Can You Put Dawn in Washing Machine

Can You Put Dawn in Washing Machine? Debunking Common Myths

Your trusty washing machine stands as a symbol of convenience. It tirelessly cribs out the grime in our daily adventures. We all know that keeping this mechanical marvel comes at a cost. From initial costs to the never-ending need for pricey machine-specific detergents. 

So, can you put Dawn in the washing machine? Well, no. While this seems like a penny-pinching miracle, having Dawn dishwashing liquid in your machine is a no-go. The formula used to make these soaps is not tolerated in machine cycles. There is a science to washing clothes. And Dawn liquid soap does not fit it.

In the next parts of this guide, we will dig into the relationship between washing machines and Dawn dishwashing liquid. So, read on to know more about this alluring alternative.

Can You Put Dawn in Washing Machine? Here are the Answers

Dawn is cheaper and provides excellent results as far as dishwashing is concerned. This might leave you wondering whether you could use it instead of washing machine detergents. 

Dawn is made specifically for washing dishes. Its formula has ingredients that help remove stubborn grease and food residues in your dishes. This soap will cut through fats, oils, and grime without damaging tableware. It will also not cause any damage to your hands. 

But you can’t use Dawn in the washing machine for laundry, and here is why:

1. It is Not Designed for Fabric Care

Dawn might be a warrior in the kitchen and pans, but its skills are not meant for fabrics. As mentioned, Dawn’s formula specializes in breaking oils and fats. Hence, it lacks the ability to compact stains, dirt, and odors that your clothes often have. 

It also has the wrong pH. According to Material Safety Data sheets, its pH is between 8.7 and 9.3. The median value is 9, which is less alkaline than what is required for clothes. Washing detergents have a pH of 10.4 to 10.7. The median value is 10.45. This is 1.45 more than what your dawn liquid soap has.

Also, Dawn will cling to your clothes. This is unlike machine detergents made to clean fabrics without interfering with their structural integrity. Using Dawn for a long period of time will weaken your clothes and make them prone to wear and tear.

2. Excessive Foaming

Dawn causes excess foaming and suds. While this seems like a good thing, it can be chaotic when it comes to laundry. Machine detergents are made to deliver the right amount of suds. They aid in cleaning your clothes without overwhelming your machine. 

This is not the case for the dishwashing liquid. It will have an extravagant form that will disrupt the delicate balance. It will cause the cycle to lose its effectiveness and lead to mishaps.

3. Stubborn Residues

Dawn is kind of sticky. This is essential in the world of dishwashing. However, in laundry, it is a nightmare. It leaves residues in your clothes and also the machine. 

These residues thwart your quest to have your clothes and washing machine clean. If you use a blue-colored type, your white fabrics will be bluish. Also, the inner sides of your device might be left with this color. 

A good laundry soap should be able to rinse away thoroughly. It should leave your clothes clean and, at the same time, residue-free. Also, it needs to ensure that garments remain true to their hues. Dawn does not pass this test.

4. Possible Machine Degrade

Washing machines are delicate. They are made of lots of parts, with some being electronics. Each of these parts contributes to the unique cycle of cleaning your clothes. 

When Dawn enters your machine, it disrupts this harmony. It causes a lot of suds and residues. These suds might be so big to the extent of filling your machine. They will need somewhere to escape to. And mostly, this will be to your intricate machine parts. 

The result is damages that demand attention and your wallet. A good laundry detergent has a delicate balance. This balance provides the best cleaning performance without putting your investment in jeopardy.

5. Does not Remove Stains Effectively

As mentioned, Dawn only excels in greasy dishes. It is a no-stain magician when it comes to fabrics. Its prowess in conquering oils is useless to the array of stains most clothes have. 

When used, your clothes will need extra cycles to remove their stains. This leads to extra consumption of electricity and water. And the stains might not even go. 

Instead of the extra wash cycles, you could also use it as a pre-treatment. This would save you the water and electricity needed for the extra cycles. Dishwashing liquid is only effective if you target the stains directly. It doesn’t have the prowess of washing machine detergents which do not need any targeting or pretreatment to be effective.

6. Unwanted Aromas

This dishwashing soap is designed to create a delightful ambiance in the kitchen. In this room, scents signal victory over dirt and grime. But in laundry, there are different rules in scent, and various clothes need a different approach. 

For instance, you can’t wash infants’ clothes with Dawn dish liquid. We all know that most kids do not do well with strong aromas. 

You also don’t want to be walking around smelling like clean dishes. A good laundry detergent is formulated to leave your clothes with a pleasant smell that does not overwhelm your senses. 

