Is It OK To Put The Dishwasher Tablet in The Cutlery Basket?

It may happen that the door of the detergent dispenser on your dishwasher malfunctions, breaks, or just gets stuck. Have you ever wondered whether you can put the dishwasher tab in the cutlery basket or other parts of the machine instead of the detergent compartment?

The purpose of my post is to find out whether it is a good idea to place the dishwasher detergent somewhere else instead of the dispenser,

You can place the dishwasher tablet directly before starting the machine into the cutlery basket for a cycle that does not have a prewash. If there is a pre-wash, wait until it is finished and then insert the tablet.

If the tablet dissolves and is drained with the water used for the pre-wash, there will not be enough detergent left for the main cycle. Thus, the dishwasher will not be able to sufficiently wash your dishes, and the dishwasher tab will also be wasted.

If your dishes are not overly soiled and you choose a cycle without prewashing, you can safely insert the tablet inside before starting the machine. The best place is at the bottom of the cutlery basket. However, you should be careful that the tab does not come into direct contact with kitchenware, as the harsh chemical content can damage them.

You can check which cycles are available in the user manual that came with your dishwasher. The water flow stops as soon as you open the dishwasher door during the cycle, so you don’t have to worry about it flooding your kitchen.

Dishwashers allow you to load extra dishes on the go. Using this function, you can also add the tab during the cycle.

Where is the best place to put a dishwasher tablet?

The best place to place the dishwasher tablet is the detergent dispenser on the dishwasher door. If it works properly, it is recommended that you use it as the manufacturer intended.


The door of the main detergent compartment must remain closed during the pre-wash. The pre-wash is used for the machine to rinse coarse dirt from the dishes, and then it drains this rinsing water.

Dishwasher tab in the detergent dispenser
The best place for the dishwasher tab is in the detergent dispenser located on the door.

Some dishwashers, especially older models, also have a separate detergent dispenser for the pre-wash. However, they are no longer included in most new-generation dishwashers, mainly due to the widespread use of convenient all-in-one tabs and pods.

At the beginning of the main wash cycle, fresh hot water flows into the dishwasher. In this phase, the door of the detergent dispenser opens so that the tab, pod, liquid, gel, or powder detergent may dissolve in the water.

However, it is possible that the door of the detergent compartment malfunctions and does not open at the right moment, or does not open at all. The question is whether you can still use the dishwasher by placing the detergent somewhere else.

The best solution would be to repair or replace the faulty detergent dispenser. In the meantime, you can safely put the tab inside the dishwasher, in the cutlery basket, or at the bottom of the machine.

What can cause the detergent dispenser to malfunction?

With a thorough examination, you can try to determine why the detergent dispenser does not work. If you are not sure, you can ask for the opinion of a professional.

  • The detergent dispenser unit on the dishwasher door may be cracked or broken, in which case the entire unit will usually need to be replaced.
  • If you see limescale or detergent residue build up around the dispenser door, it might just be stuck and it can become functional again if you clean it thoroughly.
How to clean the detergent dispenser door
  • The door of the detergent compartment opens with the help of a spring and a latch, so a failure of these can cause it to malfunction.
  • The wax motor is responsible for opening the dispenser at the right moment and releasing the detergent into the dishwasher. In the case of older models, a bi-metal switch unlocks the dispenser door. If the wax motor or the bi-metal switch is faulty, the detergent compartment will fail to open.
  • The control panel of the dishwasher controls all functions, so its failure can also cause the detergent dispenser not to open.

Final thoughts

So if for whatever reason, the detergent dispenser of your dishwasher is not working correctly, the best solution is to have it repaired, because that is the ideal place for the dishwasher detergent.

In the meantime, you can put the dishwasher tablet or pod in the cutlery basket. However, be sure to only do this after the pre-wash, during the main wash cycle, otherwise, your dishes may not come out clean.

You may also be interested to find out why are your dishes still greasy after the dishwasher.

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