How to make the best laundry liquid and powder substitutes

Recommendations are independently selected by the editors of Reviewed. Purchases made through our links can earn us a commission.

You’ve left your dirty clothes piling up and now when you put on those decade-old tracksuits tucked in the back of your closet, you realize it’s really time to do your laundry.

Reaching out for your laundry detergent when you suddenly find yourself running out of all of the detergent liquid or powder. While you can wait for your nearest grocery store to get back in stock, you may not have to wear such clean clothes 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 soda bicarbonate
By combining soda bicarbonate with other ingredients like soda crystals and bar of soap, you get a much stronger wash that is on par with your regular washing liquid. Photo credit: Getty Images / ThamKC

In addition to deodorizing your sneakers and freshening up your carpet, bicarbonate from soda can be a simple yet effective alternative to laundry detergent or powder. Very gentle, suitable for sensitive skin, but it also removes harsh odors from the fabric.

Use only soda bicarbonate in moderate amounts and be careful with subtleties as it can wear away certain fabrics like wool and silk. One cup of bicarb 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, white vinegar (or regular distilled vinegar, if necessary) 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 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 white vinegar when washing: It can help loosen any 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 about 4.5 liters of water and leave to soak overnight.

3. Boost your wash with borax substitutes

We saw what borax substitutes (sodium sesquicarbonate) and some other beneficial ingredients can do in pulling your laundry. Because of this, borax substitute is a decent detergent substitute. While it’s a good buddy for laundry detergent, it can be used to loosen stains and whiten clothes on their own.

If you have them, adding a few other ingredients to the borax substitute will make the wash a lot more effective at washing. Make your own laundry boosting solution by adding a tablespoon of borax substitute 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
The Mail: 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.  Photo credit: Getty Images / Mukhina1A fragrance-free, gentle body wash or a shampoo are good 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. Photo credit: Getty Images / Mukhina1

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 washing powder with a bar of soap

You read that right – you can make your own washing powder 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 substitute and a cup of soda crystals – pretty much similar to soda bicarbonate. Soda crystals are a granular powder that helps to thoroughly clean dirty fabrics and laundry.

Stir your borax substitute and soda crystal mixture thoroughly for five minutes. Use a tablespoon per normal load or two for heavily soiled clothing.

6. DIY a washing liquid with dish soap

You can also make liquid laundry detergent by thinking outside the box.

In a large jug, mix half a cup each of the borax substitute, soda crystals, and dish soap. 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.

Reviewed’s product experts have all of your shopping needs covered. Follow Reviewed on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest deals, product reviews and more.

Prices were correct as of the time of this writing, but may change over time.

Comments are closed.