Can You Do Laundry Without Detergent? (FOUR ALTERNATIVES)

Detergent is an everyday cleaning product. It helps remove stubborn stains while keeping clothes fresh.

It’s made of powerful chemicals that break down dirt particles from the fabric.

Therefore, making cleaning easy.

For many people, detergent is a must-have when doing laundry. But, do you always need it?

Hence, Can You Do Laundry Without Detergent?

Yes. You can do laundry without detergent. Note that detergent is only added to help remove dirt and stubborn stains from clothes. But clothes you have worn only for a day or a short period might not be that dirty. Plain water should be fine. Even if you are machine washing, don’t worry. Your washer will be fine. Modern machines are designed to work without detergent.

Should You Go Without Detergent?

Apart from removing dirt, laundry detergent also helps keep the clothes smelling fresh. If you form a no detergent habit, your clothes might have a permanent smell.

Remember that you can’t always see dirt, grease, and sweat.

But when these stains build up gradually in your clothes, they set in permanently. In this case, even detergent cannot remove them.

Plus, when unseen bacteria remain in the fabric and build up, it can lead to a pungent smell and cause skin irritation.

What If You Forget to Put Detergent in Your Washer?

Most of us know that detergent is essential when doing laundry.

But let’s face it. Sometimes, you may find that you desperately need to clean your clothes, and you don’t have detergent.

In that case, you may wonder whether you can run a load in your washer without detergent.

The good news is that cleaning clothes in the washing machine without detergent doesn’t seem to have any risk.

So long as the clothes are not heavily soiled, you should have perfectly clean clothes when the cycles finish.

If the laundry is partially dirty, you may not even remember that you didn’t use detergent.

But, if you take a closer look, you may realize that your clothes don’t have the fresh smell that the detergent offers.

Sometimes the laundry may look clean and smell fresh at first. But after a while, it’s not uncommon for odors to resurface.

Additionally, you should not make it a habit to use your washer without detergent.

This is especially true when washing heavily soiled clothes as they can contaminate the entire laundry load.

And if the stain is from paint, it can spread to other garments if it is still fresh.

If you wash heavily stained clothes in the washing machine without laundry, please remember to remove and dry them as soon as possible so that they don’t develop a pungent smell.

Do You Need to Rewash Clothes If You Forgot to The Detergent?

If you load clothes in the washer without detergent, they will still be clean after a complete cycle using only water.

But, please note that the term “clean” here is relative.

Plus, even if yours appear clean, you might not be satisfied like when using a detergent.

It’s also wise to note that detergent removes bacteria from your clothes, which, if left, can build up and cause skin irritation and odor on your clothes.

For these reasons, you may wonder whether you should rewash your laundry. Well, that depends on various factors.

If you’re satisfied that your clothes are clean and don’t have any odor, you don’t need to rewash them. But please remember that this should not be a once in a while thing.

If you’re not satisfied with the look and smell of your clothes, it doesn’t hurt to rewash them, especially if they were heavily soiled or you wear the clothes in places where odor can be embarrassing, like in your office or a formal social gathering.

What Can You Do If You Don’t Have Detergent?

If you must wash your clothes and don’t have detergent, you can explore various detergent alternatives.

But, this will depend on whether you are machine washing or hand washing. If you are using a washer, here are some other options to try:

1. Use Baking Soda or Laundry Borax

If you are only remaining with a small amount of detergent, you can make it useful by adding ½ a cup of borax or baking soda.

These products will boost your detergent, making it enough to clean your laundry.

But, please put the dry products in the washer first, then add your remaining detergent and clothes. Then add water to the drum.

Please follow these steps strictly for the dry product to work effectively.

If you don’t have any detergent at all, you can still use the products on their own, only that you will use a full cup for an average size laundry load.

2. Make Use of Your Empty Bottle/Box

If you haven’t disposed of your laundry detergent bottle/box, it may be of use now.

You might think that you have exhausted all the detergent, but there is a chance that you may be wrong.

In that case, fill the bottle or box with some water.

Then shake it properly to allow the water and soap to fuse.

After, empty the mixture into your washer drum. You should have enough detergent to clean an average load size.

3. Try Oxygen Based Bleach

This should be the last resort when you don’t have detergent. Remember that you’re not supposed to use any product with ammonia in your washer.

But an oxygen-based bleach is different.

Add a cup of this bleach to your washer drum (please ensure it is empty). Then add your laundry and water and run the cycle.

4. Make Your Own Detergent

If the above tips don’t work for you and you don’t feel like taking a trip to the grocery store, this could be an excellent option.

Making your detergent is not even hard, provided you have time and the needed items.

Homemade detergents are cheap and safe to use both on your hands and washer.

You need a bar of soap or a cup of soap flakes, washing soda, also called sodium carbonate, borax, baking soda, a measuring cup, a cheese grater, and a sealable container.

Thankfully, most of these items can be easily found in most homes.

Start by grating your bar soap using the cheese grater.

In a large container, put the other ingredients and mix the concoction thoroughly. You may want to use gloves since washing soda can irritate the skin.

You only need half a cup of this mixture when washing your load in the washing machines. But if you have a high-efficiency washer, two tablespoons are enough.

Please, please do not use these products in your clothes washer no matter what;

  • Automatic dishwasher detergent
  • Dishwashing liquid, body wash, bubble bath, or shampoo
  • Ammonia or household cleaners.

But if you are handwashing, they will be great alternatives.

Final Thoughts

If you are out of detergent, there are many alternatives you can use.

Choose one depending on your washing method.

So, the next time you’re out of laundry, don’t fret, provided you have the ingredients above.