Can You Wash Clothes In A Dishwasher

Can You Wash Clothes In A Dishwasher?

Dishwashers can be quite expensive and many customers prefer to buy machines that can be used for multiple purposes. A frequently asked question about dishwashers is if you can wash clothes in a dishwasher.

Can You Wash Clothes In A Dishwasher?

You should not wash your clothes in a dishwasher because of the following reasons:

  • Harsh temperature and cleaning agents damage the clothes.
  • Difference in the washing cycle of a dishwasher and a washing machine.
  • Dirty clothes contain elements that are not suitable to be cleaned in a dishwasher.
  • Washing clothes can damage the insides of a dishwasher.

Multipurpose machines are great because they save you a lot of money. But for cleaning everyday essentials like dishes and clothes, buying separate machines is necessary.

Dishwashers normally operate at a very high temperature and if you try to wash your clothes in it, the extremely hot water and steam will damage the fabric.

The soaps and detergents that are dishwasher certified are targeted specifically towards cleaning dishes and they can be too harsh for your clothes. Normally clothes are washed with mild detergents. Harsh dishwashing detergents can cause some serious damage to your clothes.

Let’s look at some of the reasons why you should never try to wash your dirty clothes in a dishwasher.

Reasons To Avoid Washing Clothes In A Dishwasher

Can You Wash Clothes In A Dishwasher

Washing clothes in a dishwasher can cause serious damage to them. Along with causing damage to clothes, washing dirty clothes in a dishwasher can be unhygienic and dangerous.


Your dirty laundry may contain mud-stained, blood-stained, and chemical-containing clothes. If washed in a dishwasher, these dirty clothes can be very unhygienic for the dishes.

After cleaning mud, blood, or toxic chemicals in a dishwasher, no one would like to eat from the dishes washed in it.

Clothes Can Get Tangled

A dishwasher is not designed for washing clothes and the movements inside a dishwasher can tangle the clothes. The more they tangle, the greater the chance that they’ll get torn.

Once the clothes are torn apart, they are not useful to you anymore and you’ll have to replace all of them.

Clothes Will Remain Dirty

If by some miracle, your clothes don’t get tangled up and torn apart, there is a high chance that they’ll come out of the dishwasher as dirty as they went in. A washing machine has specific movements that make sure your clothes get cleaned thoroughly.

A dishwasher cannot mimic the movements of a washing machine and if you try to wash your clothes in it, they’ll come out dirty even after a full cycle.

Harsh Environment For Clothes

A dishwasher produces steam to make sure that all the germs on the dishes get killed. This steam causes a high temperature inside the dishwasher. Clothes cannot withstand extremely high temperatures and they can end up with damaged fabric and faded colors.

Clothes Won’t Dry Properly

A washing machine ensures that all water is dried from the clothes, by continuously spinning them. The water flies out of the clothes and goes down the drain due to the constant spinning.

A dishwasher doesn’t have a spinning function so the clothes will not dry properly and will come out of the dishwasher sopping wet.

Dishwashing Soaps And Detergents

Soaps and detergents designed for cleaning dishes are on the harsher side of the cleaning agents. They make sure that all the grease and burnt food is removed from the dishes.

When these harsh detergents come in contact with clothes, they can damage the color and fabric of these clothes. Dishwashing detergents have higher PH levels than cloth washing detergents. They can also contain bleach.

If you try to use a laundry detergent in a dishwasher, the enzymes present inside it can damage your dishwasher.

Damaging The Dishwasher

Dishwashers normally have a spray arm at the bottom. This spray arm rotates and sprays water on the dishes. If you try to wash clothes in a dishwasher, your clothes can get tangled with the spin arm and will break it.

If the dishwasher has an exposed heating element, your clothes can catch fire and it can be hazardous.

If your clothes fall off the rack, they can clog the drain and damage the dishwasher.

If you cannot afford to buy a washing machine for your household, there are a couple of other ways to wash your clothes.

Methods For Washing Clothes Effectively

Can You Wash Clothes In A Dishwasher

Not everybody can afford a washing machine and many people also avoid using it to lead an eco-friendlier life.

If you are one of those people, here are a couple of ways you can wash your clothes without a washing machine.

By Hands

Washing machines were first introduced in the 1850s. Before that time, people washed their clothes by hand. This method is still very popular for washing clothes.

Simply fill up your sink with lukewarm water; almost 3/4th of the total area of the sink. Separate your colored clothes from the white ones. Choose a mild detergent and add it to the lukewarm water.

Soak your clothes in the sink for 30-35 minutes. After the soaking time is over, start rubbing your clothes gently. Avoid aggressive motions.

After all the stains are removed, drain the hot water and rinse your clothes with cold water. Squeeze out as much water as possible and hang your clothes.

Remove them from the clothesline after all the water has dried.

Use A Portable Washing Machine

Portable washing machines are very small and lightweight. They normally have a bucket-like shape to store the clothes and water. You have to fill and drain the water manually but otherwise, it doesn’t require much effort on your end.

Portable washing machines also cost considerably less than regular washing machines. So, you’ll be able to afford one without putting a dent in your wallet.


Dryers and washers present inside a laundromat are quite efficient. They are also very big in size and can fit large items like rugs and mats easily. If you choose a less busy hour when most of the machines are not in use, you’ll be able to do a week’s worth of laundry in under an hour.

Many laundromats also have additional space for folding and ironing clothes, so you won’t have to worry about your clothes getting creased up on your way home.

Final Verdict

You should never try to wash your clothes in a dishwasher as it can not only damage your clothes and dishwasher, but it can also be quite hazardous.

If you don’t own a washing machine, there are many other ways in which you can efficiently wash your clothes. These methods include using a laundromat, a portable washing machine, or washing your clothes by hand.

Do you use a washing machine? If not, what is your go-to method for washing clothes?