Can I Use Body Wash As Laundry Detergent?

It’s your laundry day, a heap of dirty clothes, and there’s no detergent as you begin to wash. Although washing must happen, you’re in a dilemma about going through it because the store is far away. In this situation, the big question in your mind may be, can I use body wash as laundry detergent?

Luckily yes, you can use body wash as laundry detergent to clean clothes. If this is your first time lacking laundry detergent, don’t worry because body wash can clean clothes, and they turn out fine. The only difference is that body wash is gentle, and your clothes might not turn out as bright as with laundry detergent.

Most of the products in your pantry, like baking soda and washing soda, can also make for good laundry detergent. A few tablespoons of the same products will clean your laundry perfectly when you’re doing a machine wash.

Read this post for more insight and to answer the question; can you use body wash instead of laundry detergent

What Is Body Wash?

Body wash lathers like regular soap, but they’re different in some ways as the latter is solid. Its primary purpose is to rid the body of dirt, sweat, excess body oil, and makeup.

People choose each of the two for various reasons like skin sensitivity and personal preference. Somebody’s soaps are harsh to the skin, whereas body wash is gentle on the skin because it contains moisturizers.

If you choose to use body wash, wet your body, then pour out a reasonable amount of body wash in your palm. Once the liquid lathers to a maximum, use a washcloth to wash your body, then rinse off the suds and pat dry.

Don’t rub your skin with a towel because it will remove the moisture. When the skin is dry, moisturize your body to lock in the goodness of body wash on the skin.

When Can I Use Body Wash?

A mix of dirt, natural body oils, and sweat become a breeding place for bacteria that body wash cleans easily and treats skin conditions like dryness. Here are the reasons you need body wash.

  • Skin dryness – If your skin feels unusually dry, use body wash as it contains hydrating ingredients that leave your skin with a lot of moisture.
  • Chronic skin condition – Stubborn skin conditions like acne are easy to manage using a suitable body wash. If you’re not sure, visit a dermatologist for the best advice on which body wash to purchase.
  • Exfoliation – Body wash contains fine exfoliant ingredients. Use body washes with a washcloth to clean your body, then rinse off for best results.

Chemicals In Body Wash

Buying proper toiletries is tricky because there are so many products in the market, each with a killer advert as the best. Choosing clean beauty products, including body wash, is a step closer to using safe products that can’t harm you.

These harmful ingredients are sulfates, parabens, Triclosan, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances. You can also separate the chaff by looking for products that bear USDA stamps as it’s a sign that the product has been vetted for safety hence meeting certain production restrictions.

Does Body Wash Make You Smell Good?

Body wash makes you smell good, but the scents don’t last long. These fragrances only go as far as the bathroom walls in most cases.

The plain body wash is ideal if you don’t have skin problems like body odor or acne, whereas those with chronic body odor and acne can use the antibacterial body wash. The list below consists of the chemicals in body wash.


These ingredients make their way into products through production without being added. Contaminants are not part of the ingredient list, and it isn’t easy to know whether they’re present or not.

A good example of toxic ingredients is dioxane, a surfactant from the ethoxylation process. The best way to avoid them is by not purchasing products with ingredients that end with -eth like laureth

Unnamed Fragrances

Body wash may contain the general term fragrances without disclosing the details. The most common fragrances are phthalates and synthetic musks, but they can be harmful. Therefore, if your body wash doesn’t reveal its fragrances, it might be wise to get a brand with the label MADE SAFE.

Harmful Preservatives

Preservatives prolong the shelf life of a product by preventing microorganism growth that speeds expiry. They come in the form of parabens like ethylparaben, isopropyl paraben, quaternium-15, and glyoxal. 

Harmful Surfactants

Body wash lathers easily to remove dirt and excess body oils. Shoppers are likely to go for the brand with this quality. However, unknown to them, surfactants may work well in the shower but are detrimental to the environment and aquatic life like sodium Laureth sulfate or sodium lauryl sulfate.

Natural Body Wash Ingredients

  • Glycerine cleanses and seals moisture in the skin without interfering with natural body oils.
  • Natural exfoliants like oatmeal remove dead skin naturally.
  • Essential oils like lemon and lavender, depending on your preference.
  • Moisturizing oils like coconut and sweet almond oil for a soft skin
  • Products with shea or coconut butter

Chemicals In Laundry Detergent

Different laundry brands have secret ingredients that they believe make their product stand out from the competitive choices in the market. Laundry detergents contain some essential ingredients from plants, petroleum, and enzymes that improve the product’s cleaning power when combined.

