Forgot To Put Detergent In The Washer? (Now?)

Detergent is a helpful item for washing clothes effectively. But what happens if you forget to put detergent in the washer? The goal is always to make garments fresh, clean, and deodorize behind washing them. 

If you missed some necessary steps during laundry, you must know what to do to recover from that mistake.

If you forget to put detergent in the washer, the odor persists in the fabric. However, the load can be washed with hot water as it can remove some water-soluble stains and dirt particles. If some pigments remain, you will need to rewash the clothes with a cleaner.

We have collected all the necessary information that will help you take helpful steps if you have accidentally forgotten to put detergent in the washing machine. Let’s dive into the guide! 

Forgot To Put Detergent In The Washer

What Happens If You Wash Clothes Without Detergent?

If sometimes we accidentally forget to put detergent in the washing machine and in another case if we have no detergent left to use for washing clothes, it’s necessary to know what happens next.

When clothes get dirty, we need to wash them with an effective detergent, so we can remove stains and dirt particles. Sometimes we have to add hot water in the washing drum to power up the washing process apart from detergent.

If you wash clothes without detergent, hard stains persist and the results after washing will not be good as you get using a cleaner with water. However, if you use hot water, it can remove some water-soluble dirt and stains from fabric, but the results will not be as you can expect from a wash.

Moreover, some fabrics cannot be washed with hot water since they can shrink or worse with some high-temperature wash cycles. So you cannot wash sensitive fabrics with hot water without a detergent and in this case you need a suitable detergent.

It wastes some energy and time if your clothes are not clean after washing them without a detergent. You should wash your clothes again to remove stains if you feel they’re not clean as you expected.

If you find that your clothes are not as clean as you expected after washing them without detergent, you should wash them again to remove the stains. Moreover, doing so wastes some energy and time.

Can you Wash Clothes with only Water?

No doubt, everyone wants Clean and fresh clothes after washing them. The way you do laundry plays a worthy role in washing results. 

A laundry person always has to follow a working and suitable washing method, water property, and routine.

Washing every type of clothes with only water is not always possible since there is no guarantee that you can expect great results. 

However, it’s not impossible, you can use hot water to remove water-soluble stains from garments. If there are some light and easy-to-remove stains and dirt particles on the fabric, water can work effectively.

For example, You must have noticed that when we use a wet hanky to remove dust from our hands, the dust particles get trapped in the hanky. 

When we wash that hanky with water only, the stain remains. This means, we cannot expect to wash clothes using only water.

Washing clothes with just water is fine, but you cannot expect hard stains will be removed. Hot water with detergent is an excellent solution for removing stuck stains.

Experts recommend testing this in reality apart from just thinking. Check if your fabric is becoming clean after washing with just water or not. If the results are not good, you can go with detergent.

Lead: If clothes are normally dirty, you can add essential oil or vinegar in water to wash clothes without detergent.

Do you really need Laundry Detergent in your Washing Machine?

Laundry detergent is the choice of many, you can expect excellent dirt-removing results if you use it in your washing machine. 

However, if clothes are normally dirty, you don’t need to use it, just wash them in warm or hot water.

Spending on laundry detergent is not a great idea when you can use a cheap alternative in your washing machine. 

Studies show on average every American family spends between 200$ – 700$ per year on laundry detergent, a good amount. 

Fortunately, you can use a teaspoon of borax or baking soda instead of laundry detergent, and it only charges you between 25$ – 35$ a year, which is a much cheaper solution for dirty clothes.

Many people prefer laundry detergent in their washing machines to remove dust, odor, and stains from their garments. 

You can also use it if you want, but it is not always necessary. As baking soda and borax provide the same results, you can use them.

Use it only for cleaning trapped stains, otherwise, only hot water is enough. Laundry detergent is a proven solution to remove dirt, hard stains, and sweat. It dissolves in water quickly and drains away dirt through the rinse and wash cycle.

Some fabrics don’t require laundry detergent, a hand wash detergent is the only solution for these fabrics. 

Fabrics such as silk, wool, and soft cotton can be washed with hand wash detergent. 

Laundry detergents typically have an excessive amount of power to vibrate molecules through the fabric holes for removing trapped dust, but some fabrics don’t support that type of effective laundry detergent since those fabrics can ruin, shrink or fade.


When you forget to add detergent to the washing machine when washing clothes, the stains remain but the general dust is removed. After washing, if the clothes are not clean, you should rewash them with detergent. However, it will not harm the quality of the clothes.

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