleaning effect, which diminishes heat.3/4 of the dishwasher soap container.
Type of waterIf you use hard water for the dishwasher, the dish soap may not foam properly, and you may want to add more. However, do not add any more dish soap.Add a quarter cup of salt to reduce the water effect.


Dawn dish soap is famous for its adequate cleaning power. However, it is not best to use it in the dishwasher.

Instead, to preserve your dishwasher and avoid working hard to check for damage, you should try following some tips.

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