Can You Wash Clothes in a Dishwasher? No!

Undeniably, we all love machines that can multitask. But can you wash clothes in a Dishwasher? Is it safe to wash clothes in a dishwasher?

No, you cannot wash clothes in a dishwasher. Dishwashers and washing machines are designed for different purposes.

The harsh soaps and extreme temperature can damage your clothes, and they will not get cleaned either.

Other than that, dishwashers are designed to wash dishes, not clothes. Washing clothes in a dishwasher can also break your dishwasher as the clothes tangle.

Here, in this article, you’ll find the difference between a dishwasher and a washing machine.

Why you should never put clothes in a dishwasher, and what you can do to wash clothes without a washing machine.

So, make sure you read it till the end to find out everything you need to know about washing clothes in a dishwasher!

Can You Wash Clothes in a Dishwasher

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Dishwasher vs. Washing Machine

To clearly understand why you cannot wash clothes in a dishwasher, you must learn about the difference between a dishwasher and a washing machine.


A dishwasher uses water at a very high temperature due to an in-built heater. It simply sprays water on the dishes to clear out the dry food particles that are stuck.

After that, a soapy solution comes into action that cleans the dishes, and then lastly, the dishes are rinsed again with clean water.

The soap used in dishwashers is targeted for washing dishes only. This would not be suitable for clothes and can be quite harsh.

Washing Machine

In contrast to a dishwasher, washing machines are designed for agitation. The clothes get soaked completely, and the dirt and stains are scrubbed. After that, they are rinsed and dried.

It should be noted that washing machines use mild laundry detergents. These detergents create a lot of suds and contain content like brightening and bleaching agents.

Why Should You Never Put Clothes in a Dishwasher?

Why Should You Never Put Clothes in a Dishwasher

Now that we know that a dishwasher and a washing machine do not work in the same way, there are other reasons to consider.

Some of the main reasons are discussed below.

1. Clothes Won’t Get Cleaned and Dried Properly.

A dishwasher can never clean and dry your clothes properly.

Agitation is necessary for washing clothes as a dishwasher does not have an agitator to spin and scrub and remove stains. So the clothes would remain dirty as they were before.

Similarly, washing machines use continuous spinning action to squeeze out the water and ensure that the clothes are completely dried to dry out the clothes.

Dishwashers do not have the spinning feature for this work. And thus, the clothes would come out sopping wet.

2. The Dishwasher Might Get Damaged

The dishwashers have a moving arm at the bottom for spraying water. If you put clothes in it, it is possible that the clothes would tangle and wrap around that arm, ruining it.

In addition, if some small clothes like socks and napkins fall off the rack, they can clog up the drain.

Also, if there is an exposed heating element in the dishwasher at the bottom, the clothes might catch up a fire.

This makes it hazardous. And if the dishwasher is damaged, that would cost you a fortune.

3. Clothes Would Get Damaged

Dishwashers can damage your clothes for multiple reasons. We know that they use water and detergents that are not suitable for cleaning fabric.

The high-temperature water used by dishwashers is to clear out the grease and bacteria from the dishes.

Clothes cannot tolerate such high temperatures and would shrink and burn out.

Moreover, you cannot use laundry detergent in a dishwasher. If you do so, it will create too much suds that a dishwasher cannot tolerate.

But if you use dishwasher soap, it would not work due to the different formula.

How to Wash Clothes Without a Washing Machine

If you cannot access a proper working washing machine, there are several better alternatives to try rather than using a dishwasher. Some are listed below.

1. Handwashing

The simple alternative to a washing machine is hand washing. This requires some extra effort but is the best approach which is budget-friendly.

Below is the complete procedure to do it.


  • Fill up the bucket or the tub with lukewarm water that is enough to soak in the clothes.
  • Separate the white clothes from the colored ones. Also, if there are some clothes made up of delicate materials like silk and wool, keep them aside. You’ll be required to wash three of the piles separately.
  • Add a mild laundry detergent into the water-filled bucket or tub. Soak your clothes in it for about half an hour.
  • After this, rub the clothes gently against each other to remove the dirt and stains.
  • Now replace the soapy water with clean water that can be lukewarm or cold.
  • Rinse the clothes thoroughly so that so detergent resides.
  • Lastly, pick up and twist the clothes one by one to squeeze out the water as much as you can from the clothes.
  • Now you may hang your clothes on a clothesline to air-dry.

2. Laundromat

Laundromats can be a good option if you do not have a washing machine.

The washing machines and dryers are also greater and more efficient. It means that you won’t have to go to a Laundromat often.

You can pile up all the clothes for a week and do the week’s worth of laundry in just an hour!

3. Dry Cleaning

If you do not want to go to a Laundromat or hands wash your clothes, dry-cleaning can be your option.

You would just be needed to find a dry-cleaning company to get your work done.

4. Laundry Services

We all know that not every cloth can be dry-cleaned. You may want to get laundry services if you are very busy and do not have the time to wash your clothes at home or go to a Laundromat.

Most laundry services offer to pick up and delivery as well. You can search for laundry service near you, and it would do the job.

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Final Thoughts

So, should you wash clothes in a dishwasher? Never!

We hope this article has cleared all your confusion regarding washing clothes in a dishwasher.

Washing your clothes in a dishwasher not only damages them but is also very dangerous as it can break your dishwasher or it might catch fire.

If you do not have access to a washing machine, you can try other alternatives, which we discussed in this article, instead of a dishwasher.

What is your go-to option when you have to wash clothes and do not have a washing machine? Let us know in the comments.

We would love to hear! And stay hooked for the more helpful content.

Steven Settles Author

Steven Settles is an ISCET-certified master in appliance repair. He has aced the National Appliance Service Technician Certification Exam, showcasing his exceptional diagnostic and repair skills. With an in-depth understanding of the latest repair technologies and a keen eye on evolving industry standards, Steven is a go-to expert for any appliance issue.

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