Other Uses for Dishwasher Detergent

Powdered, liquid and gel automatic dishwasher detergents can have useful functions outside of the dishwasher. You might want to use up a particular brand of dishwasher detergent or be looking for other purposes for these cleaning agents that you always have on hand. Most automatic dishwasher detergents contain phosphates or bleach, making them more effective than many other cleansers.

Dishwasher in kitchen
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There are other uses for dishwasher detergent.

Painted Surfaces

Thoroughly dissolve 1/4 cup of automatic dishwasher detergent in a gallon of hot water to make a good cleanser for painted walls and other painted surfaces. Additionally, put a little dishwasher detergent on a damp rag or sponge and apply it to painted surfaces to clean away crayon marks or scuffs from toys.

Pots and Pans

You might be facing the remnants of baked-on lasagna in a glass pan or burnt food stuck to the bottom of a stainless steel pot. Automatic dishwasher detergent is the answer. Soak the pans with a little hot water and a handful of dishwasher detergent anywhere from a few minutes to several hours. The detergent loosens the food enough so you can wipe it away with little effort.

Laundry Soap Booster

Dishwasher detergent makes a great laundry soap booster for white fabric because of the phosphates or bleach it contains. Dissolve 1/4 or 1/2 cup of dishwasher detergent in a bucket of very hot water and soak white T-shirts, socks or diapers for an hour, then wash them as usual. Test the detergent on colored fabric before using it, because phosphates and bleach can lighten certain colors or leave white spots on them. You also can add dishwasher detergent directly to the washing machine as a laundry booster for white fabric or for a load of cleaning rags.


You can use dishwasher detergent for cleaning the bathroom as well. Add soap to the toilet bowl and let it sit for several minutes, then brush it away. Automatic dishwasher detergent also is effective at cleaning rust stains and soap scum from the shower walls and bathtub. Dissolve a handful of detergent in a bucket of hot water, then cover the area using a sponge and let the soap solution soak for at least 15 minutes before scrubbing. Rinse with cold water.