If you want to spruce up your home with a fresh coat of paint, you must consider DIY drywall repairs.

You’ve probably heard that adding a bit of dish soap to the drywall mud can help it go on smoother and make it easier to apply. 

It may seem strange, but dish soap and drywall mud have much in common. However, is it true that you can add dish soap to it?

Adding dish soap to drywall mud makes it easier and smoother and reduces bubbles. The dish soap is a surfactant to break the mud surface tension. However, add a little, like a tablespoon, for a bucket of mud and mix it well to avoid damaging the drywall mud. Then you can add more as you see fit.

In this article, I’ll explain whether you can use dish soap in drywall joints and its role in the mud. I’ll further clarify whether or not your drywall mud is better with dish soap.

By the end, you’ll know whether or not to add dish soap to your drywall mud and the advantages and disadvantages of doing so.

Ready for a Drywall Quiz?

Why Do People Add Dish Soap to Drywall Mud?

Dish Soap in Drywall Mud

Dish soap in drywall mud has become famous for many homeowners, contractors, and professional drywallers. Dish soap has several advantages when added to drywall mud.

Here are some reasons people add dish soap to drywall mud:

  • For smooth coating
  • To reduce shrinkage
  • Sanding is easier
  • Reduced the drywall mud drying time
  • Increased mold resistance
  • Saves money
  • For the pleasant smell

#1. For Smooth Coating

Adding dish soap to drywall mud reduces the surface tension in it. Thereby allowing the mud to spread smoothly and evenly when you apply it to the wall.

As a beginner with less experience working on drywalls, adding soap to the mud makes your job easier, and you have a smooth finish.

#2. To Reduce Shrinkage

The dish soap in the mud removes the air pockets by acting as an adhesive, reducing the shrinkage and cracking when dried. 

It increases the bonding strength and improves the workability of the mud. It also reduces the possibility of bubbling and the mud’s drying time. 

#3. Sanding Is Easier

With the help of dish soap, the mud becomes smooth, and therefore you have less work to do in sanding the wall

After the wall dries after applying the drywall mud, there are fewer bumps in the wall to sand, saving you time.

#4. Reduce the Drywall Mud Drying Time

The soap also reduces the time it takes for the mud to dry, allowing you to move quickly to the next step in your project.

It saves you money on labor costs as you don’t have to spend on repair because of shrinkage or any other problem caused by long drying time.

#5. Increased Mold Resistance

Without adding water to the mud, molds, and mildew have no stickiness to cling to and grow on your drywall. 

The surfactants in the mud increase the resistance of your wall to mold and mildew.

#6. Saves Money

Instead of adding additives to your mud to increase its strength, dish soap is a cheaper and more effective alternative. Doing this will add durability and strength to your wall.

Dish soap makes your work faster in mixing the compounds, and you get to reduce your labor cost and time.

#7. For the Pleasant Smell

Dish soap has a pleasant smell, so when added to the drywall mud, it gives it that smell. So the wall smells nice while you work on it instead of the mud odor.

Should You Add Dish Soap to Your Drywall Mud?

The answer to this question depends on your individual needs. Some people like adding a few drops of dish soap to their drywall mud to make it easier to spread and help it stick better. 

The detergent also helps clean the finished product, making it less likely to crack.

However, dish soap can also weaken the strength of the mud. So if you want a stronger bond between the drywall and the tape or any other materials, consider omitting the dish soap.

If you decide to add dish soap, you should use only a few drops, as too much can cause problems with adhesion.

It is important to note that adding dish soap to your compound joint may make the job easier, but it is not compulsory. 

If you omit the dish soap, there are other ways to achieve the same results, such as thinning the mud or using an adhesive spray. 

Ultimately, the decision is up to you and will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

Is Dish Soap Necessary If You’re Going to Paint a Finished Drywall?

When painting drywall, dish soap isn’t necessarily necessary. However, adding a small dish soap can help the paint adhere better to the drywall surface. 

The detergent helps reduce the paint’s surface tension and creates a more uniform coating.

It’s important to note that too much dish soap can cause problems, as it can create an uneven and weak bond between the paint and drywall

Too much soap could also strip away some of the paint in certain areas. 

The best way to determine how much dish soap to use is to start with a minimal amount and gradually add more until you find the right balance.

While adding dish soap isn’t necessary when painting a finished drywall, it can be beneficial if used in moderation. 

If you use dish soap, test it on a small area before applying it to your entire drywall.

That way, you can avoid potential issues, such as spots where the paint won’t adhere or any other adverse effects.

Also, try not to mix different types of soaps or other chemicals, which can have adverse effects.

When using the soap-water solution, it’s essential to keep in mind that you should never pour the mixture directly onto the drywall. 

Instead, use a sponge or cloth to spread out the mixture evenly. It’s also wise to avoid soaking or wetting the drywall too much, as this can damage the wall’s structure over time.

Finally, once your project is complete and the paint has dried, don’t forget to clean up any remaining residue by rinsing off any leftover soap with warm water. 

Doing so will ensure no residue on the walls and interfere with the next coat of paint.

Is Drywall Mud with Dish Soap Better than Without?

The answer depends on what you’re trying to achieve. Adding dish soap to your drywall mud might be worth it if you want a smooth finish and can sacrifice some strength. 

The reduced surface tension will make it easier to spread and air bubbles less likely.

However, if you want a strong, durable wall that can withstand everyday wear and tear, you should skip dish soap. 

Drywall mud is already quite durable, and adding dish soap may weaken the wall’s structure. 

If you plan on painting your finished drywall, adding dish soap isn’t necessary either, as the paint will provide plenty of protection against wear and tear.

I’ll show you the pros and cons of adding dish wash so you can decide whether you want it in your drywall mud.

Here’s a table showing the pros and cons of adding dish soap to drywall mud.

The soap dish improves the adhesion to the surface.Excess soap can make it slippery.
It reduces sagging, shrinkage, or air bubbles in the wall.The paint residue can affect the adhesion.
It makes the mud easier and smoother to apply.You might need to try a few times before getting the correct quantity.

Sometimes, the dish soap you add to the drywall mud affects it, so how one type of soap works differs. So, try the soap on a small part before applying it to the whole wall.

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