Here's What You Can Substitute For Laundry Detergent

Imagine this: You're getting ready for bed before your first in-person interview in months, only to find out that you're fresh out of laundry detergent. That means that the special outfit you planned on wearing is useless unless you can make it to the store before it closes or splurge on a last-minute delivery service like Shipt or InstaCart. So, what do you do? Before dropping your paycheck on Post Mates, take a second to look around for a laundry detergent substitute.

There are a variety of household items that can easily double as a laundry detergent alternative. But whatever you do, do not reach for the dishwasher detergent no matter how tempting it may be. Dishwashing liquid can transform a high-efficiency washer into a high-maintenance mess in seconds (via Cnet). If you're in a pinch and unsure of what to use, here are a few safe detergent alternatives to get you through your laundry catastrophe.

Laundry detergent substitutes

Before switching into panic mode, think about the clothing item (or items) in question. If you need to launder one tiny article of clothing, you may be able to wash it by hand. "In the absence of laundry detergents, bar soap, liquid hand soap, body wash, and dish soap can be used for hand laundering," Dr. Pete He, co-founder and chief scientist of Dirty Labs tells Apartment Therapy. If handwashing isn't an option, refill your once-full bottle of laundry detergent with warm water, put the cap back on, and shake. Then empty the new concoction into your washer — it should be enough to get you through one small-to-medium-sized load (via The Spruce).

Have any baking soda or lemon juice lying around? When combined, these two ingredients make for a quick-and-easy detergent substitute (via Love to Know). Just add one-half cup of baking soda to your wash cycle, then (once it's done washing) add one-half cup of lemon juice to the rinse cycle. Lemon juice can also be used as an all-natural alternative to bleach (via The Spruce).