Alternatives to Laundry Detergent You Can Use in an Emergency

The last thing you want to worry about when washing a load of clothes is that you are out of laundry detergent. If you’re resourceful, you can come up with just enough detergent to wash the load you are working on. The following tips can help.

Rinse the Bottle

Put a little water in the bottle and shake it around a bit. Do this several times to ensure it’s rinsed out thoroughly, and you should have enough for a load.

Borax or Baking Soda

Borax and baking soda are both detergent boosters. Toss a half-cup of either one in the washer before you add the clothes and detergent. It will give the detergent the boost it needs to get your clothes as clean as possible.

Oxygen-Based Bleach

If you are completely out of laundry soap, use a half cup of oxygen-based bleach. Put the powder in the washer and start the water before you begin to add your clothes. This will ensure the powder dissolves and doesn’t leave any residue on your clothing.

Make Homemade Laundry Soap

If you have the time, homemade laundry soap is easy to make: mix baking soda, borax, washing soda, and a few bar soap shavings. Shave the bar soap, so it is very fine, and then mix all the ingredients.

Things You Should Never Use

There are several things that you should never put in your washer. They include:

  1. Automatic Dishwasher Detergent

    Automatic dishwasher detergent can be extremely harsh and may damage your clothing. It can also cause bleaching and leave residue on your clothing.

  2. Dishwashing Liquid, Bubble Bath, Body Wash, Shampoo

    These products produce excessive suds and lather. Even a small amount can produce enough bubbles to harm your machine’s electronics.

  3. Ammonia or Other Household Cleaners

    These cleaners will damage fabrics and fade colors. Different cleaners may also produce excessive suds that could damage your washer.

Alternatives for Hand-Washing Clothes

If you only need to wash a few items by hand, you have a few options to consider.

  1. Shampoo

    Baby shampoo is best. Make sure to use one that does not contain a conditioner. You will only need a small amount to clean a few small items. Using too much will produce too many suds.

  2. Bar Soap

    Bar soaps can also be used. Laundry bar soap is used to apply soap directly to stains. They can also be used to clean items if you lack other detergent options.

  3. Dishwashing Liquid

    Dishwashing liquid can be used only in the smallest amounts. They produce excessive suds and may be hard to rinse out. Avoid detergents that contain bleach or bleaching agents.

  4. Body Wash

    Choose a body wash or hand soap that does not have moisturizers. Only use a very small amount due to an excessive amount of sudsing.

If you need ideas on alternative detergent forms, you can contact the Fresh & Clean laundromat staff. We are laundry professionals and have many years of experience that we can use to guide you through even the most difficult laundry challenges.

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