Uses For Dishwasher Tablets: 8 Surprising Cleaning Hacks

Some of the many uses for dishwasher detergent tablets include cleaning outdoor furniture, cleaning and deodorizing trash cans, and removing coffee and tea stains from mugs and cups.

Surprisingly, there are plenty of other uses for dishwasher tablets beyond cleaning dirty dishes. But perhaps it shouldn’t be all that surprising, given that dishwasher tablets are designed to tackle hard water and remove stains and food residue. (Not to mention the way they make the inside of your dishwasher sparkle — it’s no substitute for actually cleaning your dishwasher, but still!) 

And although I’ve shared about using dish soap in the dishwasher, things you should know about your dishwasher and a printable list of dishwasher do’s and don’ts, as well as identified 19 things you can clean in your dishwasher, I haven’t focused much on dishwasher tablets specifically. But that’s about to change!

Regular readers of this blog will know how much I enjoy sharing unusual uses for ordinary household items, so it only makes sense that I would be curious about alternative ways to use dishwasher tablets. That’s exactly what you’ll find in the list below!

Be sure to use the dishwasher tablets for these chores, not the pods with liquid in them.

Note: These are uses for dishwasher detergent tablets, not pods. Tablets are made from powdered detergent, while pods or pacs are partly or entirely liquid. Liquid pods can be finicky (see the top dishwasher pod mistake for more on that), and they aren’t well-suited for the tips listed below.

8 Surprising Things You Can Clean With A Dishwasher Tablet

Use a dishwasher tablet to clean the inside of your oven door. Be sure to wear gloves!

1. Get Grime Off Your Oven Door 

Cleaning your oven door with a dishwasher tablet is a snap, and all you need to do it is a dishwasher tablet, warm water, and a few cleaning cloths. (Oh, and be sure to wear gloves when handling dishwasher tablets — that goes for all the tips in this post!)

Drop a dishwasher tablet in the warm water for a moment or two to soften the edges, then use it to scrub the stains on the inside of your oven door, including the glass. As the tablet starts to crumble, use the crumbly bits to get into the corners. Once you’re satisfied, use a wet cloth to wipe away the detergent residue and the loosened grime. (You can use the remainder of the tab to spot clean the inside of the oven, too.)

Use a dishwasher tablet to clean the brown stains off your Pyrex cookware.

2. Get Pyrex Sparkling Clean

I love my Pyrex baking dishes, but I don’t love the brown spots and stains they acquire that I can’t seem to get off of them. Luckily, I learned you can clean Pyrex with hot water and a dishwashing tablet, and in much the same way as cleaning your oven door! 

If your Pyrex pans are in really bad shape, try soaking them in very hot water with either a crumbled tablet or powdered dish detergent. Let them soak for several hours, then scrub with another tablet and the stains should come right off!

Dishwasher tablets are great for scrubbing stained sinks.

 3. Scrub Your Sink With A Detergent Tablet

Got a mess in your kitchen sink? Don your rubber gloves and attack the grease and grime with a sponge and a dishwasher tab. Just wet the sink, then rub a tablet on the sides and bottom of the sink to remove soap scum, hard water stains, and other messes. Rinse and dry the sink, and it will look good as new!

(While you could theoretically use a dishwasher tablet to clean a shower as well, that would be mighty tedious! There are easier ways to clean a shower, so save the tablets for spot cleaning and smaller jobs!)

Use a dishwasher tablet and boiling water to clean scorched or burnt pans.

4. Clean Up Burned Pots And Pans

Even the most competent cooks among us have accidentally scorched a pan once or twice, and we all know how tough those stains can be! Instead of spending hours scrubbing and scraping the mess, use a dishwasher tab and boiling water to clean burned pots and pans overnight!

Drop half a tablet in the pot, add some water, and bring it to a boil. Turn off the heat and let the pot or pan sit overnight, and in the morning, the loosened gunk should be easy to clean up.

You can easily remove coffee and tea stains with a dishwasher tablet.

5. Scrub Away Coffee Stains

Removing coffee and tea stains from the inside of cups and mugs is easy with a dishwasher tablet, and you don’t have to worry about scratching the surface of the ceramic. Gently rub a damp dishwasher tablet on the inside of the mug until the stains disappear.

Some of the many uses for dishwasher detergent tablets include cleaning outdoor furniture, cleaning and deodorizing trash cans, and removing coffee and tea stains from mugs and cups.