7. Fabric Softness Sacrifice

Laundry is not just about cleanliness. It’s also about the experience of wearing soft, comfortable clothes. Dawn is mighty at cutting through oils and fat but doesn’t hold the same reverence for softness in fabrics. It is meant for dishes, so manufacturers have no business adding a fabric softener feature. 

As such, washing with this dishwashing liquid will strip your clothes of their soft touch. This could be catastrophic, especially if the fabrics belong to an infant. 

8. Manufacturer Is Against It

Dawn’s manufacturer clearly states that this product is not for use in machines. They only recommend it as a pretreatment option and not for use in cycles. Hence, you should never use the product for an intended purpose the manufacturer is against.

When to Use Dawn in a Washing Machine

You should only consider using Dawn in your washing machine in the following circumstances:

  • Pre-treating greasy clothes: Remember what we said about Dawn? It excels in fighting grease and oils. So if your clothes are exposed to such, you can count on this detergent. To use it, apply tiny amounts of it directly to the grease marks. Let it sit for a few minutes before washing.
  • Cleaning the washing machine: Dawn will be very effective in cleaning the drum and body of your machine. You can use it to clean the control panel. Its degreasing properties are handy for removing soap scum from your machine. Be sure not to use it in electrical parts that can be affected by water.

Remember to adhere to the following in your use of Dawn:

  • Dilute it if cleaning interiors: This will fix the foaming disaster. Mix one part of Dawn to one part of water. You could conduct your tests to find the best mixing balance that yields less sud and better washing performance.
  • Limit amounts: A small amount of Dawn is enough in a washing machine. Do not overload your machine with this liquid, as it lathers easily. Use half the amount you would have used for normal washing machine detergent. 
  • Extra rinsing: To counteract Dawn’s residue on your clothes, rinse them thoroughly. This will ensure that all the traces of Dawn clinging to your fabrics are removed.

Better Alternatives to Washing Machine Detergents

Now that you know, Dawn is not the option for use in the washing machines. Here are a few alternatives that will safeguard your clothes and machine better:

  • Homemade laundry soaps: This is the most cost-effective solution that will not negatively impact your garments. To make it, start by grating a bar of soap into small pieces. You can also melt it if you do not have a grater. Keep in mind, that you can use any bar soap of your liking. Add washing soda and borax to it. Mix the solution and use it for your laundry. 
  • Baking soda and white vinegar: Every household normally has baking soda. This hero is not just limited to baking. It is a stain fighter and odor neutralizer. 

Its counterpart, white or distilled vinegar, is acidic. It helps break down mineral deposits in your clothes. It also removes odors from them. The two will give you the best results.

  • Castile soap: This is made from vegetable oils. It is a plant-based option that is biodegradable and environmentally friendly. The soap will also be nice to your clothes as well. 
  • Oxygen or chlorine bleach: If you want a tougher option for your clothes, consider bleach over Dawn. Dawn might lather quickly, but it won’t remove stains. Keep in mind that bleaches should be used on white clothes. For colored materials, opt for oxygen bleach over chlorine. The former is gentler on fabrics and colors.
  • High-Efficiency (HE) detergents: These are detergents specifically made for machines. They are designed to produce free suds and to ensure optimal machine performance. While they might be on the higher cost side, they will give you amazing results than Dawn.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to some of the questions you might have regarding using Dawn liquid in the washing machines. 

Q: Can I use Dawn in front-loading machines?

No. You still can’t use the dishwashing soap in this type of machine. The risks of using Dawn apply to all types of washing machines. This includes top-load and front-load. 

Q: Can I use Dawn to clean the washing machine itself?

No. Dawn is effective at cleaning surfaces that have grease and oils. It won’t result in cleaning the interior of your washing machine. Instead, opt for chlorine bleach, baking soda, and white vinegar. Then, use hot water and a toothbrush for better cleaning.

Q: Will using Dawn void my washing machine warranty?

Yes. Most washing machines’ warranties have clauses that talk about using recommended detergents. Introducing Dawn will violate these recommendations and terms. This jeopardizes your warranty protection.


The above exploration has illuminated answers to the question, “Can you put Dawn in the washing machine?” While this solution is a titan in dishwashing, its chemistry isn’t the secret sauce in fabric care. With the complexities of washing machine mechanics, stain-fighting demands, and sud properties, this dishwashing soap finds itself out of tune. 

As tempting as it might be to use Dawn in your washing machine, avoid it. The allure that Dawn will be a quick fix when you are out of laundry detergent will result in negative impacts. Use products for their intended purposes.

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