The diverse options for laundry detergents offer fabric care to homeowners. They have evolved significantly to products with specific roles in cleaning different dirt off fabrics. Here is a list of the chemicals in laundry detergents.


Alkalies are soluble salts that react to neutralize and efficiently remove dirt or stains from fabric effortlessly. These salts in alkaline metals like potassium or sodium are perfect for removing grease.

Brands used plant ashes in place of alkalis back in the day, but with evolving inventions, the same is achieved by mixing chemicals. Some of these chemicals are sodium hydroxide and caustic soda, which come from passing saltwater through electricity.

These salts are the most common in detergents. The effects of alkaline substances depend on how strong it is. Strong alkalines cause burns if ingested and damage fabrics.

Surfactants and Anti-Redepositing Agents

The main components in laundry detergents break down dirt and disperse it to avoid redeposition, hence suspending dirt on water. These agents don’t mix unless ther are vigorously shake, and they work in the same manner when separating dirt from clothes.

They’re perfect for removing oily stains, but if used with water high in minerals like calcium or magnesium, which hinder them from working perfectly. You’ll find surfactants on the detergents ingredients list as alkyl sulfates and alkyl ethoxylate sulfates.

Catalytic Enzymes

Enzymes are in two categories; natural or processed for specific purposes. Below is a list of different enzymes in detergents and their role in cleaning.

  • Protease – Breaks down protein-based soils
  • Amylase – Works on starch-based soils
  • Cellulase – Cleans cotton fibers free of soils.
  • Lipase – Removes fat-based soils.
  • Mannanase – Cleans food-based stains.
  • Pectinase – gets rid of fruit-based stains.

Enzymes that occur naturally accelerate a process, and their introduction to laundry detergents shift how washing happens. People had to use hot boiling water for washing back in the day. However, these catalysts allow the use of water with low temperatures, much less detergent, and still clean clothes.

Fragrance, Colorant/dyes

Different fragrances used in laundry detergents influence how your clothes smell when dry. Detergent fragrances and dyes are a personal choice, and there’s something for everyone in the market because customers have variant tastes.

Chemicals In Body Wash and Laundry Detergent TABLE

Doing laundry is a perpetual duty you can’t run away from, even when you lack laundry detergent. You can substitute laundry detergent with body wash and still get the same results.

Does Body Wash Clean Clothes?

Yes, the body wash can clean clothes the same way as an alternative to laundry detergents. Therefore, learning the most common chemicals in body wash and laundry detergent is vital.

Is Body Wash Better Than Laundry Detergent?

Both body wash and laundry detergent have specific purposes. The dilemma, can you wash clothes with body wash is hereby demistified because both products lather effortlessly. Body wash is an excellent alternative for laundry detergent, but it’s not better than laundry detergent when cleaning your clothes.

Clothes need laundry detergent for maximum cleaning, but body wash can deliver other benefits like softeners, oils, and waxes. The body wash has fewer chemicals because of the skincare aspect, unlike laundry detergents that contain more harsh chemicals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can You Use Body Wash As Laundry Detergent In A Washing Machine?

You can use body wash to replace laundry detergent in a washing machine. However, body wash will not give you a bright wash like laundry detergents because the latter contains harsh chemicals needed to clean fabrics.

Does Body Wash Clean Clothes Properly?

Yes, body wash cleans clothes if you run short of laundry detergent. However, your clothes will not shine like when using laundry detergents. Despite body wash being a great substitute, your clothes need laundry detergents for the best results.

Do You Smell Good After Using Body Wash?

Yes, body wash makes you smell good, depending on your brand. Go for a brand that eliminates sweat and body odor and helps with skin conditions like itchiness to nourish your skin.

What Is The Best Substitute If I Don’t Have Laundry Detergent?

Find other alternatives like body wash, bar soap, and hand wash if you run out of laundry detergents. These alternatives may not give the same results as washing with laundry detergent, but your clothes will clean.

Is Dish Soap A Good Alternative To Laundry Detergent?

Yes, you can use dish soap as laundry detergent while applying caution in the amount. Dish soap has suds that can damage your clothes, and you can use it for hand or machine washing.


You know many ask, can I use body wash as laundry detergent? And you have already come to know that, yes, body wash is an excellent alternative to laundry detergent. However, laundry detergent is best for cleaning fabrics and removing stains for the best results.

Unlike body wash, laundry detergents consist of chemicals that thoroughly clean clothes but are harsh to the skin. In contrast, body wash is a skincare product that removes excess body oil, sweat, dirt, and dead skin from the body, leaving it fresh and full of moisture.

Also read – Can I Use Body Wash To Wash My Car?

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