Can you use a washing machine cleaner in a dishwasher? Simply explained

We’ve all been in situations when our dishwasher is dirty and smelly and we’re out of dishwasher cleaner at the moment. That’s the time we became creative. Washing machine cleaner is the first thing you have on my mind. But, can you use a washing machine cleaner in a dishwasher?

No, you should not use the washing machine cleaner in your dishwasher. The chemicals in washing machine cleaners are not meant to be used in dishwashers. Washing machine cleaners can be harmful to the dishwasher and cause damage to the machine.

While it may seem like a good idea to use a washing machine cleaner in your dishwasher, we strongly recommend against it. Read the rest of the article to understand why you shouldn’t use a washer cleaner in a dishwasher.

Can you use a washing machine cleaner in a dishwasher?

Can you use a washing machine cleaner in a dishwasher

It’s generally not recommended to use a washing machine cleaner in a dishwasher.

Washing machine cleaners are meant to break down dirt and grime that accumulates on the inside of your washing machine, and they’re often strong chemicals that could cause damage to the interior of your dishwasher.

Washing machine cleanser is designed to remove limescale and other buildups from the interior of a washing machine.

It’s a degreaser that works by removing dirt and grime from surfaces, dissolving them using solvents like sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide.

This makes it very effective at cleaning the inside of a washing machine, but it will also leave residue on your dishes.

And even worse, it could damage your dishwasher if you use it too often or without being careful about how much you use.

Is the dishwasher cleaner and washing machine cleaner the same?

The short answer to the question – Is dishwasher cleaner and washing machine cleaner the same, is NO! It’s pretty easy to understand why.

Washing machines are designed to clean clothes, whereas dishwashers are designed to clean dishes and cookware.

So if you want your washing machine to run efficiently and effectively, you need to use the right products in it and that doesn’t include washing machine cleaner.

Dishwasher detergent does not contain bleach or enzymes, both of which are used in washing machine cleaners. 

Dishwasher detergent is designed to dissolve food particles and remove them from your dishes while washing machine cleaners are designed to clean the actual washer itself.

This means that dishwasher detergent will not be effective at cleaning your dishwasher, it simply doesn’t have the right ingredients.

Also, since dishwasher tablets are designed to work at higher temperatures than what you find in your washer, they can leave residue behind.

This makes it likely that – if you use them regularly, your washing machine will be more gunked up than if no tablet had been used at all.

What can I use to clean my dishwasher?

The best way to clean your dishwasher is to use a cleaner that specifically targets the residue left behind by hard water.

Many household cleaning products contain bleach, which can leave behind a white residue. If you use these products in your dishwasher, the residue can cause streaks and spots in your dishes.

However, if you’re more into natural, homemade products you can find some of the things that worked perfectly for me.

Alternatives To Using Dishwasher Pods

If you’re looking for a way to cut down on your use of dishwasher pods or you want to clean your dishwasher without using a specialized cleaner, there are plenty of alternatives that can help you do so. Here are some ideas:

  • Baking Soda:

Put a cup of baking soda in the detergent compartment, then run through your regular wash cycle.

  • Sodium Carbonate:

Add sodium carbonate (washing soda) to the detergent cup and run the cycle as usual.

  • White Vinegar:

Put the bowl filled with vinegar on the top rack, then run your dishwasher as usual. The water jets will distribute it evenly throughout all of your glassware.

  • Lemon Juice:

Put a cup of lemon juice in your dishwasher’s top rack or basket and run it as usual. The citric acid will remove hard water spots and iron buildup.

How Often Should You Clean the Dishwasher?

The truth is that how often you clean your dishwasher depends on what kind of dishwasher you have.

Some models can be cleaned more frequently than others, and some need deep cleaning less often than others.

It all depends on how much use your machine gets and what kind of food goes through it.

If you want to know whether or not it’s time to deep-clean your dishwasher, here’s a helpful guide:

In most cases, if your dishes come out clean after washing them in the dishwasher, but not sparkling clean. Then that means it’s time for a deep cleaning!

If they come out really dirty or just not very clean at all, then you might need to do something more drastic than just giving your machine an occasional scrub.

I must admit that I clean my dishwasher whenever I feel an unpleasant smell from it, that’s my main guidance. 


Check this section to find answers to the questions that our readers asked the most.

Can you use Affresh washing machine cleaner in a dishwasher?

Company Whirlpool made two types of Affresh cleaners. One for the dishwasher and one for the washing machine. You should stick to the main purpose of those two products and avoid using Affresh washing machine cleaners in a dishwasher. 

Can you use Tide, Dettol, or Oxiclean washing machine cleaner in the dishwasher?

All those washing machine cleaners have a specific chemical nature which is designed to clean only washers. Skip using those products to clean your dishwasher.

Final thoughts

Although a washing machine and a dishwasher both clean using water, the chemicals used in them are different to accommodate the different cleaning applications.

Dishwashers have filters to catch any particles from being sprayed around and could get damaged if you use something that will damage it.

If you need more info about dishwasher cleaning, feel free to write to me, I’m here to help. 

Happy cleaning!

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