How to Get Rid of Wrong Soap Overflow in a Dishwasher

Updated July 09, 2018

There are two types of dishwashing soaps available. Automatic dish detergent is specially designed for use in dishwashers, and regular dish soap is made to wash dishes by hand. If you find yourself with a dishwasher that has overflowed with bubbles after you have used the wrong kind of soap in it, there are a few steps you can take to fix this problem.

Drain the water from the dishwasher. Sprinkle table salt liberally over the bubbles that remain. Sprinkle the salt on the suds that have overflowed onto the floor. The salt helps to disperse the bubbles. Let it sit for five to 10 minutes.

Add ice cubes to the bottom of the dishwasher to lower the temperature of the water and further degrade and disperse the suds. Soak up as much of the suds and water as possible in and around the dishwasher with towels or a wet/dry vacuum.

Remove any dishes and silverware from the dishwasher. Rinse all items by hand in the sink with hot water to remove any remaining dish soap residue.

Wipe out the soap dispenser thoroughly to clear it of any remaining soap residue. Add a small amount of vinegar to the dispenser and close it as you would before running a cycle.

Measure out one cup of vinegar and add it to the bottom of the dishwasher. Run a normal wash cycle with the vinegar and any remaining salt and ice cubes.

Add one cup of vinegar to the bottom of the dishwasher and run it again while empty. Repeat until you remove all of the suds.

Put automatic dishwasher detergent in the soap dispenser. Add your dishes back into the dishwasher and run a cycle as usual.


Disperse the soap suds in your dishwasher with a capful of liquid laundry fabric softener if vinegar is unavailable, and run an empty cycle.

Things You'll Need

  • Table salt
  • Ice cubes
  • Vinegar
  • Towels
  • Wet/dry vacuum (optional)
  • Automatic dish detergent
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About the Author

Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.