This Is What Happens When You Put Dish Soap In Your Toilet

If you like to keep your bathroom in pristine condition — or just want to clean up the grime on a regular basis — then you might be eager to take advantage of everything from hardcore bleach to easy-breezy essential oils. You might also keep your eyes open for clever cleaning tips and tricks. That's why you may have seen a seemingly handy hack that buzzed around the internet back in 2020. Edinburgh News explains that one social media user took to the Mums Who Clean Facebook group to post about using dish soap to clean her toilet. Writing that "for years," she's been adding "a big squeeze" of the liquid "in the toilet tank compartment" three times a week or so, she claims that it makes "every flush ... fresh," and results in "clean-smelling bubbles," as well as a toilet that "always looks clean."

Apartment Therapy adds that dish soap can apparently help to unclog a toilet, noting that you should add half a cup of dish soap or more to the toilet bowl (yes, they suggest the bowl and not the tank), and leave it where it is while you go and get around a gallon of hot (not boiling) water. Add the water to the bowl after the soap and leave the two to do their unclogging magic. 

While that sounds simple, why does this supposedly work? On top of that, should you even be doing it in the first place? Read on to find out!

Is putting dish soap in your toilet good or bad?

Before you try putting dish soap in your toilet, there are a few things that you should know. For instance, Apartment Therapy breaks down why this hack is effective, noting that the soap is just doing its job — that is, attacking whatever is in your toilet the same way it goes after anything on dirty dishes.

However, when the tip was shared on Facebook, reported that others brought up potential problems with using dish soap in a toilet; one person said that there might be some eco-issues, while someone else admitted that while the trick worked for them, they did end up with "bubbles everywhere." Beyond that, the NZ Herald pointed out that another person on FB warned others that this "ruins your system ... so don't do it." Another person added more detail, writing that "the rubber/seals in your toilet cistern can break down when anything else but water is used in there."

So, is using dish soap in your toilet a good or bad idea? Well, Peter Daly, the CEO of Master Plumbers, explained to that "it's safest to use cleaning products specifically designed for flush toilets," which means that dish soap isn't ideal. As for the eco-issues, Daly added, "We recommend that consumers always consider the environment when choosing cleaning products and its packaging." In that case, maybe it's best to leave the dish soap in the kitchen.

Can you use laundry detergent or fabric softener in your toilet?

It turns out that dish soap isn't the only unexpected household cleaning product that you can apparently use to keep your toilet in tip-top shape. Back in January 2020, Sadie's Professional Cleaning Services took to Instagram to share some advice, explaining that you can simply add laundry detergent or fabric softener — 1 cup of either — to your toilet's tank to keep it fresh. From there, whenever someone does their business, the eventual flush will put the detergent or fabric softener into action the same way it would do with dish soap. 

As for any worries that you might have, the IG post claims that detergent and fabric softener are safe for both your toilet and accompanying septic system. But is that true? "We've all seen the mess fabric softener can leave in a washing machine drawer. Over time it leaves a sticky film, which can coagulate and block your washing machine," Izzy Shulman, the director of Plumbers4U, pointed out to Ideal Home while discussing this supposedly helpful hack. "If added to a toilet this means it may build-up and stick somewhere in your drainage."

So, it seems like you should probably keep products that are meant for your laundry away from your toilet the same way you might want to leave dish soap to clean up after meals. On the other hand, there are a few other safe ways to use dish soap that you might not have expected.

Other ways to use dish soap around your home

Dish soap is obviously ideal for getting rid of the leftover bits of food on your plates and ridding your mugs of coffee stains — but it may not be the best option for refreshing the inside of your toilet. However, it turns out that dish soap might also be able to help you keep other items and areas around your home clean. Need to get grease out of fabric? Try washing it out with a dab of dish soap, according to Good Housekeeping. The same soap can also be used on everything from your brushes and jewelry to outdoor furniture and even carpets. That's not to mention other kinds of floors, cabinets, and concrete.

Granted, that's not all that dish soap can tackle. If you're so inclined, you can go ahead and try it on your baseboards and appliances as well as your blinds, anything made of glass, and the filters that are found inside your air conditioner, according to The Spruce. Frankly, dish soap is so safe to use in most instances that it can get grime out of a wide range of surfaces and materials around your home — that is, as long as you're willing to deal with the potential bubbles!