Substitute For Laundry Detergent – What Can You Use?

substitute for laundry detergent

Have you ever faced a situation where you have run out of your laundry detergent? Let us be real, almost all of us have faced it, and we often need a quick solution to wash the dirty clothes. Rather than running to the store, you can use some other products that are almost always present at your home. So, I thought of giving you a list that will help you to get out of such an emergency or will also help you if you were looking for alternatives. So what is the best substitute for laundry detergent?

In the end, laundry detergent is nothing but a chemical composition that helps to clean your dirty clothes effectively. This isn’t something new as it has been known that even the Egyptians used such a home-brewed product for cleaning. They mainly became popular in the markets in the 1950s, and since then the product is available in different forms like powders, pods, and liquids.

Emergency Substitute for Laundry Detergent

Baking Soda

baking soda

If you notice that you are out of laundry detergent, then definitely search for your stock of baking soda. Baking soda is a product that can help to clean multiple things, including our teeth and hair. So, you can easily use it as a replacement for detergent. It can be used for both the purpose of hand washing the clothes or even in the washing machine. Baking soda cleans the clothes well. Also, baking soda gets into tough stains and breaks them so that it gets out of the clothes. It effectively gets rid of pungent odors. To make the clothes even cleaner, try to use warm water when you use baking soda. This is an effective method not only for emergency purposes but also for any time when you want to get extremely clean clothes.

Powdered Oxygen Bleach

powdered oxygen bleach

Most of the people have powdered oxygen bleach at their home as an easy way to remove tough stains from their clothes. They work on the stains and do not cause any harm to the clothes. So, if you run out of your laundry detergent, then you can use this as an alternative. There is one bonus effect of using powdered oxygen bleach – it gets rid of the germs and bacteria’s present in the clothes. It is even great for cleaning baby clothes. It isn’t hard for clothes, and so your clothes will be very safe. This can also be used in washing machines as well as for hand washing the clothes.



We use it on our hair, but it is quite effective as a way to clean our clothes. You must have noticed that shampoo lathes pretty well and so you can be sure that it will get rid of the dirt and grime present in your clothes. If you are thinking of its harshness, then go for gentler shampoos found in the form of baby shampoos, or if you have organic shampoo, then it will work magically as well. We will mainly recommend the shampoo for hand washing your clothes. If you are using it in your washing machine, then do not use more than 2-3 teaspoons of the shampoo for a full load. You can add more if you are hand washing your clothes.

Bar Soap


bar soap

All of us have bar soaps available with us at all times. They are made with a gentle formula so that they do not dry out our skin. So, if you find yourself to be out of detergent, then do not fret and use your bar soap instead. A tip is to great an amount of the bar soap so that it can easily mix with the water to form the lather which will clean the clothes. A plus point of using bar soap is that the clothes will smell amazing once you have dried them. While choosing the bar of soap to go for the most basic one present at your home rather than the fancy ones as the oils present in them can leave stains on the clothes.

Body Wash or Hand Wash

hand wash

These days’ body wash gels or creams, and hand washes are quite popular and are present in almost all households. So, people who want quick solutions for cleaning their clothes can make use of them. But they should always keep the amount to a minimum as they lather a lot while it is being used in laundry machines. They can also use them if they are handwashing clothes. These also smell nice and will make the clothes soft and supple. But do not add any body wash that has added moisturizer or oils in them, so keep it away from any unnecessary stains.

Natural Substitutes to Detergents

These days more and more people are getting aware of the harsh chemicals that are being used in their choice of detergent. So, they are looking to go back in time when people used to use more natural substances to clean their clothes. People may think that it is very hard to find them, but in reality, most of them are already present in every house. So, let us see some of the natural options for substitutes of detergents:



Are you a fan of eating Asian cuisines or like to pickle things? If yes, then you will most probably have a bottle of white vinegar at your home. Other than cooking, vinegar is a substance that can be easily used for cleaning purposes of numerous things. It acts a disinfectant in many cases, and so it is apt if you use it as a laundry detergent. Just add it in your laundry when you are washing your clothes in the machine or even at the times when you hand wash them. Vinegar will get rid of all the bad smells and residues that are present on the clothing item. It also leaves the laundry soft and can take the place of laundry softeners quite easily. Stay away from dark vinegar and also that vinegar that has added color to them as they can stain the clothes.

Soap nuts

soap nuts

If you are looking to move on to a healthier alternative than the chemical-laden laundry detergent, then soap nuts are a great thing to adapt in your lives. It is one of the oldest forms of cleaning agents that have been used in India and China for a long time. In the West, one can easily find it online or even in the Asian or Indian grocery stores. It is a way through which one can clean their clothes as well as their hair and use it as a body wash. For cleaning clothes, all they have to do is fill small cotton baggy with some soap nuts and then chuck it in the laundry machine along with the clothes. It is recommended to use warm water so that the soap nuts can lather well to clean the clothes. They are harmless and can be used for baby clothes as well.

Lemon Juice

lemon juice

Most homes will have lemon or lime at their homes. To wash the clothes, all a person needs to do is freshly squeeze them well from some limes and lemons and then use it to clean the clothes. It is a great agent for getting off any tough stains that have been on the clothes for a long time. If you have to wash white clothes, then add lemon to it as it can work as an agent that will brighten them. You can also add salt and lemon juice to make a mixture and then wash the clothes either in the laundry or by your hands. Do not use the store bought pre-squeezed lemon juice or concentrates as they often have artificial colors added to them.

Easy Tip

If you have just realized that you are out of liquid detergent, then do not panic as of yet. One of the easiest things that you can do is to add a little amount of water to the bottle of the liquid detergent and then shake it well so that the water reaches every corner. When you open the cap of the bottle, you will notice that it has lathered well. A lot of the liquid detergent stick to the walls of the bottle that we overlook when we throw the bottle away. Utilizing this method can give you two more cycles of wash after the detergent has over.

So, here are some of the substances that you may use as an alternative to the liquid detergent that you generally use to clean the clothes. They will make no difference even they do not lather as well as your usual brand. We hope that you will have good experience washing clothes with these options. Now, we have prepared you to tackle emergencies when you run out of laundry detergent at your home. Also, the natural options are great for those people who want to move on from usual detergents and use more eco-friendly options.