How to make the best laundry detergent substitute
You’ve stacked your dirty clothes and now when you pull on those decade-old sweatpants tucked into the back of your dresser, you realize it’s really time to do your laundry.
Reaching out for your detergent when you suddenly find yourself running out of detergent. While you can wait for your nearest grocery store to be back in stock, you may not have to wear clothes that clean again.
Fortunately, you are not without a solution – and we mean that literally. Many household items can turn into detergent substitutes that function perfectly if necessary.
Neither of these recipes should be a long-term solution, but they are safe to use in your washing machine for now.
1. Mix it with good old baking soda
Photo credit: Getty Images / ThamKC
When you combine baking soda with other ingredients like washing soda and bars of soap, you get a much stronger wash that is on par with your regular laundry detergent.
In addition to deodorizing your sneakers and freshening up your carpet, baking soda can be a simple, yet effective alternative to laundry detergent. Very gentle, suitable for sensitive skin, but it also removes harsh odors from the fabric.
Use baking soda in moderate amounts and be careful with subtleties as it can wear away certain fabrics like wool and silk. One cup of baking soda per large load of laundry should be enough.
2. White vinegar has additional benefits
Another option for sensitive skin or if you just prefer a chemical-free solution, distilled white vinegar is a viable detergent substitute. Don’t worry – vinegar doesn’t stink in your clothes. After washing, your clothes are completely odorless.
A warning: do not pour the vinegar directly on clothing as this can cause staining. Instead, add half a cup of distilled white vinegar to a cup of water before throwing it in the washing machine.
Aside from keeping clothes clean, there are some great benefits to using distilled white vinegar in your laundry: It can help loosen soap residue that has built up on clothes and towels over time. it can remove stains pretty well; It can also be used as a pre-treatment for clothing. Dilute a cup of vinegar with a gallon of water and let it soak overnight.
3. Boost your laundry with a borax solution
We saw what borax and some other useful ingredients can do in pulling your laundry. Because of this, borax is a decent detergent substitute. While borax is a good sidekick for laundry detergents, it can be used to loosen stains and whiten clothes themselves.
When you have them, adding a few other ingredients makes borax a lot more effective in washing. 20 Mule team recommends making a borax solution to enhance laundry by adding a tablespoon of borax and two cups of hot water to a sealable container.
Mix the solution and add it to the laundry as a laundry booster – or in this case, instead of the detergent when you’re gone.
4. Hand wash with shampoo or body wash
Photo credit: Getty Images / Mukhina1
A fragrance-free, gentle body wash or shampoo formula works well for hand washing clothes. While you get a fresh clean, it’s not as effective at removing stains. So be sure to treat it with a different stain removal method or product.
If you are really in need and you don’t mind washing a few items of clothing by hand to get them clean, grab some of these products that you can find in your shower.
Make sure you use a gentle formula as products with additives and moisturizers can prevent a good wash. Baby shampoo or body wash works well if you are a parent and already have it on hand. If you don’t, a gentle body wash or shampoo with basic ingredients will do.
Fill a large tub with warm water and soak your clothes, towels, or other dirty laundry. Add a small portion of shampoo to the water, lather and add more if needed. Rinse completely with warm or cold water and throw in the dryer or let hang dry.
5. Make your own powder detergent with a bar of soap
You read that right – you can make your own laundry detergent at home.
For a washing powder, this recipe from DIY Natural is free of any additive chemicals.
Take some fragrance-free soap and rub it into a large bowl. From there, add a cup of borax and a cup of washing soda – much like baking soda, washing soda is a granular powder that can be used to thoroughly clean soiled fabrics and laundry. If you don’t have washing soda on hand, you can also bake your own batch with baking soda you already have.
Thoroughly stir your borax and washing soda mixture for five minutes. Use a tablespoon per normal load or two for heavily soiled clothing.
6. DIY a liquid detergent with dish soap
You can also make liquid laundry detergent by thinking outside the box.
One Good Thing recommends mixing half a cup each of borax, washing soda, and liquid dish soap in a large pitcher. Add four cups of hot (not boiling as this can accidentally melt your container) water to allow the ingredients to dissolve, then fill the rest of the container with cold water.
Shake before each use and use a quarter cup for each large load of laundry.
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