Do Dishwasher Tablets Clean Washing Machines?

Yes, dishwasher tablets can clean washing machines, but there are some caveats to consider. In this article, we will explore how dishwasher tablets work, why they can be effective for washing machines, and what are the potential risks and benefits of using them.

How Dishwasher Tablets Work

Dishwasher tablets are designed to remove food residue, grease, and stains from dishes and cutlery. They contain a combination of ingredients, such as:

  • Surfactants, which help to break down and dissolve dirt and oil.
  • Enzymes, which target specific types of food and organic matter, such as starch, protein, and fat.
  • Bleach, which kills bacteria and whitens dishes.
  • Builders, which soften water and prevent mineral deposits.
  • Fragrances, which add a pleasant smell to the dishes.

Dishwasher tablets are usually wrapped in a soluble film that dissolves in water, releasing the cleaning agents. They are meant to be used in hot water, typically between 120°F and 150°F, which activates the enzymes and bleach.

Why Dishwasher Tablets Can Clean Washing Machines

Washing machines can accumulate dirt, detergent residue, mold, and bacteria over time, especially in the drum, the door seal, and the detergent drawer. This can cause unpleasant odors, reduced performance, and damage to the machine and the clothes.

Dishwasher tablets can help to clean washing machines by:

  • Dissolving and removing dirt and detergent residue from the drum and the door seal.
  • Killing bacteria and mold with bleach and hot water.
  • Deodorizing and freshening the machine with fragrances.
  • Preventing limescale buildup with builders.
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To use dishwasher tablets to clean washing machines, you need to:

  • Remove any clothes from the machine and wipe the drum and the door seal with a damp cloth.
  • Place one or two dishwasher tablets in the drum (not in the detergent drawer).
  • Run a hot cycle (at least 140°F) without any clothes or detergent.
  • Repeat the process once a month or as needed.

What Are the Risks and Benefits of Using Dishwasher Tablets to Clean Washing Machines

Using dishwasher tablets to clean washing machines can have some advantages and disadvantages, depending on the type and condition of your machine and the tablets you use. Here are some of the pros and cons to consider:


  • Dishwasher tablets are easy to use and readily available.
  • Dishwasher tablets can effectively remove dirt, bacteria, and odors from washing machines.
  • Dishwasher tablets can prevent limescale buildup and extend the life of your machine.
  • Dishwasher tablets can make your machine and your clothes smell better.


  • Dishwasher tablets can be harsh and abrasive, and may damage the drum and the door seal of your machine.
  • Dishwasher tablets can leave a residue that may interfere with the normal functioning of your machine and affect the quality of your clothes.
  • Dishwasher tablets can contain chemicals that may be harmful to the environment and your health, such as phosphates, chlorine, and synthetic fragrances.
  • Dishwasher tablets may not be compatible with all types of washing machines, especially high-efficiency or front-loading ones.


Dishwasher tablets can clean washing machines, but they are not a perfect solution. They can have some benefits, such as removing dirt, bacteria, and odors, but they can also have some drawbacks, such as damaging your machine, leaving a residue, and harming the environment. Therefore, you should use them with caution and moderation, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations for your machine. Alternatively, you can use other natural and gentle methods to clean your washing machine, such as vinegar, baking soda, or lemon juice.