Can You Hand Wash Clothes With Dish Soap?[Does It Stain]

  • By: Tiffany Peris
  • Time to read: 9 min.

If you are used to washing your clothes with a communal laundry machine and don’t want to wait for your turn, you might start considering alternative ways to wash your clothes. Among other ideas, you might think about handwashing your clothes. Eventually, you will ask whether it’s possible to use dish soap to hand wash the clothes.

You can hand wash clothes with dish soap. Dish soap comprises a highly-foaming mixture of surfactants that can break up the dirt in your clothes and suspend it in the water to ensure it is not deposited back onto the clothes surface. In addition, most dish soaps have moistening agents that soften the skin and protect it.

This article discusses dish soap and whether it can be used to handwash clothes. I strongly advise that you read the entire article. You will have a good understanding of using dish soap to wash clothes.

Can You Hand Wash Clothes With Dish Soap?

You probably want to hand wash some clothes quickly, and since you don’t have a mild detergent on hand, you are tempted to use dish soap. However, you are not sure whether dish soap will work fine on your clothes or whether it will be irritating to your skin. Maybe you have even had someone comment that dish soap can leave stains on your clothes or even bleach your clothes.

Dish soap can be used to hand wash clothes. According to the Washington Post and the University Of Wisconsin, dish soap is a mild detergent that breaks up oils and dirt and cleans them away. Thus, since the mild detergent is deemed safe to handwash clothes, dish soap can hand wash clothes.

From a different perspective, it can be noted that the fact that dish soap is used to hand wash dishes implies that it should be fine to hand wash clothes. However, if you are unsure whether your skin will be irritated, you can add some liquid vegetable glycerin to your dish soap. That will ensure that the dish soap is adequately moisturized and will not cause any skin irritation when you hand wash clothes with dish soap.  

If you are unsure whether your dish soap can hand wash clothes, you can test the soap on a small section of your clothes. Once you have confirmed that the dish soap can be used to hand wash the clothes and will not irritate your skin, you can then hand wash the clothes.

Does Dish Soap Stain Clothes?

One of the main contents of dish soap is surfactants. The surfactants ensure that grease, dirt, and any other particles on the dishes are washed away in the water. For that reason, whenever you use dish soap to clean dishes, all the grease and dirt are quickly washed off.

Dish soap does not stain clothes. The surfactants in the soap make sure that all the dirt present in your clothes is separated from the clothes and washed away in the water. However, if you use low-quality dish soap, the color, fragrances, and thickeners in dish soap and the extra suds produced might stain your clothes.

If you use a famous dish soap brand to wash your clothes, such as Dawn, the dish soap should not stain your clothes. However, many people use dish soap to remove stains on their clothes.

It is also important to note that if your clothes have some dish soap splatter and the dish soap dries up on your clothes, the dish soap color could stain your clothes, especially if the splatter is on light-colored garments. However, the stan should be easily removed by washing the clothes as you usually do.

How To Hand Wash Clothes With Dish Soap In Sink

Handwashing clothes with dish soap in a sink

If you do not have mild detergent to hand wash your clothes, you can use dish soap. There is no significant difference between a mild detergent and a dish soap since dish soap is classified as a mild detergent.

However, to ensure you have good results when handwashing clothes with dish soap, it is essential that you follow a straightforward procedure. Here is a step-by-step process to hand wash clothes with dish soap in a basin, bathtub, or sink.

1. Fill the sink halfway with lukewarm water

Even if cold water can wash the clothes, you should fill your sink with lukewarm water. Warm water is crucial in the cleaning process since it is gentle on the fabric while transferring it also transfers heat to the clothes, making it effective in lifting dirt. Moreover, warm water breaks down grease and other dirt in the clothes, making it easy to clean the clothes.

2. Add dish soap and agitate  

Add dish soap to the warm water and use your hands to agitate well. You must make sure that you have entirely mixed dish soap and warm water so that dish soap will be well distributed in the water when you start washing the clothes.

Moreover, when you agitate the water and dish soap well, the agitation will ensure that the soap micelles trap grease, oil, dirt, and other particles that must be removed during the wash. The particles will be detached from the fabric surface and fall into the water, ensuring that the clothes are effectively cleaned.

3. Put your clothes in the sink

Place your clothes in the sink. However, you should not put a lot of clothes in the sink since you will have sufficient room to agitate and hand wash the clothes in the sink.

4. Submerge the clothes in the sink and let them soak for 15 minutes

Soaking the clothes for fifteen minutes, soaking will help loosen the dirt while also dissolving any fatty stains that could be on your clothes. In addition, soaking will also help soften your clothes, ensuring that you don’t have to use force when handwashing the clothes.

If your clothes are very dirty, you can soak the clothes for about 30 minutes. On the other hand, if your clothes are not very dirty, you don’t have to soak them.

5. Swirl the clothes in the sink

Place your hands in the sink and use them to imitate a washing machine’s agitation. Then, precisely, you will move the clothes by swirling and pumping the clothes in the dish soap and warm water solution so that the solution goes through the fibers.

