Can I Use Shampoo As Laundry Detergent?

Everyone may experience the situation where they are about to wash their clothing but the detergent runs out. If the same happens to you, you can think about cleaning clothes with other surfactants like shampoo!

Hence, for some major differences between shampoo and laundry detergent, you probably wonder thinking, “can I use shampoo as laundry detergent?” To clarify all your queries and doubts regarding these issues, we have come up with this article

Despite the fact that shampoo and washing powder are not the same, they both have the ability to remove oil and stains. So yes! Shampoo can be used as a laundry detergent. Hence, it can wash clothes efficiently. For some specific fabrics, shampoo works even better than detergent.

Yet, there are many things to consider while you are washing clothes with shampoo. So here we are to enlighten you more in detail regarding this topic. 

Read ahead.

Can you use shampoo instead of laundry detergent?

Washing clothes using shampoo as laundry detergent is not a bad idea. Why? Let’s go quickly over the chemical formulation of shampoo. 

The chemical formulation of shampoo consists of three major substances. These are detergents, surfactants, and emollients. 

Here, detergent washes away oil and dirt, surfactants breakdown oil and dirt, and emollients soften the fabric. All these things are needed to wash clothes. And that’s what shampoo does. 

Can I Use Shampoo As Laundry Detergent

What can I substitute for laundry detergent?

When you are out of laundry detergent and you are in too much of a hurry to buy it from the store, hit the pantry. If you get any of these components that are given below, don’t worry about washing. The components are:

  • Baking soda
  • Borax
  • Vinegar/lemon
  • Vodka
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Powdered oxygen bleach 
  • Dish soap
  • Bar soap

You can use the techniques listed below by using these laundry detergent substitutes. Check it out.

Hope the given chart will be helpful for you to make efficient alternatives of your garments cleaner. 

Is shampoo a detergent or soap?

We all know shampoo as a cleaner that is used to wash hair. But what exactly is shampoo? Is it a detergent or soap? Before any further debate, just take a peek at the comparison table of soap and detergent. I hope you will get your answer.

Based on the above chart, it is now simple to identify what shampoo actually is. Here, we can see that soap and shampoo are both cleaning agents. However, detergent powder and shampoo share more similarities. Thus, It is simple to state that shampoo is a detergent in this way.

Can shampoo be used to wash clothes?

Cleaning clothes with shampoo sounds bizarre, but not at all. Here, the main difference between shampoo and detergent powder is that detergent is made with extra harsh chemicals that are missing in shampoo. As a result, detergent can be unfavorable for some fabrics, whereas shampoo is suitable for them. For instance, , 

  • woolen sweater, 
  • Blanket
  • Embellished garments
  • Inner garments
  • Swimsuits
  • Baby socks
  • Ties
  • Running sneakers with leather accents.
  • clothes with zippers and buttons.

Including these kinds of fabrics, shampoo can wash any type of clothes. It’s a good choice to use it as a laundry soap alternative too.

Shampoo as a Laundry Detergent: Uses and Care

First thing first, choose a mild shampoo when it comes to washing clothes. In that case, baby shampoo for hand washing clothes will be the best choice. For your convenience, I am going to share the process of how to clean your grabby clothes with shampoo. Here we go.

Can I Use Shampoo As Laundry Detergent

Things you need:

  1. Bucket (choose a bucket according to the quantity of clothes you need to clean)
  2. Shampoo (a mild one will be preferable)
  3. Water 

Steps to follow:

  1. Fill a sink or bucket with water. 
  2. Add 1 teaspoon of shampoo to the water. 
  3. Put the clothes in the water.
  4. Leave them to soak in the water for about five to 10 minutes 
  5. Oily clothes can be left for ten more minutes in the water. 
  6. Use your hands to gently massage the clothes with the soapy water.
  7. Pull the clothes from the water and wash it under cold water. 
  8. Remove any excess suds or bubbles. 
  1. Gently squeeze water from the clothes. 
  2. Dry the item as you would normally.

Things to remember:

  1. Don’t use warm or hot water.
  2. Before washing any garments, check out the tag to see whether there are any instructions for dry washing or not.
  3. Don’t use shampoo that contains harsh chemicals.

Pros and cons of using shampoo as laundry detergent

As there are two sides to every coin, likely, here are some pros and cons of applying shampoo to wash clothes. 

  • Pros
  1. Gentle on skin
  2. Gentle on fabrics.
  3. Biodegradable
  4. Cost-effective
  5. suitable for all kinds of fabric.
  • Cons
  1. hard to rinse out properly.
  2. They leave soapy residue that can cause them to attract dirt and dust.
  3. In warm water, shampoo makes fabrics shrink.
  4. Color can be faded away on some specific fabrics through shampoo.
  5. Not recommended to put shampoo in the washing machine as it makes too much suds which is challenging to wash out.


Can you replace laundry detergent with shampoo?

Yes. But regular use of shampoo instead of detergent to wash clothes is not a good idea. You can only use shampoo once or twice to clean your clothes. If you are going to travel, to avoid overpacking, you can take only shampoo that can be used as detergent as well. In this kind of situation, shampoo can give you support as a detergent.

Does fabric conditioner ruin clothes?

Fabric conditioner is not up to scratch for clothes. It can leave stains and oily, waxy marks on garments after direct application that may be challenging to clean.

Can hair conditioner be used as laundry softener?

Hair conditioner is a great alternative to laundry softener. Mix 6 cups of warm water, 2 cups of conditioner, and add 2 tsp of vinegar all together. Pour them into the washer just like your usual softener. You will get a great result. Indeed, hair conditioners are very effective as softeners.

What can I use if I don’t have laundry detergent?

In the absence of laundry detergents, you can use bar soap, body wash, liquid hand soap, and dish soap for washing clothes.

Can you use shampoo to wash clothes?

Yes. Shampoo is great as a surfactant. Just like detergent, it can wash clothes efficiently.


To sum up, using shampoo in place of detergent is one of the best ways to clean your clothes. Hope there are no more doubts about your question like, can I use shampoo as laundry detergent?

Shampoo can be used as a cleaner to clean clothes which is a fantastic idea if you want to save money and protect the environment. Above all, you should think about the advantages and disadvantages of using shampoo to wash your clothes before doing so.

Best wishes and good luck!

Also read about can you use shampoo as body wash?

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