What Happens if You Use Too Much Detergent in the Dishwasher?


Your dishwasher’s packed with dirty dishes so you figure the more detergent, the better. Or maybe you’re out of dishwasher detergent and throw in some dish soap instead. Be careful not to use too much detergent in the dishwasher or choose the wrong kind of soap. This could lead to an oversudsing dishwasher.

What to do When There’s Too
Much Detergent in the Dishwasher

The team at Action Appliance Repair knows that less is more when it comes to dishwasher detergent. We’ll help troubleshoot when the suds reveal you used too much of a good thing or if you accidentally used dish soap in the dishwasher. We also have 3 easy methods for how to improve dishwasher performance that leave your dishes sparkling.

Problem: I Used Too Much Detergent in the Dishwasher

When loaded with dirty dishes many believe there’s no such thing as too much detergent in the dishwasher. But you’ll know that too much soap in the dishwasher backfires when you see signs of the dishwasher oversudsing. These signs include the dishwasher overflowing with suds or the suds pushing water out, causing leaks. Instead of loading up on dishwasher detergent, here’s what you can do instead:

  • Check your dishwasher’s manual for recommendations regarding detergent amounts.
  • Refer to the directions on the detergent package for additional instructions.
  • Consider the dishwasher setting you’re using, as some may require more or less detergent.
  • Experiment by starting with a small amount of detergent and slowly adding more until you find the optimum amount.

Expert Tip: To avoid overfilling your detergent dispenser, try Finish Quantum tabs. Get yours on Amazon.

Photo Credit: Finish

Problem: I Accidentally Used the Wrong Detergent in the Dishwasher

Even a small amount of dish soap will result in excess suds in the dishwasher. Dishwasher detergent has essential de-sudsing agents that are necessary for the dishwasher to operate effectively. Since dish soap doesn’t have these agents, the suds will quickly accumulate in the dishwasher and can overflow into the kitchen. Here’s how to avoid oversudsing from dish soap in your dishwasher:

  • Only use dishwasher detergent in the dishwasher, never dish or hand soap.
  • Refrain from using soapy sponges to rinse dishes. Simply rinse with water or scrape off large food particles before placing in the dishwasher.
  • Wash your hands with hand soap after the dishwasher is loaded.
Photo Credit: WikiHow

Problem: My Dishwasher is Oversudsing-What Do I Do Now?

Whether it’s because of too much detergent in the dishwasher or the wrong soap, oversudsing and leaking can certainly be alarming. When this happens, it can take multiple cycles to completely rid the dishwasher of suds. We suggest these tips for an effective cleanup:

  1. Cancel the dishwasher cycle immediately so the dishwasher can drain.
  2. Place towels on the floor to absorb any spilled suds and water.
  3. Remove the dishes from the dishwasher.
  4. Add 1 gallon of cold water to the tub.
  5. Close the dishwasher door and run any cycle for 10 seconds. Press the Start/Reset button, allowing the dishwasher to drain again.
  6. If this doesn’t work, adding fat like cooking oil or non-dairy creamer or adding table salt to the dishwasher tub can help break down the suds. After adding one of these agents, run a rinse cycle, repeating as necessary until the dishwasher stops sudsing.

If your dishwasher continues to create suds during a wash cycle then a professional assessment may be necessary to determine the problem.

We hope our prevention tips and troubleshooting steps help you avoid any surprises if you use too much detergent in the dishwasher or the wrong type of soap. If a dishwasher repair seems unavoidable, give Action Appliance Repair a call for a fast and expert repair!

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