Do you need detergent to wash clothes?

A detergent is a surfactant or a mixture of surfactants. The presence of these surfactants helps detergent to reduce water’s surface tension, especially when utilized in low concentration, improving its ability to perform a host of things, such as wetting and permeating through different clothes fibers. The surfactants are also responsible for helping water break the molecule of grease, washing it away from different surfaces.

There are lots of benefits attached to using detergents for laundry. First, it has calcium and magnesium – they form the builders that soften water and make detergent more efficient for washing. Furthermore, unlike soaps, detergents are also very effective in hard water. But here’s a question, is it important to wash clothes with detergents?

If you want to remove stains and smell from your clothes, you need detergents to wash them. However, in a situation where there’s no detergent, you can still rely on the agitation of your washing machine and water to do the job. Besides, there are natural ways of washing clothes that don’t require the use of detergent.

Do you need detergent to wash clothes
Do you need detergent to wash clothes

Irrespective of what you love to use, be it powdered or liquid detergents, the truth remains that most of us take them for granted. But here’s a question, what happens when you run out of them, you need to wash your clothes, and you’re stuck at home with no option to get new ones anytime soon? In the rest of this article, we’ll be further sharing with you everything that you need to know about how to wash your clothes without detergents.

Is It OK To Wash Clothes Without Detergent?

Let’s face it! It’s not okay to wash your clothes without detergents. This is even worse if you’re not making use of laundry detergent alternatives. You’ll end up getting a cloth that’s a little bit clean – all thanks to the agitation of your washing machine and water. Furthermore, if the water is hard, you’ll end up getting stiff clothes when they are dry.

It’s worth noting that water has high surface tension, and this contributes to its poor wetting capability. Also, without the help of surfactant, which is a component of detergent, it becomes pretty hard to wash clothes and get rid of stubborn stains like grease and odors on them using water alone.

However, it’s worth noting that there are many cases when it’s okay to wash your clothes without detergents. One of them is when you’re stuck at home without detergents, and you need to wash your clothes. In this case, you’ll have to make use of other laundry detergent alternatives (check the next section to see them), in order to break the stains and odors attached to your dirty clothes. 

Some of the ingredients used to make detergent alternatives include borax-2/” linkid=”228044″>borax, washing soda, powdered oxygen bleach, soap nuts, essential oils, bar soaps, and a few others.

What Happens If You Forgot To Put Detergent In Washing Machine?

In case you end up putting your clothes inside the washing machine and running it without adding laundry detergents, you’ll certainly end up with less clean, stained, and smelling clothes. Although the agitation of your washing machine and water can help you clean your clothes, it won’t remove greasy stains on them without surfactants.

So, if you find yourself in this situation, ensure you don’t dry the clothes after washing. You need to rewash them with laundry detergent or detergent alternatives, such as borax-2/” linkid=”228044″>borax, to remove the stains and odors. Drying without rewashing them may leave the stains on the clothes permanently, rendering them useless.

However, there are cases when you’ll have detergents stuck inside your washing machine from the last cycle. Since that’s the case, rinse the clothes after washing, check and sniff them to know whether or not they still have odors and stains. If not, you’re good to dry them and wear them anytime.

Natural Ways To Wash Clothes Without Detergent

In case you find yourself in a tight situation when you run out of detergents and need to wash your clothes, what will you do? You already know that washing your stained and smelling clothes with water alone inside your washing machine is not an option. Since you’re stuck at home with no hope of going out to get laundry detergents for the clothes, all you need to do is to make use of other natural ways to wash them without detergent.

In case you don’t know, there are many natural ways that you can use to wash your stained clothes without detergents. This is where laundry detergent alternatives come into the scene. As earlier mentioned, some of the laundry detergent alternatives that you can use including borax, washing soda, powdered oxygen bleach, soap nuts, essential oils, bar soaps, lemon juice, and a few others – these are naturally occurring substances.

