Sunday, September 5, 2010

Crunchy Laundry Fail

I've been trying to "green" over a lot of the products we use in our home. I've started switching our bath products over, tried out some "green" cleaning products(as well as using household alternatives, like vinegar), and so on.

And one thing I thought I'd figured out, I discovered I hadn't. Back in the winter sometime, I don't recall when, I started buying Charlie's Soap. At first, it was great! It was a bargain, you only need to use a little bit, our clothes were coming nicely clean and didn't smell strongly of detergent. It was great! I did find that it wasn't cutting it for diaper laundry, so I did keep using regular detergent for that. But otherwise, Charlie's was awesome!
But then a few bags into it, I started to notice that stains weren't coming out like they used to. And the laundry just sort of looked.... dull. And sometimes I was finding I needed to re-wash things to get them really sufficiently clean, and if I have to wash something twice, what's the point?

So I decided to test the theory that it was the Charlie's to blame, and I headed to Target. I didn't want to buy a pricey detergent, but I wanted to get something that looked effective. Enter Arm and Hammer plus Oxi Clean.
Is it eco-friendly? Not likely. Is it super healthy for my family? Probably not. But darn if it didn't clean the clothes.

I would like to, at some point, switch to a greener alternative. But 'green' products are expensive. And I know it'll be a trial and error process to find what works with my washing machine, my family's laundry, our type of water(a little hard, I think), and so on. So there will likely be a few products I buy and reject before finding one that works.

For now, I'd like clean clothes, thank you!


  1. I concur wholeheartedly with your assessment. Mrs. Meyer's just wasn't working for me, and I was not about to go out and buy borax to add to the laundry. Stains weren't coming out, my yoga clothes wouldn't stay 'fresh'. I'm already busy enough as is; why make laundry day more complicated?

    So, I went out and got the same Arm & Hammer. My laundry smells awesome now.

  2. I had problems with the powder laundry soap from Charlie's. I contacted them and they suggested it could be the water where I was living so I switched to the liquid and it works great... I haven't noticed any issues with stuff not getting clean since I switched. When I was using the powder stuff my cloths actually got dirtier because the hard water caused the powdered soap to stick. Yuck.

    I recently had to add softener to the washes because the washer at the place I moved to doesn't handle cat fur *at all* and the softener seems to help with hair removal.

  3. M-That's awesome! lol. Isn't it lovely? I know some people really hate the "fake" smell of these products, but I have to admit.... I don't. I feel like I should duck for cover. At some point, I'll get around to finding something better. But for now, I have sooo many other things to focus on, that my laundry just isn't that high of a priority.
    L-That's interesting. They don't sell the liquid here, only the powder. I used to buy Bac-Out online because I couldn't find it in stores, and that became such a tedious thing to do.
    I do add water softener to the diaper laundry, but I haven't found that necessary with our regular stuff. Dog hair comes out, lol.

  4. I had the exact same problem with Charlie's. I was super excited about using it at first. It worked great the first few loads, then my diapers started to stink, and the laundry just wasn't clean. The clothes just looked dingy & stains would not come out. I switched to 7th Gen. & no problems since. It's pricier at reg. price but I stock up when there's a sale.

  5. I'll add that to my list of things to try at some point, thanks!

    I have heard a lot of really mixed things about Charlie's. I wonder if it's the brand specifically, or if all "natural" cleaning products have this many mixed experiences.

    Another thing a lot of people seem to have problems with is natural dishwasher detergent. That's another I'm scared to fool with.

  6. I have been using Biokleen Free & Clear. I used to use their Premium Plus but went in on a case of Free & Clear with a friend with skin sensitivities and I've been using it since. I'm using Rockin' Green for diaper laundry and so far it's the best I've used.

  7. After buying and falling in love with homemade detergent, I started making my own with a recipe my mom found. I'm sure there will be more tweaking down the road, but for the time being we're using:

    6 cups borax
    4 cups washing soda
    4 cups baking soda
    4 cups grated bar soap (I use ivory)

    I used a food processor to grate the ivory. The bar soap alone has enough moisture to bind back on itself, but adding a cup or two of borax to the mix produces a fine powder with no chunks.

    Planning to add essential oils (Tea Tree to start) to try out different scents and properties.

    I was able to get a huge box of borax, 2 large boxes of baking soda, and a large box of washing soda at the local grocery store. Bought a 16 bar pack of Ivory at Walmart and spent about $15 for everything. I got 1.5 recipes out of the ingredients I had (some leftovers - like 12 bars of ivory, and I think some baking soda) so I figure I spent about $12 for approx 216 loads of laundry (27 cups of detergent @ 1/8 cup per load)

  8. That's something that's always sounded intriguing to me, but it also scares me a little bit! I don't know why, but it's like somehow I don't know if I can trust it because it's not in a bottle all mixed up for me? I know it's irrational.

    I also came across another recipe for a detergent that's supposedly a Tide knock off and costs 2.1 cents per load. Looks interesting, too, but seems to have a lot more artificial stuff in it.