Can You Use Dishwasher Cleaner in the Washing Machine?

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It can be frustrating when you run out of washing machine cleaners and need a substitute in a pinch. You may be wondering if a dishwasher cleaner can be used as an alternative.

The short answer is no, you should not use dishwasher cleaner to clean your empty washing machine. Dishwasher cleaner is designed to clean dishwashers, not your washer. It can damage your machine’s drum, drainage lines, and leave behind a soapy residue. If you’re in a bind, choose another household cleaner or try a detergent booster like Borax.

Hand of a man holding dishwashing cleaner over a washing machine

Let’s discuss why dishwasher cleaner is not a good choice for your washing machine, as well as some great alternatives you may already have in your home to use instead.

Can You Use Dishwasher Cleaner in the Washing Machine?

It’s become a popular notion that dishwasher cleaners are a good cleaning hack, and can be used as an all-in-one cleaner for dishes, clothes, and surfaces.

But there is one big problem with this – dishwasher cleaners are not meant to be used in the washing machine and will leave plenty of residues and possibly even create clogs.

The main reason that these clogs and residue will form is that detergent tablets and cleaners don’t dissolve well at lower temperatures, which is what your washing machine runs at. This can cause all sorts of problems with your washer if the residue isn’t removed or flushed from the machine immediately.

Dishwasher detergents may also contain chemical agents that are prone to foaming up in a washer – not an ideal outcome considering the entire point of using a dishwasher cleaner was to avoid labor-intensive cleaning.

Can You Use Dishwasher Pods for Cleaning the Washing Machine?

As you’ve probably suspected, you also can’t use dishwasher pods in the washing machine. These are meant to be used exclusively in dishwashers and will not dissolve properly in a washer’s lower temperature cycle.

That means your washing machine’s drum will have detergent and cleaning product residue left on them, which isn’t exactly desirable. 

This may lead to issues such as product buildup, improper drainage, and clogged draining tubes. You’ll then need to clean your machine once more, making the project take more time and money than you initially bargained for. 

Wash your machine with a more gentle and easily dissolvable detergent that is meant to work at lower temperatures to avoid these problems.

It may not have the same disinfecting or degreasing effects as a traditional washing machine cleaner, but it will leave your washer clean without leaving any residues behind.

What Can I Use in Place of a Washing Machine Cleaner?

A hand holding a rag cleaning the washing machine

So, what can you do if you’re out of your usual cleaning supplies and need to wash your machine? Well, there are a few different options:

Use Vinegar

Vinegar is great at removing buildup as well as getting rid of any lingering smells. You can add one cup of vinegar to your wash cycle as an alternative cleaner.

Use Baking Soda

image of vinegar and baking soda together

Baking soda is also great at getting rid of smells in your machine and can be added in the same way as vinegar. One cup should do the trick.

Use a Detergent Booster

Although detergent boosters are usually used for clothing, you can actually use them to help clean out your washing machine. It will help to deodorize the drum as well as remove small amounts of sediment. 

Hand Wash Your Washer

It may not be the answer you wanted, but you could always wash the machine by hand. Use a mild detergent and scrub the tub, door seal, and other areas that need attention.

Some good options are Fabuloso or Odoban since they are both designed to clean and deodorize.

Use Bleach

Bleach is a great option for disinfecting your washer and removing any smells. To do this, pour a cup of bleach in the washer and run it on the hottest cycle.

It will create a strong smell in your laundry room, so make sure to run a wash cycle with hot water one more time after the treatment.

Run an Empty Hot Water Cycle

If you don’t have any detergent or other cleaning products on hand, you can try running an empty hot water cycle. This will help remove any smells and residual detergent that may be in your machine.

Make sure to leave the door open so the drum can completely dry out afterward.

Leave Your Washer Door Open

If you don’t have anything on hand and want to reduce odors, you can try leaving your washer door open after use. This will allow the machine to air out and get rid of any smells.

This is also a great preventative measure to take if you’re going to be away from home for an extended period of time and don’t want your machine to get moldy.

How Often Should I Use a Washing Machine Cleaner?

Pho to empty washing machine with washing machine pods inside

You should only use a cleaner once a month to clean your machine. This will help prevent any buildup of detergent or other residues that can cause problems as well as keep down the odor.

If you have a particularly smelly machine, you can try using a cleaner more often, but at this point, your machine may need deeper hand-washing.

Cleaning your washing machine is important to keep it running smoothly and prevent any problems from happening. Prevention is also key.

Make sure to leave the door open after use and run an empty hot water cycle every so often. This will help keep your machine clean and smelling fresh.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, dishwasher cleaner should not be used in the washing machine as it can damage your washer and leave behind a soapy residue. There are a few different alternatives that you can try that will clean your machine without damaging it.

By sticking to the right materials and when cleaning your machine, you can keep it running smoothly for years to come. Do you have any tips on how to clean a washing machine?

Let us know in the comments below!

About Emma

Hey there! I'm Emma. When I'm not wrangling kids I like to walk aimlessly around hardware stores and watch HGTV for hours on end.

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