Homethings-Can you use anything instead of dishwasher tabs?

Can you use anything instead of dishwasher tabs?

Can you use anything instead of dishwasher tabs?

Picture this: your dishwasher is overflowing, you’ve got a backlog of plates piled up by the sink, you’re on the verge of a meltdown over the state of the kitchen. You go to the drawer to grab a dishwasher tab and find an empty box. But you’re a problem solver – is there anything else in the house that you could use instead?

It’s time for some myth busting – is there anything else in your cupboards that would get the job done? Today's candidates: baking soda, citric acid, white vinegar, and washing up liquid.


Does it work?

Baking Soda + Washing Up Liquid: According to the people of the internet, although it’s not as powerful as dishwasher detergent, it does a pretty good job. Just mix them together in a 50:50 ratio, pop it in the tab drawer, and you’re good to go.

White Vinegar: Apparently, the top tip in this case is to pour the vinegar into the bottom of your dishwasher (or pop it in a bowl on the top shelf) and whack on a hot wash, with reports of sparkling results.

Shower gel: The online community has spoken, and it seems to be pretty hit or miss, with some people saying that it's ‘not as effective’ as standard dishwasher tabs and ‘needs more thorough rinsing’. But it will, in a dire situation, get your dishes clean.

Should you do it?

Whilst washing up liquid will clean your dishes, the suds can be a bit of a nightmare… literally escaping around the sides of the door onto the floor. Plus it can linger inside for multiple washes, causing a bubbly tsunami every time. It comes down to whether you’re down to keep control of the foamy-fiasco The issues are the same with shower gel, with the added oddity of your dishes left smelling like ‘tropical breeze’ (or my personal fave ‘tingly mint & tea tree’) which might be a bit off putting when mixed with your Sunday roast. 


Vinegar actually seems like a better option, with a lower risk of causing chaos in your machine. That being said, if used too often, it can wear down the rubber sealing – so it’s only worth using as an emergency technique (no one wants to lose their warranty).

The bottom line?

If you’re really in a pickle, it could be worth giving the white vinegar trick a go, but it’s not something to try just for the sake of it (or more than a couple of times). But in the wise words of Erasmus (apparently?) ‘prevention is better than cure’. We’d recommend getting yourself a dishwasher tab subscription, so you’re never running low to begin with – why not check out our Dishthings?