6. Clean Trash Cans Effortlessly

Wondering how to clean a stinky trash can? Drop a dish tablet or two into the trash can, then fill it with hot water and let it soak for at least 30 minutes. Afterward, carefully dump out the water, then rinse and dry completely before adding a clean trash bag. 

Pop a dishwasher tablet in the toilet and clean the rest of the bathroom while it dissolves. Then a quick brushing will have the toilet bowl sparkling.

7. Make Toilet Bowls Sparkle

For many homemakers, cleaning the toilet is the cleaning task they dread most of all. To make that chore a whole lot easier, pop a dishwasher tablet in the toilet and let it dissolve while you clean the rest of the bathroom. Once the tab has dissolved, give it a quick scrub with your toilet brush to leave your toilet sparkling clean.

Use dishwasher tablets to attack the bird mess, mold, and dirt on your outdoor furniture.

8. Clean Your Outdoor Furniture

Between pollen, bird poop, and general dirt and debris, outdoor furniture can get grimy in a hurry! Before your next backyard hangout, grab a dishwasher tablet and use it to clean up your outdoor furniture. Use it like a scouring pad to get your outdoor furniture clean and ready for company!

There are so many uses for dishwasher detergent tabs!

BONUS: Can Dishwasher Tablets Clear Your Drains?

Since dishwasher tablets are designed to break down grease, a common culprit when it comes to clogged drains, you may wonder whether you could use them to unclog drains. While I think you’d be better off using something like Dawn dish soap to prevent clogs from forming, a dishwasher tablet and some boiling water might help clear an existing clog. (I haven’t had the chance to try it — if you decide to give it a try, be sure to let me know how it goes!)

Who knew dishwasher tablets were so versatile? :-) I wouldn’t be surprised if these useful cleaning tips inspired you to whip up a batch of homemade dishwasher tablets, which are simple to make using homemade dishwashing detergent powder).

What other dishwasher tablet tips would you add to this list?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


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  1. For drain clogs, I prefer NOT to use Drano, etc. but have found that pouring 1/2 box baking soda down the drain; then pour vinegar over it. It will froth so go slowly and soon drain runs clear. Rinse with cool water-Works every time! (Even after sweet potato skins!)

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  2. Can you use them for cleaning your garbage disposal?

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    • I wouldn’t recommend them for this use. I suggest you make ice cubes made from vinegar and lemon pieces. These work great and remove odors as well.

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  3. A little bit of salt with remove coffee or tea stains on your tea or coffee cups as will Dawn with a dishcloth. I was using Dawn on clogged drains but have found that regular hand soap or other cheaper dish soaps also work just as well. Just make sure the water is hot when you put that down the drain. Dawn has gotten expensive here and cutting some corners are necessary at times. I do purchase when on sale as I do like Dawn better.

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    • That’s why I always stock up when Sam’s club has Dawn discounted on their Instant Savings..

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  4. #3 And that’s why you want a stainless steel sink. #4 I find that soaking a pan that has something burned on with hot water and Dawn works great and quickly, and certainly costs less than wasting a dishwasher tablet. #5 Again, Dawn and a 3M scrubby sponge gets them clean for a fraction of the cost of a dishwasher tablet. My wifes cups always end up with stains from her chai tea that even the dishwasher won’t remove, but the Dawn and sponge make short work of them.And as for drains, I had a shower drain that was running slow and finally plugged up. Hot water and Dawn, let it sit over night, and just like that the clog was gone. Will most likely work just as well on other drains. Your dishwasher should be keeping youir kitchen sink clean unless you aren’t using the heat boosters on the machine.

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  5. Tea stains are harder to clean off a mug than coffee stains. I find that if I have a cup of coffee with milk, it helps to loosen the tea stains. Failing that, when soaking dishcloths in Vanish or bleach, add the stained cup to the solution. Wash as normal after the soak and all the stains will come off. I drink green tea without milk, so it may be a different problem than for someone who adds milk to their tea.

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  6. Could you use a dishwasher tablet to clean the oven by placing it in a bowl of boiling water and having the oven at a high temperature – so no actual scrubbing?

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  7. I saw the toilet cleaner hack. Can this work to get some of the yucky crusty stuff off when you lift the seat.? We tried things and haven’t had much success.

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    • I think it would work. Give it a try and let me know how it works out. :-)

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  8. Thanks for these! My oven door is getting hard to see through, so that’s the first one I’ll be trying out.

    The easiest way to clean coffee and tea stains is to drop a denture cleaning tab in the cup filled with water before bed. When you get up in the morning, wipe away any remaining stains and rinse well.

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