What happens when you’re washing clothes without detergent? This might be because you’re trying to save money and create less waste, or maybe you have sensitivities to smells and chemicals.
There are several reasons you might not use detergent in your laundry. You may have forgotten to buy it, or you might be allergic to traditional brands and need something hypoallergenic instead. Or, maybe you’re looking for a more eco-friendly option.
If you wash your clothes without laundry detergent, they will be clean but tough stains and smells may remain. There are several additions you can make to hand or machine washing to help with this issue such as washing soda, borax, vinegar, vodka, lemon juice, and hydrogen peroxide. If you’re just doing some handwashing, common household products like dish soap, shampoo, body soap, or bubble baths can suffice.
4 Ways Washing Clothes Without Detergent
Did you know that instead of having to stop everything and go to the store, you can actually use household items you already have?
Use Baking Soda
If you need an extra boost for your laundry detergent, add half a cup of baking soda or borax. These products help to clean clothes even when there is low detergent.
It is essential that you add the dry product to the washer drum before adding detergent, your clothes, or water. If you don’t follow this step, the dry ingredient will not work as intended.
If you’re all out of laundry detergent, don’t worry–a full cup of baking soda or borax can work just as well for a normal-sized load. You might be surprised at how effective these simple household ingredients can be.
Remember that most stains will come out because of the water and agitation, not necessarily the detergent.
To get the best results when washing your clothes, pretreat stains before you start and use the warmest water temperature recommended for each garment. Pretreating is an especially great way to remove difficult or set-in stains.
Use Empty Bottle
You may be surprised to learn that your laundry detergent bottle or box isn’t really empty. Fill the empty container with warm water to see how much soap is still left.
Once you have filled it properly, shake it so the water and soap mix. Then, pour it into the washing machine drum. You should have enough to do an average-sized load of laundry that consists of your essential clothing items.
Another thing to take into account is that most of us utilize too much laundry detergent as it is. With a high-efficiency washer, you will need less and less detergent. In fact, all you need are two teaspoons of high-efficiency detergent for one load.
The critical cleaning factor for most washers is water agitation, which removes the majority of stains on your clothes. If you take care of spots before washing, the water will be more effective.
If you have a high-efficiency washing machine, be sure to follow the label guidelines on your clothes. Water temperature may not seem important, but if it’s too hot or cold, it can cause your clothing to fade and shrink.
Using an Oxygen-Based Bleach
If you’re running low on laundry detergent, a half-cup of oxygen bleach can help tide you over for a load or two. Simply add the powder to your washing machine before adding clothes or water. This will remove any dirt and grime from your clothing without having to make an immediate trip to the store.
This should only be used as a last resort. Oxygen-based bleach shouldn’t be used regularly because it isn’t recommended. When possible, get more detergent to prevent any issues from happening to your clothing.
Make Your Own Detergent
If you ever find yourself in a bind, don’t fret–you can always make your own household detergent. It’s not as complicated as it may seem, and all you need are some common household items. Plus, it’ll only take up a bit of your time.
With its low suds content, homemade laundry detergent is safe for both types of washing machines.
The ingredients you’ll need are probably already in your home: a bar of soap, or 1 cup soap flakes, baking soda, washing soda (sodium carbonate), borax, a cheese grater, and a resealable container.
Grate the bar of pure soap into a cup using your cheese grater. In a resealable, large container, mix together the soap flakes, baking soda, washing soda and borax. Add all ingredients to water and stir until liquified.
Washing soda is actually caustic to the skin and can cause irritation. To avoid any discomfort, be sure to wear gloves when you mix up the ingredients for this concoction.
After you mix the ingredients well, make sure to store your container in a dry place. You only need to use half a cup of the mixture per load when using a standard washing machine, and for high-efficiency machines, only two tablespoons are necessary.
If you can’t find washing soda at the store, don’t worry – you can make it from baking soda! Not only that, but this recipe can be easily doubled. Just make sure to keep everything in an air-tight container. You might want to consider storing smaller amounts closer to the machine for easy access. If you want your cleaning solution to be more potent, simply add more borax.
Homemade Liquid Detergent
It’s always better to have liquid laundry detergent on hand, especially in places with extremely cold water. This is because some powders can be difficult to dissolve and will just end up leaving clumps of soap on your clothes and in the washing machine.
By making your own liquid soap, you can avoid any potential irritation to your skin by fragrances or dyes.
In order to make this cleaning product, you will need the following items: a saucepan, baking soda, washing soda, soap flakes, a measuring cup, a cheese grater, borax and a container that can be resealed.
You will need to grate your bar of soap into the cup or use flakes if you have found them already. Much like making powdered detergent, add the grated flakes to a large saucepan with around four cups of water.
Stir the flakes and water mixture over medium-low heat until the soap has dissolved and is fully melted. Then, mix in the melted flakes, washing soda, baking soda, borax and hot water into your large container.
Washing soda is harsh on your skin and can cause irritations. Thus, it is important to wear rubber gloves while making the mixture so you don’t come in direct contact with it.
Once everything is in the resealable container, mix it together until the contents have completely dissolved. Trust that it has dissolved entirely before covering the container and letting sit overnight to thicken.
If you find yourself transferring your new laundry detergent directly from the large container to the washing machine, be sure to use only two tablespoons per load. This standard applies not only for high-efficiency washers but std Washing machines as well.
Making your own laundry soap is easier than you think, and can be done with just a few simple household ingredients. Just mix half liquid soap and half water in a small container, shake well, and use about a quarter cup for each load of laundry. You’ll save money and time by doing it yourself!
What Not to Use
It is essential to understand what you should never wash your clothes with before getting into how to wash your laundry without detergent.
The first is automatic dishwasher detergent. While you might think that the two smells or textures are pretty similar, they really are not. Most automatic dishwasher detergents contain ingredients that are way harsher than laundry detergent.
It is also not recommended that you use a dishwashing liquid, bubble bath, body wash, or shampoo to clean your clothes. Yeah, those things are meant to do cleaning all their own, but they are definitely not meant to clean clothes. Clothes have different tolerances that they can stand against wear and tear hostile conditions, and these kinds of soaps would wear them down too quickly.