Fact or Fiction: Does Liquid Detergent Clog Pipes?

Woman pouring detergent
As if tackling your piles of laundry isn’t enough, now you find yourself worrying and asking the question, does liquid laundry detergent clog pipes? Perhaps you noticed soap buildup in your drains or you heard reports that detergent pods may clog drains. Should you be concerned? The experienced team at Mr. Rooter® Plumbing is here to put your mind at ease and give you the facts about laundry detergent and clogged drains.

Is Laundry Detergent Clogging Pipes a Real Problem?

Typically, liquid detergents will not clog pipes, in either your washing machine or your dishwasher. There is a slightly increased risk of clogging with powdered detergents, but as long as you use the correct amount for the appliance, you shouldn’t experience issues with pipe or drain clogging. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions for the washing machine or dishwasher to determine the proper measurements for detergent. If you have High Efficiency (HE) appliances, you will need to use less detergent than you would for older models.

The Importance of Using the Right Amount of Detergent

Does it really matter how much detergent you use? Can’t you just throw whatever amount in there and let it go? For best cleaning results and to protect your appliances and plumbing, you need to use the correct amount of detergent. Too little detergent and clothes or dishes may still be dirty after a cycle. Too much detergent and the rinse cycle may not be able to wash away the soap residue effectively, leaving you with clothes or dishes that feel grimy.

Tips to Prevent Detergent Build-Up Causing Slow Drains

Significantly overloading the appliances with detergent can eventually lead to too much soap buildup, causing clogs in pipes and drains. Use the correct amount of detergent to avoid this issue. Here are a few more tips to make prevent slow drains and grimy dishes:

  • Use a measuring cup to ensure you are adding the right amount of detergent each time you run the appliance.
  • Consider using liquid detergent instead of powder to minimize the risk of clogging.
  • Once a month, run an empty cycle in your washing machine with 2 to 4 cups of white vinegar; the right amount depends on your machine’s capacity. The vinegar’s acidity dissolves detergent and limescale buildup, which can help to keep your drains clear.
  • Call on a trusted plumber if you notice your drains are slow, even if you are using the correct amount of liquid detergent; you may have a more serious clog that requires professional attention.
  • Once a month, apply Mr. Rooter’s drain care bacteria treatment to keep drains clean and clear.

Get the Plumbing Solution You Need for Slow Drains

If it seems like you are doing all the right things, and you are still concerned you may have a drain or pipe clog related to your washing machine or dishwasher, your friendly, local experts at Mr. Rooter Plumbing are here to help. We have experienced plumbers and state-of-the-art tools to solve even the most perplexing plumbing issues. Call us today or schedule an appointment online.