Fabric Conditioner as Detergent

Can You Use Fabric Conditioner as Detergent?

The short answer to this question is no, fabric conditioner is not an ideal replacement option when you have run out of detergent.

While fabric softener smells clean and delicious, it does not contain most of the key cleaning agents and enzymes that are required to properly eradicate dirt, germs, stains. 


Why Does Fabric Conditioner Not Work as a Detergent?

fabric conditioner not working as detergent

If you find that you’ve accidentally used fabric conditioner instead of your usual detergent, then there’s nothing to worry about. 

The fabric conditioner won’t cause any damage to your clothes, but it simply won’t offer much in terms of cleaning them properly either. 

If you’ve suddenly realised that you’ve run out of detergent but you need to do laundry immediately (and have no time to run out and grab more) then not to worry, there is likely to be something in your house that you can use!


What Can You Use if You Run Out of Laundry Detergent?

laundry detergent alternatives

There are a number of excellent alternatives to a detergent that you can use to ensure your clothes will still come out of your machine bright and clean. 

White vinegar is a trusted household cleaning product and is something that most people are likely to already have in their cupboards. 

Adding vinegar to your load of laundry, as well as bicarbonate of soda if you have it, will successfully clean your clothes during the wash cycle.

Other potential options are handwashing your clothes with the dish soap that you use to wash your dishes, such as Fairy Liquid, or even your shampoo if you have no other options. However, don’t put them in the washing machine, as they will produce too many bubbles.

Lemon juice is also an option as the acidity is useful in killing germs and bacteria.



There are numerous alternatives to laundry detergent, but fabric conditioner is not one of them.

If you find yourself without your usual detergent, try one of the other options, such as vinegar or bicarbonate of soda before fabric conditioner if you want your clothes to be suitably cleaned.