Skip to Content

Can You Wash Clothes In A Dishwasher?

If you have a washing machine that is broken or don’t have one at all, it can be a huge inconvenience. You need an alternative way to wash your clothes leading you to wonder if you use a dishwasher instead. It washes dishes, so it should be okay to wash clothes in too, right?

Even though your dishwasher is very effective at washing dishes, you shouldn’t wash clothes in it. Dishwashers don’t work exactly like a washing machine, so they aren’t effective for washing your clothes.

So what could happen if you wash your clothes in a dishwasher? Are there any types of clothing that can be washed in a dishwasher? And if you can’t wash clothes in a dishwasher, how can you wash them if you don’t have a washing machine? For the answer to these questions and more, continue reading.

Can You Wash Clothes In A Dishwasher?

Can You Wash Clothes In A Dishwasher

It is not a good idea to wash your clothes in a dishwasher. Because many dishes are made of glass or porcelain, dishwashers have to wash them in a way that won’t cause them to break. This means that dishwashers don’t work in the same way that a washing machine does because they aren’t designed for washing clothes.

Why Shouldn’t You Wash Clothes In A Dishwasher?

In addition to dishwashers not working the same way as washing machines, there are many other reasons why you shouldn’t wash clothes in them. The main reasons are:

  • Your clothes won’t wash properly
  • You could damage your clothes
  • You could damage your dishwasher
  • The dishwasher warranty could be voided

Now let’s look at each of these reasons in more detail.

Your Clothes Won’t Wash Properly

We previously mentioned that dishwashers don’t work the same way that washing machines do. The main difference between a dishwasher and a washing machine is the level of agitation. Dishwashers can’t create very much agitation because doing so could chip, crack, or completely break the dishes.

Unfortunately, without enough agitation, your clothes won’t get clean. Agitation is necessary for removing stains and rinsing clothes. Washing machines also have a rinse and spin cycle, which helps to wring out your clothes. Dishwashers simply spray water, which helps to get dishes clean. But clothes? Not so much.

You Could Damage Your Clothes

A dishwasher can cause damage to your clothes for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that you can’t use laundry detergent in the dishwasher because it creates too many suds. Therefore, you have to use dish detergent. Dish detergent has a different formula than laundry detergent and often includes bleach. Bleach can cause your clothes to become discolored and damage certain fabrics.

The second reason is the water temperature of a dishwasher gets much hotter than the water temperature of a washing machine. Hot water is necessary to cut down grease and kill bacteria on your dishes. But if the water is too hot than what your clothes can tolerate, you can shrink them or burn the fabric.

You Could Damage Your Dishwasher

There are many ways that you could damage your dishwasher by washing clothes in it. The main reason is that dishwashers have a moving arm at the bottom. The moving arm is what sprays water. Your clothes could get wrapped around the arm and break it.

In addition to breaking the arm, smaller clothing like socks and underwear can fall through the rack and clog up the drain. They can also fall onto the heating element, which could set your dishwasher on fire.

The Dishwasher Warranty Could Be Voided

Most appliances, including dishwashers, come with warranties that allow the dishwasher to be fixed or replaced for little or no cost if something goes wrong. However, the warranty won’t cover damage that happens to the dishwasher due to improper use.

Washing your clothes in a dishwasher is considered improper use. If damage does occur to your dishwasher because you washed clothes in it and your warranty doesn’t cover it, you could be left with a very expensive repair bill.

Can You Wash Baseball Caps In The Dishwasher?

Although you can’t wash most types of clothing in the dishwasher, caps are the exception. The amount of agitation that the washing machine creates can cause your baseball caps to lose their shape. You can wash them in the washing machine using the delicate cycle or you can wash them in the dishwasher. However, if you wash them in the dishwasher, you should wash them by themselves and not in the same cycle as your dishes.

How To Wash A Baseball Cap In The Dishwasher

You will need:

  • A pre-wash stain remover
  • Non-bleach dish detergent
  • A cap frame (optional)

Follow these steps to wash a cap in the dishwasher:

  1. If your hat is really dirty or has stains, treat it with a pre-wash stain remover that doesn’t contain bleach.
  2. Allow the stain remover to sit on the cap for about 30 minutes to give it time to work.
  3. If you have a cap frame, place the frame on the top rack of the dishwasher and place the cap on top of the frame.
  4. If you don’t have a cap frame, you can place the cap directly on the top rack. Just place the cap adjuster around one of the pegs to keep it more secure.
  5. Add a non-bleach dish detergent to the dispenser. Using a detergent with bleach can discolor the cap.
  6. Turn the dishwasher knob to the warm water cycle and make sure the heat dry setting is turned off. Using hot water or heat dry can damage the cap.
  7. After the dishwasher has finished running, take the cap out and set it somewhere it can air dry.

What About Washing Shoes in Dishwasher?

It is not a good idea to wash shoes in the dishwasher because shoes can get damaged very easily. The heat from the dishwasher can cause your shoes to shrink and soften the glue that holds the sole to the rest of your shoe. Also, leaving the laces in your shoes can cause them to get wrapped around any of the moving parts of the dishwasher.

