It might make sense that liquid dish soap could be substituted for dishwasher detergent, however, that’s not the case. While dishwasher detergent is a soap, it doesn’t work the same. Dishwashing detergent is designed to clean with a thick foam of suds, while dishwasher detergent relies on enzymes to remove grime.

Dishwasher detergent or a pod dissolves in your dishwasher’s water, and the enzymes in the detergent attach themselves to stains, messes, and residues to break down grime into smaller particles until they can be flushed away with the water. Dish soap is designed to create a thick, sudsy foam that breaks down food and stains on pots, plates, cups, and bowls. It works entirely differently than dishwasher detergent, and although both come in liquid forms, they’re not alike.

Learn why these detergents are not perfectly interchangeable, what happens if you use dish soap in a dishwasher, and homemade detergent options.

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