If you have sensitive skin, using a strong washing detergent may cause blisters in your hands. The solution: find ways how to wash clothes without detergent.
Fortunately, there are alternatives for a washing detergent that you can use. Check what products are available and choose what will suit you best.
Baking soda is a reliable home product that you can trust when cleaning. Aside from its low price, it doesn’t have any strong chemicals that damage your clothes. You can combine it with other natural products like lemon juice.
This product is a pure alkaline that can dissolve organic compounds. Because of this, it is considered an effective stain remover. As a reminder, though, don’t use too much baking soda if you don’t like to wear clothes that smell like salt.
What to do
To start, pretreat the stains on the clothes by applying baking soda paste to the affected area. Once you are done, fill your washer with hot water.
The warmest temperature of the water will help dissolve the stains faster. It can also kill the bacteria in your clothes. Add 1 cup of baking soda, then do your laundry as usual.
If you only use baking soda as an alternative for your detergent, you should prepare 1 cup of it. But if you are planning to mix it with other home products, then prepare ¼ cup of baking soda.
Who would have thought that the vodka in your pantry is an alternative for laundry detergent? If you have stenchy clothes, a cup of vodka can eliminate the pungent smell.
Since vodka is solvent, it is safer to use on your white clothes than colored ones. It can cause discoloration if applied.
Amazingly, vodka can also freshen up your work clothes and even your stenchy sneakers. Why don’t you give it a try?
What to do
If your clothes are smelly, get rid of the foul odor by soaking your clothes in a basin with water and one cup of vodka. Do this for 60 minutes. Once done, proceed to wash your clothes.
In a washer filled with water, pour one cup of vodka. Do your regular laundry. To eliminate the smell of vodka, dry your clothes under the sun. You can also apply some essential oils.
A spritz of vodka is also helpful if you don’t have the time to wash your smelly clothes. Put a small amount of vodka and spray it all over your clothes. Wait for the vodka to dry. Once it evaporates, your clothes will become odorless.
Because it is acetic, white vinegar is 80 percent effective in killing germs. Although not as effective as detergents, this home product can still help you.
It can eliminate different kinds of stains. Are you worried about the smell it could leave on your clothes? You don’t need to! Once it dries up, the smell of the vinegar will also disappear.
Although it is natural, you should consider combining vinegar with other products. Since it is acetic acid, it can react when combined with alkaline substances. It would be best if you never mixed it with bleach, castile soap, lye, and hydrogen peroxide.
What to do
Fill your washer with warm water for the best result. Instead of pouring out laundry detergent, put a ½ cup of distilled white vinegar. Do your laundry as you usually would.
Once you are done, dry the clothes under the sun. The sun’s heat will help eliminate the odor of the vinegar quicker.
If you are dealing with colored clothes, make a spot test first. Dab a tiny amount of white vinegar to the unnoticeable part of the garment. Leave it for an hour, then check if it resulted in any discoloration.
Do you have lots of lemons in your fridge? Squeeze the juice out of your lemons and use it as an alternative for your laundry detergent. With its acidic properties, lemon juice can remove stains from your clothes.
Aside from that, it can also eliminate foul odors. If you are not a fan of bleach, you can use lemon juice as an alternative.
You don’t also have to worry about squeezing lemon juice on your colored clothes. Although it is acidic, it does not cause any discoloration. In contrast, it helps in brightening colored garments. It is also a good solution for rust stains.
What to do
Fill your washer with water. Once done, squeeze a ½ cup of lemon juice for your regular size load.
You can also add ½ cup of baking soda if you need to remove stubborn stains. Do your regular laundry. Don’t forget to air-dry your clothes once you are done washing them.
A soap bar is also a good alternative for detergent if you opt to hand-wash your clothes. Aside from its mild properties, it is also effective in removing stains like blood.
However, choose a soap with no oils or skin softeners. This kind of soap can cause spots on your clothes. Also, you should never use bar soap on your washer. It would be difficult to get rid of suds that can damage your washer. If you want to machine-wash, try other options.
As a warning, don’t put too much soap on your laundry since the clothes would be very itchy to wear.
What to do
Shred some part of the soap using your vegetable peeler. Melt the shreds by soaking them in hot water. If you need to remove some stains, rub the soap on the affected area, then soak them in a basin filled with hot water.
Wash your clothes using your hands, then rinse them multiple times. Hang the clothes on your clothesline or drying rack. In cleaning your basin, use cold water to remove the soap residue right away.
As you know, dish liquid is an effective stain remover. It can do a lot of wonders when breaking down stubborn stains. But like other soapy home products, you should not use it on your washer. Once you have ruined your washer using dish liquid, your warranty will be void.
If you want to put dish liquid on your colored clothes, avoid any bleaching properties. Using the wrong dish liquid will result in the discoloration of your colored clothes.
What to do
In a basin full of water, pour one to three tablespoons of dishwashing liquid, depending on how large the load is. You can also add 1 cup of vinegar to make the fabrics softer. Next, hand-wash your clothes. Rinse them using cold water and dry them under the sun.
A gentle shampoo can be an alternative for a laundry detergent for hand-washing. However, it is not advisable to use for machine-washing since it can leave suds on your washer that can damage it.
You may also find it difficult to remove the bubbles even after multiple rinse cycles. Also, don’t combine shampoo with your conditioner or any hair-coloring products.
Using shampoo as an alternative for detergent does not cause discoloration. As a reminder, check first if the shampoo doesn’t have any strong chemicals in it since it may damage your clothes.
What to do
Fill a large basin with water. If you don’t have a large basin, you can also use your bathtub as an alternative. Next, put shampoo on a small cap, then pour it into your basin or bathtub.
Wash the clothes using your hands. To remove the bubbles, rinse the clothes several times. Air-dry them once you are finished.
Chemicals to Avoid Using in your Laundry
Ammonia effectively removes stains but don’t use it as a detergent substitute. If combined with other chemicals, it may release toxic fumes that are dangerous to health.
Also, accidentally spilling ammonia on yourself may cause skin irritation. Or worse, you can have severe injury or burns if the chemical is high in concentration.
A dishwasher detergent is one of the most toxic cleaning supplies. Its components are more dangerous compared to ordinary laundry detergents.
It can also cause discoloration to the colored clothes and weaken the fibers of the garments. In addition to that, it can irritate your skin if some residues are still on the clothes.
Learning how to wash clothes without detergent is useful. It is a good solution if your skin gets easily irritated with laundry detergents.
Aside from their natural properties, these products are less costly and easy to find. Using these products as alternatives in your detergent is also more environmentally friendly.
Jessica Oliver is a fashion enthusiast with more than ten years of experience in the industry. She previously managed her own clothing store in New York before becoming a mother of three. With a passion for sustainability and a desire to share clothing care and recycling tips.