17 February 2009

Charlie's Soap: Best Laundry Soap ever!

Ok, I feel a bit silly blogging about a laundry soap, but I really like this stuff.

It's called "Charlie's Soap," and it's a small family-owned business. The soap is biodegradable, hypo-allergenic, and has no dyes or perfumes. The clothes come out of my dryer smelling... clean, not perfumy.

I got some of the soap because I'd heard that it actually eliminates the sour smell that comes from leaving laundry in a front-loading washing machine too long. I love my front-loader - it gets things cleaner than any other washing machine I've ever had, but if you leave a load in the washer for more than 4 or 5 hours, the clothes get stinky, and I'm TERRIBLE about starting a load in the evening, and forgetting about it until the next morning. Sigh... all that water savings goes right down the drain if you have to re-wash your clothes all the time. So, I'd taken to using the delay wash feature for when I started a load relatively late in the evening, so that the clothes would actually start washing the next morning. And I try to be prompt about transferring the clothes to the dryer.

Anyway, Charlie's Soap doesn't fully eliminate the mildew smell if you leave it overnight, but it's enormously better. And best of all, once you've used it awhile, you can stop using fabric softeners. Most of the stiffness in the cloth comes from all the chemicals and detergents and surfactants that never really get rinsed away fully (some fiber artists told me that it takes 15 rinses before it's all actually gone).

I asked why it works on the mildew smell, and it's because things like bleach and mildew killers actually kill or dessicate the mildew organism, but don't actually wash it away. So the mildew is still there, just in a dead form. And dead mildew is an EXCELLENT medium for growing new mildew. Charlie's Soap actually breaks up the mildew and washes it away. Mildew, if you leave wet clothes sealed up in the washer for long enough, will still happen, but it takes longer. Leaving the washer open when not in use also helps.

Charlie's Soap has very little suds, and rinses away completely, so no soap is left behind, which is why it helps those with chemical sensitivities, or dry or sensitive skin.

Even the pickiest members of my family agree that the clothes are coming out softer - plenty soft enough that we can discontinue the dryer sheets.

It comes in two forms - Powdered and Liquid. The latter is better for washing Gortex fabrics, but the powdered is great for just about everything else. And best of all? You use only a tablespoon per wash, and it really does dissolve completely. I can detect a faint odor when I stick my nose very close to the powder. The liquid has a more noticible scent, but it just smells kind of soapy to me. I'll be using the powdered most of the time. It's more concentrated, and you can buy it in 5-gallon buckets, which is good for well over 1000 washes (the price ends up being $0.11 per load if you buy it in that quantity at full price (I bought a few other items, which dropped the price on the big bucket even farther), which is better than 1/2 the cost of liquid purchased at a grocery store. I got some of the all-purpose cleaner to use as a spot cleaner.

Shipping is always free on the big buckets. Right now, through the end of February, shipping is free on any item, but it's goes back up to free shipping with orders greater than $25 or thereabouts, in March.

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