Why Do My Dishes Taste Like Soap After Dishwasher?

Why Do My Dishes Taste Like Soap After Dishwasher

Some common reasons dishes often taste like soap after washing them in a dishwasher include a build-up of soap residue, use of low-quality soap, hardness of the water being used, or general problems with the machine, such as a clogged water supply line or drainage filter failure.

It is even correct to say that the question “Why do my dishes taste like soap after dishwasher” is as old as dishwashing machines themselves and has been asked by millions of other homeowners. The modern domestic-grade dishwasher became well-known around 1924. While they feature several enticing parts, such as a front door, rotating sprayer arms, and wire racks, they also offer modern problems.

These modern problems include the need to use suitable water and soap, the need for correct water temperature settings, and the need to run routine checks to avoid appliance troubles.

In this article, we will consider five simple answers to why do my dishwasher taste like soap after dishwasher with an easy solution to this general problem.

5 Answers to Why Do My Dishes Taste Like Soap After Dishwasher

In this chapter, we will answer the question of why do my dishes taste like soap after dishwasher with 5 of the most common culprits.

Build-Up of Soap Residue

Dishwashing soap is not merely an aesthetics that we add to the dishwashing machine to make washing cycles appear cooler. In fact, they are such an essential part of the process that you need to add soap to avoid ending up with badly washed dishes.

Hence, you always have to use them. The problem, however, begins when the residue of the soap you use begins to build and cake in different parts inside the appliance. This is a common problem reported amongst those who have been using their machines for about five years, as they can no longer heat above 130 degrees Fahrenheit. But even newer dishwashers may encounter this issue as well.

When the soap you use builds up within your dishwasher over time, you may begin to taste soap on your dishes after every washing cycle.

Use of Low-Quality Soap

While the inability of the machine to heat up to standard can cause residue build-up, leaving a soapy taste on your dishes, the quality of soap you use can also add to this problem.

Cheap dishwashing soaps may save you some money, but they will surely leave a bad taste in your mouth, literally. They are usually characterized by poor cleaning power, inability to soften the food residue, and slowness to dissolve.

Generally, they don’t clean appropriately while lingering around to leave that awful soap-like taste. In addition, they also will only work if you pre-soak your dishes before a washing cycle. Ultimately, using a low-quality soap never holds any actual benefits.

The hardness of the water

Aside from the soap you use, the type of water can also be another reason your dishes taste like soap after dishwasher. Basic science tells us water is often classified into soft and hard water.

Hard water generally contains minerals like magnesium and calcium, which are hard to dissolve. When these minerals meet and react with the chemicals in most dishwashing soaps, a residue known as scum is formed, leaving your dishes with that soapy taste and smell.

Hard water is such a problem that even when you use the best quality soap, the hard minerals can still react with the stearic acid found in the soap to cause a problem.

Clogged Water Supply Line

It is worth noting that the things you add to your dishwasher may not be the only culprits whenever you find out that your dishes taste like soap after the dishwasher. The problem may also come from issues with machine parts, namely, the water supply line.

The water supply line is the pipeline connected to the water inlet valve. Its primary assignment is to supply clean water to the dishwasher, which in turn helps to keep the process running smoothly and the dishes clean and tasteless.

But the problem begins when the line becomes clogged, thereby failing to supply clean water to the machine. With a supply of fresh, clean water, the soapy water will be replaced, and this leaves you with soap-tasting dishes.

Water needs to constantly flow in to prevent a build-up and backflow of dirty water, and when this does not happen because of the clogged supply line, a soapy taste on your dishes is eminent.

Drainage Filter Issues

Another intrinsic dishwasher problem that may also result in a soapy taste on your dishes is a clogged drainage filter.

While a clogged water supply line prevents fresh water from flowing into the machine, a clogged drainage filter prevents dirty water from leaving the system. This filter functions to sieve food particles and prevent them from going into the drainage system, as a build-up of food particles in the drainage system can block it.

