Can You Use Dishwasher Detergent To Clean A Bathtub?

Cleaning a bathtub can often feel like a daunting task, especially with the wide array of cleaning products available on the market. Finding the right cleaner for your bathtub can be confusing and costly, from eco-friendly solutions to heavy-duty chemicals. But have you ever considered alternative hiding right in your kitchen cabinet?

Dishwasher detergent, a common household staple, is typically designed to break down food particles, eliminate stains, and leave dishes sparkling clean.

Its formulation contains surfactants, enzymes, and sometimes bleach, all working together to combat grease and grime. But can these properties translate into an effective solution for cleaning a bathtub?

Yes, you can use dishwasher detergent to clean a bathtub. It contains surfactants and enzymes that can break down grime and stains. However, it may not be suitable for all types of bathtubs, and it’s important to be aware of potential risks, such as residues or reactions with certain materials.

Always follow proper usage guidelines and consider the specific needs of your bathtub’s material. Testing a small, inconspicuous area first is often recommended to ensure compatibility.

How to Clean a Bathtub with Dishwasher Detergent

How to Clean a Bathtub with Dishwasher Detergent

Dishwasher detergent tabs can be a surprising but effective solution for cleaning your bathtub. Here’s how you can leverage these powerful cleaning agents for your tub:

1. Create the Cleaning Solution

Dissolve a dishwasher tab in about six and a half gallons of water. This amount mimics the water going through a dishwasher during a typical cycle, harnessing the detergent’s ability to lift grime and grease.

2. Apply to the Bathtub

Once dissolved, the solution can be sprayed or applied directly to the bathtub surface. Focus on areas where scum has built up or where there is yellowing along the rim. If you want a more abrasive effect, you can use the tab to scrub the surfaces.

3. Scrub and Clean

You can use your fingers, a cleaning toothbrush, or a glove to scrub the areas that need attention. The solution should work to lift the dirt, making it easier to scrub away.

4. Rinse Thoroughly

After scrubbing, make sure to rinse off the solution thoroughly. This will wash away all the residue, leaving your bathtub sparkling clean.

5. Extra Tips for Stubborn Stains

If you encounter stubborn stains or soap scum, the dishwasher detergent can be combined with other tools like steel wool or specialized scrubbing devices to remove the spots.

6. Safety Consideration

While this method is considered unconventional and experimental, the video presenter found it effective. As always, it might be wise to test a small hidden area first to ensure compatibility with your bathtub’s material.

6 Pros of Using Dishwasher Detergent in the Bathtub

The idea of using dishwasher detergent as a bathtub cleaner may seem unconventional, but it offers several advantages that might make it an attractive option for some households:

1. Availability and Cost-Effectiveness

Dishwasher detergent is a common household item, often found in kitchens. Its dual use as a bathtub cleaner can save a trip to the store and potentially cut costs on purchasing specialized bathroom cleaners.

2. Powerful Cleaning Abilities

Many dishwasher detergents are formulated to tackle tough stains, grease, and grime, which are not uncommon in bathtubs. The surfactants and enzymes in dishwasher detergent can break down soap scum and hard water deposits, leaving the bathtub looking fresh and clean.

3. Versatility

Dishwasher detergent can be used on various surfaces, including ceramic, porcelain, and even some metal fixtures. This versatility might simplify the cleaning process by reducing the need for multiple cleaning products.

4. Eco-Friendly Options

Some dishwasher detergents are made with biodegradable and plant-based ingredients for those concerned about the environment. This could be an attractive alternative to traditional bathroom cleaners that may contain harsher chemicals.

5. Easy to Use

Cleaning a bathtub with dishwasher detergent can be as simple as mixing a small amount of detergent with water and scrubbing the surface with a non-abrasive brush or sponge. It can be rinsed away easily, leaving a clean surface behind.

6. Potential Fragrance Benefits

Depending on the brand and type of dishwasher detergent, the pleasant fragrance often associated with these products could leave your bathroom smelling fresh and clean.

Potential Risks of Using Dishwasher Detergent in the Bathtub

While the idea of using dishwasher detergent to clean a bathtub may offer several advantages, it’s essential to recognize that there are potential downsides and risks associated with this unconventional method:

1. Potential Surface Damage

Dishwasher detergents are formulated to clean dishes, not bathtubs. Certain components in the detergent might be too abrasive or reactive for some bathtub surfaces, such as acrylic or enamel, leading to scratches or discoloration.

2. Health Risks

Depending on the ingredients in the dishwasher detergent, chemicals may irritate the skin or respiratory system, especially if used in a confined space like a bathroom.

3. Environmental Impact

Though some dishwasher detergents offer eco-friendly options, others may contain phosphates or chemicals harmful to aquatic life if rinsed in large quantities.

4. Residue Concerns

Dishwasher detergents may leave behind residues that are not easily rinsed away. This residue might create a slippery surface, leading to potential safety hazards or interacting negatively with other bathroom products.

5. Ineffectiveness on Certain Stains

Although dishwasher detergents can break down some types of grime, they might not be as effective on specific bathroom stains like mold or mildew, requiring a specialized cleaner for those issues.

6. Lack of Guidance

Since dishwasher detergent is not designed for cleaning bathtubs, manufacturers have no clear guidance on how to use it safely for this purpose. Misuse may lead to unexpected or unwanted results.


1. Can you use dishwasher detergent to clean shower?

Yes, dishwasher detergent can be used to clean a shower, much like it can be used to clean a bathtub.

2. What is the best thing to clean a bathtub with?

Commercial bathroom cleaners designed specifically for bathtubs are generally formulated to be safe and effective on common bathroom surfaces.

Final Words

The prospect of using dishwasher detergent to clean a bathtub presents a unique and potentially appealing solution, especially for those looking to make use of common household items. Its availability, cost-effectiveness, and powerful cleaning abilities make it an interesting alternative to traditional bathroom cleaners.

If you decide to experiment with dishwasher detergent as a bathtub cleaner, always test on a small hidden area, use the product sparingly, and be diligent in reading labels and understanding the ingredients.

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