Make sure that you don’t wring the clothes since if you are working with highly stretchable fabric, you could end up stretching your clothes, and we don’t want that.

6. Drain the water and rinse

Drain the water and dish soap solution you have used to hand wash the clothes. Next, wipe the sink with a cloth to ensure that the sink is free of any suds. Instead of wiping the suds, you can also wash away the suds.

Refill the sink with warm water to start rinsing. Use your hands to agitate the clothes to release the dish soap on the clothes. Continue draining the water until the clothes are thoroughly rinsed (water becomes clear).

7. Dry the clothes

Drain the sink once you have rinsed the clothes, and the water is clear. To dry the clothes, move them to one side and press down on every piece of cloth to squeeze out any water that could be held on the fibers. If you are working with delicate fibers, do not wring out the clothes as they could be damaged.

Air-dry the clothes by hanging them on a dry rack or a clothesline.

Can You Use Dawn To Hand-Wash Clothes?

Dawn is popular dish soap in the USA and other countries worldwide. Dish soap is a mild detergent used to wash dishes in many households worldwide for many years. Occasionally, Dawn has also been used to hand wash clothes.

You can use Dawn to hand wash clothes. Dawn is a mild detergent and is, to a great extent, similar to mild detergents commonly used to hand wash clothes.

I have used Dawn to handwash my handkerchiefs and shirts many times and have never had issues. I also know a family that adds a half teaspoon of Dawn to the washing machine whenever they wash their clothes in the washer.

Their reason for adding Dawn to the washing detergent when washing clothes is that Dawn makes the washing detergent stronger, thus making it possible to effectively remove dirt and stains in the clothes.

Will Dish Soap Bleach Clothes?

Bleaches are used to whiten, brighten and remove stains from clothes. To do its work, bleach releases oxygen molecules in a procedure known as oxidation. The released molecules break up the chemical bonds of the fabric’s color, making the fabric whiter.

Dish soap cannot bleach clothes. Bleaches comprise sodium hypochlorite solution mixed with small sodium hydroxide, hydrogen peroxide, and calcium hypochlorite. Dish soap has none of the chemicals used to make bleach implying that it is not possible for dish soap to bleach clothes. Moreover, even if dish soap has a similar warning to the bleach on the packaging, the ingredients used to make the two are different.

It is also important to highlight that you should never mix dish soap with bleaches since when dish soap is blended with bleach, toxic fumes that can affect the eyes and lungs are released.

Will Dawn Dish Soap Bleach Clothes?

To determine whether Dawn dish soap will bleach clothes, we can look at the contents of an ordinary bleach and compare it with the content of Dawn dish soap. If the contents are the same, we can conclude that Dawn dish soap can bleach clothes. However, if the contents are not the same, we can conclude that Dawn dish soap cannot bleach clothes.

Regular bleach is a diluted chemical and is sold to be used in households. The bleach comprises 3 to 9% sodium hypochlorite mixed with sodium hydroxide, hydrogen peroxide, and calcium hypochlorite.

According to Dawn, Dawn dish soap is made of 21 chemicals. These chemicals are stabilizers, soil remover boosters, colors, preservatives, scents, thickeners, and cleaners. Notably, there is no sodium hypochlorite in Dawn dish soap.

Dawn dish soap will not bleach clothes. The dish soap does not have any chemical bleach composition and therefore cannot have a bleaching effect on clothes.

How Do You Get Dish Soap Stains Out Of Clothes?

When washing dishes, the dish soap might splatter on your clothes. If you don’t wash or at least wipe the splatter immediately, your clothes might have Dish soap stains similar to the dish soap color. For example, if the dish soap is blue, the dish soap stain will be blue.

A dish soap stain is simple to remove and won’t need any special treatment. First, wash the stained clothes in a washing machine. Make sure that you use the correct wash cycle to make the clothes well agitated and rinsed. If the dish soap stain is stubborn, you can first rub alcohol, vinegar, or baking soda on the stain before washing the stained clothes.

How Much Dish Soap Can I Use In The Washing Machine?

While dish soap can be used to hand wash clothes, it is not advisable to use dish soap in a washing machine. That is the case because even if dish soap is a good stain remover, it produces a lot of foam, and your machine will not rinse the suds from your clothes.

However, if you have no option, you can still use dish soap in the washing machine and rinse your clothes twice to ensure that the suds are entirely washed away.

Whether you are using dawn dish soap or another brand of dish soap, the amount of dish soap you can use in the washing machine will be determined by the load. For small loads, 1 teaspoon of dish soap is enough. For medium loads, you should use 2 teaspoons of dish soap. For large loads, 3 teaspoons of dish soap will be ok.

Final Thoughts

Apart from washing utensils, dish soap can wash clothes in the washing machine and hands. Thus, if you have no washing detergent and want to wash your clothes, you can use dish soap. However, ensure you use the correct amount according to your load since you don’t want to have suds on the clothes once the wash cycle is over.