By sieving the food particles, the filter allows only the dirty water to leave the interior of the machine, thereby creating room for the fresh water from the supply line.

However, when the filter becomes clogged with food particles, the dirty water will find it impossible to leave and is therefore retained inside the machine. The dirty water then mixes with the water of the inlet valve, and the result is usually a slimy feel and a soapy taste.

What Happens If You Taste Dish Soap?

Understanding how your dishes end up tasting like soap is one thing, but what happens when you taste dish soap?

Tasting dish soap can result in anything from a simple unpleasant taste in the mouth to severe soap poisoning, depending on the situation’s intensity.

If your dishwasher has only recently started developing the issues, the soapy taste may be very mild or unnoticeable. In this case, you will expect only the unpleasantness that comes with tasting the soap.

However, if the situation is so bad that there is even a slimy feel on the dishes, it is possible to get soap poisoning in that case. The symptoms for this type of poisoning can also vary from a nauseous feeling to stomach irritation, abdominal pain, or even diarrhea. Some homeowners may even complain of eye or skin irritations and even headaches.

How seriously you react to the taste of soap on your dishes can also depend on your sensitivity to the chemicals in the soap.

These soaps contain strong alkalis such as stearic acid, and while this acid helps to keep your dishes clean, it is not designed for ingestion.

Consequently, whether or not you react terribly to it at first, avoiding tasting the dish soap altogether is advisable. Those who barely reacts to the taste could end up with a terrible eating experience as the soap taste can ruin the food, and those who react could end up with various health challenges.

Hence, getting rid of the soap taste as soon as you notice your dishes taste funny after the dishwasher is crucial.

How Do You Get Rid of the Taste of Soap?

Now that we understand the implication of tasting dish soap, how do you get rid of the taste of soap? You can quickly fix this problem by attending to whatever is causing the soapy dishes in the first place.

Remove Soap Residue

It would be best to ensure soap residues do not build up inside the dishwasher. To do this, always crosscheck the heating element to ensure that the water is heating properly during a washing cycle.

But, if the residues already started building, you can run the machine through several cycles without loading it with dishes or dish soap. This will allow clean, fresh water to wash the insides of the machine.

You can also sprinkle some powdered citric acid at the bottom of the tub, then put a 750ml container of white vinegar on the top rack before running the machine through a hot cycle. Once the cycle is complete, sprinkle some baking soda on the bottom of the tub, then run the machine through another hot cycle.

Once this process is complete, the residues should have disappeared, and your dishes will stop tasting like soap.

Use Only the Right Dish Soap

As mentioned earlier, soaps are critical to dishwashing; they work with water and heat to give you clean plates. But seeing how they can also leave that soapy taste, it is essential that you use only detergents and soaps designed explicitly for dishwashing machines.

In addition, you should use high-quality detergents as cheap products can still cause soapiness and sliminess.

Never Use Hard Water

Many homes do not have this particular problem, but if you suspect that hard water is responsible for the soap you taste on your dishes, then finding a way to soften your water supply could do you a world of good. You can do this by setting up a water filtration system. This will remove the hard minerals before the water is put to use.

Fix the Clogged Water Supply Line and Drainage Filter

And lastly, repair your pipes if you notice that the machine is not getting enough clean water or that the dirty water is not draining fast enough.

To fix a clogged water supply pipe, detach the line from the water inlet valve and check to be sure it is not clogged or broken. If it looks alright, carefully reattach it to the valve, taking care not to break it. However, if you notice it is clogged, manually scrap off the obtrusion or replace it with a new one if it won’t come off.

Drainage filters are usually easier to fix as they only require regular cleaning with a toothpick or old toothbrush once or twice weekly. This prevents the food particles from even accumulating enough to cause a problem.

However, if you already have a solid build-up of particles to the extent that the filter is damaged, you can quickly buy a new one and replace it.


If you opened this article because you kept asking, “Why do my dishes taste like soap after dishwasher,” then we hope this article has provided a satisfactory answer while showing different ways out of that unpleasant dilemma.


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