Whether you’re living on a budget or just don’t believe in waste, sometimes you might want to cut down on using items that you don’t have to. In the laundry world, some people see certain items as optional and others don’t.

laundry hamper

But if you really want to cut back on the use of “extra” items, you might be on the journey to find out which ones truly are optional. One laundry-related product that has been the subject of this sort of debate is… laundry detergent.

Some don’t feel the need to use laundry detergent and simply wash their clothes with water, while others swear by it. But if you’re someone who’s on the fence about the topic then you may be wondering “Can I wash clothes with just water?” Well, let’s get to the bottom of this debate.


Can I Wash Clothes With Just Water?

The short answer is yes, you can wash clothes with just water. Detergent isn’t always necessary to clean clothes, and at the end of the day, whether or not you use detergent will mostly depend on your preference. But there are some other factors to keep in mind in order to decide if you’d be better off with it than without it.

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How Do I Wash Clothes With Just Water?

There are two main ways you can wash your laundry without the use of laundry detergent.

  1. You could use your washer as you normally would, but skip adding the detergent. If you’d like, then you could opt for an alternative instead. Or you could simply run the cycle with only water.
  1. Secondly, you could wash your clothes in a container, sink, or bathtub filled with water. Again, you can add an alternative to detergent or leave it with just water. It’s recommended with this method that you let the clothes soak for a few minutes, scrub them together to wash them, then rinse and dry.

The method you choose is completely up to you!


What Temperature Of Water Should I Use If I’m Skipping Detergent?

The temperature of the water you wash your clothes in doesn’t really depend on whether or not you’re using detergent. So whatever temperature you’d normally wash your clothes in should be fine.

The general rule of thumb for choosing the right water temperature is to strike a balance between getting the clothes clean but not damaging them.

Hotter water will clean the clothes more efficiently (which could be helpful if you aren’t using detergent) but colder water is less likely to shrink or fade your clothes. So you need to weigh your options before choosing the right temperature. Colder water is always best, but it may not always be practical.

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What Are The Benefits Of Washing Laundry With Just Water?

The obvious benefit to only using water to wash your clothes is that you don’t have to buy laundry detergent, or at least not as much of it. And that will therefore save you money. But there are other benefits to it as well, such as…

  • It is more environmentally friendly to only use water, due to the fact it cuts down on pollution and chemicals that detergent creates.
  • Plus, a lot of people feel that their clothes come out softer when they skip their detergent, and that they look softer and cleaner as well.


Are There Certain Types Of Laundry That Have To Be Washed With Laundry Detergent?

Just because you can wash laundry with just water and there are some benefits to it, doesn’t necessarily mean you always should. There are situations in which you really need laundry detergent to properly cleanse your clothing.

If the clothes are deeply soiled then detergent may be the only option if you really want your laundry to get clean. And if there are stains then it could actually make them worse to only wash the clothes with water.

So before you decide to wash a load of laundry without your laundry detergent, assess the clothing and make sure that water will truly get the items clean. Even if you’re someone who mainly uses the all-water method, you might have to occasionally make exceptions.

And one extra note is that certain fabrics could be damaged if some soap or detergent isn’t included in the load of laundry, such as delicate fabrics like silks.

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What Are The Benefits Of Using Laundry Detergent?

And it’s important to remember that laundry detergent isn’t all bad. There are benefits to using it as well…

  • It can remove stubborn stains that water can’t on its own.
  • It can help increase the lifespan of your clothes by protecting the item’s color and preventing fading.
  • And it can help your clothes smell better as well.


Are There Alternatives To Laundry Detergent?

If you’ve read through this entire article so far and aren’t convinced you want to use just water for your laundry, but you also want to avoid laundry detergent, then you may need to look into some alternatives.

Things like vinegar and baking soda can be added to laundry instead of detergent, and they could have a similar effect. Plus, if the concern is not being able to remove stains, then you could still skip the detergent but add some extra stain remover instead.



So to wrap it all up, the answer to the question “Can I Wash Clothes With Just Water?” is yes! And if you’re totally against using detergent in your laundry then you could probably go the rest of your life without using it. But there will be some cons to that process.

Stains and extra dirty clothes could probably do with a little detergent. But as long as you keep the pros and cons in mind, you can make up your own mind whether or not you want to go water-only with your laundry.

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