The Cleaning Lady

Help! I ran out of laundry detergent!

Yes, it’s true, you can use dishwashing liquid for laundry. I prefer Dawn brand but any brand will work. Keep in mind that Dawn produces a lot of bubbles so you don’t have to use very much – just use about an 1/8 cup and add to your washing machine just like you would regular detergent. It also works well to pre-treat stains – use it just as you would a regular product for pre-treating stains. I know some people use Dawn in a pinch but my aunt has actually exclusively used Dawn in place of detergent for years. She buys it in bulk from a warehouse store and uses it for dishes and clothes so saves money as well.  Just don’t wind up with a basement full of bubbles like Daffy Duck or one of the Brady kids!  Use sparingly!

25 Responses to “Help! I ran out of laundry detergent!”

  1. Cindy says:

    I have also used dishwasher detergent. It works great and you don’t need to worry about getting bubbles. I used it to get a strong smell out of some fabric. It worked great even when my regular laundry detergent couldn’t remove the smell.

  2. I too have used liquid dish soap for my laundry and actually like it better than laundry soap. It seems to wash out easier and doesn’t leave any film on washer or clothes. There are many brands out there, with or without fragrance. It is so-o-o-o much cheaper and excellent for spot treating!

  3. Suzette says:

    I’ve always known about the laundry for the dishwashing liquid. I’ve also used it when I ran out of shampoo. I also use it in the soap dispenser in the bathroom. I does the trick.

  4. nancy says:

    how do you keep a kids room germ free and not wash every single day?

  5. nancy says:

    Put them in wet suits so they are totally covered from head to toe or Just don’t let them in there room!!! Easy as pie.

  6. Jamie says:

    I have a ? about my dog. I have a little black pommeranian & no matter how many times I sweep my linoleum floors, 5 minutes later I see hair everywhere that the broom didn’t sweep up. Any tips on how to get that irritating hair up? Should I try the swiffer sweeper?

  7. dana says:

    This was a great tip! I would never thought to use dishwashing liquid. I write a blog for useful tips for health, home and travel – and this was a great one so I posted it. You can check it out at Thanks ladies for the helpful advice!

  8. Kristin says:

    I sometimes use dishing washing detergent to get stains out of my carpet, I use Cascade too. It works great!!!

  9. Kadi says:

    Wow! I have never ran out of soap before but my neighbor has. She ran over to my house and asked for some! It is always nice if you know your neighbors and can barrow their soap. At least they know you are being clean.

  10. Mimi says:

    For Jamie with the Pomm… Brush your dog daily and use a duster and a vacuum the gose on regular floors to pick up excess or stray dog hairs.

  11. Holly says:

    In response to Jamie with the Pomm…I have strictly wood floors in my home and I have invested in a Swiffer Vacuum. I absolutely love it. It is rechargeable and uses those swiffer pads. I do it every day and my floor is hair free from my dogs. It is about $20 at any Wal Mart or Target.

  12. Holly says:

    So in response to using dish soap for laundry detergent, how much do you actually use because there have been times I’ve been in a pinch with laundry detergent.

  13. Padma says:

    May be you can try baking soda, it work wonders and it is environment friendly….It can be used for many other uses…Let me know how it worked.

  14. Karl says:

    I think it is wonderful to see such a great response to a post like this… But it leaves me feeling concerened too. It just goes to show how quick people are to use the ‘convenient’ products that big-business has brainwashed us into believing we all need. Well I say it’s time for all of us to start making positive changes on our environment and in our homes! Click on my name above to review Nontoxic Household Products that really do work!

  15. Ethel says:

    I don’t know whether you are aware of this, but you don’t need to add detergent in your wash each time, there’s some detergent left in your clothes after you wash and dry them.
    Try it, just fill the machine with water, put in your laundry and let the washer do its’ job. You will see detergent working from previous laundry. The clothes will come out clean.

  16. Edie says:

    In response to the laundry detergent shortages, I have used dish soap, but I also use baking soda to soften the water. I’m in KY, and the water tends to be hard here. In a pinch, I have also used kid’s “bubbles” with the baking soda. I think the baking soda helps to keep the bubbles from over whelmng the wash.
    I also have a neat tip for the dog hair questions — I have 3 dogs, so I know how hard it is to keep up with the hair. I use the Swiffer sweeper, but you can also use the USED dryer sheets on the Swiffer. You don’t need to buy the Swiffer sheets. The dryer sheets, even after using them in your dryer will work on getting up the dog hair. Talk about saving money – re use!!!

  17. Kathy Engle says:

    I have used shampoo as landery soap berfoe and it worked out great I was on vacation and needed to wash out some cloths hay it worked great.Plus you smalled great too ha ha

    • Tina says:

      I have also used shampoo and conditioner. They work great. I need to use the free and clear stuff and that cost to much money. I ran out one day and tired the shampoo and conditioner. I buy. V05 and that is only $.89 at my local drug store. So now I get my hair washed and clean clothes for just $.89.

  18. roger says:

    this is great especially for your jeans.

  19. I saw the messages recommending the swiffer sweeper. If u go to they send you coupons for their products in the mail. The mop coupon was for 5.00 Target had it on sale last week for 17.00 substract 5.00 coupon. Not bad for 12.00. So if you’re not in a hurry send for the coupons. Its a book of coupons for their products and is worth getting. Enjoy!

  20. Hey

    One way to help save on the enviroment and do your laundry at the same time is to buy your laundry products online! You can buy green products without ever driving anywhere which will save you money and keep those CO2 emmissions down too. YOu can save on shipping and gas too, let someone lelse pay for the gas! Go to the website and type in what you need without ever leaving your home!
    website link is

  21. Darlene Pierce says:

    Another great way of getting out grease from your shirts and jeans is to use hand cleaner. The kind that comes in the white round tub. It is like a thick white creamy looking substance. Alot of men use it in the garages for removing grease from their hands. Just rub it into your greasy spots from cooking spatters or even automotive grease. It always works. wash as usual. Good luck!

  22. my son is a policeman one day when i was at his house he came home from work smelling like an old dirty car garage. transmission fluid squirted in his face and on his black shirt. he smelled bad i took the shirt put it in a plastic pail with water and dishwashing detergent pulled it up and down in the water a few times left it in the garage overnight it came ot great threw the pail water and proceeded to wash it in the washing machine with clean water & dishwashing fluid. i saved the shirt and over $50.00

  23. I have used ” Ivory ” dishwashing liquid for years
    as I love the smell. I now use it exclusively in my
    bathrooms’ liquid handwashing dispensers. Mmmmmmm.
    It has been years since I have had a baby in my life,
    but that smell just reminds me of babies….Like the
    memory of washing my children’s chothes in the laundry soap. But, I digress. Try liquid detergent
    for handwashing. You will like it. Choose a smell that will evoke good memories for you!

  24. kim says:

    thnx that really helped:)

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