If you’ve ever had a sink full of dirty dishes and no dish tabs before, you might have wondered what to use instead of dishwasher tablets. While you could always use liquid dish soap to wash your plates yourself, you may not have a lot of dishwashing liquid available if you’re used to relying on your machine for clean dishes.
While hot water can do some of the work of getting rid of stains for you, you’ll need something extra to make sure your dishes come out sparkling and hygienic.
Here’s what you need to know about alternatives to dishwasher tablets.
Is It OK to Use Regular Dish Soap in a Dishwasher?
Adding dish soap to your detergent cup instead of tablets can seem like a good idea. After all, dish soap is intended specifically for cleaning your dishes.
While some people recommend using a couple of drops of liquid dish soap in your dishwasher, this isn’t always a good idea. While a few drops of washing-up liquid can do the job, it’s easy to overwhelm your dishwasher with too much liquid. This means you can end up with bubbles all over the floor.
The liquid soap you use in your sink isn’t formulated to wash your dishes at the same pace or in the same way as your dishwasher. This means you’ll create a lot more suds with this soap in your dishwasher than in your sink. Generally, it’s best to avoid washing up liquid, but dishwashing liquid specifically created for dishwashers could be an option.
Some Quick Fix
If you accidentally fill your dishwasher with too much washing-up liquid, stop the machine immediately and remove as much of the foamy water from the system as possible. You can then break down the bubbles with a soap bar if you live in a hard water area. Just lather your hands with soap and run them over the bubbles.
You can also sprinkle sea salt on the floor of the dishwasher suds as another solution for getting rid of bubbles as quickly as possible.
Can I Use Laundry Detergent to Wash Dishes?
While dishwasher detergent and laundry detergent might seem like the same thing, they’re not. The regular detergent you put in your laundry can include a lot of borax, which cuts through stains, but may not be suitable for dishes you’re eating from. The FDA has banned this substance as a food additive. While the usual exposure you’d get when you mix borax into dishwasher liquid might be quite low, it’s best to avoid it if you can.
Laundry detergent can also include a range of other ingredients which aren’t suitable for consumption. For instance, you don’t want a cup you’re going to be drinking from to be covered in brighteners, fragrances and anti-soiling agents. Even if you rinse that cup or a plate off before using it, there’s always a chance dangerous substances could linger.
Are Dishwasher Tablets Necessary?
Dishwasher tablets aren’t always necessary if you have the right substances on-hand to replace your regular detergent. However, they do have a lot more cleaning power than hot water on their own. Water has a hard time cutting through grease and getting rid of odours from the cup, plate, and dishes selections you place in the dishwasher.
How to Create the Substitutes
If you don’t have a dishwasher tablet available from a store, you can consider making your own alternatives.
Method 1: The Lemon Juice Mix
Get two or three drops of lemon juice and mix it with white vinegar and baking soda. Leave the mix to dry out overnight for a substance capable of tackling grease.
Method 2: The Baking Soda Solution
If you don’t have time to make soap or homemade detergent tablets, you can always use an alternative method. For instance, one good way to make your own dishwasher detergent is to add baking soda to your dishwasher. Fill the tablet dispenser about a quarter of the way full of baking soda instead of dishwasher detergent.
Next, add a drop of washing up liquid, and allow your dishwasher to run. Alternatively, you can go the all-natural route with vinegar. Fill a detergent cup around half full with distilled vinegar. The acid in the white vinegar should cut through the grease in your dishwasher, similar to a detergent. Placing the cup on the top rack of your dishwasher should help you to cover your dishes fully.
Some people recommend adding baking soda and vinegar to the dishwasher together if you’re out of dishwasher detergent. However, adding too much of these two substances can create a lot of fizzing. Using white vinegar too regularly as a detergent can also break down some of the rubber inside your dishwasher.
Cleaning Dishes Without Dishwasher Detergent
Hopefully, after this article, you’ll know what to use instead of dishwasher tablets. If you run out of dish soap and dishwasher tablets, the best option is to wait until you get some more to start cleaning. In a pinch, a little baking soda added to your detergent cup, two to three drops of dish soap, and even some lemon juice can help cut through grease and clean your dishes. However, baking soda, vinegar, and other natural substances aren’t intended as long-term solutions.
If you really can’t make it to the store to pick up a new bottle of dishwasher detergent or some dishwasher tablets, it’s usually better to use liquid soap and wash your dishes in your sink instead. While baking soda and other substances will help eliminate odours and grease, they’re not a complete replacement for dishwasher tablets.