That said, let’s have a quick look at each of them below and see you can utilize them to do your laundry service.

1- Borax

You don’t have detergents at home and you need to wash your clothes, the question is do you have borax-2/” linkid=”228044″>borax? If yes, the good news is that you can also make use of the naturally occurring substance to do your laundry work. Borax is very effective for removing stains, such as the ones caused by urine.

Apart from that, it also offers your cloth a great smell. Furthermore, its high pH level means the addition of water to it will create a very high alkaline solution – this is effective to help break greasy molecules, leaving your clothes clean. That said, to make use of borax for your laundry, here’s what you need to do:

  • Measure half a cup of borax and add it to a large load of your laundry.
  • Wash, rinse, and dry the clothes and that’s all!

2- Lemon juice

Just like borax, lemon juice is also a very good and effective alternative for laundry detergent. Lemon juice, in its natural state, is highly acidic. It has a pH level of 2, meaning that if mixed with water can help to remove tough stains, leaving your cloth white and clean.

Interestingly, the acid in the substance is also safe in case you’re looking to wash colored clothes. Furthermore, unlike many stain removers and detergents that can’t remove rusts, mildew, and mold, you can always trust lemon juice for that purpose. That’s not all! Lemon juice is also effective for eliminating odors in your clothes. That said, to make use of lemon juice for your laundry, here’s what you need to do:

  • Half a cup of lemon juice is enough for your regular loads of laundry.
  • After washing, rinse, and dry the clothes.

3- Baking soda

If you don’t have laundry detergents but have baking soda, you can also make use of it to wash your clothes. The naturally occurring substance is alkaline, with a pH level of about 8.3. That said, if used to wash your clothes, it can help to neutralize any acidic stains on them.

If you’re concerned about the odor of your dirty cloth, you can rest assured that baking soda will help eliminate it while washing it. In case you have kids and pets at home, using baking soda is a great laundry detergent alternative, as it can easily remove crayon stains, vomit, and pet urine. That said, here’s what you need to do if you want to use baking soda for your laundry:

  • Half a cup of baking soda is enough for large loads of laundry. So, measure and add inside your machine.
  • After washing, rinse, and dry. You may also decide to add a cup of lemon juice to clean water while rinsing your clothes.

4- Powdered oxygen bleach

Powdered oxygen bleach is a substance made from soda ash (sodium carbonate). In case you have this product at home, you can use it in place of the regular laundry detergent. Furthermore, using powdered oxygen bleach for your laundry is very effective to help you remove tough stains.

Also, as an oxygen-based bleach, it’s very safe for the coloring of your clothes, as it doesn’t tamper with them. Moreover, the product can also act as a disinfectant, helping to destroy hidden bacteria on your clothes. That said, here’s what you need to know about how to use the product for your laundry:

  • Measure half a cup of the product and add it inside your washing machine.
  • Wash your clothes, rinse, and dry, and that’s it!

5- Vinegar

Another laundry detergent alternative for washing your clothes is vinegar. In case you don’t know, vinegar is an aqueous solution of acetic acid and trace chemicals as well as flavors. The product has acidic (mild), containing up to 8% acetic acid by volume. As such, if mixed with water inside your machine, it’ll help to eliminate tough stains on your clothes, making them white and bright.

That’s not all! Vinegar is also effective for removing mildew that’s growing on your clothes, keeping them soft. That said, here’s what you need to know about how to use the product for your laundry:

  • Measure half a cup of distilled white vinegar and add it to your washing machine.
  • After washing the clothes, rinse and dry them.

Annika Vallgren

The old housewives, in general, were in charge of everything in a household. From doing budget deliberations, meal planning to implementing actions and everything in between, they are simply the right person for the job, period. A major portion of their time was spent doing laundry, cleaning, and feeding her hungry children, who would come home tired from school. I believe we have a lot to learn from her. So, here you will find old housewife tips mixed with modern life hacks, knowledge about washing and cleaning, and much more the modern housewife needs!

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