The best way to wash shoes is to take the laces out and wash them in the washing machine with some towels using warm water. Let them air dry, placing some tissue paper or newspaper in them to help them keep their shape.

Can You Do Laundry Without A Washing Machine?

If you don’t have a washing machine, you can still do laundry without one. Although you shouldn’t use your dishwasher, there are other ways. They are not as efficient and are more time-consuming than using a washing machine, but they are still effective and getting your clothes clean.

Hand Wash

Hand washing clothes is one of the most common ways that people without a washing machine wash their clothes. The downside is that it can take a long time to hand wash clothes if you have many clothes that need to be washed.

However, hand washing is great for washing things such as socks and underwear. If you have more delicate clothes or that have beads or embellishments on them, it is better to hand wash them as well.

Ultrasonic Clothes Washer

No products found.Heavier items such as jeans, pants, and some shirts can be frustrating if you have to hand wash them. Not only do they take up a lot of space, they are also harder to wring out and get fully clean. An No products found. is an alternative to hand washing that many people prefer.

Ultrasonic clothes washers work in a way that is similar to a washing machine. They can remove dirt and stains, but also bacteria as well. They come in many different sizes and are great for people that don’t have a lot of space to put a full-sized washing machine.

Ultrasonic clothes washers use less water than washing machines and are very easy to use. To use them, you just pour water and a cleaning solution into the tank, add your clothes and let the machine do the rest. While you still can’t wash a lot of clothes at once, they are a lot more efficient at washing larger clothing items than hand washing is.

How To Wash Your Clothes Without A Washing Machine?

If you don’t have a washing machine and need to hand wash your clothes, it’s not as time-consuming or frustrating once you know how to do it properly. Following the process below can help make hand washing your clothes easier.

You will need:

  • A bucket
  • Pre-wash stain remover
  • Water
  • Laundry detergent
  • An agitator (optional)

1. Prep

Before hand washing your clothes, separate them based on color and material. Place your whites in one pile and colors in another. Create a third pile for anything made of a more delicate material such as wool, cashmere, or silk.

Separating clothing into whites and colors can prevent your colored clothes from bleeding onto your white clothes. Any delicate clothing requires special care and should be hand washed by itself or taken to a dry cleaner.

After separating your clothes, check them for stains. Use a pre-wash stain remover and let it sit on the stain for a few minutes to give it time to work.

2. Soak

Fill a bucket with enough lukewarm water to cover the clothes. If you have a large load, you can use your bathtub to wash them instead. Just don’t make the water too hot, as it can shrink your clothes and burn your skin if you aren’t careful.

Next, you will need to pour in some laundry detergent. If you have a few clothes to wash, a couple of teaspoons will be plenty. But if you are washing a lot of clothes in your bathtub, you can use about a cap full. After pouring the detergent into the water, let the clothes soak for 20-30 minutes.

3. Wash

After the clothes have soaked, use your hands or an agitator tool to move them around in the water. An agitator tool can be purchased at most stores that sell home goods or online. Press gently on the clothing to push the suds through and out of the clothing, but don’t try to wring out the clothes because you could damage them.

4. Rinse

Empty the soapy water and replace it with clean water. The new water can be lukewarm or cool. Press the clothes gently to remove the suds and continue to move them around to rinse them. Drain the soapy water again, and repeat this process until there are no suds remaining when you press the clothes.

5. Dry

Pull the clothes out of the water one at a time and gently squeeze them to remove excess water. You can also lay them out flat on a dry towel, roll the towel up, and press on it to remove the extra water. If you have a dryer, you can use it to dry the clothes. Otherwise, hang them up on a clothesline to air dry either outside or in a sunny room. Just don’t leave them outside too long because the sun could cause the color to fade.

Can You Wash Clothes With Dish Soap?

We mentioned earlier in the article that you can’t wash clothes using dish detergent because it may contain bleach and other chemicals. But dish detergent is not the same thing as dish soap. Dish soap is a very effective substitute if you don’t have any laundry detergent.

Dish soap is also a cheaper alternative to laundry detergent, and a little goes a long way. Since dish soap is also used to hand-wash dishes, it is great for removing grease and food stains from clothes as well. It also comes in many different scents, so it will leave your clothes smelling good, just like laundry detergent.

Before using dish soap as a substitute for laundry detergent, it’s important to know how to use it properly. Be sure that whatever dish soap you use doesn’t contain bleach or you could risk discoloring your clothes. Dish soap is also known to create a lot of suds, so you should avoid using too much.

If you use too much, your washing machine could overflow with suds and make a huge mess. Generally, you should use 1 teaspoon for small loads, 2 teaspoons for medium loads, and 3 teaspoons for large loads. If you’re still worried about the dish soap creating too many suds and overflowing, you can use it for hand washing clothes instead.


If you don’t have a washing machine for whatever reason, we hope this article provided you with useful information about washing your clothes. Since dishwashers aren’t made to wash clothes and doing so can cause serious damage, hand washing them or using an ultrasonic clothes washer are better options. If you found this article helpful, share it with others who could benefit from this information. Be sure to leave a comment as well. Thanks for reading!