Can You Use Fabric Softener Instead of Detergent? 

Can You Use Fabric Softener Instead of Detergent?
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If you are confused about laundry detergent and fabric softener, the simple comparison is laundry detergent is for cleaning the clothes, and fabric softener is for conditioning them.

So, can you use fabric softener instead of detergent? The answer is no. You cannot use fabric softener for washing the clothes as it doesn’t include any cleaning agent. If you accidentally use it instead of detergent, it won’t damage the clothes but not clean them either. It is only used to make clothes soft, protected, and fresh. 

To know more about it, check out all about fabric softener and why you cannot use it to clean clothes. 

Does Fabric Softener Work As Detergent? 

If you are thinking about using only fabric softeners instead of laundry detergent to clean your clothes, the direct answer is no. The purpose of fabric softener is not to wash your clothes but to smell and feel fresh and soft. Various types of fabric conditioners can only be used to make clothes smell clean, not to make them clean. 

So, to make them properly clean, you need detergent. There is no alternative for a cleaner like detergent for fabrics. It can perfectly clean out all the dirt, stains, or germs from fabric and make it fresh and clean. Then you should apply a fabric softener if you want. It is for making the clothes soft and nourished, not clean. 

You can also read: How to Add fabric Softener to Amana Washer

Why Doesn’t Fabric Softener Work Like Detergent? 

Fabric softener doesn’t have any cleaner properties. So, you cannot use fabric softener to clean the clothes. It doesn’t damage the fabric if you use it while washing. But it also doesn’t make such a difference as it won’t clean the dirt or stains. All the fabric softener ingredients offer you a fresh and soft fabric. But it cannot make them clean properly. 

Laundry Detergent Alternatives 

If you run out of detergent, don’t think about using a fabric softener. There are multiple options out there. You can make use of some common ingredients that are in your house. One of them is vinegar and lemon juice. These two are common elements but work wonders. 

White vinegar helps make your clothes clean and stain-free. Almost all types of stubborn stains can be washed out by using white vinegar. Make a mixture of white vinegar and baking soda for your stains. Apply the mixture and leave it for a few minutes, then wash it to see the results. 

Lemon juice is an excellent alternative to white vinegar. If you don’t have white vinegar, make the mixture with lemon juice in the same way and use it to clean your clothes. Lemon juice has acid that can kill germs and bacteria. So, it is a good alternative to clean fabrics. 

Use Fabric Softener Instead of Detergent
Use Fabric Softener Instead of Detergent

However, if you don’t have any of these, use regular shampoo to clean your clothes. These are the alternatives you can use if you don’t have laundry detergent. 

What Is The Difference Between Fabric Softener And Laundry Detergent? 

Fabric softeners and laundry detergent are two different types of products for clothes. Detergent is a cleaning agent that can remove dirt, oil, stains, debris, and more to make it properly clean. On the other hand, fabric softener is what you need to use after washing your clothes. 

Fabric softener is used to soften, condition, and protect your clothes. You will feel fresh after wearing any clothes if you use fabric softener. Detergent has basic properties like sulfates, alkalies, water conditioners, pH modifiers, and preservatives. 

Besides, fabric softener has conditioning agents, preservatives, emulsifiers, and fragrance. Both are entirely different from one another. So, you cannot use any of them as an alternative to the other one. 

What Can You Do If You Accidentally Use Fabric Softener Instead of Laundry Detergent? 

If you accidentally use fabric softener instead of laundry detergent, there won’t be any issue. You shouldn’t worry about it as it doesn’t damage the fabric. If this happens in your washing machine, there isn’t any issue. 

The only thing you lose is your time and some laundry softener. You need to wash the clothes once again to clean them properly. This is the only thing you need to compromise if you accidentally use fabric softener while cleaning the clothes. 

How To Use Laundry Detergent And Fabric Softener Together?- Laundry Detergent And Fabric Softener Combos 

If you don’t want to buy more than one product, you can go with the combos. There are a lot of laundry detergents that have the qualities of fabric softeners. So, you don’t need to buy different products and can get clean and soft clothes without a softener. 

You don’t need to use different products if you use this type of combo. In this way, your time will also be saved. All you need is to pour some of the product into the washing machine and let it do the rest of it. The process is just like you do with your detergent. But you don’t need a fabric softener, as the combo already has the formula. 

To use detergent and fabric softener together, make sure you use the combo product. Don’t make a mixture of detergent and softener, as the DIY mix won’t work correctly. Take a laundry combo from brands like Tide and Arm & Hammer to ensure good quality. 


What happens if you only use fabric softener?

If you only use fabric softener, your clothes won’t be clean. The reason is fabric softener is not supposed to clean your clothes but to condition them and make them smell fresh. 

What can I use if I have no laundry detergent? 

You can use baking soda or borax if you are out of laundry detergent. It is an excellent alternative to detergent as it washes clothes effectively. 

Wrap Up 

So, can you use fabric softener instead of detergent? The simple answer is no. As you know, fabric softener is not a suitable product to use instead of laundry detergent; you must keep these things in mind. 

Check out all the details about both detergents and softeners and the method of using them properly so that you get the best results. Wear fresh clothes and be cheerful! 

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