When it comes determining how much soap to use in the dishwasher, it can be easy to just fill the soap dispenser to the brim and call it good. But we’ve got news for you: You may very well be using too much soap! You could also be using not enough soap, but this is less common as modern dishwashers generally having better water efficiency than older models.

You can save yourself a bit of money and improve dishwasher performance by following these simple guidelines

How Much Soap to Use in the Dishwasher

The first thing to do when figuring how much soap to use in the dishwasher is to determine the hardness/softness of your water supply. There are handy DIY kits you can use to test this yourself (if you don’t already know). Another option is to ask your local water department.

The general rule is that the softer the water, the less soap that you have to use.

Once you’ve determined your water type, read the manufacturer’s instructions in regards to how much soap you should use.

If you have soft water, start out by trying to use about 25% less than the instructions suggest. Vice versa for hard water (use 25% more). If you’re pleased with the results, great! If not, a bit of trial and error can help determine what works best.

Make note: While dishwasher tablets are incredibly convenient, it doesn’t allow you to adjust to your dishwasher’s needs. If you have soft water, it very well may be too much soap, and not be enough for hard water. So take that into account when selecting your detergent.

Pro Tip: DIY Dishwasher Soap

On a side note, consider trying DIY dishwasher soap options. It’s a great way to control how much soap you’re using while saving yourself a bit of coin in the process. Here’s an easy DIY dishwasher soap formula to try (adjust to your needs as necessary):

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 3 packages of unsweetened lemonade drink mix (optional)
  • 1 cup of kosher salt (if you have hard water)