washing clothes with shampoo

Washing Clothes with Shampoo: The Dos, Don’ts and How-Tos

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So, you’re washing clothes with shampoo now? Yes, you heard that right! In a pinch, that bottle of shampoo sitting on your bathroom shelf can double as a handy detergent for your laundry.

Why, you may ask? Well, the reasons are as diverse as the patterns on your favorite pair of socks.

You could find yourself in a hotel room without any laundry or dry cleaning service, facing a laundry emergency right before a big meeting, or perhaps you’re just experimenting with different ways to cut down on your expenses.

Whatever the reason, the world of laundry is full of surprises, and washing clothes with shampoo is one of them.

The When and Why of Washing Clothes with Shampoo

On the Road or In the Air

Travel often brings unexpected challenges. One of the most common scenarios where shampoo comes to the rescue as a detergent substitute is during these adventurous times. Let’s consider a few common travel-related situations:

  1. You’re far from home, living out of a suitcase, and your favorite shirt falls victim to an impromptu coffee spill.
  2. Hotel laundry services are too pricey, and there’s no laundromat in sight.
  3. That travel-sized shampoo bottle in your toiletries bag suddenly becomes your laundry day superhero.

Emergency Laundry Day

Let’s face it, we’ve all had “those” days where things don’t go as planned. Consider these scenarios:

  1. The alarm didn’t go off, you’ve overslept, and the shirt you planned to wear is covered in mysterious stains.
  2. You’ve been swamped with work and completely forgot to do laundry, and now you’re down to your last pair of socks.
  3. Panic sets in, but then you remember – your trusty shampoo bottle is here to save the day.

A Penny Saved…

Looking to save some pennies? Here are a couple of reasons why shampoo could be your budget-friendly laundry savior:

  1. Shampoo can be a cost-effective substitute for pricey laundry detergents when in a bind.
  2. You might be surprised how much mileage you can get out of one bottle of shampoo when washing clothes!

The Convenient and Practical Choice of Washing Clothes with Shampoo

The convenience and practicality of this method can’t be overstated. Here’s why:

  1. It’s all about using what you have at your disposal to solve a problem.
  2. It’s a fun and amusing experiment to shake up the monotonous laundry routine.

Hopefully, these scenarios have painted a clear picture of when and why washing clothes with shampoo can come in handy.

Are you ready to give it a shot? Let’s dive into the how-to’s with a step-by-step guide.

Step-by-Step Guide to Hand Washing Clothes with Shampoo

Ready to take on the shampoo challenge? Brace yourself for a sudsy adventure as we navigate the ins and outs of washing clothes with shampoo.

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

To kick things off, you’ll need your dirty laundry, a sink or bucket, warm water, and, of course, your shampoo.

Step 2: Fill Up and Suds Up

Fill your sink or bucket with warm water and add a squirt of shampoo. We’re not talking a dollop the size of a mountain here, but just enough to create some nice bubbles when you swish the water around.

Remember, shampoo is more concentrated than regular detergent, so a little goes a long way!

Step 3: Pre-Treat Any Stains when Washing Clothes with Shampoo

Before you dive into washing, pre-treat any noticeable stains. Dab a small amount of shampoo directly onto the stain and gently rub the fabric together. This little trick helps loosen the stain and make the washing process more effective.

Step 4: Time to Dive In

Now for the fun part! Submerge your clothes in the sudsy water and gently agitate them. Pretend you’re a human washing machine, swishing and swirling your clothes around. Be gentle, especially with delicate fabrics like silk.

Step 5: Rinse and Repeat

Once you’ve given your clothes a good wash, it’s time to rinse. Drain the soapy water, then rinse your clothes under warm water until all the suds are gone. Repeat the process if necessary.

Step 6: The Final Squeeze

Finally, gently squeeze out any excess water from your clothes. Avoid wringing them, as it can stretch and damage the fabric. Roll them up in a towel to absorb additional moisture, then lay flat or hang up to dry.

And voil√†! You’ve successfully turned your shampoo into a laundry detergent. Washing clothes with shampoo might not be the conventional way, but it’s a fun and practical hack when you’re in a bind.

So the next time you’re in a laundry pinch, just remember: lather, rinse, repeat!

washing clothes with shampoo

Why Use Shampoo for Lingerie?

Shampoo, particularly the mild and baby varieties, can be a lingerie saver, especially when you’re traveling or in a pinch. Here’s why:

  1. Gentle Clean: Shampoo can gently remove body oils and sweat without damaging delicate fabrics like lace and silk.
  2. Rinse-friendly: Unlike some harsh detergents, shampoo rinses out relatively easily, which is crucial for preserving the integrity and softness of your lingerie.

How to Wash Lingerie with Shampoo

  1. Fill a sink or basin with lukewarm water: Hot water can damage delicate fabrics, and cold water may not effectively clean your lingerie. Lukewarm is just right.
  2. Add a small amount of shampoo: Remember, less is more when it comes to washing lingerie with shampoo. A dime-sized dollop is usually enough for one or two pieces.
  3. Soak your lingerie: Allow your pieces to soak for around 15 minutes. This gives the shampoo time to work its magic.
  4. Gently agitate: Using your hands, gently agitate the water to clean your lingerie. Avoid scrubbing or twisting the garments to prevent damage.
  5. Rinse thoroughly: Rinse each piece under lukewarm water until all the suds are gone. Be sure all the shampoo is rinsed out to prevent residue.
  6. Air dry: Gently squeeze out the excess water (do not wring), then lay your lingerie flat to dry.
washing lingerie with shampoo

Can You Use Shampoo in Your Washing Machine?

