Can You Use Dishwasher Tablets To Wash Clothes Without Ruining Them?

You should not use dishwasher tablets to wash clothes as they won’t clean efficiently and may even discolor or ruin your clothes.

There have been many instances in my life when I was tempted to use a dishwasher pod to do my laundry. Once I was out of detergent, and another time, I had bought too many dishwasher tablets that I thought checking their versatility might be a good idea.

But I was always taken aback by the fact that these pods seldom get along with clothes. I either ended up with clothes that were not clean or had multiple blotches of discoloration.

And that is when I started researching the ingredients of dishwasher tablets and detergents. I concluded that both are pretty different, and you cannot use them in place of the other.

can you use dishwasher tablets to wash clothes

Let’s look at what dishwasher tablets are made of and why you cannot use them to wash clothes:

Dishwasher Tablets: Chemical Composition

Although the exact chemistry varies from one manufacturer to another, most dishwasher detergents contain bleach, a water softener, an anti-corrosive agent, a surfactant, an alkali metal carbonate, and enzymes.


Bleach helps in breaking down organic residues on utensils. Chlorine-based bleaches were common in the past, but due to their harmful effects on health, they are now widely replaced by oxygen-based bleaching agents.

Water Softener

Phosphates bind calcium and magnesium ions in hard water to avoid limescale deposits in the dishwasher. However, phosphates cause considerable damage to the ecosystem and are now essentially banned.

Anti-Corrosive Agents

As the name implies, these prevent corrosion to the dishwasher parts.


Surfactants work by lowering water’s surface tension and dissolving fats and oils.

Alkali Metal Carbonate

Commonly sodium carbonate, these alkaline salts dissolve grease and oils but pose severe health threats if swallowed.


Enzymes aid the cleaning process by breaking down fats and proteins.

Miscellaneous Ingredients

The tablets may include foaming agents, gelling agents, perfumes, starches, and additives.

Can I Use Dishwasher Tablets To Wash Clothes? 

Out of the ingredients I mentioned, two are not compatible with clothes and are the reasons why you shouldn’t use dishwasher tablets to do your laundry. These are bleach and foaming agents.

Let’s see how these can damage your laundry:

They Damage Color

The bleaching agents and ammonia in dishwasher tablets can ruin your clothes’ colors. These are meant for ceramic or metallic utensils and not fabric. So you should not be surprised if your dress’s colors fade out after you’ve washed it with a dishwasher pod.

They Do Not Clean Effectively

Since dishwasher tablets are made to clean utensils and kitchenware, it is understandable that they won’t be good enough for clothes. They are not as effective at removing dirt and sweat as getting rid of organic food deposits.

They Make A Lot Of Foam

While you may think it is good that dishwasher tablets make a lot of foam, it is not precisely suitable for laundry. The excessive amounts won’t be washed out in an average rinsing cycle and will leave residues on your clothes.

They Work Well In Hot Water

Dishwasher tablets need hot water to work effectively. You may not necessarily use hot water in a washing machine. Hence the tablets won’t be as efficient at cleaning clothes as they are with dishes.

dishwasher pods

Can I Use Laundry Detergent To Do The Dishes?

Now that we have established that dishwasher tablets are not suitable for your clothes, a few of you must be itching to know if you could use laundry detergent to do the dishes. Well, the answer is yes, you can, but it won’t be as effective as it is not meant for the job.

Here are a bunch of reasons why your detergent will suck at doing dishes:

They Don’t Have The Right Enzymes

Dishwasher pods have dishwashing enzymes, and laundry pods have laundry enzymes. You cannot switch their places and expect them to do the same job. 

The enzymes for removing dirt and food traces are different, and hence a detergent won’t be as effective at getting all the grease from your favorite skillet.

They Have Inedible Ingredients

Detergents were not manufactured to go in our stomachs. Hence most of their ingredients, for instance, perfumes, stain removers, softeners, and bleaches, are inedible and harmful to our health if any residue is ingested.

They Leave A Residue

Detergents’ inedibility brings us to their potential to leave a residue on utensils. They can stick to your kitchenware and then end up in your tummy with food to cause health problems.

They Are Not Good For The Dishwasher

Detergents tend to lather that help clean clothes but are not as suitable for your dishwasher. The foam can mess with the washer’s spray and even damage it.

So Is There Nothing A Dishwasher Tablet Can Do Besides The Dishes?

If you are adamant about using your dishwasher tablets other than for the dishes, try these hacks instead of using them for the laundry:

  • They are great at removing pencil marks from walls and floors. This hack can come in handy if you have a naughty doodling toddler.
  • Put a dishwashing pod in your toilet and then scrub with the toilet brush. The bleaches will ensure that your bathroom is shining.
dishwasher pods used for clothes

FAQs Regarding Using Dishwasher Tablets To Wash Clothes

Can I use dishing pods to clean residue in my washing machine?

While dishwashing pods are not fit for clothes, you can still use them to clean your washing machine and get rid of stubborn residues.

What can I use instead of detergent to wash clothes?

If you are out of detergent, there are a few household items you could use in its place. These include baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, shampoo, body wash, borax, or diluted oxygen bleach.

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