What to Do If You Accidentally Put Laundry Detergent in the Dishwasher

Mistakes are common in daily life, including when using kitchen appliances like the dishwasher.

Accidentally putting laundry detergent in the dishwasher is a common mistake that occurs when someone is rushing to complete the task and only realizes their error later. If you find yourself in this situation, what steps can you take?

If you mistakenly add laundry detergent to your dishwasher, resolve the issue by pressing the “Cancel” or “Stop” button on your appliance. This will prompt the dishwasher to drain any accumulated water. Afterward, take out the dishes, clear away any excess suds with a towel, let the dishwasher dry, and finally run a rinse cycle to eliminate any remaining soap.

If you have mistakenly put laundry detergent in your dishwasher, the appropriate course of action will vary depending on the type of dishwasher you own.

Continue reading to understand the dissimilarity between laundry and dishwasher detergent, and discover the steps you can take if you accidentally add laundry detergent to your dishwasher.

What’s the Difference Between Laundry and Dishwasher Detergent?

The chemical composition of dishwasher and laundry detergent varies significantly. Dishwasher detergent is formulated with chemicals that are intended for cleaning dishes without producing excessive foam, owing to the limited space inside a dishwasher. Conversely, laundry detergent employs chemicals and bleach agents to clean garments.

Dishwasher detergents contain unique ingredients like rust prevention chemicals, enzymes, and surfactants that are formulated to clean dish surfaces. Some of these components may not be suitable for cleaning other surfaces.

Rust and corrosion inhibitors are included in dishwasher detergents to assist in preventing buildup and residue on the appliance. These components are not suitable for cleaning clothes or skin.

Moreover, the enzymes and surfactants present in dishwasher detergents are formulated to interact with your dishes and dishwasher exclusively, aiming to eliminate grime and oil from dishes while preventing any leftover residue.

Laundry detergents contain ingredients that are formulated to eliminate dirt from clothes in a particular way, and the additional components not only aid in cleaning garments but also safeguard the colors from fading and maintain the texture of the fabrics.

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It is crucial to remember that using laundry detergent in the dishwasher may not be appropriate due to the additional ingredients present in it, which can leave a residue on non-fibrous materials.

The residue left behind by laundry detergent is not noticeable on clothes as it is formulated to keep them fresh and soft, but it can be visible on non-absorbent materials like dishes.

It is crucial to keep in mind that just as you wouldn’t use either laundry detergent or dishwasher detergent to cleanse your body, you should also avoid using them interchangeably for other purposes. This is because various surfaces necessitate specific chemical reactions that are tailored to their needs.

Check out: Is It Possible to Operate a Dishwasher Without Detergent?

Can Laundry Detergent Damage a Dishwasher?

If you mistakenly pour laundry detergent instead of dishwasher detergent into your appliance on a few occasions, it can be annoying to clean up the resulting mess. Nevertheless, if you are contemplating using a single soap for washing both your clothes and dishes, it might be wise to think again.

Laundry detergent should not be used in a dishwasher as it can cause damage to the machine’s seals and other components due to the excessive suds caused by detergents, which are not designed for use in dishwashers that have a smaller capacity than washing machines.

Laundry detergents are formulated with specific chemicals to effectively remove dirt and grime from clothes, as well as provide a softening effect and pleasant scent. The combination of these ingredients in a washing machine creates suds that aid in the cleaning process.

If you accidentally add laundry detergent to your dishwasher, it can create a lot of foam that may overflow and cause a mess on your kitchen floor. The limited space inside the dishwasher cannot hold the foam, so it gets pushed out, leading to a need for clean-up.

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Putting laundry detergent in the dishwasher can not only be a hassle to clean, but it can also cause damage to the appliance’s components due to the accumulation of excess buildup on its seals and other parts over time.

Moreover, due to the excessive amount of suds produced by laundry detergent, it can obstruct the spray arm responsible for distributing water onto the dishes throughout and after the washing cycle, resulting in a failure to rinse the dishes with water.

Using laundry detergent in your dishwasher repeatedly can cause the spray arm to become obstructed with specific residue, which can hinder its ability to spray water. When the spray arm is clogged, it will not clean the dishes thoroughly.

What Should I Do If I Put Laundry Detergent in the Dishwasher?

If you ever come across a scenario where you have mistakenly added laundry detergent to the dishwasher, it is crucial to stay calm and composed. In case you notice the error in time, there are high chances that you can avoid a significant disaster.

If you become aware of the error before the dishwasher completes its cycle, there is a possibility that you can correct it by following some straightforward steps. Refer to the guidelines below to find out how to handle the situation when you accidentally use laundry detergent in your dishwasher.

If you have a dishwasher with a button labeled “Cancel” or “Stop”:

  • Click on the “Cancel” or “Stop” button
  • Let the water flow out of the appliance
  • Initiate a new cycle on the dishwasher to enable it to refill with water once more.
  • Click on the “Cancel” or “Stop” button once more
  • Continue the procedure until there are no more bubbles in the dishwasher.

If the setting dial on your dishwasher is old:

  • Switch your dishwasher to the “Rinse & Drain” mode
  • Let the water flow out of the dishwasher
  • Rotate the dial of the dishwasher to initiate the water filling process (typically, this marks the start of the cycle).
  • After filling it with water, switch the dial to the “Rinse & Drain” option.
  • Continue the procedure until all bubbles are eliminated from the appliance
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The most effective solution for removing laundry detergent from your dishwasher depends on the type of unit you have, and it may require multiple cycles to completely eliminate any remaining residue.

How Can I Get the Smell of Laundry Detergent Out of My Dishwasher?

Although there are various solutions to eliminate the odor of laundry detergent from your dishwasher, the most effective approach is to wait for some time. This is because repeatedly running your dishwasher with different products can consume a significant amount of energy and water, leading to avoidable wastage.

Various suggestions exist for eliminating the odor of laundry detergent from a dishwasher, all of which necessitate running the appliance repeatedly.

It should be noted that employing these techniques may decrease the scent, but it is improbable that they will entirely eliminate it.

An effective solution is to place a bowl containing one cup of vinegar on the top rack of the dishwasher and run a regular washing cycle, with or without dishes, to eliminate any leftover detergent and unpleasant smell.

To eliminate the scent of laundry detergent, you can repeatedly run hot water through the dishwasher until the odor dissipates.

Waiting for the smell to dissipate naturally is the most effective method to eliminate it. Eventually, the dishwasher detergent and hot water will eradicate any remaining buildup, residue, and scent caused by accidentally using laundry detergent in your dishwasher.

If you accidentally put laundry detergent in your dishwasher, don’t assume that it’s hopeless.

Although it can be frustrating to clean up the aftermath, rectifying the issue is possible by following a few straightforward measures to restore normal functionality.

You can also check this video about “What to Do If You Accidentally Put Laundry Detergent in the Dishwasher”

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