The idea of using shampoo as a detergent substitute in your washing machine might be tempting, but before you take the plunge, let’s consider a few critical points.

The Sudsy Situation

First off, let’s tackle the issue of suds:

  1. Shampoo and Suds: Shampoo and body wash are known for their lather. That’s great for your hair and body, not so much for your washing machine.
  2. Overflow Risk: Too many suds can lead to an overflow, turning your laundry day into a foam party.
  3. Potential Damage: Even worse, these abundant suds can clog and damage the internal mechanisms of your washing machine.

The Residue Dilemma

Next up, we have the issue of residue:

  1. Shampoo on Fabric: Shampoo is not designed for fabrics and could potentially leave residues on your clothes over time.
  2. Residue in Machine: These residues could also accumulate inside your washing machine, leading to tough-to-clean gunk and unpleasant odors.

The Cost Factor of Washing Clothes with Shampoo

Lastly, let’s talk about the cost:

  1. Shampoo Price: Good quality shampoos tend to be pricier than laundry detergents.
  2. Cost-Effectiveness: Regularly using shampoo instead of detergent might not be the best strategy for your wallet in the long run.

In conclusion, while technically feasible, using shampoo in your washing machine is better reserved for emergencies.

It’s more suitable for hand-washing smaller batches of clothes when you’re in a bind. After all, both your washing machine and your budget will appreciate your discretion!

The Pros of Washing Clothes with Shampoo


  1. Travel-Friendly: Compact and travel-sized, a bottle of shampoo is easy to fit in any luggage. It’s a convenient and readily available solution when you’re on the go.
  2. Easy to Find: Whether you’re at a hotel, at home, or even camping, shampoo is a common item that’s likely to be within arm’s reach.


  1. Multi-Purpose: Shampoo can double as a laundry detergent, making it a versatile household item.
  2. Saves in a Pinch: While not a long-term money-saving strategy, using shampoo can help you save a bit if you’ve run out of detergent and need a quick solution.

The Cons of Washing Clothes with Shampoo


  1. Potential Build-Up: Unlike laundry detergents designed for fabrics, shampoo can leave residues on your clothes.
  2. Hard to Rinse Off: Shampoo is often denser and harder to rinse out completely compared to regular detergent.

Fabric Safety

  1. Not Suitable for All Fabrics: Shampoo might not be the best choice for delicate fabrics. It could potentially cause damage, especially if used frequently.
  2. Inconsistent Results: Different shampoos have different ingredients. Some might work great as a detergent substitute, while others may not yield the desired results.

In the grand scheme of things, the pros and cons of washing clothes with shampoo largely depend on your specific situation.

It’s always a good idea to consider the type of fabric and the condition of your garment before you take the shampoo plunge.

Considerations and Best Practices for Washing Clothes with Shampoo

Before you set off on your sudsy adventure, let’s go over some important considerations and best practices. After all, even the most fun laundry hacks require some thought and strategy.

Shampoo Selection

  1. Type of Shampoo: Not all shampoos are created equal when it comes to washing clothes. Ideally, opt for a mild, light, or baby shampoo, as they are less likely to leave residues or damage fabrics.
  2. Scent: If you’re particular about scents, consider that your clothes will likely take on the fragrance of your shampoo. Choose a shampoo with a scent that you wouldn’t mind wearing!

Fabric Type

  1. Know Your Fabrics: Delicate fabrics might not react well to shampoo. For such items, stick with products specifically designed for them, or consider a test spot first.
  2. Colorfastness: Be careful with very colorful or dark items. Test a small, hidden area first to ensure the shampoo doesn’t affect the color.

Water Temperature

  1. Warm is Best: Warm water works best with shampoo, helping it to dissolve and clean effectively. However, be mindful of the fabric’s care instructions regarding temperature.

Best Practices

  1. Less is More: Remember, shampoo is more concentrated than laundry detergent. A small squirt is usually enough. Too much can lead to excessive suds and residue.
  2. Thorough Rinse: Rinse thoroughly to ensure all the shampoo is removed from your clothes. This might take a little longer than rinsing out regular detergent.
  3. Gentle Drying: After washing and rinsing, gently squeeze (don’t wring) your clothes and lay them flat or hang them up to dry.

And there you have it! Keep these considerations and best practices in mind as you embark on your journey of washing clothes with shampoo.

This method might not replace your regular laundry routine, but it’s a practical hack for when you’re in a pinch.

Wrapping it Up on Washing Clothes with Shampoo

The age-old question of whether you can wash clothes with shampoo has been tackled, experimented, and answered with a resounding “yes.”

It might not become your go-to laundry method, but it’s a handy trick to have up your sleeve for unexpected laundry emergencies, travel mishaps, or budget crunches.

Remember, this suds-filled hack comes with a fair share of considerations. Pay attention to your shampoo choice, fabric type, water temperature, and washing technique to ensure you get the best possible results.

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Elizabeth Crane

Elizabeth Crane grew up not wearing a helmet, drinking from the hose and not wearing a seat belt. She managed to survive and now spends her time developing websites, drinking coffee, and eating chocolate.